Sophie Furley is Co-founder of The Watch Pages and freelance watch writer who has written for Revolution, Europa Star, The Hollywood Reporter, India Times, The Times and more.
1 Describe briefly your childhood
I had a very happy childhood growing up in England. I lived on a street with lots of children my age and we spent all our free time outside, riding our bikes and playing games. Just behind our house was an old Victorian dump, where the town’s refuse used to be buried. It had all disintegrated except for the glass. If you started to dig you would find the most amazing old glass bottles of all shapes and sizes and we would sell them to collectors to boost our pocket money. We would spend hours digging; it was like we were hunting for treasure.
2 As a child did you have any driving ambition?
When I was 13 years old I won a creative writing competition and my short story was made into a short film by a local TV company. The experience of turning my story into a film fascinated me and from this moment on I wanted to work in the media.
3 What is your first significant memory as a child?
My dad had a very serious car accident when I was about three or four years old. I can still remember my mum explaining what had happened to me like it was yesterday. I was standing next to the sofa which was at chest height, so I was quite small. He was in surgery for 24 hours and still has quite the scar to prove it!
4 Have you ever had another profession?
I spent five years working as a broker at Lloyds of London before making a radical career change and moving to Switzerland to become an au pair! After learning French, I decided to go back to education at Geneva University, and then landed a job as writer at the United Nations. Even though this makes for a messy CV, the skills I have learned along the way have all been invaluable.
5 What made you decide to go in the direction you are currently in?
I kind of fell into the watch industry, but had the fortune to work directly with Mr. Roger Dubuis, who took me under his wing. He transmitted his passion for watches to me and I started writing about watches. Now it is my turn to share my love for watches with new audiences through my website www.thewatchpages.com
6 What’s the worst job you’ve had to do?
My first ever job was working at a dog kennels, cleaning out the pens and picking up poo. I have come a long way!
7 What’s been the hardest moment in your life so far, and how did you overcome it?
There was a time in my life when I was seriously ill and was forced to stare my own mortality in the face. The most difficult part was not being able to do anything about it. All you can do is hope and pray that you are going to pull through. Although I wish I could erase this experience, I’m grateful for having gone through it. It made me a different person, a better person, and there isn’t a day I don’t wake up feeling happy to be above ground.
8. Who has had the strongest influence on you?
I was lucky to have had some great female role models in my family growing up, from both my grandmothers, to my mum, aunts and cousins...and now my own daughters are an inspiration to me too.
9 What are you most proud of?
My children. Watching them mature and find their own paths in life just fills me with pride.
10 What advice would you give to a 20 something someone thinking of taking a similar path as you?
For a student interested in journalism today, he or she is going to come across a lot of discouragement as more and more newspapers and magazines close and the job market becomes more competitive. But if this is really what you want to do, then don’t listen, follow your dream and you’ll figure it out. The world will always need good writers in one form or another.
11 Name three things on your bucket list.
I want to do a triathlon, learn how to ride a horse and go to the Galapagos Islands to see the dragons.
12 Where do you think the industry is going to be in 10 years’ time?
One thing I hope to see in the next decade is the luxury watch brands taking a greater responsibility for the materials they use. The WWF Watch and Jewellery 2018 Report painted a deeply concerning picture of the ecological and social impact caused by the watch and jewellery sector. This was mainly due to the large amounts of raw materials the industry uses and the lack of transparency about where these materials are coming from. I hope we will see improvements here in the next 10 years.
To learn more about Sophie Furley