If it wasn’t for them…

 

"Who is your inspiration?" asked Murali K. Menon when he called us to discuss his article for CNBC. "That is a loaded question," I said. There's not one but many in the industry that inspires us to do what we do. He asked me to take some time and think about a few names; he'd like to include them in the story.

“That is a loaded question”, I said. He asked me to think about it.

Mercy and I often talk about the people behind the brands in the independent watch scene that inspire us; many names come by, each for their own ability to craft a niche in the independent world - things that we have come to admire.

The CNBC article was published earlier today, but we wanted to expand on the ideas behind the inspiration, the names, and what they mean to us. So here goes:

Konstantin Chaykin

Konstantin Chaykin Image Courtesy: New York Times.

Konstantin Chaykin Image Courtesy: New York Times.

Whoever says Haute Horlogerie comes only from Switzerland and Germany, they haven't heard of Mr. Chaykin and his beautiful creations originating in his quaint workshop in Moscow. Konstantin is not only the first fine watchmaker from Russia recognized by the AHCI; he even served as the president of AHCI for a period. The Joker, an infamous creation and several others have led him to file over 70 patents for horological innovations.

If one were to ask us for an example of someone that is breaking stereotypes, it'd be Mr. Chaykin.

J.N.Shapiro

J.N.Shapiro Image Courtesy: J.N.Shapiro Watches.

J.N.Shapiro Image Courtesy: J.N.Shapiro Watches.

When people ask us how we ended up starting a watch brand, and how we ended up in an unrelated field given our past lives in the technology industry, Mr. Shapiro is who comes to mind.

Joshua, a high school principal in California, is perhaps the only watchmaker in the US that uses a rose engine and creates engine-turned (Guilloche) dials for his tastefully designed timeless wristwatches.

Talk of tenacity and commitment, Mr. Shapiro comes to mind.

Don Cochrane, Vertex Watches

Don Cochrane Image Courtesy: New York Times.

Don Cochrane Image Courtesy: New York Times.

One can't just buy an M100. You'll need to know one of the 50 individuals personally invited by Mr. Cochrane to own one of the limited edition of 500 pieces. Such was the distribution model for Don's revival of his then-defunct great grandfather's dirty-dozen watch brand Vertex Watches.

Critically acclaimed but now wildly popular Don has come out with a mono-pusher chronograph initially designed in the mid-century but never saw day of light.

Don's vision and execution will always be an inspiration to us.

Sujain Krishnan, Melbourne Watch Company

Sujain Krishnan Image Courtesy: Melbourne Watch Company.

Sujain Krishnan Image Courtesy: Melbourne Watch Company.

"Made of Luc...". If you'd please fill in the blanks, you'd know which brand I am referring to. Most brands position their origin cities as selling points, but in our opinion, no brand has taken original inspirations from their origin cities to create timepieces that people relate to; until Sujain Krishnan quit his IT job and turned his watch-modding hobby into Melbourne Watch Company. The Collins, Flinders, Portsea, and Sorrento collections all refer to streets of Melbourne and carry prominent landmarks on casebacks.

Sujain was also one of the early microbrands paving the way for many others to follow. Talk of originality, Sujain is a bright inspiration.

Do check out the watches that these gents and their brands put out, and let us know if there are other independent brands that you aspire to own, and why.

Cheers!