Design duo, Chloe and Jim Read, are innovating the clock and watch industry. Co-founders of the British company, Newgate, the couple's passion for design is evident in their unique product offering. From gorgeous iconic clocks to modern classic watches their beautifully crafted product collections have us obsessed! So much so, that we actually sell a selection of their beautiful clocks on Rockett St George!
So, as lovers of innovative and creative people, we have sat down with founders, Jim and Chloe Read to learn more about Newgate, their homes and their favourite Rockett St George pieces.
1.Let’s start at the very beginning. Tell us about yourselves and what makes you tick?
We’re Jim and Chloe Read, husband and wife, and co-founders of Newgate Clocks & Watches. We have three children, Ruby, Buster and Lola.
We first met on a blind date when we were in our late teens. At the time Jim had just been kicked out of art school, and I was part-way into a Business Degree. We soon realised we had really similar backgrounds and ambitions. Two years later I’d dropped out too, and we’d pooled our talents to start designing and manufacturing wall clocks that we now sell across the globe.
2.What inspired you to start Newgate World and what was your founding dream?
Our teenage dream was to create a business which would allow us to travel the world together.
We began making picture frames that we then turned into one-of-a-kind clocks. In the early days these were hand-crafted from the spare room of our first flat on the site of the old ‘New Gate’, in Oswestry.
Everyone thought we were crazy, but we pushed on anyway. We sold Jim’s first car to fund our debut trade show at Alexandra Palace, where the Harrods clock buyer placed one of Newgate’s first clock orders.
After that we didn’t look back, we jumped on planes and took our designs all over the world to meet with suppliers and stockists, building Newgate into the destination clock brand it is today. In 2015 we launched a signature watch collection to bring Newgate’s distinctive design DNA to the fashion world.
3.Describe your individual roles as founders of Newgate World.
Jim is the creative director and chief designer here at Newgate. He’s the dreamer; a self-taught artist, graphic and product designer. The initial design concepts for all of Newgate’s collections start and are developed by him.
Chloe is Newgate’s commercial director. She’s the ‘sorter’ and ‘doer’.
4. What/where/who inspires you?
Both sets of our parents were antique dealers, so we both spent our childhoods being dragged along to massive antique fairs and sitting and watching them trade. I think we learnt a lot of business skills that way, and they inspired us to start making money, and being creative about making money, from a young age.
It might be a cliché, but we both love travelling and find great inspiration in some of the amazing cities we’ve visited. Nothing can beat the energy and buzz of New York City, or the fantastic architecture found in many of Britain’s major cities.
5. Tell us a little about your home. What is it like? How have you worked the décor to suit your individual needs and style?
We live in a Georgian townhouse that we’ve just spent the past four years renovating.
Our style is pretty eclectic. When your parents are antique dealers, you grow up surrounded by vintage furniture and old antiques. As a result, we both love scouring antique markets for unique pieces for our home but also mixing those items with some really modern finds. We both love the mid-Century modern aesthetic.
As well as being a family home, the house has also become integral to our business. A lot of our product photoshoots and filming happen here. When Jim is designing new collections he often becomes immersed in a certain aesthetic which will then influence our decorating decisions.
6.Which rooms in your home do you typically spend the most time in?
Chloe: I love cooking, so I probably spend the biggest chunk of my time in our kitchen. I have a bit of a hunter-gatherer mentality so being able to grow my own vegetables in the garden and put together dishes from scratch gives me a buzz. The kitchen also tends to be the place that everyone congregates; when the kids come back from school they’ll do their homework on the kitchen island while I’m preparing dinner, and when we have parties, the kitchen becomes the cocktail zone!
Jim: When we were renovating our house, we knew it would be important to create a space where I could shut the door and focus on designing if I was working from home. However, in reality, I spend a lot of time in our main living room. It has a huge table that the kids used to colour and build things at when they were little. Now it’s a brilliant size for me to spread out designs and sketch ideas for our next collections.
7.Is there any item in your home that has a sentimental value and why?
Jim’s grandfather was a radio scientist for the MI5. His antique barograph sits on the desk in Jim’s studio. The intricate mechanical movements actually inspired Jim to create our 2019 watch collection.
8.What should no home be without?
A log fire. Although we love them, our refurbished sash windows can still be drafty, so a log fire is a must to make things cosy. Plus, you just can’t beat a real fire to add soul to the home.
9.What exciting things are in store for Newgate World in the future?
We’re incredibly excited about our 2019 offering. The collection is inspired by the vibrant colour Jim incorporates into his paintings, fused into multi-dial chronograph time instruments. It’s a new direction for Newgate, both in terms of watches and clocks, and we can’t wait to show people what we’ve been up to.
10.Finally, each name three RSG products that you love?
Jim's Top 3 RSG Product Choices:
Click on the product names to shop Jim's Choices:
1.Left-Hand Hanging Monkey Wall Lamp - White £260.00 and Porthos The Sitting Mouseketeer Lamp - Gold £73.00 - "that irreverent sense of humour is right up our street."
2.Newgate Bold Petrol Blue & Black Dial Silent Wall Clock £75.00 – "When we designed this collection we fell in love with the petrol blue colour we used on the dials. So much so that we got a batch of paint mixed up in the same shade and redecorated our hallway and bedroom in the exact same colour!"
Chloe's Top 3 RSG Product Choices:
Click on the product names to shop Chloe's Choices:
1.Bella Freud Fairytale of New York cushion - "I love Bella Freud’s designs. And this cushion also happens to feature the best Christmas song of all time."
2. Christmas decorations - "a couple of years ago one of the kids accidentally pulled over our Christmas tree, and nearly all of our baubles smashed. RSG has some brilliant quirky designs in the Christmas shop."
3.Anything in mustard yellow - "I always have to fight to get some yellow into our clock collections! This mustard yellow colour is great."
Quick Fire Questions
- We are happiest when…
Chloe: Doing yoga. I only took it up about 18 months ago and I’m a huge convert. I think it’s great for physical and mental health.
- Our favourite magazines are…
LivingEtc and GQ.
- Our dream holiday would be…
We both love Jamaica – for the music and people.
- Our ideal day would be spent….
Chloe: I love spending time in the garden. When we moved here we inherited a glass house and a cacti collection. My son Buster and I discovered how easy they are to cultivate, and now we’re both addicted to growing more.
Jim: Our basement has an artist’s studio set up where I do all of my painting. It’s freezing down there, but it’s great to be able to find some time to work on personal projects.
- Our personal motto is…
Often people ask us for advice on starting their own business. We always say “be prepared to work harder than you ever imagined possible!”.
- Our guilty pleasures are…
Adding to our ever-growing art collection.
- The last film we saw was…
We have a projector set up in our living room, so we love gathering in there to watch films with the kids. The last one was probably Goldfinger – you can’t beat a bit of Bond!
- Our favourite book is…
Jim: Lucien Freud by William Feaver
Chloe: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis. Not very rock and roll but I genuinely love the Chronicles of Narnia, I’ve read it over and over again to the kids and myself.
- In five years’ time, we want to be…
Have Newgate Watch stores in the world’s greatest cities.
- The three things we can’t live without are…
Unusual things, unusual food and lapsang souchong.
Click on the Product Names To Shop The Newgate Clocks: