While this company may not have spent long in London it would be remiss of us not to mention them. Rolex, the largest and most recognisable watch company in the world today, was founded in London, originally as a distributor of watches. It is believed that Hans Wilsdorf came up with the name while sitting on a London bus. In 1905, London was the best place to be – a global hub with possibly the best international connections in the world. While none of the watches would be made in London, the business remained based there until 1919.
Another global brand that has part of its roots located in London is Cartier. When the three brothers, Pierre, Jacques and Louis established the three homes of Cartier - Paris, New York and London - at the beginning of the 20th century, their family business was already serving the very top of society. While each of them made their mark on the company and city they settled in, it was Jacques and his son, Jean-Jacques who would transform the fashion of London’s aristocracy through their creative flair.
Jacques would accompany King George V and Queen Mary on a trip to India and the company would secure multiple royal warrants throughout their history, which they still hold today. For the first half the 20th century the London workshop would be concentrated mainly on jewellery design and production, but from the 60s onwards, wristwatches would become a major part of their offering.