Whimsical wrists: 5 minutes with the duo behind Olivia Burton watches

Since its launch in 2012, the charming Olivia Burton brand has won us over with its vintage-looking yet contemporary fashion watches inspired by the beautiful British countryside.

We caught up with Olivia Burton founders Lesa Bennett and Jemma Fennings, who met at the London College of Fashion before launching the brand, to chat about combining vintage inspiration with catwalk trends, the importance of owning the perfect watch and what AW16 has in store for Olivia Burton fans...

olivia burton portrait image

You started the brand because you couldn’t find a watch to fit your needs/style. What was missing from the market?

Jemma: We wanted to create a brand of beautiful watches that were striking but affordable enough for people to change with their outfit and mood. The market was full of cheap throw-away brands or high-end unattainable ones that lacked any personality. We often found ourselves buying into vintage and antique watches, which, whilst beautiful and unique, were often very unreliable given their ages. Being a small independent brand allows us to be reactive to catwalk trends - and listen really carefully to what our customers are asking for across our social channels. 

Do you think that has changed now with so many newcomer watch brands?

Lesa: Absolutely, prior to launching Olivia Burton a lot of independent brands like us wouldn't have dreamed of trying to compete against some of the much bigger more established brands. 

Who is Olivia Burton?

Jemma: The brand is named after Lesa’s great aunt who had a great energy and attitude to life, she always told us to go after our dreams! 

What have been your bestselling pieces?

Lesa: All of our styles sell really well for us. Our Big Dials are always a popular choice as they are a statement piece. Our Moulded Bees & Daisy watches are so intricate & striking, they're my personal favourites at the moment! 

What should you wear with an Olivia Burton watch? 

Jemma: We love teaming our watches with pieces of jewellery that compliment them beautifully - dainty stacked bangles and delicate rings work perfectly. Our mixed metal styles are great for people with silver and white gold wedding bands who want to experiment with rose gold and different metals. 

What is the importance of having the perfect watch? 

Lesa: A beautiful watch can finish off an outfit perfectly and can be such a conversational piece. Our Printed Dials, Moulded Bees and Daisies always get people talking as they're so unique. 

What's new for AW16 for the brand?

Jemma: Our last drop of AW16 is September so it's literally just ready to hit the stores  - one of our favourites has to be the Lace Detail collection inspired by the Dark Romance trend and handcrafted pieces of lace that were spotted all over the catwalk. We're also getting ready to launch into different product categories - watch this space! 

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Olivia Burton is Available at Fenwick Bond StreetBracknellCanterburyColchesterKingstonTunbridge WellsWindsor & York

By Alison Millington