Transcript: Nick English – Bremont Watches (Max#30)

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Kevin: Welcome to Maximise Potential the podcast to educate and motivate through a range of original interviews designed to help you maximise your potential. Brought to you in association with the award winning recruitment group Jenrick.

Welcome to episode 30 of the Maximise Potential podcast. Bremont Watches is rapidly becoming one of the premier luxury brands within the mechanical watch market. A fact that has been further confirmed when they recently won watch brand of the year at the 2011 UK Jewellery Awards. What makes their story especially interesting however is that they are making substantial inroads into a market dominated by two key factors the Swiss and history neither of which apply to Bremont. Today’s interview discusses exactly what Bremont is succeeding despite such barriers whilst also focussing on the inspirational and very personal story about how the company came into existence. So please sit back and enjoy this interview with Nick English one of the joint founders of the 2008 emerging luxury brand of the year Bremont Watches.

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Okay Nick thank you very much for joining us today on the Maximise Potential Podcast.

Nick: Absolute pleasure really good to be here.

Kevin: It’s great to have you onboard and it’s great to have the opportunity to be able to meet one of the founders of Bremont Watches. Shall we paint a bit of a picture about where Bremont has come from you know when it started, how long it took to develop and you know give people a picture, just a nice synopsis of where it all started.

Nick: You know I think we are very, very lucky as kids because we spent a lot of time with our father and he was just introducing us to new things all the time, tinkering in a workshop as a boy is a dream isn’t it. And our father was very, very good at keeping that enthusiasm going and the smallest thing would bring huge smiles to our faces and whether it was restoring old aeroplanes as we said earlier or building boats which we spent a couple of years building his boat which we then sailed for a long time when we were young kids with our parents. And cars we still drive around now which we helped restore. And I think those sort of things they are all simple things but it’s that time you spend with the family that really, really made a huge difference to our lives.

Kevin: You were also being constantly challenged as well. That also sounds like part of your fathers plan with this that he was constantly getting you guys to think, to learn skills and to develop even if you thought it was playing.

Nick: We were very lucky because he was a very bright guy. You know he was very, very bright you know Cambridge Aeronautics and the rest of it and I think Giles and I have got about a quarter of what he had and so that is why we have to work together otherwise we would never have managed to achieve anything compared to him you know. It is quite special to have that and I think from Giles and I if we can give a tenth to our kids that he gave to us we would be doing a good job.

Kevin: Definitely and you spoke to me about one of those experiences and you actually said that your dad pulled you out of school and you sailed around the world.

Nick: I think he had spent quite a lot of time building this boat with us and Giles, I just remembered he used to hobble up the ladder of this boat with a huge keel which would be sitting in our front garden. We spent a long time with him helping him or probably acting more of a distraction to him but he was very good at pretending.

Kevin: He tolerated.

Nick: Exactly being tolerated and he took us away from school for a few months we sailed you know from England down through the Mediterranean and down through North Africa and places like this.

Kevin: How old were you?

Nick: Giles must have been eight or nine and I was sort of ten or eleven so. But it is one of those things that you just remember.

Kevin: You obviously had the opportunity to learn how to fly same as your brother and follow in your father’s footsteps and your father was a very successful air show pilot and did formation flying and all sorts of stuff and then all of a sudden both you and your father had a very unfortunate incident in the mid 90s if I am correct.

Nick: When we got to our teens he allowed us to sort of get into the formation flying side of thing and the air display and for each air display you do you have to do a lot of training behind there and make sure you are up to speed and so he had his RAF buddies in the back whipping us into shape to make sure that we could fly safely and we did do for many years. And then I was practicing for an air display and hadn’t flown with my father for many, many months and he said come on Nick lets go for a fly this day and took off to do this practice air show and something went wrong with the aeroplane basically and my father had been in the back and we ended up ploughing into a field at quite a high rate of knots just near Chelmsford actually in 1995. It sort of changed our lives quite substantially at that point.

Kevin: I mean that was unfortunately your father died in the incident and you were left with a horrendous amount of injuries and you know spent a long time in hospital recovering and what not so.

