Made in Islington: Watches and Madonna music videos at Gleave and Co, St John Street

Gleave and Co staff in St John Street, Clerkenwell, in 1998

Gleave and Co staff in St John Street, Clerkenwell, in 1998 - Credit: Archant

Every week, we take to the streets to unearth something being manufactured right here in Islington. This week, we spoke to watch maker Gleave and Co in Clerkenwell.

Like many parts of our borough, Clerkenwell has undergone huge change over the years.

But watch maker and part supplier Gleave and Co, in St John Street, has been one constant.

Joseph Gleave opened the shop in 1948 and it remains in the family: son Graham has run the business since Joseph’s death in 1982.

Though its main business is supplying watch and clock parts, it also makes watches.


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One Gleave and Co pocket watch even featured in the video for Madonna’s “Bad Girl” single in 1993.

Graham said: “The watches we make are mainly retro style, and there are half a dozen varieties.

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“We use Swiss movements but the cases are designed and made in our shop. Our watch maker produces the mould and then casts the cases.”

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