Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Tipping Point

So it was a very interesting day for me today.  I went for a ride on my bici.  The same ride that I take every Saturday (and if I'm lucky) Sunday.  Today I took a right turn where I normally go straight.  And I found myself on this long, steady, beautiful climb.  It went up, and up, and up.  Slowly, steadily I kept   pedaling.  And cheezy as it sounds, for a moment I was somewhere else.  And as often is the case, I got to thinking about watches and how so often both watch brands and us (the people who follow them) we don't take that right turn.  

So tonight I wanted to share some people that I think are taking that right turn, taking us to that unexpected place.  A watch is, ultimately, just a mechanism.  And for better or worse, the world does not NEED any more watches - and to talk to some of the people manning fairly important and senior positions at some of the biggest, most "exclusive" brands, I am often left with the feeling that they might as well be working for a toothpaste company.  There is no spark, there is no passion.  They are virtually inanimate objects.   

So who is passionate?  

Martin Braun for one.  Here is someone who got the "fuzzy end of the lollipop" when his brand became a part of the Franck Mueller group.  It would have been easy for him to wait for another bigger brand to come in, but he had a vision.  And today he is seeing the results of that passion and vision.  Antoine Martin has steadily developed into something special.

Another Martin - Martin Pauli.  I think what I love about Angular Momentum/Manu Propria is that Martin came into the watch world not necessarily by "design", but rather THROUGH design.  These days he has a following of devoted collectors that truly spans the globe.  He is not someone who seeks the spotlight, but rather lets the beautiful designs on his watch dials do the talking.  He could take the easy approach and have someone else simply stamp his dials - but this is a fellow interested in (and practicing) numerous artistic disciplines, and that passion shows through in what he is doing.

Adrien Choux.  The owner of the Chinese Timekeeper although born in France, chose to make his life in Asia - most specifically in Hong Kong.  Consider that this is someone who was steadily climbing the Richemont career ladder with Panerai.  someone holding onto the "golden ticket"... decides to go his own way, to take that right turn and to launch his version of a luxury Chinese watch.  

Patrik Sjögren.  Computer scientist/engineer turned watch maker.  Again - it would have been so easy to carry on with what he was doing.  But there was something more driving him towards the decision to become a watch maker.  And then it went further - to produce his own watches.  And not just any watches.  GoS watches are quickly gaining a very strong following for people attracted not just to the unique cases, but the beautifully finished dials.

So the next time you're going out watch shopping, instead of heading straight to the "usual suspects", take a right turn and check out something unique.  Yes, it is a watch - a micro machine.  But it is something that was conceived, designed and made by a person.  And really, it should be about people.

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