Creating Assay Assured and taking the hassle out of hallmarking.
Erring on the side of modesty, the engaging Scott Walter is not too keen to talk about himself. But he is more than happy to share his vision for a modern assay office.
Just because it is a legal requirement for companies to have their work hallmarked that doesn’t mean life should be easy for an assay office, according to Scott, whose Edinburgh office, where he serves as chief executive, is as strong on customer service as any retailer. He has worked hard over the past decade to transform the process so that it is all about building trust at every link in the chain from manufacturer to retailer to consumers.
It is this attitude that has seen the Edinburgh office become the destination of choice, despite its distance from most of the mainstream trade. “After all, people can choose which assay office to go to”, he says. “Our watchword is to take the hassle out of hallmarking. We want to make it an easy-to-use service that adds value for our clients, adapting to them rather than forcing them to adapt to us.”
Over the past five years in particular, he says, the office has grown significantly and this year it launched Assay Assured, the world’s first jewellery specific trust mark, a large project that Scott has spearheaded. The mark works in tandem with some clever tech, which he is clearly fully conversant with – suffice to say he bambooozled us with his talk of coding and Java Script – to link certification with an online resource detailing its provenance.
The point of it all, he says, is to help retailers build trust and help grow consumers’ confidence. And while the past year may have been spent on that very specific project, he says he is now focused on “another exciting project”. We’ll have to wait to hear more about that one as he remains characteristically – and quite rightly – taciturn on the details. But you can be sure that he has a true passion for what he is creating and that is something that has clearly caught plenty of peoples’ attention.
So much so that he has been made chairman of the International Association of Assay Offices, with 47 members from 37 countries. It’s a very diverse group, he says, but sounds quietly confident that he can achieve his job, to ensure progress from them all at their Geneva meetings.
He is a good bet for international leadership. He talks calmly, with composure and genuine authority. But there is another side to this impressive Edinburghian and, in the right weather and on the right day you may just get to see him powering to the office on a vintage motorbike. He repairs, restores and occasionally revs one up; the current favourite is a 1982 Suzuki. “It’s my preferred mode of transport and the perfect antidote to any stress in your life.”
It’s good to know he can vanquish his own woes, having removed so many for the rest of the industry.
Scott Walter was selected as a Bering Trailblazer in the Professional Jeweller Hot 100 2013 in association with the Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the Hot 100 book online, click here.