Nick: I was, again you kind of look at this in two ways and I think it goes for a lot of things in life but I was unlucky to be flying that day but also lucky in terms of the injuries. I broke a lot of bones, I broke sort 20 – 30 bones but they were, very lucky in terms of no head injuries or major torso injuries. Those are the things you sort of dread in those incidents. I managed to avoid that but yeah a lot of breakages that’s for sure.

Kevin: That really was the end of one era but from what you have explained to me and what Giles has explained to me that was very much the beginning of a new era that was really the catalyst.

Nick: Yeah I think quite a few people experience this in their life and it can be when you are younger it can be when you are a lot older and for us it happened when we were mid way through our lives or a bit earlier on than that but it is definitely a tipping point. And at that point we were working the City so for our sins I was a Chartered Accountant and Giles was in Corporate Finance. We had been doing that for three or four years, we were both in Corporate Finance at the time but then this accident happened and just afterwards it got to the stage where we thought actually what are we doing we are not particularly enjoying this. So we both left what we were doing and we got involved in the business restoring old historic aircraft.

Kevin: Well let’s just pause on that because I know you are about to get, I can see you itching to talk about the fact that you managed to get out of this City life and everything else but I would like to dwell on that moment because that is, that is a crucial stage. I mean what conversations did you and Giles have, I mean how did this. Was it when you were in hospital? Was it the two of you just reassessing your values? I mean what did it teach you.

Nick: Our father was 49 years old when he died and as I said before not wanting to repeat myself he crammed an awful lot of stuff in or I thought he did you know. He had built up companies taken them public. He had done lots of different things; he was an amazing guy with his hands. Everything he did in life I think probably you are looking on someone with these amazingly rose tinted specs as your kid but you know we still remember it that way.

Kevin: That’s how sons look to their fathers.

Nick: Its brilliant isn’t it, it’s great I just hope my kids have a tenth of that with us. But we felt he crammed quite a lot in and at that point we just thought what are we doing, is it the right thing to do to stay on or not and we just, in that instant we decided actually let’s leave. I had been flying with my brother; he took me back up in the air a couple of months after the accident. I still had metal, well actually about three months after I had metalwork everywhere and he just said come on I’ll get you back up in the air. So we got straight back into this old 1930s aeroplane and mucking around. And I said I want to do something I really enjoy in life I don’t want to go back to sitting behind a desk it is not me and Giles said it is not me either. And literally we made this choice pretty much there and then.

Kevin: And yet that would have been, I know it seems like an easy decision and almost an instant decision that you guys made.

Nick: I don’t think it was relatively well thought out but that’s.

Kevin: Well that’s the point and you know you are both, you have both studied you have got your corporate profession. You have gone into jobs in the City. Most people would say right that’s it my path is now well and truly trodden I know which direction it is going in and yet bam you just made that decision. That is, I know you are being just talking about it as if it was like deciding whether to buy a brand of coffee or something like that, that is actually quite a powerful moment in your life.

Nick: I think it is but then you also, it’s this whole thing and I will keep repeating myself but you felt that life was so damn short and you have got to cram so much in it and unless you are enjoying. And I think what that accident did to both me and poor old Giles you know he was in his early 20s at the time, I was as well and he had to support the whole family when this happened. You know I’ve got two sisters and my mother who was obviously going through a rough time. One of our sisters was ten years old at the time when it happened so my brother was there supporting the family when I was smashed up in hospital. I think it just changed, it changed both of us in different ways and we both said actually lets go off and do something we enjoy and it was that easy it really was.

Kevin: Do you think it just taught you the value of life, how precious it is, do you think that’s it?

Nick: I guess so, probably quite an annoying person to be around unless I feel like I am getting something out of each day now and I think Giles is the same. We both want to be going at full blast at whatever we do so.

Kevin: I think that is a good lesson for others to learn. I think a lot of people.

Nick: Well I don’t know if it is I think some people, I’m not saying everyone should do that, it works for some I guess. It is not necessarily.

