Rapport: Reasons to get wound upBy Ryan Thompson
If you’ve been a follower or reader of The Rake for any period of time, you’ll know that we have a sister magazine, Revolution, the world’s biggest title for watch aficionados. You’ll also know that our founder Wei Koh is also a serious authority in the watch industry and in the last year alone has brought to market a number of exclusive collaborations with the likes of TAG Heuer, Chopard, Hublot, Bell & Ross, IWC, and Rado (look out for another very special collaboration to be announced very soon), all of which were available exclusively to Rake readers.
If you are a newbie to the watch world and are just starting to dip a toe in the very deep water, or are even a seasoned collector, you’ll know that serious timepieces require serious storage, mostly in the form of winders, rolls and cases. There are only a handful of brands who specialise in such items, one of which is Rapport, founded in 1898 by an ambitious 20-year-old watchmaker by the name of Maurice A. Rapport. It was in that year that he created his first timepiece, which was received so well that he decided to make a business of it, and a damn good one to boot.
Four generations later the business remains a private limited company and still follows the philosophy, laid down by the founder; one of innovation, quality and service, continually investing in technology and customer care. While Rapport no longer makes watches, its range of automatic watch winders, watch collector boxes, jewellery boxes and pocket watches offer new and exciting designs, finished to the highest standard that you have come to expect. The company has effectively married together the skills of a cabinet maker, the clockmaker and the electronics engineer to create a product range that perfectly complements your watch(es). Attention to detail and the quality and choice of materials used ensure the products meet the highest standards of the most discerning customer.
An Undeniable Rapport
Founded in London in 1898 by watchmaker Maurice A. Rapport, this heritage brand got its start producing pocket watches, eventually pivoting to crafting handmade clocks when wristwatches became de rigueur in the early 20th century. Finding skilled craftspeople hard to come by in the British capital, Maurice moved his workshops to Cardiff, Wales, where they remain to this day.
The company still makes a small range of pocket watches, but has once again moved with the times, utilising the same skills that were once put to use making mantle clocks to now create a selection of horological accoutrements such as decorative watch winders, trunks, safes and storage boxes, and fine leather goods including briefcases, bags and humidors.
Rapport continues to be owned and operated by descendants of its founder, with Maurice’s grandson Derek, and fourth-generation family members Oliver and Matthew Rapport and Katie Goldblatt today controlling the business. Executive director Katie says, “Companies still run by their founder’s families have a certain magic. Family is one of the strongest institutions in the world, which is what makes it such a great platform for business. Family bonds make for a formidable force in business and together with the embedded goal of longevity, working as a family is a proven formula for success.”
She says when it comes to running a company, “Family members offer their utmost commitment and dedication… The pride behind a family name, as well as the need to provide for future generations, deepens ambitions even further.” As a fourth-generation family business, Katie says, “At the heart of everything we do are our company values. This tradition has shaped our approach and has enabled us to create products with a unique elegance that will stand the test of time.”
Having existed across the period of the most dramatic change and technological advancement the world has ever seen, Rapport has the unique ability to bridge classic handcraftsmanship and modern mechanical know-how. “We have called upon all the crafts developed in the company in four generations of manufacturing luxury horological products,” Katie explains. “We have married together the skills of a cabinet maker, the clockmaker and the electronics engineer to create a product range that is the perfect complement to any home. Attention to detail and the quality and choice of materials used ensure the products meet the highest standards of the most discerning customer.”
Equally, Rapport strives to remain up-to-date aesthetically, an au courant look belying its products’ time-honoured construction. “Culture, history and heritage are priceless, and the authenticity of the products we make with heritage skill sets are necessary,” Katie says. “However, today, with an educated consumer who is getting younger, it is imperative that we as a brand meet contemporary design and current trends.”
The company is also responding to consumer demand for more ethical products — one of the reasons we’ve embraced Rapport within the scope of The Rake Values. “We are about to launch a brand new range of sustainable goods,” Katie announces. “I think that the luxury watch accessory world is behind the curve when it comes to sustainable sourcing and manufacturing. We at Rapport London feel extremely passionate about this issue, so we are currently in the process of developing and committing to our first range of sustainable products.”
In coming aboard with The Rake Values, Katie says, “As a brand, we really love what The Rake does, and therefore wanted to support this new initiative.” Additionally, she says, it provided a unique chance to give a new generation of consumers their entrée into the world of Rapport. “We felt that it was an opportunity for people to discover Rapport London in a more affordable manner.”
She hopes those new to Rapport will be impressed by the company’s dedication to the values of authentic luxury: “Noble materials, a history attached to a house or a destiny, traditional and exceptional know-how, an art of living, a service that enhances the customer experience and prizes innovation and tailor-made service and originality, shown in a constantly renewed creation.” Luxury, she says, should always be pushing the boundaries of “innovation, excellence and aesthetics.” Those are the values that have helped Rapport London thrive for more than a century.