TimePieces Ltd Showroom

TimePieces Ltd and Graeme Hunt Ltd

Welcome back to an aBlogtoWatch original series, where we discuss important stores that sell watches all over the world. Each store we profile has an interesting story to tell about where they operate and who they sell to. Whether you buy watches from brick and mortar retailers or prefer to buy watches online, these are the stores that help shape our watch culture around the globe. There is a long list of stores to cover, but if there is a retail location in your favorite city that we simply can’t miss, let us know in the comments below.

Where to buy watches in London, England?


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UPDATE – shortly after this post first appeared, Bettina Hunt reported that their showroom was broken into during the night and all of their watches were stolen. At this point, they have disabled their website and are reevaluating the future of TimePieces Ltd. We at aBlogtoWatch feel deeply for Bettina and Graeme and send our best wishes for their future.

Outside of fashion watches, we may tend to think of the watch industry as a male dominated “boys club,” where the customers as well as the retailers are a bunch of mechanical watch gear-head dudes. But in the heart of London, you may be surprised to find Bettina Hunt and her company TimePieces Ltd which she founded in 2006. Located in historic Radley Mews (near Harrods Department Store and Kensington Palace), her store is co-located with her husband’s classic car showroom. Watches and cars – does it get any better than this?

Bettina Hunt

Bettina’s remarkable journey from “tea girl” to watch store owner is best told in her own words:

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I lived in Johannesburg, South Africa, for a while where I worked for a jewelry shop called Frankly Wild, in The Firs, Rosebank. This was in 1994 at the end of Apartheid. Next door was a watch shop dealing in Swiss watches. I was absolutely amazed at the prices of these watches, and when I returned to London at Christmas time, I decided I had to find out more about these very beautiful timepieces. Why did they cost so much??

I applied for a job at The Watch Gallery in Fulham Road, Chelsea. I was taken on to help making tea and coffee – also to serve the Champagne in the Champagne bar on the lower ground floor. I was treated to a trip to the Jaeger Le Coultre factory – the prices of these watches suddenly didn’t seem so expensive anymore. The testing room alone – it is hard to believe a faulty watch could ever slip through their very tight net!

The Watch Gallery was owned by the Prince of Hanover in those days, and the shop exuded real style. It was a fantastic shop to work in. Fortunately for me, my passion for mechanical watches must have shone through, for customers started to buy watches from me quite quickly, and sure enough, the tea girl ended up as the manager.

In my time at The Watch Gallery, I helped supply watches to some of the big Hollywood movie stars, many pop stars, and because of our owner’s connection, various members of Royal families from around the world.

The Prince of Hanover and his wife Princess Caroline of Monaco decided to sell the shop in 2004 – it was then sold on again a year later, and then again the following year… Time for me to leave and set up TimePieces Ltd.

TimePieces Ltd Muhle GlasshuteaBlogtoWatch: What types of watches are popular in your market? What makes London a unique place to buy watches?

TimePieces Ltd: London offers very many different types of watch shops and showrooms. As we are located inside my husband’s Classic Car Showroom (Graeme Hunt), we offer a very different setup. For us, it is mostly the vintage look that works – for obvious reasons.

ABTW: What would you tell watch lovers in other cities that watch lovers in London like?

TimePieces Ltd: Londoners are not scared of standing out! This is why there are so many different brands available here – the Rolex days are over (the watch to get if you had “made it”).

TimePieces Ltd JunghansABTW: Do you serve mostly locals or tourists, or is it a good mix? Also, what percentage of your customers would you call “knowledgeable watch collectors?”

TimePieces Ltd: All our clients are hugely knowledgeable watch collectors!! When I first started selling watches in the mid nineties, the www was not available, and the sales assistant was much more of an adviser than now. These days, customers quote watch reference numbers, caliber numbers, and new pieces shown at the SIHH and Basel fairs – not even released at the factory yet! This does certainly keep you on your toes… We have clients from all over the world. Watches and cars seem to go hand in hand.


Bespoke straps, all handmade in Western Europe

ABTW: What is London best known for? What do visitors have to do, see, or eat while there?

TimePieces Ltd: London has so very much to offer. I think a trip to Portobello market on a Saturday morning followed by lunch in the piazza in Covent Garden makes a good start. Then maybe High Tea at the Ritz followed by a show… Whatever you do, don’t forget to swing by 🙂 We are a short walk from The Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Palace (Where Princess Diana lived), and Harrods. The fine watch room at Harrods requires at least an afternoon!

TimePieces-Ltd-GlycineABTW: As a business, do you sponsor or participate in any local events, watch-related or otherwise?

TimePieces Ltd: As we are sister company to the largest Classic Car Showroom in Central London we do various shows during the year. I think it is safe to say the best one of them all is the Goodwood Revival – everyone dresses up for this show. Goodwood is a motor circuit and a vintage aerodrome 2 hours southwest of London. Here you can enjoy 3 days of historic motor racing, historic aircraft displays, and vintage shopping. There is always a watch waiting to be bought! Wikipedia: Goodwood Revival


Graeme and Bettina Hunt

ABTW: What are some of the watch brands you are known for carrying? If you could pick a watch brand or model that epitomizes the culture or style of London what would it be?

TimePieces Ltd: We carry a few German watch brands here – I would like to highlight Muhle Glashutte, a fantastic watch brand which was founded in 1869! Glashutte is also home to Nomos, A. Lange & Sohne, and a few other brands. It was part of East Germany until the Wall fell in 1989. Such a lot of history and such an amazing brand both visually and technically. timepieces.co.uk

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