It's vital to have a goal and a vision. Melbourne Watch Company founder Sujain Krishnan's is to turn Australians on to the beauty and purity of mechanical watches. His first watch, Flinders, is due for launch in February of next year. And it has already begun to pique the interest of many Australian customers. Choice and appreciation of watches in the majority of Australia's shopping malls tends to be very much of the affordable quartz variety. Can Sujain succeed in a timely revolution? We spoke to him to find out more.
1) For readers who may not have read or heard about The Melbourne Watch Company or the new Flinders watch, please can you recap the concept and intention behind the watch.
SK: I originally started out in the watch making game by running a small company called "Melbourne Custom Watches" through which I produced hand assembled pilot and PAM homage style timepieces for the enthusiast community - primarily via Watchuseek. Despite the success of the small business I decided I was no longer content to simply build other people's designs and this encouraged me to launch the Melbourne Watch Company so that I may pursue the goal of creating original design watches to share with the enthusiast community and beyond.
2) Do you find there is a growing enthusiasm and appreciation for mechanical watches in Australia?
SK: I believe that Australia is a relatively new market in terms of mechanical watches. As far as I know, the few other Australian brands on the market (Adina, Bausele etc) are only producing 'fashion' quartz watches. Also (sadly), if you currently visit any local watch store you will be hard pressed to find a mechanical timepiece unless you venture into a high end Swiss brand boutique. So far there has been an extremely positive reception to the launch of the Flinders with Australian customers, with almost ¾ of the pre-orders so far coming from Australia.
3) Perhaps you have heard of the Boston Watch Company, like you they are using the Miyota Cal. 9015 high-beat movement, what are the reasons for your choice of this movement?
SK: I have indeed heard of the Boston Watch Company and I love the design of their debut model - the Charles River Diver. I believe that with the increasing difficulty that microbrands are facing with securing Swatch group movements, it is only natural that more companies are seeking high grade alternatives such as Miyota. My original design goal was to produce a reasonably slim automatic dress watch and I was drawn to the Miyota 9015 as an alternative to the ETA 2892a2 due to its affordability and positive reception in the watch community. At a movement height of 3.9mm it was the slimmest automatic movement besides the 2829a2 that I could find and at ¼ the price it seemed like a perfect match for the Flinders.
4) Again, like the Boston Watch Company, the Melbourne Watch Company is named after the city in which you live. What was your reason for naming the brand after Melbourne?
SK: I was not originally born in Melbourne, but I spent most of my life here and I truly love this city. Having travelled extensively, I truly believe that Melbourne is one of the most liveable cities in the world. In Australia, Melbourne is known as the hub of culture and style in the country and as such I thought it would be perfect to name my brand after. Also, I originally ran my small custom build business under the name 'Melbourne Custom Watches' so it seemed a logical progression to keep the reference to Melbourne.
5) Do you feel the brand reflects an Australian outlook or a more international outlook?
SK: To be honest, given Australia's relative immaturity in the global watch scene, I would like to build the brand with more of an international outlook that will make customers take a closer look at both Australia and Melbourne. My ultimate goal would be to put both Melbourne and Australia on the map in terms of watch brands worldwide.
6) Do you have any plans to distribute MWC watches through international distributors or do you feel the online model will work best for you?
SK: Yes, I've always planned to approach international distributors once the company is more established. I anticipate that I will progress this further once the Flinders model is complete and more models are on their way.
7) Please tell us more about the Flinders watch
SK: Having looked at the existing micro-brand market I realised that there was definitely a gap in the dress watch space. As such, I wanted the Flinders to be a classically styled dress watch with some serious specs. I definitely wanted it to be mechanical and self-winding and as such I selected the Miyota 9015 to keep the case height to a minimum. I also decided on anti-reflective sapphire, a multi-layered dial and stainless steel markers - all of which I believe are features common to high-end dress watches. I also decided on producing both a black and white dial version - I figured that the black dial version would work great with a suit and the white dial version would match perfectly with a pair of jeans and casual attire.
8) Are there any plans to look at any other genres beyond sport/dress watches, could we see a Melbourne Watch Company Diver or Aviation watch in time to come?
SK: My plan for the next model is to produce something with more of a sport/casual focus with an option of a stainless steel bracelet. Beyond that I am certainly looking to produce both pilot and dive style watches. Given the existing saturation of the market for these styles it is likely that I will try to add a 'dressy' twist to them in order to differentiate the Melbourne designs.
9) What are the mid to long term plans for the brand? What is the vision?
SK: My goal from the beginning has been to establish the Melbourne Watch Company as a serious player in the affordable micro-brand market. My longer term goal is to build the awareness around mechanical timepieces in the Australian market and to grow the company to be the premier Australian brand on the global watch scene.
10) Please tell our readers about the price of the Flinders watch
SK: The Flinders is available for pre-order at the advance pre-production price of just $395 AUD. When released, the RRP for the Flinders will be $525 AUD. We are currently on track for delivery of the Flinders to customers in mid to late February 2014. Pre-orders for the Flinders can be placed via our website (link below). Also, I just setup a campaign for the Flinders on Indiegogo to help with pre-orders.
Sujain, thanks for answering our questions
Visit the Melbourne Watch Company website