MrWatchMaster Meets…Oliver Goffe

MrWatchMaster Meets…Oliver Goffe

Next we meet Oliver Goffe, Co-Founder of the Marloe Watch Company. Almost ten-years ago, Oliver decided to replace the battery in his fairly pricey, branded watch. When he opened it up he discovered a disappointing reality. Staring back at him was a hollow case with an underwhelming, plastic quartz movement inside. The watch felt heartless and Oliver was sure he could make something better.

That was the beginning of his journey to build a new British watch company, which has become the Marloe Watch Company. Read on to find out his fascinating views on business and what is driving the future direction of the company.

MWM: How is business?

OG: Business has been a little lumpy over the past 6-12 months. The cost of living really started to impact sales around the start of 2023, but we seem to be coming out the other side now, especially with bills coming down thanks to the summer finally arriving. We’ve also been trying to do all we can to make it easier for the consumer – like free shipping and various finance options to spread the cost of purchase – but I don’t think luxury goods have been at the top of mind for many people for a while now. 

MWM: What are your current business priorities?

OG:  Very recently we brought in our very first watchmaker and invested a substantial amount in a new workshop to bring assembly and aftersales in-house. This is an area of our business that we’re keen to grow as quickly as we can – being able to repair, service and assemble watches in house is not only a great cost saver for us, but also takes us another step closer to our objective of bringing watchmaking in-house. There’s a long way to go but this is definitely the biggest priority at present. 

Gordon Fraser, Co-Founder

MWM: Tell us something we don’t know about Marloe Watch Company?

OG: People are usually surprised to hear that Gordon (above) and I founded Marloe Watch Company without ever having met. I didn’t know Gordon before Marloe – I went on the hunt for a designer and happened upon his blog and we built our relationship from there. In fact, we’d launched two full collections and sold over 2,000 watches before we eventually met in November 2016, 18 months after our initial contact. Very much like Marloe’s values now, we built our relationship on trust and integrity, and it worked. 

MWM: Which watch do you wear?

OG: When we made our first Siwss Made watch, the Haskell (above), Gordon and I decided to have two of the Sand models created with the serial number 0000, to make them that little bit more special. I still wear this watch most days, even though we’ve released 14 new collections since then – it grounds me, reminds of where we’ve come from and what we’ve achieved – plus, it’s still a stunning design. 

MWM: Which watch would you like to own?

OG: It may sound a little surprising but I’m not really a watch guy, in that I don’t covet other brands’ watches and designs. When we started Marloe I didn’t even know the difference between a mechanical and a quartz watch – my journey started when I removed the caseback of one of my ‘fashion’ quartz watches to discover the disappointing reality of what was within. I knew I could do better and went on my own journey of discovery – and even to this day, I don’t really look at any other watches in the market, I try to concentrate on what we’re doing. 

MWM: What do you like best about the Watch business?

OG: The customers. I don’t think I’ve worked in an industry where your products can resonate so strongly with people. Gordon once said “watches are a conduit for memories” and he’s absolutely right – it’s almost romantic in the way the connections are made. We have many customers who have worn our watches for weddings, anniversaries, funerals, and shared their story with us – it’s incredibly powerful and even more humbling. We feel honored to be the smallest part of any journey. 

MWM: What don’t you like about the Watch business?

OG: I think it can be a bit insular at times, but in all honesty we just do our own thing. Times are changing of course – when we started back in 2015 there were around 10-12 British brands, but we recently exhibited at the British Watchmakers’ Alliance in London and there were over 40 brands there, it’s been an astonishing growth, albeit small brands, but we’re all growing together and it feels very different to 10 years ago. 

MWM: What is next on the horizon for you?

OG: We’re working on some very exciting collaborations and can’t wait to release them later this year. We’ve created a very unique watch in partnership with a Scottish whisky distillery that we cannot wait to reveal, and looking ahead to 2025 we’re working with the National Motor Museum on a centenary piece that includes part of the vehicle in the packaging for the watch – something very special indeed. Watch this space. 

Oliver Goffe is a Friend of MrWatchMaster

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