Some watch companies have been going strong for centuries but this doesn’t deter ambitious newcomers. Robert Dabi is chief designer of Ziiiro whose colourful, hands-free watches have been winning fans since they launched in 2010.
What prompted you to start Ziiiro?
– The reason I started is quite simple: I wanted to design a wristwatch that I would like to wear. So I just started, without further particular plans. It was just a fun project and I wasn’t well-versed with watches or product design in general. I ended up with something I thought would be really cool, so I continued to work on naming and branding, and also tried to learn about the possibilities in watch making. At that time, I got to know Derick Ip who helped me until the concept became reality. What are the main challenges for a new company?
– Building unorthodox watches is a challenge because production companies that build the casings and assemble the parts might not be used to uncommon constructions and may prefer to build easy-to-produce watches in large quantities over hard-to-produce watches in low quantities. So we have to see how we can solve those problems together with them. Why is it important to have new companies enter the industry?
– They bring new ideas and a breath of fresh air into the watchmaking. Companies that have been around for some time need to stay awake and reinvent themselves to keep up with the newcomers. Who are your target customers?
– Basically I can picture anybody who likes exceptional things wearing our watches. Age and gender doesn't really matter, all that matters is being open-minded. We don't consciously follow current fashion or design trends, so people who like our products are people who are looking for something that fits their own preference, not what's currently supposed to be hip. Where do you want Ziiiro to go in the future?
– We want to keep on making more cool watches. ZIIIRO should be the watch company known for uncommon, minimal, futuristic and beautiful watches. We have many ideas about future products, and we also constantly have some of them in the making.