WHEN you have a child, 10 years sounds like a milestone, but then there’s a lot more to cover. Ten years isn’t quite 13, when they traditionally enter puberty. Ten years isn’t 18, when they reach legal age. In the watch industry where hundred-year-old giants continue to rule the game, what does 10 years mean?
Jordy Cobelens, the young CEO of TW Steel, a young watch brand, released a special watch just for the Philippines, to celebrate 10 years of the brand’s presence here. Called the X (as in the roman numeral that denotes 10), it is a dual time watch powered by a Swiss chronograph movement by Ronda AG. It is encased inside a 44mm high-grade 316L steel case with an elegant brushed finish. Sporting a bezel design with eight screws and a polished finish on the sides, each TW Steel X comes with a silicon rubber strap, a durable sapphire coated crystal, and is waterproof up to a depth of 10 ATM.
There are only 320 of them in the world, and they are priced at P40,000 each, a hike up from the usual offerings of TW Steel.
“I think it’s just a milestone of course, to [have] 10 years here,” said Mr. Cobelens in an interview with BusinessWorld in late May. “If you look at the watch business — I mean you’ve got brands that are celebrating their 150-year anniversaries. What we’ve achieved in 10 years has been incredible. In this price point and in this category, I think we’re the biggest watch brand in the Philippines.”
Biggest, certainly, in terms of size. The watches usually measure in the 30mm to 40mm range, a whopper on your wrist. That is the brand’s trademark, and the Philippines quickly caught on.
The brand was founded in 2005, and reached Philippine shores four years later, in 2009. This market is special for TW Steel, for it was in Manila that it opened its first stand-alone store, in 2006.
“It’s about the right feeling that you have with the people you work with,” said Mr. Cobelens about the relationship of trust between the two entities: his company, and its Philippine distributor, Lucerne.
Mr. Cobelens pointed to a few reasons as to why the Philippines embraced the brand so fully: there’s the product, of course; but there’s also the pervasive Western influence in Manila society, including the presence of the English language. “That helped with the kickstart of the brand, because in the beginning, a lot of our sponsorships, they were either all European or US-based,” he said. Previous endorsers include singer Kelly Rowland and racing driver David Coulthard.
Mr. Cobelens, trim and speaking at a fast clip, seems to always be aware of time’s passage. “This is not just my job, this is my life. I want to have a good life.”
The X was launched alongside the reveal of the Crunch Time collection, a collaboration with fitness instructor Simeon Panda (see https://www.bworldonline.com/tw-steel-simeon-panda-collaborate-on-the-crunch-time-collection/). It’s not mere coincidence that TW Steel is involved in sports, from fitness to racing (it has been an official timing partner in several motor racing events and sponsors racing teams). “Living life to the fullest. People in sports, whether it’s racing or fitness… it’s a certain mindset that you have to have. It’s not about what you do; it’s about reaching the top.”
The X is available in TW Steel and Chronos boutiques around the country. — Joseph L. Garcia