Kevin: Yes but I think it is very easy to become complacent with life when you haven’t had anything to force a value on to it.

Nick: And I think it is everybody and I am as well. I am not saying we are immune to it but I think everyone gets afraid of the unknown I think it’s scary you know. We have all got bills to pay, we have all got families to support and the decisions as you get older get harder and we are very, very lucky because we were, we had very little responsibility back. You know when you are mid 20s you can really afford to do these things and it made that decision much easier. But now you know apart from being virtually unemployable because we haven’t had a profession for so long I still couldn’t do anything different to what we are doing now. I guess things haven’t changed that much really.

Kevin: No I don’t think so. So you started getting into sorry and I interrupted you when you started saying you started a business restoring old aircraft.

Neil: Yeah I mean.

Kevin: Talk about going back to your boyhood dreams I mean that is fascinating.

Neil: What happened was there was a business our father had been involved with it was a place where he had got involved in setting up about 20 years previous and it was a place where aircraft, old vintage aircraft were restored, hangerd, maintained. We came in to sort it out financially and I guess it was for us it was almost like a bit of a sabbatical. We did it for a few years, well a couple of years and we really, it allowed us to figure out what we wanted to do in life but also that was the airfield we took off from the day we had the accident and it was a bit of closure as well. It was interesting it sort of helped us solve a few things in our life but it was fantastic being around all of these mechanical things and getting paid absolutely peanuts if anything really but it just allowed us really to go in and do something we really, really enjoyed.

Kevin: I bet you felt that was the best use of your accounting skills than you had ever had.

Neil: It was counting out widgets and the price of fuel and things. But no it was good and I still don’t regret a second of it. It was the best. It was almost a bit of therapy for us at the time. I spent a lot of time with Giles.

Kevin: I was going to ask you about, what was it like working with your brother?

Neil: It was good, it was really good because we had always been pretty much best buddies but he had been at different schools just because there was a three year age gap. So never been in classes with him or schools with him so this got to the stage after the accident we started working together and it was really nice. And we are very, very smellier but very, very different. I know it sounds. We both know what we want in life, we both appreciate the same things but we look at things very differently and I think it has worked very well because of that.

Kevin: I was going to say it sounds like a good combination of skills.

Neil: We try and pretend it is. We are pretty useless together but we muddle by.

Kevin: And so really I guess that was the start of the Bremont journey of you know Nick and Giles English working together and suddenly where did this brainchild come up that you were going to start your own business and?

Neil: Okay well we always had this absolute love of mechanical things and our father as a watch collector, you know amateur watch collector for fun would show us the watches. And I still had the watch that our father had when he had his accident and I’ve got my grandfather’s watch and they all told a different story. You know one was in the trenches; one was engineer in the First World War. You know I had a watch from my grandfather who basically was on a hospital ship, he was a surgeon during the Second World War and I had that watch. Giles had my father’s watch that he won in a flying competition in the 60s. None of them are particularly special watches but the fact is that each one tells a story and they are all working and they are working as well as the day they were built. And I think that really appealed to us and the fact that we did love clocks. You know the fact that you have got a minor miracle happening on your wrist. You have got something which there are 86,400 seconds in a day and you are making something which is within a couple of seconds of that and so the accuracy. And it is something so small as well and yet it has to go through being bashed around. And I think that’s what really appealed to us. And the other thing that really appealed to us is the fact that there is an incredible history of British watch making. You go back 100 years and we came up with most of the major inventions of watch making.

Kevin: I have to be honest that was what surprised me. I was obviously fortunate enough to come to one of your evenings and it surprised me what you said about English watch making.

Neil: We should be proud.

Kevin: Yeah I know and that was the thing that threw me I think it is worth just explaining a bit about that because I very foolishly thought pretty much it was Swiss and only Swiss you know.

