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Our History

On January 1st, 1994, David Morris became chief executive of precious metal dealers Morris & Watson. 

For the company, which began trading over 90 years ago, the event is particularly important because David is the third generation of his family to take up this position, succeeding his father Lewis (Lew) who joined the business in 1950.

Our Beginings

Lews father, Joe (JJ) Morris began trading in precious metals in Australia in 1928. JJ travelled extensively around the country, even crossing the desert to Perth from Sydney which was an arduous journey in those days. This was around the time of the great depression and JJ recognised the opportunities available as people turned jewellery into cash. Gold jewellery was more commonly worn at that time, particularly by men. A good pocket watch and chain could contain 3oz. (93.3grams) of 18 carat gold.

As well as jewellery manufacturing, precious metals were used extensively in industrial applications and in professions such as dentistry and photography. JJ developed a great rapport with his customers. Lew remembers how JJ would often not leave a jewellers premises until he received a lemel (jewellers bench scraps). We're a little more subtle in our approach now, he says. Clients recall JJ's great sense of humour.

Our History Lew Morris Refining 1980
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To Peter Worth of Worth & Douglas, JJ was a comedian while manufacturing jeweller Brian Whiteacre thinks he could have outdone Charlie Chaplin in his day. But behind JJ's joviality were memories of more serious times in his past. At the age of 16 he had joined the merchant navy and during World War I. JJ was aboard Destro when it was sunk off the Scottish Coast and the Amberton when it was sunk off the African coast in 1917. Soon after this incident he joined the Royal Navy and then the Royal Australian Navy when he migrated to Australia in 1922.

During World War II, he was seconded to the US Small Ships flotilla and was torpedoed for the third time off Jervis Bay. Not surprisingly, few of his mates were keen to serve with him after that, laughs Lew.

In 1950 Lew joined JJ in Sydney and the business became JJ Morris & Son. Recognising prospective opportunities in New Zealand, Lew decided to travel around the country in 1954 to evaluate potential business. His research was favourable and in 1956 Morris & Watson, was formed with Murray Watson who had married Lew's sister Sylvia.

Both Sylvia and Murray remained actively involved until Murray's retirement in 1992. It was Sylvia who assisted Lew in locating the current location of the Neilson Street (Auckland head office) premises of Morris & Watson. Sylvia even helped to dig the foundations of the original 800 square foot (75 square metres) building which has since been expanded to occupy three adjoining sites covering 30,000 square feet (2,800 square metres).

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Our Growth

It was Lew's vision which led the company to develop from a door-to-door trading operation into a modern, precious metal refinery. Morris & Watson was the first company to provide a refining service for lemels and sweeps (floor scraps) in New Zealand. At first only two staff were employed but over the years this has gradually increased until now the company employs 120 over three countries.

The Neilson Street offices include a sophisticated administration centre and large, modern and well-equipped refining and assay fabricating/alloying, chain and casting departments.

David Morris, who joined the company in 1983, has been involved in all the different aspects of the business. David has been instrumental in developing many of the key products and services Morris and Watson offer and developing a culture of quality, consistency and approachability while maintaining customer service and long term relationship building as the key focus. For this, David is well equipped in his role as chief executive. 

Some of David’s early memories, like Lew’s before him, are of running through the sweep bags as a child.


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Further Expansion

Morris and Watson has gone from a one-man operation in the 1920's, to a well respected and trusted international precious metals dealer, manufacturer, caster and refiner. David has been the driver of expanding the business capabilities and locations since being appointed to his role as chief executive. The 1990’s saw major expansions and developments in the refining, casting and fabrication departments, investing in new technologies, products and service. 

The late 1990’s all saw the establishment of a state-of-the-art machine-made chain division, utilising the best modern machinery and techniques to become the largest machine-made chain manufacturer in Australia and New Zealand. 

David also oversaw the establishment of operations in Sydney in 2004 and Brisbane in 2007. David decided that best way to service our Australian customers was to have operations in Australia, completing a full-circle back to where Morris and Watson start with JJ Morris in 1928. 

Operations in Thailand commenced in 2007 and became fully operational in 2010. Thailand has grown exponentially every year, servicing local Thai precious metal manufacturers as well as clients from Europe, Middle East, India and the United States. All operations still subscribe to the focus on quality and customer service, the underpinning culture of Morris and Watson 

Vision for the Future

Currently, Morris and Watson operates facilities in New Zealand, Australia and Thailand. Constant improvement and modernisation is the key to keeping the business strong. Investment into new casting plant, equipment and processes has been the recent focus. The refinery has also had a recent major upgrade to new efficient plant and processes, with the focus on reducing our environmental footprint at front and centre. 

Customer service is always the main focus and improvements to the way Morris and Watson interact with customers is change, with the introduction of online ordering and more streamlined ways of communicating with customers.

Morris and Watson is also improving the Environmental and Social Governace (ESG) of the business by joining the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). 

Full RJC membership is on track to be achieved by 2023, which will give customers more assurance that doing business with Morris and Watson is better for the environment, better for people and better for keeping jewellery manufacturing strong in New Zealand and Australia.


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© 2022 Morris and Watson
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OUR LOCATIONS
Auckland
Brisbane
Sydney
Bangkok
Christchurch
QUICK LINKS
Login
Sign Up
View Cart
Upload STL
Bullion Live Prices
INFORMATION
Contact Us
About Us
History
Sitemap
RESPONSIBILITY
Terms of Supply
Privacy Policy
Website Terms of Use
Environmental Policy
Giving Back
Responsible Jewellery Council Policy

© 2022 Morris and Watson
All Rights Reserved