Category Archives: News

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

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

Recently I have been seriously considering returning back to University to do an Honours (Masters) or PhD in industrial design. Over the last few years and in conjunction with several books I have written this subject has become highly appealing. I conveyed these thoughts to a few tutors and they connected me with some local talent. Even though Australia hasn’t really exploited the luxury market there are some innovators in this region. For example, Lee Gray established a high-end audio company called Kyron, which he has successfully globalised. When we met recently I told him about a visionary mechanical engineer called Paolo Mastrogiuseppe. This creative powerhouse invents the most extraordinary Espresso machines and is an inspiration to aspiring designers. » Read more

One of the main reasons I established Total Design Reviews is because of my passion for fine craftsmanship and design in general. As well as being a writer I also hold a degree in Illustration and enjoy creating large artworks. My latest composition is a large Bristlecone Pine tree, which I am painting in muted colours. I favour oil paints and my technique involves multiple fine transparent layers to attain a luminous effect. This involves a certain level of patience because I am fanatical about detail. I would also describe myself as a perfectionist and always try to achieve the best possible results. Ultimately that is why I appreciate traditional skills like engraving, especially in the context of horology.  » Read more

About a year ago I bought a second hand BMW i3 from an authorised dealership in Melbourne. Up until then, I had never considered purchasing an all-electric car because of the limitations. Sure, I am interested in the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. However, there are also many other practical issues to consider like charging times and accessibility to charging stations. Fortunately, one of my neighbours installs these stations and was able to fit a device in our garage. Certainly, I do not regret the acquisition but have to concede that I won’t be embarking on any road trips in the near future. Due to the scale and infrastructure in a country like Australia, it is unfeasible to contemplate travelling a large distance in an electric vehicle. » Read more

For people that don’t wear timepiece, it is pretty hard to conceive that collectors will pay millions for rare models. Most people I meet these days own an Apple watch because of its functionality. Even Australia’s former Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull can be seen (at many public events) wearing this device. However, in the world of celebrity mechanical watches still, seem relevant because brands will pay huge amounts to secure sponsorship deals. One of the most successful partnerships to date is Richard Mille’s collaboration with tennis legend Rafael Nadal. Recently the ‘King of Clay’ secured his 12th French Open title, whilst sporting his RM 27-03. » Read more

I have always been a huge film fanatic dating back to my university days. To fulfil the honours component of by ‘Bachelor in Arts’ degree I was required to write a 10,000-word dissertation. To my tutor’s surprise (horror) I opted to write about Cary Grant and his contribution to light comedy. In those days (1989) computers were not a big thing so predominantly it had to be written by hand and then forwarded to a typist. However, to my absolute delight, it was very well received and was awarded a high grade. This just goes to show that if you are passionate about a subject then the overall result will be positive. » Read more

Back in April 2019, I was very privileged to be interviewed by the New York Times. They were interested in writing an in-depth editorial about my recently published ‘Independent Watchmakers’ book. In particular, the journalist (Melanie Abrams) wanted to know why I embarked on the project initially. The feature (published May 17th 2019) entitled ‘Highlighting Watchmakers People Had Never Heard of’ is very catchy but doesn’t tell the full story. Sure there are many micro brands including my own horology design platform (Paolo Mathai Horology) that have previously had very little press coverage. However, also under this category are labels like Patek Philippe, Richard Mille and many other brilliant ateliers. » Read more