Neil: Well many people, I think the book everybody has to read is a book called ‘Longitude’ and it explains how in the 1730s there is a competition the British Government set up to help with navigation at sea. Whilst you could measure latitude with the sun and stars and so forth longitude was very, very difficult you needed time to measure that. And a few seconds out whilst standing at the equator was the equivalent for you know a few hundred meters a kilometre out and that was the difference between being on the rocks and not. And so many, many ships were lost before the 1700s because they had no accurate way of telling the time at sea. And so the British Government they put on, I think it was £10,000 at the time and cut a long story short a chap called Harrison won it with his H4, well he had a series of Harrison time pieces. He was a carpenter from up north but a very good watch maker. He came up with some amazing accurate timing device, a clock basically and it’s called a ship kilometre, that’s where it came from. Rolex used to be based here in the early 1900s. Many of the finest inventions in terms of watch mechanisms themselves came from the UK to the extent where up to the 1920s if you wanted a nice watch you came to, you know it was British made, it was made in England and it is seeing a bit of a resurgence which is great.

Kevin: And of course you guys are a major part of that.

Neil: Well we are hoping to be. I think we are showing that there is still the resource and the [unclear 15:37] in the UK to be able to produce these watches. And you know we are trying to do more and more in the UK ourselves to the extent that later this year we are going to bring a whole workshop over from Switzerland and start manufacturing and assembling the watches in England.

Kevin: That’s incredible. And so just back track slightly. What year did you and Giles start Bremont?

Neil: 2002.

Kevin: Yeah.

Neil: I guess that’s when the first bill was paid. It is a bit like that isn’t it; there is a pile of invoices in a cupboard somewhere. And then we launched our first watch in 2007. But as I was saying we told our wives it would be a year and a half when we first started to produce our first watch and then five years later we are still trying to persuade them that it was the right thing to do.

Kevin: Why did it take so long and what kept you focussed throughout that entire time?

Neil: We wanted to make sure that we had the confidence ourselves that the watch we were producing was something beautifully, beautifully made and for us the whole brand is about over engineering, it is about precision engineering. It is about testing these watches to quite a lot of extremes and I suppose we didn’t have the confidence in ourselves. You can test and produce a watch within a couple of years if you really put your mind to it but testing in a laboratory is one thing for us it was a lot about testing it in the field as well. So we had watches strapped to various people for a couple of years two or three years before we were very, very happy that they could withstand going round the world on motorbikes and climbing up Everest and all this side.

Kevin: So is this where the whole Ambassador, the Bremont Ambassador.

Neil: That’s where it came from this is the whole thing about great understated people wearing our watches that were going off and doing some quite extraordinary things.

Kevin: And for people who are probably unfamiliar with where I am going with this but we are talking about people like Bear Grylls, Graham Bell, Charlie Boorman etc, etc.

Neil: Yeah and Kenton Cool these sort of people who are off doing some quite special things, Sara Campbell world champion free diver. And for us you can bounce a watch up and down as many times in a workshop as you like but making sure it goes up to Everest and back a few times and I guess another thing about the brand was we wanted to produce a watch that is as beautifully made but can be worn in a Boardroom with pride but also something you would keep on your wrist at the weekends and go off and do some quite outdoorsy stuff but in a quite hardcore way which is why we started working with more and more Great British engineering companies that can really help us try and test these watches.

Kevin: Well that is the bit that you obviously have now led me into which was the approach that you have taken with the whole marketing side of Bremont and the association because you’ve got some incredible relationships with powerful nostalgia especially British nostalgia but also US nostalgia but you have also got this very exclusive side as well i.e. in only people who have achieved certain things can get hold of a Bremont Watch. It is a great way of creating value.

Neil: I guess it wasn’t a real conscious decision to go back and establish yourself as an older brand. I think it just came down to Giles and I loving these things so for example an EP120 is a very famous spitfire still flying today, has sort of battle wounds on it, just beautiful, beautiful and the chap that owns it very kindly, he was restoring part of the panel on the wing and he gave us this and allowed us to use the metal of this which is aluminium in the watch itself, so to integrate it into the mechanism and into the dial. So we made 120 of them, literally we couldn’t have got the quantities any better. So the aircraft was EP120, we made 120 of them and they are all built with parts of a very famous spitfire that was flying over Normandy in 1942. So you are wearing this watch with its original parts and for us that is quite fun. And that is limited for limited sake you know it is quite a fun thing to do.

