Private Label London creates bespoke and sources rare timepieces for global clients. Here, Emirates Woman speaks to Commercial Director Alys McMahon on watch customisation business and the search for rarity.

Private Label London

Private Label London prides itself as sourcing experts – talk us through the process and how you secure the rarest pieces?

We have a global network of partners we work closely with, allowing us to source at exactly the right time. Being able to execute a purchase quickly on a rare piece and at the right price is what sets us apart.

For bespoke pieces, how do you work with a client on crafting a customised watch?

It is important to recognise that clients have varied lifestyles and showing them options on how to make their own piece unique to them takes a considered approach. For example, we find out what the piece will be used for (whether for sports, more occasionally, or every day) or what is important to them long term (whether it’s durability, trends, or longer-term value). From here, we can advise and showcase differing finishes, adornments and colours that make each timepiece unique to the client.

“Being able to execute a purchase quickly on a rare piece and at the right price is what sets us apart.”

Time is a real luxury – how does this service save time for clients who are time poor?

Our end clients are fast movers, their lifestyles are constantly evolving and design quality is at the heart of any purchases that they make. We constantly research new designs and technologies bringing them to life via digital imagery so that the client can quickly and clearly see the end result. We are currently working on a new concept which will give clients an even faster service, it is expected to launch this September.

Are there any restrictions to the scale of customisation and how long does the entire process usually take?

Everything is possible within reason, there are natural materials and minerals that would be better explored within jewellery or artworks versus watches so we work with clients to understand their expectations around the end result and ensure the quality and integrity of the timepiece are not compromised. Our pieces can vary in production times, anything from two weeks plus depending on the final design.

Do you see buying patterns in the Middle East in terms of sales, and which brands are driving sales in the Middle East?

We see a huge influence from the Middle East to the rest of the world, luxury is a given and individuality is key. We are seeing the biggest watchhouses evolving in younger markets with larger disposable incomes, and these include customised Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet piece.

Private Label London

How do you approach maintaining quality, exclusivity, and authenticity?

We set out to create a watch brand that works for both traditionalists and trailblazers so we are constantly asking ourselves how what we do appeals to both types of clients. This means we can explore wider options and use each client as our target for feedback. What should we be investing in when it comes to looking at long-term uplift in value? Rolex steel models still continue to perform well. Whilst the market has been shifting over the last year, you will still find good value investments over a longer period – Patek Philippe rose gold models will continue to hold their value.

Throughout your career, what has been the most remarkable piece you’ve created or sourced for a client?

It has to have been one of my very first Patek Philippe watches I ever sourced on behalf of a client. It was a men’s World Time 5131P which, at the time, they were slowing in production due to the artisan enameller at Patek Philippe losing their eyesight before training the upcoming artisans and so could not produce the very centre of the dial. I was lucky enough to secure a piece for my client in the end. Now that piece is worth over $220,000 but it was for a watch enthusiast building their collection and I was honoured to have secured it for them.

This is The Horology Issue – how do you optimise your own time for efficiency?

Everything I do has to count for something, whether I am enjoying downtime or developing new concepts in business. I set alarms for myself so that I ensure I spend my time as I intend – I love calendar invitations for everything!

May’s – The Horology Issue – Download Now 

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