Robert Loomes & Co are a small family firm of watchmakers.
Situated in the stunning market town of Stamford, half way between London and York on the old Great North Road, this landmark listed building sits inside England’s first ever conservation zone. The building houses four floors of horological expertise devoted not just to watchmaking but also the repair and restoration of fine clocks and watches.
Robert Loomes, MBHI FRSA grew up in a family business steeped in horology. Robert served a traditional apprenticeship with his father, Brian Loomes, HonFBHI, himself a well-known technical author who has written numerous books on clock and watchmaking. Robert grew up surrounded by clocks and watches and by tales of Thomas Loomes, a distant relation but a very eminent seventeenth-century watchmaker. Robert has served as a director of the Horological Institiute and he is a enthusiastic Liveryman and past-steward of the Clockmakers’ Company.
Thomas Loomes, c1628-c1666, is best known for his partnership with Ahasuerus Fromanteel, with whom in 1658 he made the first pendulum clocks in England. Thomas was both a successful businessman and played a significant part in the English Civil War, serving as Lieutenant in the Parliamentarian cause under the radical Colonel Paul Hobson. It was a political stance that did not serve Thomas well at the restoration of the Monarchy – he was arrested in 1662 for harbouring Hobson and another,“two of the most dangerous fellows in the North” and held prisoner in the Tower of London. He was also a highly skiled watchmaker, as this complicated example shows.
With a background predominantly in repair and restoration work, Robert was convinced it was possible to design, sketch and manufacture every component required for a watch in England. More than this he set about creating a workshop and a team who could do most of it under the one roof in Stamford and then hand build each watch. Robert still sketches each component by hand to start with, before they start the meticulous process of turning a sketch into machined components.
In the true tradition of English Watchmaking, Robert runs his workshops in the same manner as Thomas would have. A highly skilled staff of twelve (one even serves as an examiner for the Horological Institute) are each individually responsible for one aspect of watchmaking – from machining components all the way up to the final assembly. Yet all the staff report directly to Robert and he checks and takes personal responsibility for every watch that leaves the building. Robert likes to keep his hand in, so the chances are he will have worked on your watch.
If you have any questions no matter how trivial please let us know and we shall be happy to answer.