Kevin: I want to flip slightly and just ask you a couple of questions about the difficulties that you have faced in launching this company and when you have come up against obstacles. I am very keen to understand right from the development side of stuff, you know something that should have taken a year and a half took near on five. How do you deal with obstacles I mean you must have come up against various different objections, various different areas that you know you could have very easily folded on?

Neil: Obviously you are right in that there have been many obstacles. I think with any business it doesn’t matter what sector you get involved with what industry there is always going to be obstacles especially when you are starting from scratch. Honestly trying to think about this when you asked me earlier I just don’t think, again it’s a conscious thing, there is no way we cannot get through that, past that obstacle we just have to find a way. So we don’t sit down and sulk there just has to be a way around and you know.

Kevin: You just don’t accept it.

Neil: You can’t accept it, we would have stopped many, many months or years ago if we started, just look at us in our industry stock to make a watch, if I order a part now it can take up to two and a bit years to get that part and that is a huge obstacle in itself so you have to find ways round that. And every single part of the business there is an obstacle but you just can’t accept it you have just got to find an alternative. Not necessarily fight it you have just got to find a way around it and just.

Kevin: It is very interesting there is a lot of similarity with how you are talking and when I spoke with Steve Morris over at Morgan and I see a lot of similarity between your two businesses as well. You have got these wonderful what I would say rationally handcrafted British businesses that are small in a very big market that have to find creative ways of making their competitive advantage and running through and making it commercially viable and it sounds like there is a lot of lateral thinking that has to go on, a lot of creativity and it is just finding solutions.

Neil: But that is when some of the best products are made I think. Often with bigger organisations when everyone fits into a role and that’s what you have to do and they don’t have the pressure on them, they don’t necessarily have the passion there I think that’s where a lot of these bigger companies can become slightly laxidasical about it and I you know the analogy you’ve given is quite an interesting one because I am sure they are up against some. In fact I had a Morgan in the past they are great cars and they up against big, big competitors and they still find a way of making themselves individual, different, appealing and a very dedicated following which is fantastic.

Kevin: And I think what you just said about Morgan could easily be said for Bremont for what you and Giles are creating.

Neil: Well we kind of hope so but again as I keep saying there is lots more to do but hopefully we will manage to evoke the same sort of passion and I think people hopefully can appreciate that all of the bits that we find exciting that go into the watches, they can appreciate the same.

Kevin: Definitely but as well as the nostalgia elements and the limited edition you have got these wonderful partnerships and I think, I am not going to expand anymore on that but I have read an awful lot about how unique these partnerships are and the value that the create in the brand and I think it would be wonderful to explain a bit more about that.

Neil: Again the British bit has always been quite important to us and almost to showcase what can be done. Two or three of those partnerships we have been working with have certainly been along those lines and one of them who we with have been working with for probably three or four years now is Martin Baker. The average household Martin Baker won’t be a sort of recognisable name but in the aviation world it is huge and they are the guys that make probably 75% of the world air force ejection seats. And they have saved today over 7,200 lives and they have never had an ejection seat fail. So they approached us and said look we want to produce a watch for our ejectees which I thought was a great name being called an ejectee but they are the guys who have survived an ejection, people who have survived are given ejectee number. They came to us and said look we want to have a watch which we can give to these guys or allow them to buy but they had to go through the same testing as the seats themselves. So they said to us look these watches have got to go through the same testing and Giles and I looked at each other yeah no problem, no problem then we realised actually what the testing was, as time progressed what the testing would involve and it was things like 40 years worth of vibration testing. So you had to sit the watch in this special rig on this manikin and it is literally shaken to pieces for the equivalent of 40 years. And they had this manikin and the shoes are worn down through the end of it, flying suits are just in tatters. It is just amazing. And then they had shock tests so slamming these things against various objects and climatic tests so the watches had to work at -50 to +100 or something ridiculous, humidity tests, to show what it would be like on an aircraft carrier.

Anyway it went on and on and we realised that our standard watches couldn’t cope with some of these.

