FASHION - INTERVIEW
Tuesday, March 5, 2019
FASHION - INTERVIEW
by Mehmet Kaplan
Each watch represents a part of the expectations, lifestyle, and character of the person who uses it. So when you are looking for a watch that reflects yourself, you look at to a lot of brands and models in the price range you specify and try to choose the one that's best for you. But because of the nature of the process, you often look at the watches with prices that are above the budget you set and wish them a little more affordable. Ilan Srulovicz, while setting up his own watch brand, Égard, aimed to design watch models that reflect the personalities of its users. Égard watches, which are among the many celebrities' preferences, aim to offer the best possible quality-price balance to the watch enthusiasts. The Égard, which produces its every model as a limited edition, makes each piece special and makes the Égard owners feel special. I talked with Ilan Srulovicz, Founder and CEO of Égard Watch Company, about the story of Égard Watch, its production and design philosophy, and its future plans.
Ilan, before talking about Égard, could you tell us about yourself? Who is Ilan Srulovicz?
That's somewhat of a tricky question. I would say I am what I am passionate about and what I am passionate about is art. It doesn't matter what kind of art. I paint, I do martial arts (yes I still find it artistic or a form of physical expression), I have had the privilege to act in some amazing projects and direct as well and most importantly also design timepieces. I like creating things however I can and exploring different avenues to affect people.
Peter Srulovicz and Ilan Srulovicz
Égard is looking like a part of your and your father Peter's life. So I don't want to ask separately, could you tell us about the story of Égard's born?
Égard was born out of a desire to create a tribute piece for my father. At the time he was turning 65 and I was working at a large film studio as a "pre-vis" artist. This job required me creating and planning large budget films and in some ways "making" them on the computer before they got filmed in real life, so I had the skills to prototype whatever I needed. I started out looking for a gift for my dad but couldn't find anything that represented what I wanted at a price point that was affordable. So many watches were generic or following trends. It was very hard to find a piece that had texture, height, and uniqueness that I saw in higher end brands. That's what motivated me to get started designing a piece for him and then researching the process of creating it.
Which detail in Égard watches reflects the bond between you and your father?
The original collection "The Shade" was the first watch I designed and was made for my father. That watch more than any represents the goal of the company. I make every watch limited production because it's part of the idea of the brand so unfortunately about 95% of our pieces are no longer available and I come up with new designs. Since then we have had the Adoro, Hunter, Brigade, Shade v-2, Chronobeast, Fortitude, Renegade, Quantus V1, Passages, Maris and Navita which are all sold out collections and no longer available. When we say limited production or edition we actually mean it. It's a bit hard when we have a home run watch like the Passages with William Shatner or the original Shade but I feel it's more important to know that there are a limited number of them out there and they are special rather than keep making them forever.
Égard Watch - V1-Gent
Could you tell us about the design & production philosophy of Égard timepieces?
I do all the design work myself on my computer. I have a 3d printer for rapid prototyping and initial casework but we do all our own dial molds, case molds etc. ourselves. The Egard watches mostly use either Swiss or Japanese (Miyota) movements that we then bring in house and modify to make them more unique. I vast majority of our time is spent on casework and dial work. Many companies use factory made cases and dials that look generic but we are constantly testing the boundaries of what cases and dials can look like. Our philosophy is to be different and design things we ourselves want to wear and then hope that the market accepts it. We aren't looking to sell 100.000 watches a year but instead a smaller group of people who connect with our designs and message. Each watch tends to pose a unique problem due to their complications. The Quantus, for example, was a nightmare to build as was the Passages and the Rush. When you go as non-traditional as we do on the cases, crystals and dials and then modify movements on top of it there is a lot of room for error and a lot of time spent prototyping so we have to be extra vigilant in making sure we do it perfect. That combined with limiting the collections is a difficult model for a company but we are passionate and have found solutions to every problem we faced thus far.
What are the features of Égard watches?
