Thank you for your interest in FINK
We are an independent watchmaking company, based in London and a member of the British watch and clockmaker alliance.
Our goal is simple: Deliver hand-built watches from our UK workshop to our customers at affordable prices and with designs, you won’t find anywhere else. We want to make sure you receive a watch that will last for years to come and that you can enjoy every day you are wearing it. So all our watches are individually checked, regulated and tested before they are sent on their journey. And if you have any issues with them you can reach out directly to the watchmakers that build them for you.
If you should have any questions for us, please do not hesitate to reach out via the contact formular at the bottom of this page or per E-mail (Hello@fink-watches.co.uk).
Building watches for everyone.
When we started out to develop our watches, we faced some important questions. Where to produce our watches would have a fundamental impact on our quality, price and overall strategy. At the two ends of the price/quality question, you can find exquisite, fully in-housed watchmakers with small scale productions and astronomical prices on the other end are companies which fully outsource the production to Asia leaving only the design decisions in the UK.
None of that was in line with our vision or values for a new British watchmaking company.
The idea of FINK watches is and always has been to develop watches that are built in the UK, but at prices everyone can afford. We want to make British watchmaking affordable to all enthusiasts and not just the selected few.
However, fully outsourcing the production was not an option either. Watches are being built. The care and attention taken in picking, testing and assembling the components, regulating the movement and turning individual parts into a mechanical timepiece are for us the essence of watchmaking. We, therefore, knew we needed to keep the assembly of our watches in-house – hence "Made in London".
This also finalized our strategy for FINK watches – Design the watches in London, but manufacture individual parts all across the world with specialised partners. Finally bring all components back to our workshop for assembly, regulation, and testing - creating a FINK watch. This ensures we keep control of the quality of the watch and that we can freely service and repair them.
From conquering the oceans to your wrist.
Early on the necessity to keep track of time was important for domestic, religious, and business use. While timekeeping started with candles, water, and sunlight to measure the passing of hours and minutes, it was the introduction of mechanical clocks that would reliably deliver time. However, even after the appearance of mechanical clocks on public buildings in Europe around the 14th century, accuracy was not comparable to modern watches, and it might have never become that important if it wasn’t for the lucrative ship trade. It was the seafaring ambitions of nations, including the UK, that pushed watchmaking to its current form of precision timekeeping for a very specific reason.
Navigation on ships in the 17th century was difficult and dangerous with countless lost ships and lives due to navigation errors. The reason for this was the lack of a reliable method to determine the ship’s position on open water and away from any coastline. While it was already possible to calculate latitude (north/south positioning) through the stars and the position of the sun, longitude (east/west positioning) positioning proved to be almost impossible through traditional methods. It became such an important factor for sea travel, that in 1714 the UK government offered a large sum of money for a solution – the Longitude rewards.
One way to accurately measure longitude is through the time difference between the current position and the time at a fixed point (for example Greenwich, London). This point is actually a line spanning from the north to the south pole and is also known as the prime meridian or 0 degrees. Even today the prime meridian is still in use for navigation (now of course through satellites) and represents the GMT time zone (Greenwich meantime).
Every day at 1 pm the large red ball was dropped indicating the time to ships waiting in the nearby bay to set their chronographs before a sea voyage.
Calculating longitude through the horological method is possible because the earth does a full rotation every 24 hours – any difference between the time on the ship (for example measured through the positioning of the sun at noon) and on the prime meridian (as displayed by the watch being kept on board) could be calculated as the distance from the meridian line (24 hours divided by 360 degrees = 4 minutes equal one-degree deviation). Navy captains just needed a watch set to the right time at departure, that would reliably continue to keep this time for months on sea.
This led to the perhaps biggest horological challenge in the 18th century: Whoever managed to invent an accurate, seagoing watch, would revolutionize navigation at sea (and could collect the price sum from the government).
However, this was easier said than done. Clocks at that time were still susceptible to gravitation and needed perfectly even surfaces to stand on, while ships can’t avoid rough waters from time to time. It was John Harrison who, after more than 20 years of research and improvement, developed a marine chronometer that reliably kept the time. Following several reiterations, the marine chronometers were recognized as the solution to the Longitude problem and allowed a precise determination of one’s position at sea.
His initial clock, called H1, was presented in 1735 and after some initial difficulties already proved to be a superior piece of horological technology. However, Harrison continued to develop successor clocks, improving his design with each version. With his final version (H4) from 1759, he completed his lifelong work with a shift towards a stable, high-frequency balance watch similar to “modern” pocket watches. Despite its design, the H4 measures c. 16.5cm in diameter and at a weight of 1.5kg – rather unsuitable as a pocket watch, but a lifesaver on open waters.
This breakthrough also started the great period of British watchmaking. In the 19th century the British watch industry started to take off, benefiting from their reputation and innovative spirit with inventions such as the lever escapement by Thomas Mudge (1755) or automatic winding by John Harwood (1924) – both are still used in most modern automatic watches.
While the 20th century had its outstanding watchmakers, including the like of George Daniels and his co-axial escapement, the industry was in decline. One reason for it was that British watchmakers still focused on small scale, high-quality pieces – which could not compete with the lower-priced, partially machine produced watches from the continent.
Today, the United Kingdom is once again growing into its horological heritage. UK based watchmakers continue to produce incredible timepieces, which are recognized to be amongst the best in the world. While this is a confirmation of the great technical skills learned through centuries in this country and the innovative spirit found on these shores, it will also ensure that the tradition of British watchmaking will continue in the future.
H1 (1735) and H4 (1759) chronometers by John Harrison are displayed in the Royal Observatory in London