A round-up of 2020 at Mr Jones Watches
Firstly, I would like to wish you a very happy new year! I think we all have our fingers firmly crossed for a brighter and calmer year.
I write these round-up blog posts for you every year to share the designs we have created and the talented people we worked with, but this year feels very different to write about.
What a year 2020 was for our small business. We were impacted by the pandemic, but not in the way we anticipated at the start of the year.
Back in spring, (when the UK government finally started taking it all seriously) the UK was told to stay at home. We packed up all of our tools, ordered extras where needed, and the whole team started to work from home (apart from Paul and Ellen our print technicians, who worked in alternate shifts from the workshop).
The whole world was on edge, many people were losing their jobs, there was a lot of worry and confusion about support. As a result, people (our team included) were spending cautiously and the sales of our watches really slowed down. At this point, we had serious concern for the future of our small business.
However, we soon noticed a shift. Our customers, long and short term really pulled together to support us. Before we knew it, we were selling (and making) more watches than we ever have before. The overwhelming support meant that we were also able to increase the size of our small team.
So from all of our team, I'd like to say a huge thank you to you if you've ordered from us this year, shared one of our posts on social media, show your watch to a friend, took part in one of our competitions. We are incredibly grateful for your support.
Here's what happened in 2020:
If you’ve followed our business for a while, you may remember we emailed you a big survey. We asked you several questions about your preferences, to do with watch straps, sizes, designs and our marketing. The results were fantastic, many of you had similar ideas and suggestions so we’re working hard to put these things in place.
A couple of things we’ve done so far: we’ve added additional strap options (in bright colours) and we’ve edited the case design slightly - the case is the same size, but the glass is larger, so the design/face is more visible.
We have a few more things planned for this year, so stay tuned!
This month we were pleased to work with Marion Labbez again on a new limited edition gilded watch, The Ascendent.
This watch completes a set of four that Marion has designed, each of which embodies a different element. In this series, The Ascendent is the element of earth.
In March we released new, special editions of some of our existing watches, we noticed we had lots of requests for these watches to be placed in a black case (instead of their existing silver) so we edited the designs, to create new versions.
At the start of this month, we all went into lockdown. The design of Mare Adesso had been finalised, but we decided to put the release on hold.
Instead, Crispin (Mr Jones) wanted to create a new watch in response to the pandemic: All this will pass. It was designed as a reminder to stay positive and look to the future. 10% of the funds received from this watch are being donated to the World Health Organisation, to help the global fight against the pandemic.
Crispin said this about the design:
“We wanted to respond to this awful situation in the only way we can - by creating a watch that expresses our feelings and especially our hope and belief in the future.
I realise that this isn’t a vital contribution in the battle to overcome coronavirus, but it is all we can do: share a message of hope during these dark times.
The dials are an expression of the chaos and unpredictability of the situation and each one is unique, while the hands are printed in one colour with the simple message.”
We introduced a permanent version of The Ascendent into our collection this month, as you can see, it had some subtle design changes to distinguish it from the limited edition version.
This month we didn’t have a new design, but we did launch our podcast! We interviewed almost all of the talented designers we’ve worked with recently. If you haven’t listened to it yet, search ‘Mr Jones Design’ on your favourite podcast platform.
We also welcomed Nell to our team! Nell packs up all of your online orders and if you’ve emailed or phoned us recently, you’ve probably spoken to her.
This month we released the limited edition Mare Adesso designed by Matteo Girardi - we were incredibly shocked by how fast this watch sold out.
Mare Adesso was the result of a project organised by the Scuola Superiore d’Arte Applicata and Mr Jones Watches. The students at the school were challenged to design a watch for us and we liked this design so much that we decided to produce it.
This month we released the limited edition Step right up, which was designed by Ryan Claytor.
This was another fast-selling limited edition, and we’re working with Ryan to bring out a permanent version of the watch at some point this year.
In September we launched the limited edition Paper Crane watch, designed by Hannah Sung. Hannah explained her inspiration for the design:
"I was obsessed with making paper cranes when I was a child. Back then, I loved the whimsical promise of the old proverb stating, 'If you make one thousand paper cranes, your wish will come true’.”
We also added a new version of the Mare Adesso watch to our permanent collection.
In November we re-issued the A perfectly useless morning, designed by Kristof Devos - this version of the watch featured Kristof’s signature fox illustration.
In December we finally moved into our new workshop over in Forest Hill (South London). The building was originally a shop, so it has had a complete refurbishment thanks to some fantastic architects we’ve been working with.
As soon as we’re all back to work, and it’s safe to do so, we’ll be sharing all the behind-the-scenes of the move!
Despite the obvious challenges, it was a fantastic year and we're really proud of all we achieved. This year, we have lots of new designs planned in, so keep an eye on your emails. We can't wait to share them with you.