The Origin of Rohtfire Sablier

Whilst travelling through India, the founder of Rohtfire Sablier (Jonathan ‘Jonny’ Young) found himself on a train staring at the wooden bench seats opposite which had the word ‘ROHTFIRE’ inscribed into it. He recorded it in his journal for future reference and interest. At the next station, a French gentleman joined him in the carriage. The watch he was wearing was a classic dive watch on a tired NATO strap. He had impeccable unpretentious style, it was an elegant and refined look. A conversation started, of course. The watch he was wearing was over 20 years old, and the gentleman explained that the timepiece he was wearing was a constant reminder of all the things he cherished. He explained that it represented memories from his military service, the birth of his children, and memories of holding his wife’s hand on his wedding day. He had worn it constantly throughout all of these life events.

It occurred to Jonny at that moment that sometimes the most ordinary of possessions can possess the most extraordinary significance. That owning a good quality timepiece can mean lots of different things to lots of different people. This was when the idea of forming the company was born. When asked if he knew what the word ‘ROHTFIRE’ inscribed on the seat meant…the gentleman just smiled and said, ‘it means whatever you would like it to mean’. It was a very philosophical answer, however to this day no translation can be found and the name stuck. We decided to give the word ‘ROHTFIRE ‘ meaning ourselves through haute horology

Sablier (French, pronounced: sa.bli.e (sable+-ier) an instrument to measure time) is a nod to the heritage of the French gentleman he met that day. Merci pour l’inspiration.

Who are we

Rohtfire Sablier Watches is a British company based in the United Kingdom. Founded with an aim to be a modern company with customer focussed values. The design objective was simple, watches need to be legible, functional, precise and durable incorporating contemporary features and high quality materials. A sensible pricing point was also essential in order to make high quality premium timepieces more accessible as a value proposition. At Rohtfire Sablier we are driven by a passion to produce beautiful timepieces that will appeal to those who share our passion for the craftsmanship, tradition and innovation behind a mechanical wrist watch.

Maritime Heritage

Rohtfire Sablier is a brand connected to the sea and influenced by exploration and adventure in the water. Maritime heritage for us is the history of mankind’s relationship with the ocean, coastal lands and it’s waters. It includes the history of ships, seafaring, navies, ports and communities. Not to mention immigration, tourism, fishing, the marine environment, submerged cultural resources and educational organisations. The origins in mastering the sea has resulted in the greatest migration of human populations in history and created a global commerce that drove industrialisation and changed the face of cultures everywhere. The world today as we see it is a legacy of our Maritime Heritage.

Great Britain owes a great deal to its maritime heritage, too. Mariners, shipbuilders, naval architects and tacticians all helped shape the nation’s political, military and economic position. The innovations of the British shipbuilding industry, through Chatham to Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow—alongside the invention of reliable navigational techniques—made trade possible with the West Indies, America, Africa, Australasia and India. Renowned explorers have navigated the oceans, pushing back the boundaries of knowledge and preserving treasures and artefacts that might otherwise have been lost. Many crucial conflicts, too, were fought and won on the high seas; from the battles of the Nile and Trafalgar to the combined efforts of the Royal and Merchant navies in maintaining the flow of vital convoys during both World Wars. In short, the nation’s maritime heritage matters. It’s a heritage with strong roots to the sea and one that we are proud to be part of. Jacques Cousteau once said… ‘the sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever’, Rohtfire Sablier is certainly caught in that spell.

Swiss Engineering

Switzerland has been a watchmaking hub since the 16th century and is considered the country of excellence for horology. There reputation for producing high quality and precise mechanical wrist watches is known globally. We take advantage of hundreds of years of Swiss craftsmanship and experience; not only using Swiss-made mechanical movements but to engineer the entire timepiece. Why wouldn’t we! Our Swiss Partners Roventa-Henex was established in 1959 and are leading experts and with a long established manufacturing infrastructure they are highly respected within the industry. This is why we are proud to say all of our timepieces are built here and we are able to guarantee that we are using the best materials and technology available. It’s a promise of quality we believe you will enjoy.


Rohtfire Design is deliberately classic and utilitarian. As a nation of sea farers, it was an easy decision to launch with a high performance dive watch. A timepiece that can be worn anywhere by anyone at any time. Rohtfire design is influenced by the best the world has to offer in the world of watches. They will always be quintessentially British of course…refined, elegant and precise. Our design will always be true to themselves in terms of what they were designed for and we will never sacrifice form over function. Overall at Rohtfire Sablier we think you will enjoy what we have to offer. We welcome you to join an exclusive community of Rohtfire watch owners and make your own history wearing one of our high quality timepieces.

Where are we based?

Our registered office is in Regent Street, City of Westminster, London. We don’t have a physical store for customers to attend. Instead our presence is online.

The decision to not have a high street shop is a deliberate one. The main reason is to avoid all the associated overheads and to pass on those savings by selling directly to the consumers through online sales. You may however see us at various pop-ups and exhibitions…so please come and say hello!

Origin of Sablier (Sand Glass)

The origin of the hourglass is unclear. However, the clepsydra, or water clock, is known to have existed in Babylon and Egypt as early as the 16th century BCE. Modern examples appeared in Europe in the eighth century, and are believed to have been made by Luitprand, a monk at the cathedral in Chartres, France.

It functions using two (2) globes (also called phials or ampules) of glass which are connected by a narrow neck so that sand (with relatively uniform grain size) flows from the upper globe to the lower. The earliest recorded reference that can be said with certainty to refer to a marine sandglass dates from c.1345 when Thomas de Stetsham, a clerk on a ship called La George in the service of King Edward III (1312-1377) of England, ordered 16 hourglasses. In 1380, following the death of King Charles V (1337-1380) of France, an inventory of his possessions included a “large sea clock … in a large wooden brass-bound case.”

They appear to have been widely used throughout Western Europe in European ships from that time through 1500.

In the 18th century, a marine chronometer that significantly improved on the stability of the hourglass at sea was developed. Taking elements from the design logic behind the hourglass, a marine chronometer in 1761 was able to accurately measure the journey from England to Jamaica accurate within five seconds.

As a symbol, a sand timer represents the present as being between the past and the future, and this has made it an enduring symbol of time itself. This is why the Sablier (an instrument to measure time) fits proudly as part of our company name.