Please, could you tell us a little bit about Newgate?
Newgate is the iconic British company founded by Jim and Chloe Read in 1990. Jim ‘the designer’ was kicked out of art college aged seventeen and used his creative eye instead to create a range of unusual stylish clocks that homewares stores the world over rushed to stock.
Thirty years later Newgate is one of the world’s best loved clock companies and now the Read’s have three clock brands and a quirky eyewear company.
What kind of products do you create?
All things clock related, vintage, retro and modern style, wall, shelf and bedside clocks, alarm clocks, and LCD clocks. Newgate is very much driven by design—that’s why we are in business—to make stylish homewares that people love to put in their homes.
What inspired the inception of Newgate as a brand?
The story began when Jim and Chloe were teenagers— Jim is an artist, and both of Jim’s and Chloe’s parents by coincidence were antique dealers. Originally Jim & Chloe decided to reproduce vintage prints and publish Jim’s own illustrations, but with a twist in fate Jim chanced upon a batch of quartz clock movements which he incorporated into picture frames to create very quirky English bespoke clocks. These original clocks were created from the spare room of their flat, overlooking an old town gate called ‘Newgate’.
After the creation of their first collection, the clocks were first seen at a trade exhibition at London's Alexandra Palace, where orders for clocks were received from their first stores including Harrods, as well as dozens of home stores, and thus Newgate was born!
What’s been the most exciting milestones since Newgate launched?
Ahh we’ve had lots. Our thirty year anniversary since Newgate was founded. Our first sales trip to New York in about 1995. Making our first million clocks. The multitude of TV shows and movies in which our clocks have appeared.
Jim’s favorite is when the artist Banksy bought three Newgate clocks, stenciled a scurrying rat on each one, and hung them in his famous ‘Walled Off” hotel/social art commentary in Bethlehem.
How would you describe Newgate’s signature style?
Newgate’s signature style pays homage to vintage British clocks, championing retro and vintage influences, with buckets of eccentricity and a large dose of contemporary modernity to its collections.
What’s your favorite Newgate product?
Our favorite has to be The Putney which is based on European railway station dials from the 70’s, it’s such a striking iconic design which never dates.
What influences inspire the design process?
Everything from Newgate’s original collection of hundreds of old clocks, to traveling the world, to studying interior and product design the world over.
What advice would you give to someone starting a new business or brand?
Be prepared to work harder than you ever imagined possible! Be prepared to have every difficult situations thrown at you! Never give up! Keeping raising the bar! And do things differently to everyone else!
But above all, make sure you do it all in style.
Any fashion/ interior trend predictions for 2023?
We predict people will focus on great design, iconic design, beautifully made products that last the test of time. Simplicity and boldness of shape and color will also play a heavy role in future design.