An interview with clock designer Charlie Turner

Following careers in film production, renovating and refurbishing period properties, and cabinet-making, Charlie Turner found a small and traditional clock making business for sale in Cornwall. He bought it in 2000, and set about learning his craft. In 2011, he launched the Charlie Turner collection, breathing new life into the company with a range of contemporary clocks. It's such a fascinating story, I was keen to find out more... What’s the most important thing to know about you?

I am a very regular guy - pretty undesignery really. I'm married to an incredibly hard working and wonderful wife, and father to four fantastic boys.

Charlie Turner clock face

Describe a really good day and a really bad day in the life of the Charlie Turner.

I hate confrontation but love a walk along the North Cornwall cliffs - it calms and inspires me. Not only is it refreshing but often after a hike along the coast I return to the studio refreshed and start designing straight away.

What inspires your ideas?

I get inspiration from all around but always by looking at something from a completely different angle; maybe lying on the beach watching the clouds or simply seeing things from other perspectives.

Describe the process you go though to turn your ideas into products.

I always draw my ideas in pencil and only when they look alright on paper do I make a scaled down version out of any materials available; a model of what the final piece will look like. I use anything I have to hand in the workshop - cardboard tubes, paper, wood off-cuts...

Charlie Turner hands

What advice would you give to an aspiring designer?

Design does not have to be new; reworking an everyday object is just as important. Taking a modern look at a classic design is key. The very best things evolve over time.

Which three items could you not live without?

Pencil, paper and rubber - not very 'designer' but essential to my everyday existence.

Charlie Turner Helix

What are you most proud of?

Making traditional longcase (grandfather) clocks appeal to a wider and younger audience.

What’s next for you?

We are constantly working on new clock designs - I do need to make a clock that gives you more time each day, as there is never enough time to get things done. I am sure this one would be pretty popular!

Charlie Turner Red Classic Landscape

And, finally, what’s your favourite colour?!

The colour of the Cornish Sea