The husband-and-wife team behind Struthers London and the new Morgan Motors’ watch could be the coolest on the British watch scene, reckons Laura McCreddie
I LOVE taking a movement that looks like junk and then making it useable again. It may gain 30 seconds a day but at least I got it working,” says Craig Struthers, one half of the husband-and-wife duo behind the UK’s newest watch brand Struthers London.
Struthers London is no ordinary watch brand. For starters, Craig and Rebecca wouldn’t look out of place in a Kooples advert. They are cool, urbane, currently based in Birmingham, and despite looking very 21st-century, got into the world of horology through a love of old watches.
Craig is obsessed with restoring old watch movements, while Rebecca is so fascinated by turn-of-the-century timepieces, she is currently studying for a PhD in antiquarian horology at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design – something that’s involved volunteering as a watch-restorer for the British Museum’s vast archive, unearthing the secret identities of watchmakers forging English watches during the 18th century, and even discovering an escapement no one has ever seen before.
“We don’t draw from the current horology world,” explains Craig. “It’s just not the same. I know technology is necessary for things to move forward, but I think it means the heart and soul has gone from watchmaking.”
Luckily they won’t need to be inspired by the present for their latest collaboration, with Malvern motoring icon Morgan – a brand unlike any other on the cookie-cutter car scene, famously loved and derided in equal measure for its use of wood in its construction. The resulting watch is one of the most desirable watches to hit the horological landscape in a while.
“We’ve always been inspired by elements of the automotive industry and after we went to a talk at Morgan, we thought that there was so much crossover between their ethos and ours that we decided to send them an email,” explains Rebecca. Neither one of them were quite expecting the prompt and overwhelmingly positive response they received.
“One minute we were sending an email, the next we were in discussions with Morgan’s creative director,” she laughs.
Craig and Rebecca were inspired by the designs of the early trench-style watches, which were popular when the first Morgan was unveiled at the Olympia motorcycle show in 1910. The result is a sturdy timepiece that seems to be balanced aesthetically between a pilot and a pocket watch. And the attention to detail continues inside – the movements are from recommissioned 1950s Swiss kits, which Rebecca and Craig refine and finish in-house, while the robust leather strap is made by Shrewsbury-based leather worker Christopher Clarke. The presentation box even uses the same ash and walnut that Morgan uses in its chassis and dashboards.
However, what is remarkable about this watch is that Rebecca and Craig intend to make it a truly bespoke piece, from the case material down to what the case houses.
“I’ve always been obsessed with taking a movement and giving it a new lease of life, which means I have ended up with a drawer of them just waiting to be worked on,” says Craig. “That means that we can offer customers whatever they want even down to furnishing the watch with a movement from the year of their birth.”
“We’re enjoying working in a way that harks back to the roots of watch making,” says Rebecca. “It isn’t just someone on their own in a dark workshop. What’s more, working with other craftspeople who are equally as passionate also reassures you you’re not going mad!”
Struthers London’s collaboration with Morgan is available from morgan-motor.co.uk. Prices start at £10,800 for the silver case version.