Kevin: Yeah so this has gone from probably you guys thinking great all we have got to do is.

Neil: Change the dial put a bit of a logo on it. And we said are you sure, I don’t think many other watch brands would be keen enough to go down this route but we absolutely loved every stage of it and I think what we ended up with was this new model the MB watch where we had to design a whole new way in which the movements inside the watch are suspended so it doesn’t touch the outside of the case so the shock can be absorbed. The whole thing had to be completely antimagnetic and assembled in the UK. So it is quite a special piece and the interesting thing was we made a number of different models but the model with the red barrel that our cases had, all of our cases are quite special they are all three piece and they have specially hardened steel. But this middle barrel of this MB watch had to be red and you could only have one of those if you have ejected and if you see someone with a red barrel MB watch then you know they have ejected.

Kevin: Incredible then you have also then gone on to build similar relationships.

Neil: Well what we did is I think if you are a military pilot, military pilots tend to be into two or three things. They love their cars or motorbikes, they love their ladies and they love their flying and their watches. So it’s in no particular order, so these guys came to us and said look we fly at the US Navy Test Pilot School would you make a watch for our squadron we’re the U2 Spy Plane Squadron based in Sacramento. And these are a very [unclear 25:57] bunch. You know they are all kitted up to spacesuit technology. They had to go up to 80,000ft, -50o outside. You know it goes on and on. So they wanted to test our watches to a certain, they wanted to make sure at 100,000ft the crystals wouldn’t pop out of the watches so we had to adapt our watches and make sure that was fine because you can’t have these watches exploding at high altitude. And it is just fascinating working with these guys but as a sort of thank you we kept getting these great pictures being sent back to us of these guys you know 80,000ft over Iraq taking pictures with their iPhone of them wearing their watch when the probably shouldn’t have been. But it was great it was really nice.

Kevin: And what did it teach you about your yourselves and about your brand and really I guess about where you could take your brand?

Neil: It sounds so corny me saying this but you have got to be fairly true to what you set out to do. I think that’s what, it gave us a huge amount of confidence in terms of saying well look this is what Giles and I wanted to originally achieve. I think what we are doing seems to be striking a chord with you know some of these guys we are wanting to appeal to.

Kevin: And I have held off asking this where did the name came from?

Neil: When Giles and I knew we wanted to set up a watch brand we knew also very, very adamantly that we didn’t want to go and just buy a watch brand. And if you have been to Basil you will realise that there is 400 watch brands claiming to have huge illustrious histories of which when you dig a little deeper, and some of them do I am not disputing that some of them do, but many, many of them claim to have these long histories and you realise that actually many of them, in fact most of them have been dormant for many, many years. And so there is no original founder there, there is no original equipment that they were using to make these watches and they are probably not in the same building. You know there is nothing tying them to their past. So what we wanted to do, any of us can go off and buy a watch brand and say look I have been trading for 100 years look at us it’s great. First of all we wanted to be British. Secondly we felt that because of that last argument we wanted to set something up from scratch and so the brand had to be us. Giles and us our surname is English and so having a British watch brand with English on the dial would have been slightly corny to say the least and probably missed by a lot of people but also pretty bloody hard to trademark. In fact for the first four years we were making watches with ‘Watch ‘written on the front. As in you know while we are in the workshop we didn’t even think about names, let’s just not even thing about names let’s just get the watches to a stage we want. And so for many they just didn’t have names on the dials.

Kevin: That’s interesting in itself though the dedication that you actually put to your product. I think there is a lot of people who would have been very quick to think of their brand, think of the posters, think of the look, think of the logo

Neil: That was the easy bit the hard bit is getting the engineering how you want it and you know if you have got the right product the rest sort of falls into place. Well that was our view anyway. So it came down to a flight my brother made and this is a couple of years after my accident Giles and I were flying down through France in an old German biplane and we took off, probably realistically in weather that we probably shouldn’t of and it got worse and worse, we got lower and lower with less and less fuel. It was also the worse combination of everything. We were at the stage of flying 100ft down the River Some we are out there trying to help our friend who got stuck in an air control tower with no money he had been living there for four days living off powdered coffee and sugar and went down to help him out. So we ended up force landing in this field, this was before GPS’s by the way. So just to fill you guys out there who don’t understand how we got into this mess. If you do this in England or America you know you take the farmer a bottle of whisky, his wife a flight it is very easy but in France whilst it is fine landing they get very bureaucratic about you taking off, you know is it safe for you to take off again, it is a lot of paperwork and invariably they say no it’s not safe enough to take off and you have to take the wings off the airplane and take it to another airfield.

