Category Archives: Horology

Recently I travelled to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to spend News Years with a couple of good friends. I was amazed at the number of skyscrapers and luxurious malls within close proximity. There was even a theme park with a double corkscrew in one of the main shopping complexes. On my visit, I had the chance to meet Leong Wong, who was formerly the editor of Esquire Magazine (Singapore/Malaysia). Even though have worked for Leong I had previously never met him, person. That is why it was great to share lunch and discuss watches and the general state of the industry. One of the topics was the emergence of small microbrands who now release new models on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter. A good example is Von Doren who have just launched an exciting watch called the URÆD. » Read more

In my capacity as an industrial designer and author, I have been privileged to meet many fascinating people. Freelance work is exceptionally rewarding but also can be solitary and precarious. That is why it important to surround yourself with likeminded people. Ultimately that is why I have always championed artisan craftsman and small microbrands. A great example is Guillaume Demerliac who is the owner of Demerliac Watches. Recently he sent me a press release unveiling two really cool timepieces called the Pearl Timer and Visir. » Read more

In the last few years, I co-designed several bespoke watches with my good friend Ben Birkett. His encyclopedic knowledge about mechanical timepieces and clocks is world-class. That is why his watch restoration business is thriving and he is constantly in demand. The building his premise is located comprises several workshops occupied by artisan craftsman. Ben recently informed me about a specialist engraver (in a neighbouring workshop) who had personalised an exclusive Audemars Piguet royal oak offshore tourbillon chronograph for a very wealthy customer. Ben didn’t divulge the price for the job but judging by the expression on his face I presume it was very expensive. » Read more

Since I began writing about watches approximately eight years ago the emergence of small micro brands has expanded exponentially. Recently when I visited Malaysia I discussed this topic with a good friend of mine called Leong Wong. He was formerly the editor for the of Esquire Magazine (Singapore/Malaysia) and I used to write for him on a regular basis. As we both are champions of independent watchmakers there was a lot of common ground. Predominantly, at that time I focused on Swiss mechanical watches. However, these days Japanese alternatives are very popular and very competitively priced. A great example is the Power Racing Black by Zoid. » Read more

A few years ago I had the great fortune to visit La Chaux-de-Fonds, in Switzerland. The trip was a last-minute decision and coincided with Baselworld. Originally, I was supposed to be meeting Jonatan Gil (owner of Dubey & Schaldenbrand) at the show but because of prior commitments, he couldn’t make it. Whilst I was in this picturesque town Jonatan showed me around his father’s factory that was located in a beautiful heritage building. This gave me a unique insight into traditional watchmaking that could only be appreciated first hand. Another exclusive brand that manufactures its timepieces in this region is Cuervo y Sobrinos. » Read more

Generally, the watch industry has massively slowed down over the last few years. When I visited Baselworld in 2015 the consensus at that time was that the Apple Watch and similar devices like Fitbit, Garmin etc. wouldn’t really have an impact. However, it clearly has and there are reports from credible sources that collectors are selling their pride and joy just to stay connected. It seems that to a lot of people counting their steps and monitoring sleep patterns is more important than wearing a beautiful timepiece. Certainly, I am not inclined to move in that direction because I love Swiss mechanical watches. » Read more

A few months ago I spoke in-depth with a journalist called Melanie Abrams about my ‘Independent Watchmakers’ book. She was writing an article for The New York Times and was interested to know what inspired the project. I have always been fascinated by the world of horology and the exceptional craftsmanship involved. Literally in the last decade brands have become more adventurous in their choice of materials and overall designs. A perfect example is Avant-Garde Swiss luxury watchmaker MB & F. » Read more

Approximately two years ago in 2017, I approached a prominent global publisher with a book concept. The overall idea was to shine a light on the many talented craftsmen in the world of independent watchmaking. As well as featuring several well-known companies (Patek Phillppe, Richard Mille, Greubel Forsey, MB & F, De Bethune, Urwerk etc.) I also wanted to highlight small microbrands. In fact, I even got the opportunity to include my own ‘Pure Carbon’ watch which trades, under the label Paolo Mathai Horology. » Read more