1. When did your relationship with watches begin?
I was around 7 or 8 years old when I went to stay with my grandparents in India. I was looking at a newspaper and I saw an advert for a Timex Indeglo. It was the first time I remember seeing a watch that could glow with the press of a button and I fell in love with it! I asked my grandma if I she could buy it for me and she said it was too expensive. Then on the day I had to leave back to London she gave me the watch, and that’s my earliest memory of where my obsession with watches started.
2. Starting off working in the fashion industry do you think this helped you when moving into the Watch sector?
I think that fashion helped me from a creative angle and gave me a different perspective on how to communicate about fine watchmaking to a younger and more dynamic audience. Communication in the fashion industry moves so fast and is so eclectic compared to the watch industry so I tried to use inspirations from there.
3. When you started to launch into the industry it must have been tough going in as a young media team, what kind of reception did you receive?
In the beginning it was difficult to be taken seriously by both brands and other people in the media space. However I must say that most people were supportive even if they didn’t fully understand our vision, maybe just because it was something fresh and new in what is typically a very traditional and formulaic business. The bigger we grew the more trust we gained from brands and media alike.
4. Women have bags, jewellery and other ways to express themselves, but men don’t really have this so do you think a Man’s watch offers that same expression?
I can’t speak for all men, but I buy pieces that I feel say something. It could be linked to history, or provenance or just something visually and mechanically exciting. I’ve gotten into countless conversations and made so many friends just based on an initial discussion about what was on mine/that persons wrist.
5. A few years ago the watch industry used to be very closed off and very much like a club but it seems now that a lot of people are more open in the industry do you think social media is one of the main reasons for this and do you think this has been a big benefit to the industry?
Social and digital media has brought watch collecting into the eyes of exponentially more people than ever before. It has helped beautiful things to be seen by many more people than old world media would have reached. It has especially helped independent watch brands that embraced it early on such as MB&F and Urwerk to reach the eyes of people around the world in a way they couldn’t have done without a huge marketing spend otherwise. People have taken it upon themselves to form communities around brands and that in turn has helped the brands immensely. Omega as an example benefitted immensely from the #SpeedyTuesday trend started by @FratelloWatches, to the point where they actually made a limited edition based on the hashtag. Even pages that criticise watches such as @ShameOnWrist has given brands the opportunity to see consumer feedback on products that they would normally not get due to the ‘everything is always nice’ writing pattern of traditional watch media. So I think it’s fair to say that social media when used correctly has helped the industry a lot.
6. Being someone who has bought a younger lifestyle generation into the watch industry have you even come across hard criticism from let’s say the older more traditional collector?
I think mainly the criticism I get is about being very lifestyle focussed. People who newly follow me forget that I have been collecting watches for nearly 20 years. Our focus is lifestyle because our goal is to attract new people into the world of watches with beautiful images and videos. The idea is not to be superficial but to show the watches we love in a way that can be appreciated by everyone, whether you are a seasoned collector or someone who knows nothing about watches at all to start with. This was always the goal for WATCHANISH, to be a platform to attract and nurture a new audience into becoming watch enthusiasts.
7. I know you are very passionate about micro mechanics and the work that goes into a watch but with everyone wanting to look their best and wear the most fashionable items do you think the appreciation of a watch mechanics gets lost?
I think the trend of wanting a watch just because it’s hot and in demand has seen an unrealistic increase in residual price of certain models within the market. Aesthetics are very important when thinking of a purchase but also everyone has different tastes and there is no single type of watch that will appeal to everyone. I would like to think that the new wave of people who are paying 3x retail price for a steel Patek Nautilus will also become more educated about higher complications and not just what is going to give them the biggest social status on the wrist.
8. A lot of credit must go to yourself for the enormous success that you have received but how important was it for you to have the right team behind you because obviously these people don’t get seen as much but I can imagine that to get to this stage you must have needed to backing of a strong team?
It’s the most important thing by far. Our team is our backbone, and without them we could never have grown to be as strong as we are today. We hire people who believe in what we are doing, creative in their thoughts and are hungry to keep progressing. That has been the mantra from the beginning and continues to be today.
9. Some smaller retailers still struggle to take the time to invest in social media but how vital is it in the current market to be seen across these channels?
Nowadays it’s the most important channel of communication by far. You have the opportunity to be on every smartphone and laptop in the world with an audience of billions daily. Campaigns when done correctly have taken obscure brands and made them into huge successes. To not use the opportunity to engage with people through social media is a complete waste.
10. Obviously with having such a large following on social media how challenging is it to keep up with the content to ensure that following not only grows but the current followers stick around?
It’s one of the hardest things to do. You have to keep evolving and changing your content in order to keep audience interest. Things that were cool 3 years ago are over done now from a content point of view so you have to keep pushing the envelope wherever possible. This is another reason why having a strong team with the same vision is so important.
11.Growing up with my father he had pretty reasonable watch collection and I remember growing up as a child I always wanted to have my own collection but today I don’t wear a watch and have never owned one simply because I want to make sure I own the correct watch that Is suited to me. Do you think with so much choice in the market with style, design, brands and mechanics it can be hard for people to choose the correct watch and do you think sometimes people purchase watches from being pressured by online marketing?
I think watches are a very personal thing to buy. They speak emotionally rather than practically. There is no such thing as a ‘correct watch’ in my opinion, but rather your watch should tell a story to you every time you wear it. There are many many varied choices in the market and individuals should take the time to decide what best connects with them. Online marketing will being certain brands and models into frequent view of a buyer, but the ultimate purchase isn’t decided by the marketing campaign but by the person making the investment into buying their watch.
Photography : James Cole