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Plaza Watch International - - Display Case -

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.

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