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"We started with a blank sheet that gave us the freedom to imagine just how good we could make a watch. No corporate restrictions, no preconceptions, armed with 20 years of unique skills needed to build the most naturally durable watches on the planet - no corners cut, every detail built up to our own high standards, not down to a price".
They are values that sit firmly behind every timepiece the company makes and give an insight as to how the brand naturally collaborates with organisations including, the Armed Forces, Mountain Rescue England & Wales, Land Rover, government agencies and blue light services.
The business was conceived working late nights and weekends for two and a half years until they were ready to throw off their career comfort blankets and open the doors to Elliot Brown in 2013. Elliot Brown’s raison d’etre is to make the absolute best of breed watches, that exceed expectations, that are 100% fit for purpose, who’s stories of survival and real world testing are honest and genuine.
It’s not easy, it takes time to build an idea into a business this way, and it's a work of fanatical attention to detail. But once you’ve made watches of this calibre, their stories and feats of endurance start to gain their own momentum and the brand has become a ‘thing’.
It’s been a natural process, it can’t be rushed, nor can it be bought by a marketing department or a paid celebrity endorsement. Of course we do enjoy relationships with very well known personalities who we’re lucky enough to call our friends, but all choose to wear Elliot Brown because of their capability and how they perform, discreetly every day. It’s real, hard won loyalty, it’s felt by all of our customers and it forms the bedrock of the business.
Every collection has it’s own unique Dorset reference story and occupies a niche within the Elliot Brown stable such as the Kimmeridge named after Kimmeridge Bay where time on the water has been enjoyed by the founders for many years.
The mix of style, quality and every day utility is a powerful combination that’s so effortless to wear for any occasion or activity with none of the usual anxiety. It’s a unique mix the brand has become synonymous with.
Ian Elliot and Alex Brown live and breathe a coastal, outdoor lifestyle where salt water, sand, mud and harsh knocks are naturally part of daily life, placing huge demands on watches.
The natural playground they live in, sparks a process of continual re-development, ideas for new features and functional enhancements that make every Elliot Brown watch a pleasure to use and own. Alex and Ian share an obsessive nature with a collective engineering background – Alex’s from the world of mechanics and horology, Ian’s from 2 years of an engineering degree that was mostly spent on the water or a bike. Ian went on to develop a hook, loop and webbing watchstrap that turned into a business called Animal, whilst Alex was studying and gaining experience as a highly qualified horologist.
The two met when Animal ventured into stainless steel watches and needed expert help to develop, service and run a successful watch department at which point Alex famously turned down a job offer with Cartier in favour of a coastal lifestyle in this idyllic part of the world.
The ‘EB’ headquarters is in a working boat yard on Poole Harbour, complete with bar and restaurant on the water’s edge, Lake Yard Club. You’ll often see boards and bikes outside or in the office and being part of a working yard suits the business perfectly. It's a great destination for customers who visit to be shown the collections personally by the founders, possibly the odd new sample that’s still under wraps and to enjoy some social time by the water.
Elliot Brown has grown in many ways, more collections, more styles, more choice, a larger retail network. One unexpected aspect of the business that’s particularly close to the hearts of the founders is their not inconsiderable contributions to numerous charities, some publicised and some not, that often come about as a result of special watch projects. A special edition watch is typically developed and delivered with total confidentiality with 10% of sales revenue handed back to a chosen charity along with very special one-off versions that can sometimes be created to raise significant funds for auction or as a special gift.
The founders love nothing more than hunting out how to express specific stories in a project that can be told discreetly via special details and markings only only recognised by a specific audience; they're if you know, you know details that have become an ‘EB’ special project trademark. Every watch carries the kind of esprit de corps that does justice to an organisation and it’s people as opposed to simply slapping a logo on a dial and calling it special.
This is exactly how the Holton Professional collection came into existence – users of a special project watch requested a version for work. The rest is history.
So confident are the founders in the durability of their watches that they took a standard watch out of the box, mounted it to a Clipper ‘70 racing yacht using nothing more than it’s standard strap pins and sent it around the world for a year.
It returned with a few scars from ocean debris but kept perfect time and was unscathed by long term corrosive effect of salt water exposure, millions of pressure and thermal shocks hitting every wave, hurricane force winds with 14m swells and extremes of temperature from the freezing icebergs of the Southern Ocean to the Tropics, all without the security of a human wrist for protection. A tougher test is hard to imagine. Watch the journey below and read about it here.