An ambitious British watch manufacturer is one of the first tenants set to move into a new £1 million creative business hub in Kinross.
The Marloe Watch Company specialises in heritage, mechanical timepieces and said moving into the hub will be a ‘game changer’ for the firm which will also bring some watch assembly operations into the premises.
The firm was founded in 2015 by Oliver Goffe and Gordon Fraser and despite the impact of Covid-19, the company is enjoying strong sales with an eye to meeting its turnover target of just under £1 million by the end of the year.
Mr Goffe said: “The move to the new creative business hub will mean we have reached a goal we’ve been working to for the last five years – to bring assembly to the UK, investing in Scottish talent and the return of watch production to UK soil.
“We currently operate from three different premises, but this new facility has been specifically designed for us and includes an assembly area with a large window which will provide excellent natural light.
“We will also be looking at developing apprentice watchmaker roles as part of the move.”
Mr Goffe said sales to customers in Scotland had “sky rocketed” since the firm relocated from England and the company had been “incredibly well received.”
“Since we started in 2015, this is the biggest step up for us – it’s a game changer,” he added.
The company has released six collections to date and although sales had risen during the pandemic, production of the watches, which currently takes place in Switzerland and Japan, had been delayed.
Mr Goffe said: “We currently have three further collections in the pipeline, including a very sophisticated chronoscope which will retail at around £1000.
“We hope stock will arrive by Christmas and we have just shot a promotional video for it which also really shows off the local area.”
The 4,100 sq ft facility has been given the green light by Perth and Kinross Council and will feature sustainable zero carbon technologies.
The project, sited on the banks of Loch Leven between Kinross and Wester Balgedie, aims to deliver a substantial boost to the local economy.
The facility will see historic buildings renovated to provide accommodation for around five businesses, while a large barn will be used to host a range of events including weddings.
A communal outdoor dining area is also part of the proposal which is set to be completed in April 2021.
The watch design company will be joined by architect Studio LBA, who also designed the new space.
Lynsay Bell, managing Director at Studio LBA said: “This is an extremely exciting project for us – creating a hub for other local businesses to thrive within a community that can all work, grow and collaborate together within this rural hub.
“The existing agricultural setting and character has been a key influence in the designs, in terms of scale, form and materials. The aim is for the development to feel rural and not to lose its historic roots.
“We always wanted to create a sustainable and environmentally conscious development, and this was really initiated at the design stage through the re-use of the existing agricultural buildings.”