I recently took a trip back to the UK, and a slight detour to a place I’ve been wanting to visit for a very long time, the workshop of my newly acquired favourite watch brands – Mr Jones Watches. Their studio and shop is located on the South Bank in London, just below the iconic OXO tower on the Thames and alongside many other local craft and design stores. The shop doubles almost as a gallery, clean white walls frame their watches as they hang from the ceiling, and magnifying windows allow a closer look for the passerby. Mr Jones Watches specialises in unique, hand-crafted watches ‘for the unconventional’, and celebrated 10 years of watch-making this year.
The watch I was lusting after wasn’t yet on display, but luckily I had contacted them in advance to ensure I wouldn’t be disappointed on my fleeting visit across from Belgium. ‘The Promise of Happiness’ watch is a collaboration between Mr Jones Watches and illustrator Fanny Shorter, and features a scene inspired by Indian miniature paintings, with a tiger in a moonlit jungle. The watch was previously limited to only 100 pieces, but the team have now added the design to their permanent collection with a few tweaks – I couldn’t wait to see it in the flesh.
Fanny grew up a stone’s throw away from me in Winchester, and studied (like me!) in Brighton. These coincidences drew me even further towards owning a Mr Jones Watch of my own! As you can see, the time is hidden, with the hour shown in the moon and the minute camouflaged in the tiger’s stripes.
Each layer of the design is screen-printed by hand, and the front layer is printed directly onto the glass, which really adds depth to the jungle and makes the black outlines ‘pop’. The base sky layer is uniquely spray painted, so each watch has a slightly different background, I was able to choose between a few in the shop and selected a speckled, paler print which I think almost looks like a starry mid-summer’s evening. The team can help personalise your watch by changing the strap or casing colour, and I was even lucky enough to be shown the different colour swatches the team made when designing the watch – check out their blog to view these and see the fascinating creation process.