Here’s an interview that Pinion founder, Piers Berry conducted with watch forum, Timezone in 2014.
Hello Piers, thanks for taking the time to speak to Timezone today
It’s my pleasure. I’m a fan of your site, having perused the various fora over the past decade or so, and it’s great to be able to introduce myself and my brand to your members today.
Can you give Timezone some information regarding your background and how you came to start your own watch brand
I’m a digital designer by trade. I’ve spent the last twenty years designing web applications, web sites, and over the last ten years, I’ve had my own company and worked primarily in the film industry. Through this company, I’ve designed apps for over 40 feature films – the last app I did was for Despicable Me 2 which had over a million downloads in the first week.
The scale of my digital work made me appreciate more and more the mechanical objects in life, such as that which is my passion – mechanical wristwatches. It was a fairly easy decision to make my passion my next business venture!
I adore military style, very legible, very clean watches – I’m not a chronograph man, I prefer the classic three handed look, and it’s that that has dictated the look of my watch.
How long had you harboured the desire to produce your own watch?
I’ve been a fan of watches for decades, and active on a number of watch fora out there on the web for about the same amount of time. I’d been looking at designing a watch for the past year, and it wasn’t until this year that I just went for it. I started off by looking at the branding, the name of the company. In my mind I knew that it needed to have an association with watchmaking, something catchy, punchy, something I would put on the dial.
It’s taken me over a year to go from designing to prototyping to the finished product. I’ve done every aspect of the design from the watch itself, the branding, the visuals, the packaging, the straps – I’m not a watchmaker of sorts, I’m obviously more on the design side of things.
Firstly, the watch is called the Axis. The movement we are using is ETA’s excellent and dependable 2824-2 – I chose this primarily for ease of service (which will be carried out here in the UK) and its fabulous reliability. The dial is quite low in the case, because I wanted to create an almost vintage dive watch look to the dial, to give it nice depth.
While the case is only 42mm, the small bezel gives emphasis to the size of the watch, making it look nice and substantial, and it wears much bigger than the raw stats’ would suggest, and the lug width is 22mm which allows a wide variety of strap options for owners to choose from. I’ve brought pre-production prototypes here with me today which aren’t anywhere near the final production quality owners will see. Also, I’m probably going to increase the size of the crown by around 1mm – from 6mm to 7mm – to give it a little bit more “oomph”.
The MotionWorks, which is our assembly and service facility – set up at the same time as Pinion – is based in England. The parts are all Swiss made, but tested and assembled here. For example, you see the DLC coated, sandblasted case with carbon fibre dial: that’s all done here in the UK, and we’ve also got a well known custom UK strap maker constructing our straps.
We have a bronze case that we expect to be a big seller, and we have plain stainless steel without the DLC coating. I have no plans to coat the crown on the black DLC model – I actually like the contrast, I prefer to have something that compliments the hands. I love the fact that you can dress up a watch, put a new strap on it and give it a different personality. Also, the fact that different case materials and finishes affect how a watch looks excites me, which is why we’re offering the different finishes.
I’m initially going to sell them direct through the website. The watches will be ready in January, and I’ll have a two week pre-order before we go live so to speak. Potentially, the first 100 serial numbers will be reserved to prospective owners who request them.
The stainless steel model will retail for £1950 ($2285), the DLC Black £2150 ($3095), our Bronze model, £2300 ($3370).
We have a US distributor already on board, and we’re looking at three or four key retailers here in the UK whom we will launch the brand with over the next six months – there are a lot of people out there who won’t pay £2000 for a watch on-line from a new company they’ve never heard of with a watch they’ve never tried on. So with the retail arrangements we’re looking to forge, we’re hoping to build the brand with the bonus of exposure such an arrangement gives.
Thank you for your time today Piers and best of luck with the future.