Time for our region's watchmakers to show their hands

Simon Michlmayr
The steady hand of Norwich watchmaker Simon Michlmayr Photo: ITV Anglia

Think of expensive watches and you'd probably of Swiss makers like Rolex or Omega.

But actually some of the finest watches are now made in this country - and in our region too.

Simon Michlmayr has been intricately making and repairing at his workshop in Norwich for 25 years.

"My father was a watchmaker so it came from there. I was in the workshop from a child so there wasn't really anything else I was going to do. this job is not really work it's something you've got to want to do"

When each watch takes between 80-100 hours to make that's a lot of patience. Not to mention the three years it took to develop the Meridian watch. Retailing at £5000 they're giving the Swiss a run for their money.

"Don't get me wrong, the Swiss are amazing watch makers. The industry came from England first, this is where it all started 300-400 years ago and it moved to Switzerland because at the time they took on production better than we did and they make amazing watches, But there are skills in this country, we can do this"

Also doing it is Lincolnshire-based Robert Loomes. Using parts from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire his 1950's style Robin wristwatch will set you back £5,500.

"I think the world is changing and somebody said a couple of weeks ago, and it seemed really pertinent to what we do: if the 20th century was about globalisation then the 21st century is becoming about localisation. People want to know where their things come from, they want to meet the people who make them and it works really well for us"

It's taken a while but the time has arrived when British watches once again rule the wrist.