I somewhat touched on this before. Each Égard collection is built from the ground up with its own goal and philosophy. Even when two watches appear to have the same case (for example the Quantus and Passages) they, in fact, do not. Those are two separate molds for each collection designed specifically for their dial and movement and crystal. The key features from us are that we offer pieces that aren't mass produced with unique designs that are "art pieces" you wear on your wrist. Some specific collections have mechanical features like dual balance wheels and incredibly uniquely curved sapphire crystals but the overarching message remains the same across every piece.
Égard Watchh - Quantus
Could you tell us about your collections and their inspirations?
The underlying motivation and inspiration behind each piece is based in the idea of Tribute. Each collection is different and has a specific inspiration. Our newest collection "The Rush" and "Chrono-Rush" were done in collaboration with MMA Icon and legend Georges St-Pierre. We teamed up to design a piece that would represent his career and achievements. He wanted something unique, classy and something that tested the way time was represented on a watch. We created an extremely complicated piece and it came out incredibly unique. Most importantly Georges was incredibly happy with the end result and it was timed perfectly with him winning the middle-weight championship against Micheal Bisping in the UFC!
What kind of materials and movements do you prefer to use on Égard watches?
I very much like the new Miyota 9xxx series and find it to be one of the best mass produced movements I have worked with. The Miyota 9100 is jam-packed with unique complications you could never find on a movement elsewhere at the same price. I also very much like the Swiss Made STP 1-11. Our upcoming, yet to be released, the collection has a completely reworked STP 1-11 in it with a completely custom rotor and it is beautiful. I prefer sapphire crystals over mineral crystals when it comes to that end of things and for case material and plating we are moving over to DLC plating and have our own AA method of plating which is essentially PVD but much much thicker which results in more protection for the piece over time.
How often do you add a new design to your collection?
It takes me a solid 6 months to prototype out pieces and then 6 months to make them so about once a year only. As previously stated the pieces are all built from the ground up and tend to be very complicated and pose a lot of "questions" we have to answer along the way.
What do you enjoy most about using Égard watches in your daily life?
The thing I enjoy most is positive feedback from customers, to be honest. Especially when they connect with the story of the brand. Other than that it's being able to give them as gifts to friends and loved ones during special times in our lives. My dad loves the company just as much as me and us being able to talk every day and connect over this is the best gift I could have ever received in my life. The guy is my hero so making him proud means a lot to me.
The market share of smartwatches is growing day by day. What could you say about the future of this competition?
This is the most important thing I feel I could say on this issue and I hope people take notice. Smart Watches won't kill the watch industry... the thing that is going to destroy the watch industry is the lack of integrity companies now have to simply inflate prices and then sell in volume "discounts" and destroy their brands. The internet has brought with it competition and that competition is forcing everyone to drop prices in a panic to compete with one another but the truth is each watch is unique... each watch will have it's appeal to someone and that you have to maintain a brand and meaning if you want to survive.
I got caught up in this whole idea for a bit too and honestly, I took a step back and said to myself "I made this for my dad and I am not going to devalue it and what I mean to me simply to try and sell more". I rather make less watches, sell less watches but sell high-quality unique watches that I work incredibly hard on.
Social media platform are new showcases for designer brands. What do you think about the power of social media on buyers' decisions?
It's eyes on the product. Of course, it helps. When people look up to someone and they see them wearing something they like it influences them to get it. It's been that way long before social media with celebrities on TV. It's not much different it's just happening on a much larger scale.
How can our readers follow Égard Watch Company?
We are on Instagram @egardwatchco and our website is www.egardwatches.com
How can our readers buy Égard watches?
They can come to www.egardwatches.com and check out our collection!
What is next for you?
We just signed with an amazing travel distributor which is exciting and we are developing a Swiss made collection that I mentioned previously. We are also launching a women's line that is incredibly affordable and called "The Seventy" which I absolutely love!
Thank you Ilan for your time.