So we landed and I am not kidding as we landed we saw blue flashing lights coming up the valley and just thought, because we had been circling for a bit trying to find a, we landed in this pea field and this old guy came out to help and he said look push your airplane into this barn of mine, he was an old farmer. And we pushed the aeroplane into the barn and we stayed there for a couple of days, the weather was atrocious still.

Kevin: So he literally hid you up.

Neil: He basically hid us up and the reason he did it, he was actually a pilot during the Second World War but he also was, our father had died a couple of years beforehand this guy was 78 when he came out to help us so he just reminded us of our father 30 years later had our father been around that long. He was just into his; he had old engines in his workshop it was just like going to our father’s workshop. But because he was a pilot as well he was very interested in the aircraft and we just sat there for two days drinking nice wine which we couldn’t afford from his cellar and chatting just nonstop. And his name was Anton Bremont and that’s where the Bremont name came from. And for us it meant something to us, it was a name that looked lovely on a watch from our perspective but it was you know, it was a big part of our father in there as well as Anton himself was a great guy. He was a very, very sweet, very, very lovely guy.

Kevin: Oh excellent.

Neil: One of these sort of rare encounters in life that you sort of never forget.

Kevin: Just snapped into place, just felt right.

Neil: Definitely.

Kevin: And what are the exciting things on the horizon for you and Giles and Bremont as a brand?

Neil: We have got some good partnerships. We did a lot with Jaguar supercar which I gather they are bringing out 150, they are producing it now. This whole concept 75th anniversary hybrid car which is just a beautiful thing. So that, it will be interesting to see what happens there. We have got this new limited edition the P51 coming out which is quite special. It follows on; we were talking before about the EP120. This is one of our biggest markets now is America and the other is Asian and obviously the UK. And America we have come up with a watch which again is just as sexy as the EP120 and it is called the P51 and it is built with original parts of a very lovely well very famous P51 Pacific War Veteran aircraft. It is a very nice retro looking watch. So there is a lot in store and there is a whole load of products for next year which we are working on right now.

Kevin: And moving away from the products I think the lovely thing is that you and Giles are finding time to pursue something a bit more I don’t know close to the pair of you, a bit more away from just raw products and that was the flight that you were talking to me about.

Neil: Yes I mean there is one chap who is quite an inspiration to us and he got us looking at all the different pioneering pilots and that was a chap called Sir Frances Chichester and you may all know him as the first guy who circumnavigated the world solo in a boat, incredible navigator, amazing guy. Another good book to read – ‘Lonely Sea and the Sky’ and so 1967 is the first guy to sail around the world. Well I think it was 67 one of those years. But what he also did when he was 28 years old he basically flew from England to Australia in a Gypsy Moth and it is just a great, great story and he is an incredible navigator you know doing it with sextons and landing in some amazing places often unannounced and just you know full of risk and jeopardy and the rest of it. So it made a great read. And we used to always say god wouldn’t it be great to do this one day, it would be fantastic and finally it is coming to the stage now where it looks like next year we will be heading off Giles and I flying two separate aeroplanes but the same aeroplanes he flew down in from England to Australia. So it is about 150 something hours flying. And we have a very good friend who we have been working with who actually is an Ambassador of ours but because we so respect the work he has been doing and it is a chap called Marc Koska who has own charity called Safepoint. And Marc is an amazing guy actually you should definitely get him on this show because he is an incredible guy who in his 20s designed a syringe that could only be used once and he has been attributed with saving literally millions of lives around the world. Because I mean there is some horrific undercover footage of 40 kids being innoculated against something or other and they use the same syringe for all the kids in this orphanage, this is in Africa, and Asia and India and places like this. And two of those kids got aids and so you are just passing this around. There is loads of footage like this and he has basically worked very closely with governments and organisations to just get this syringe out there and for that to be part of the trip for some of those legs. For the past 12 of the 16 countries we are going through are very relevant to the work he is doing so the Bremont bus as we call it which is an old French bomber which we fly quite a lot he will be going in there and working out where he is going to be going next and we will be flying these two other aircraft.

