When you’ve been following the Fratello Instagram account just lately and paying explicit consideration to our tales, you may need observed that I popped as much as Glasgow a few weeks again to go to anOrdain founder Lewis Heath and his pleasant group of artisans primarily based within the East Finish of town.
Whereas I used to be there I discovered an terrible lot about how enamel dials are produced, and the endurance it requires in not simply the painstaking analysis and growth part, however thereafter. Oftentimes, the group is firing three dials concurrently within the hope only one will survive the fragile course of. The tactic is actually superb however the craftspeople behind that technique are extra superb nonetheless.
I expressed my admiration to Lewis for not solely what his group was doing but additionally for the way totally different it was from the remainder of the business and particularly from anOrdain’s worth level opponents (these Swiss-movement-powered masterpieces with handcrafted dials price lower than 2K together with VAT). That, because it turned out, was the genesis of a really attention-grabbing dialogue certainly.
A transfer to batch manufacturing
Lewis had already observed anOrdain was totally different. The issue was, he hadn’t fairly found out what to do about it. He was, because it occurred, very near his choice as, a number of days after coming back from my journey, he known as me to elucidate the path he’d determined to take with the model and requested my ideas upon it.
Actually, I believed the transfer from sequence to batch manufacturing was a wise, totally mature choice for any artisanal model proprietor to make. Was it a simple choice? No. Might it’s walked again in years to return if it proved unsuccessful? In fact. However most crucially, this choice suits with what the model is doing. It suits with the purpose: to supply lovely, hand-crafted timepieces on Scottish soil. Certain, the guts of those watches comes from Switzerland, however their soul comes from the land by which these enamel dials first really feel the lick of flame.
There are only a few manufacturers for whom this manufacturing mannequin is an effective match. I might say that one other one in every of my favourite manufacturers that has executed the technique properly is Schofield Watch Firm. Schofield, nevertheless, is usually down to 1 man; anOrdain has 16 staff and grand desires of motion modification and evermore formidable enameling methods. This can be a daring transfer, however one I’m assured the model’s present and soon-to-be followers will abide for the nice of this thrilling younger maker. For these of you that haven’t heard this information from Lewis straight, I’m going to do one thing fairly uncommon and embody it beneath, as a result of I feel these are phrases extra eyes ought to see.
A phrase from anOrdain — Lewis Heath
When folks ask what anOrdain is all about, my first thought is “experimentation”. We’re a watch producer, however we’re additionally a gaggle of people from a myriad of design and engineering disciplines, fusing conventional craft with fashionable design. It’s that fusion and technique of experimentation the place progress is most frequently born.
Since promoting our first watch in 2018, we’ve been busy. Enameling is an inherently unpredictable observe – the chance of cracking and warpage is without end current. Beginning out, we’d produce three or 4 watches in an excellent week. Simply as typically, all of the onerous work can be scuppered and that quantity could also be one and even none.
Fortunately, our manufacturing processes have been refined and our capacities improved since these early days, however real vitreous enamel will at all times take time.
I do know I converse for everybody right here after I say there’s a real appreciation at anOrdain for our prospects. You’re a affected person and pleasant bunch who permit us to do what we love, and there are various of you who get spoken about within the studio like previous mates (as an apart, we have been wanting via a field of reject dials yesterday, and I used to be very taken by how the enamellers may reel off who every was for, what was unsuitable with them, why it occurred and many others., in what appeared to me like a group of completely good, principally equivalent dials!).
So, letting anybody down with late deliveries is one thing we take to coronary heart and, mixed with the difficult nature of enamel and a continually full order guide, there’s a perennial strain on the group. The disruption brought on by the occasions of the previous yr has solely served to exacerbate this.
The most important problem confronted at anOrdain is balancing manufacturing with creating new methods and prototypes; we’re within the uncommon state of affairs whereby our manufacturing line can be our R&D division! Buyer orders will at all times take precedence, and rightly so. However this leaves us brimming with concepts and valuable little time to spend exploring them.
With this in thoughts, we’ve determined to experiment with a system of batch manufacturing; we’ll alternate between durations spent on manufacturing and durations spent on growth and place watches on the web site when they’re obtainable, quite than making-to-order as we do now.
In all honesty, this isn’t a simple choice to make. We have now a wholesome and rising enterprise with 16 mouths to feed each month, and the thought of turning off our revenue stream for a number of months is daunting. However, we have now a lot ready to be explored and our present mannequin of becoming growth piecemeal round manufacturing is a poor use of time and potential.
It should put off the prolonged construct interval on orders and I hope be a way more sustainable mannequin — for you and us.
This new manufacturing technique modifications nothing on the subject of the care and time that goes into our watches. Our enamellers are nonetheless rigorously hand-crafting each dial, our watchmakers nonetheless assembling and regulating every particular person watch to match your necessities. We’ll simply be capable to dedicate uninterrupted time to this now, as we are going to R&D.
We’ll hold you posted on batch launch dates and sit up for sharing some thrilling new watches. Please do get in contact with me in case you’ve any questions.
Be taught extra about anOrdain right here.