New Belfast watch brand worn by Grammy-award winning Titanic musician opens city centre HQ

One of the Nomadic watches
One of the Nomadic watches One of the Nomadic watches

A new watch brand that celebrates Belfast’s Maritime history will open a showroom and workshop in the city later this month.

Nomadic, which has been selling its inaugural watch design online since 2021 and can count a Grammy-award-winning musician responsible for the Titanic movie score among its customers, will set up shop in the Scottish Provident building.

The new Nomadic HQ will showcase engineer Peter McAuley’s soon-to-be growing collection of watches that pay tribute to the last remaining White Star Line vessel in the world, the Nomadic, which currently sits in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter.

Mr McAuley launched the boutique brand to serve watch lovers who want premium quality timepieces but without the hefty price tag or lengthy wait associated with the likes of Rolex or Tag Heuer pieces.

“I always had a fascination with watches and the intricate engineering and mechanics behind them,” Peter McAuley said. “My uncle left me a few nice watches but I was always wary of wearing them because they were so precious yet that is what they are built for, to be worn.

“I did wear one on a trip and lost it and it was really heartbreaking so when I decided to start my own business, I wanted to make a robust yet accessible watch and with the level of quality you see with those inaccessible brands.”

He said he chose the name Nomadic to allow the brand to stand alone "so if you’ve no connection to Belfast, it evokes that spirit of adventure, yet when you look deeper there’s that attached history. It’s nice to tell a different story”.

“The watch may be made in Belfast but it still has the Rolls Royce of engines in it, that Swiss mechanical movement and they are powered by motion, which allows the wearer to completely disconnect,” Mr McAuley adds.

Retailing from £820, Nomadic’s first watch in the collection is the Marai 401, a Swiss-made automatic movement diving watch with water-resistant capability at 660ft.

Marai is Irish for seafarer while 401 was the design office number for the Titanic.

It features a yellow second hand in a nod to H&W’s Samson and Goliath cranes.

It was created in the very drawing room where Titanic was designed, which was a deliberate move for the Whitehead man.

“I used to work in that area, walking past Nomadic and I would sit and sketch out the design and I wanted to bring that into the watch. It’s a less is more, classical design piece,” he adds.

The launch of Nomadic HQ, will also mark the beginning of a recruitment drive for the businessman. It will allow customers a boutique retail experience as well as a sneak behind-the-scenes look at how a Nomadic watch is made.

Already the brand has been enjoying much success in the US, with a Grammy-award-winning musician, responsible for the score of the Titanic movie, coveting a Marai 401.

While Mr McAuley is just the second watchmaker working out of Belfast — Hans Henrik Enoksen launched Enosken watches here in 2018 — he says the city’s rich engineering history coupled with the Swiss mechanics of the Nomadic watch could turn watchmakers’ attention to the North.