Kevin: Incredible. Well how do you feel to be part of planning an event like this?

Neil: There is so much to do the more you think about it the worst it gets. It was one of these trips where I’d like to think we are going to leave with a lot of planning behind us. But I know what is going to happen we are going to jump in and just go and just hope we get there. But no it is going to be quite special.

Kevin: That’s superb. I am going to start winding down. This is where I try and leave people with a few pearls of wisdom from yourself as a man who has been there and done it.

Neil: Not quite still loads to do.

Kevin: Still loads to do but someone all the same who has launched a very successful brand not by yourself but with a great team around you. What would you pass on to others in terms of an approach that you have taken, that you found successful that is maybe you an attitude that has maybe helped you fulfil your goals and work towards achieving your goals?

Neil: You know it is funny you should say that I have got two little girls and a little boy and I often think what am I going to say to my son in 20 years time if he comes to me and says look Dad I have got this great idea I just want to go and do it and I go over in my head what would I say to him and I think one is don’t, and everyone says this but it is so, so true. Just like us when we went down we saw the 400 brands of competition for us. You know if you feel strongly about something you know unless it is a bloody daft idea go for it, really do go for it. That’s the thing about the US and the UK that you try something in the US and you may fail. You know you don’t all necessarily succeed first time but the Americans have a great attitude and they go oh well done for trying. In the UK it is often seen as a stigma for not immediately succeeding. I think that is absolutely daft because I think it takes more effort to go off and try these things than it does to sit in an office doing something you don’t enjoy. So that is the first thing.

And then I would just try and involve someone who is a bit of grey hair perhaps who has done something similar. I don’t mean necessarily get them on the Board or Exec but go out for a beer with them and get their advice. Ask a few people and then you will realise that you will have picked up some things from them. Others you will have discounted as not being of use but you would have certainly done a bit of research and I think that is the way I would do it. The main thing is just go off and bloody well do it. You know I really do think that quite strongly.

Kevin: Nick English I have had a thoroughly enjoyable interview here and thanks so much for your time.

Nick: Thank you very much indeed you have been very kind.

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Kevin: I would like to thank Nick for his honesty and openness throughout that extremely insightful interview into his life, his motivations and his future aspirations. I think the Bremont story is a wonderful example of having the conviction and determination to pursue your passion in life. It shows that you can develop your career around something that you truly care about and are proud to be a part of. I think Nick also explained that regardless of what you do be prepared to meet numerous obstacles along your way it is just a natural part of the journey. And finally please don’t forget Nick’s closing message of just go for it. Life is far too short for you to be left with ifs and buts and maybes.

I have put links through to the Bremont website for you, their Facebook page as well as to Marc Koska’s Safepoint project and also the two books that Nick mentioned ‘Longitude’ and ‘Lonely Sea and the Sky’

Please remember that the charity photo competition run by our sponsors Jenrick who specialise in recruiting for the engineering, IT and commercial sectors is now in full swing so check out the show notes for details on how you can enter.

Thanks again for tuning in I’ll make sure I get the next podcast up very soon and here is Xerxes with his track called ‘Déjà Vu’ to finish off. Thanks again bye bye.

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Tom Burkinshaw, I co-produce the Maximise Your Potential Podcast and Website and my goal is to help as many people as possible be successful in life, careers and business, by offering free coaching and mentoring through a series of unique interviews from inspiring people who all display exceptional self-belief, mental toughness and desire to achieve. Thank you for taking the time to visit Maximise Your Potential!