”To me, a watch is not just a time telling machine. In fact it has been something that changed my whole career life.Eric SoA Hong Kong Creator
How? I recalled at the age of about 10, I was given my 1st ever mechanical wristwatch as a gift. While I owned this piece, I often wondered how the mechanism work, and not long after I decided to have it open for further inspection while my parents were not home. Obviously, at that age without any mechanical sense and knowledge, I was mainly using only tools like hammer and screwdrivers from the toolbox where I finally managed to access to the movement of the watch. From here you can imagine how the watch ended up. However, it was this click which brought me into watches as I was so impressed with how such micro-mechanism manages to drive the gears and hands to tell time. Later at high school era, I used to walk pass a vintage watch shop everyday after school, and among all other shops along the street, this vintage shop was the only one that could catch my eyes and often I couldn’t give myself any excuse to leave. Since then, I seem to have fallen in love with all kinds of watches and clocks related products.
At that time, while most of my high school friends aimed for business related subjects for their future career, I chose less popular engineering subjects simply because I wanted to explore more on how mechanism works. After years of studies, I finally started my 1st job as an engineer where I had good hands on engineering experience. From there onwards, after years of working in the field, spending most of my salaries on buying watches, I was so sure that watches would be something that I should targeted for my future. With this continual gaining in knowledge about watches throughout the years of buying, a magazine’s editor-in-chief then invited me to start my media career as a watch columnist. Then it was 2003 when I came up with an idea of creating my own watch magazine. That’s how I started ‘Spiral Magazine’. The initial idea was simply to create a platform to share my thoughts on watches with readers. During the years of running the magazine, I explored more on various traditional Swiss brands by interviewing their watchmakers, founders, CEOs and visiting factories, which allowed me to further extend my knowledge on watchmaking.
Throughout all these years working closely with watch brands, I always had one thing in mind and that was to create my own. After spending years on theoretical work, I finally managed to bring all the ideas together and came up with a project concept based on these design philosophies. With assistance from Mr. William Shum whom I met during an interview years ago when he first founded “Memorigin” and continuous research and development of products’ prototype, I finally managed to create my own brand back in 2016.
At this point, though I am still a junior in the watchmaking industry, yet I would like to share a bit more on my last 2 years in brand development experiences (particularly for those who would like to create their own brand). Firstly, brand development is a long process. It takes a lot of efforts and patients just to survive. Besides, self-psychological adjustment is also important, meaning you must really believe in yourself as you are likely to face all sorts of unpredicted issues that will affect your confidence in continuing. Regardless how well you plan for the project, there will always be uncertainties. I still recall when I first presented my prototypes to a retailer, I was almost immediately rejected and received a lot of negative feedbacks. Yet this didn’t hold me back from continuing; in fact, it was his comments that drove my determination to continue which I honestly appreciated. Therefore, ‘hope for the best and prepare for the worst’ has always been my motto. Set yourself a target, a goal to achieve, prepare for any unexpected to happen. Product-wise, regardless you are focusing on high-tech digital smart watches or traditional mechanical watches, there is always room for individual brand’s development. Furthermore, in the world of businesses, though being profitable to survive is important, yet passionate is more important to me, from which my perception is watchmaking is not just a business but instead it’s something that I do treasure and appreciate.
Often people around me would ask why I chose to get involved with creating watch brand, and my answer has always been simple. That is to fulfil my dream and to do something which I really wanted while I still can. Throughout the past decades staying closely with the traditional watches market, while I have seen and was aware of a lot of changes, from trend to pricing which has driven the watchmaking industry to a whole new era, I have also noticed there is always room for new brand to develop. Watches fundamentally have changed from the role of purely telling time to more of an eye-catching personal belonging based and driven by a sense of luxury. Future watch design, apart from being trendy, functional (smart watches), it should also be long lasting in terms of build and construction, meaning that regardless of price level and type, they need to be well made and most importantly value for money. From traditional watchmaking perspective, I personally think watches are not just fashion. They should each be treasured as a piece of art, something that can be passed on to the next generation. Though current market is popularly driven by smart watches, yet based on a traditional perspective, I still prefer making mechanical watches.