When we first sat down together to talk about what became Rotate North, we wanted to make sure that our launch product would truly represent where we were coming from along with the values we hold true. Our first product needed to be something of serious import, something that does its job really well. A product we depend on, that represents who we are and who we want to be. Something that feels valuable, that we take with us everywhere... an 'essential' that's part of our story.

More than that – its debt to the planet needed to be low or zero. It should give more than it takes, reduce waste, break the upgrade cycle, outlast this generation. 

A product we depend on, that represents who we are and who we want to be... an 'essential' that's part of our story.

Of course not all watches — in fact very few — can step up to this mark. Most are locked into a trend cycle that finds them consigned to your drawer after just a year or two. Most depend on batteries with a similar single year lifespan that are difficult, sometimes impossible to replace. State of the art, high quality production methods used by premium brands like Apple offer on average only four years of useful life. However we had a hunch that, if we could bring together the right designers and watchmakers, it might just be possible to deliver on the promise.

Time is forever... let's make something permanent

Making a watch that lasts a lifetime would be a waste if tied to a particular trend or moment in fashion. We wanted to create a watch for ourselves... something to wear often and — in the spirit of Rotate North — take with you on every adventure. Not jewellery for a special occasion... a watch you use because it's built to do a job.

As it happens, the 20th century has already given us the blueprint: the diver's watch. Highly robust by necessity and timeless in style thanks to an honest, form-follows-function design. Loving the outdoors and the ocean, the diver watch template called to us as the best place to start

Not much renewable tech can trace its roots as far back as 1777

We also found the renewable energy source for the watch in the heritage of watchmaking - the 'automatic' movement - a mechanism that draws all its energy needed to wind the watch purely from the movement of its user. Not much renewable tech can trace its roots as far back as 1777 and subsequent centuries have seen these internal mechanics refined and improved to near perfection. There's something so pure about this. No batteries or electronics of any kind are involved, no rare-earth materials or nanoparticles, just a miniature eco-system of oscillating weights, ratchets and springs in awesome combination. 

Making this watch is no mean feat. Eventually we partnered with watchmaking team in Germany who could assemble German and Swiss components to craft a watch without compromising the standards and values we'd started with. Our watchmaking team specialises in small batch production of field-issue watches for the emergency service teams across Northern Europe.

Needless to say, they know how to build watches that stand up to time and tide.

Rotate North is more than a watch company but everything starts somewhere. Our 'Atlantic' ocean watch is nothing less than a small miracle of design and engineering. A striking balance of purpose, performance and planet.

We just can't wait to show you what's coming.

August 17, 2019 — Stephen Shaw