Our History

Late 1800’s

Allan Watt, a Lanarkshire farmer’s son and great-grandfather of the current owner William Watt, sets up a small drapery shop primarily to augment the family’s income which was beginning to drop. An initial foray into the bustling city environment of Glasgow saw Allan Watt open up a shop in the city’s Elmbank Street. He specialised… Read more

EARLY 1900’S

An initial foray into the bustling city environment of Glasgow saw Allan Watt open up a shop in the city’s Elmbank Street. He specialised in selling ribbons and lace.

1915

During the First World War, in April, 1915, Watt Brothers is formed as a limited company – the name remains and the business continues today. The business moved into the iconic store on the corner of Sauchiehall Street and Hope Street. The business then traded in an age when department stores were designed as places… Read more

1929

A significant extension to the Glasgow store is opened after plans were made by architect’s firm Keppie and Henderson, one of whose founding partners worked closely with the globally acclaimed designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The newly extended store boasted six floors primarily packed with fashions. Walnut panelling, magnificent ceilings and elegant arcade style shopping displays… Read more

1930’s

Watt Brothers increased its appeal to the female market with the launch of a new slogan – “Famous for Fashion”.    

1939

Watt Brothers’ founder Allan Watt died suddenly aged 73. His son William who’d worked alongside his father took over the business.  

1939-1945

The Second World War had an impact on many businesses and Watt Brothers was no exception. Government intervention saw their wool supply company taken over to manufacture for the war cause.

1948

Allan Watt, father of the current owner and grandson of the business founder, took part in the London Olympics in 1948, running in the 400 metres relay and was described by the press at the time as ‘Olympic hope among the nylons’ – a reference to his connection with Watt Brothers. Allan was a former… Read more

1950’s

A new Watt Brothers shop opened in the Glasgow suburb of Clarkston – the shop is still in business today. It occupied the lower floor of a residential block. The houses were later converted into stock rooms for the store downstairs. In Glasgow the Watt family extended its fashion offer into the bridal world. It… Read more

1960’s and beyond

In the 60s and following decades other stores open in Lanark, Ayr, Livingston and Hamilton.    

1979

The impressive architecture of the company’s Glasgow store is caught on screen when the BBC shoot the award-winning mini series “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” on location in Glasgow. The city is transformed into parts of Hungary for the series adaptation of the John Le Carre novel and which starred Alec Guinness.

1980’s

Extensive renovations are made at the company’s flagship store in Glasgow to adapt to changing shopping trends and customer trends. As well as fashions the company offered homeware, cosmetics and perfumes.

1982

Current owner William Watt, great grandson of the founder, joins the business at the age of 15.

1990’s

Further changes are made at Glasgow and other stores in the Watt Brothers ownership with a new focus on providing a vast range of branded goods at keen prices.

1993

Current owner, William Watt, takes over the role of company managing director at the age of 26.  

1994

The company opened a new store in Lanark.    

2004

The expansion continues and a store is opened in Ayr.    

2005

The Watt Brother store network extends to Livingston.    

2006

Current owner, William Watt, becomes sole owner of the family business.

2009

Another new store is opened – this time in Hamilton.    

2012

A major new store opened in the Clydebank Shopping Centre, setting a trend for opening bigger premises in retail parks.    

2014

Allan Watt, the third generation owner and father of William, the current owner, died, aged 92. A major new store opened in a retail park in Robroyston adjacent to the Asda supermarket, ideally situated for driving scores of new customers to experience the Watt Brothers retail experience. The opening brings the number of Watt Brothers… Read more

2015

A brand new store opened in Irvine and the company’s established Ayr store moved to new town centre premises, doubling its retail floorspace.

2016

The company’s 10th store opened its doors in Falkirk’s Howgate Centre and the 11th store opened in Port Glasgow.