Earlier this year, we held our debut Esquire Self-Made event, a one-day summit focusing on success. Everyone who attended had the opportunity to make an “elevator pitch” — their chance to pitch their business idea to a panel of experts. The winner was Jonny Garrett, founder of William Wood Watches, who’s here to tells us more about his company.
How has winning the Esquire Magazine Self-Made elevator pitch helped your business?
“It’s completely transformed it. I was awarded a free year of London office space at WeWork for my team. That’s allowed me to host client meetings in a professional and creative environment.”
What sets William Wood apart from other watch brands?
“Our USP is the story and inspiration behind the brand. William Wood Watches is dedicated to my grandfather, and firefighters internationally. He served in the Tyne & Wear Metropolitan Fire Brigade for 25 years, winning commendations for his bravery. We’ve melted down an original Twenties British brass firefighter’s helmet and made limited-edition commemorative coins. Each is engraved with our iconic firefighter helmet logo and a unique number, before being placed in the back of a watch and sealed with a sapphire crystal glass.”
Did you always plan to start up a watch brand?
“Since I was young, I was fascinated by the craftsmanship of watchmaking but I didn’t have the ambition to start my brand until Christmas Eve 2016 when my grandmother told me about my grandfather. Eight months later, I launched William Wood Watches on Kickstarter and raised over £25,000 in less than seven days.”
How have the watches been received so far?
“The most positive feedback is for the meticulous attention to detail and the personal touch with every timepiece. The cool thing is we’ve had firefighters from around the world support the brand. And we’ve partnered with The Fire Fighters Charity.”
How do you want to grow?
“My aim is to be the quintessential British luxury brand producing watches, wallets, bags and accessories using recycled firefighting material. I want William Wood customers to own a piece of firefighting history. I want to be a brand that gives back to people who matter most. My goal is to donate the equivalent of an annual firefighter’s salary to charities over the next year.” Prices from £300; williamwoodwatches.com