Q&A with Wes Knight cofounder of Erroyl
Erroyl is a new Australian watch brand that made quite a splash on Kickstarter with their debut collection, the E30 Heritage (see our hands-on review of the Erroyl E30 Herritage White here). I was curious to learn more about the background of the brand, what is their source of inspiration and what are their plans for the future.
Tell me a bit about yourself, how did you got into watches?
I have always been an avid fan and collector of watches. My first serious watch was the Seiko Kinetic in the mid-90s. I was fascinated at the time with how the watch worked without a battery. A silly thought in hindsight but for someone who grew up when the digitial watch boom was at its peak the thought of a watch running of kinetic energy fascinated me. This is how my fascination with mechanical watches began.
Is Erroyl a one man show or you are a team? If you are a team, could you please tell me a bit about your cofounders/employees?
ERROYL is a small team of five. We started as three, the business type (Wes), the designer (Michael) and the logistics guy (Brad). We all have a fascination with watches and with the barriers to entry coming down thanks to the access to manufacturers through the internet and more ready access to capital through crowdfunding sites we decided to follow a dream and see where it takes us.
We have added two along the way, our designer and videographer (James) and our social media guy (Gerard). We are all focused on giving ourselves the best chance possible to make ERROYL a success.
What made you decide to found your own watch company?
Personally, I have always wanted to own and operate a business. Most people I have met would love to be their own boss.
Starting a watch business seemed a logical thing to do given my interest in watches. When Michael, Brad and I got together and started chatting about the idea all the cards fell into place and ERROYL is the end result.
In proceeding we realised the watch industry has so many wonderful and inventive companies. You are always racked with doubt on how you can possibly compare and compete with these fine companies but in the end we thought nothing ventured nothing gained.
What are the watch brands that you consider as a reference for Erroyl?
I have always liked dress watches, not that diver, aviation and sports watches are not inspiring but I like the refined elegance of a classic dress watch. I like the understated appeal of a nice watch and what this says about the owner.
I have a partcular interest in the whole IWC package. They bring so much to the industry from marketing, design, innovation and just sheer class.
I have a fascination with the Glashütte region and some of the amazing watches coming out of this region. Everyone know’s Swiss made but I think there is so much to appreciate about fine German watchmaking. Particular brands that inspire me is the understated elegance of Nomos and Stowa. They know exactly what they are and they are great at it.
Another source of inspiration is Christopher Ward, where they have gone in the last decade is quite remarkable. If we could get anywhere near where they are then it would exceed any expectations we have.
From the moment you had the idea of a watch company to the day when you shipped out the first watch to your first customer, what were the biggest challenges you had to overcome? What did you learn on the way?
Starting a watch company has been a huge learning experience for our team. It is extremely time consuming to bring a watch company to market. We spared little expense in pulling it all together, from watch production, packaging and setting up the right ingredients to make ERROYL a registered Australian company.
The Kickstarter period was particularly challenging, not so much on the admin side but the doubts on how our Heritage Collection would be viewed and received. It was a roller coaster wondering if we would be funded and if our design and pricing was appealing.
We have certainly learnt a great deal along the way and we hope to continue to learn further as we embark on this venture.
What is next for Erroyl?
We have two to three collections in the pipeline. Our second collection will be released in the second half of 2015. We have been conscious not to rush our next collection as we want to make sure we get our first collection off the ground first and focus on meeting customers expectations and not getting distracted as we start our business.
We thought if we jump into another collection straight after our first release we might not be able to do justice to our next release and that we would b distracted from executing our first release as effectively as we planned.
That said, we do have a fourth watch being released in the Heritage Collection, the Heritage Royal 300. It is a limited edition watch that sports a striking blue dial and stainless steel strap and custom designed stainless steel case back. Each Heritage Royal 300 will be individually numbered and it will come in a wooden box. We will make this available for pre-order in late March via www.erroyl.com and ship in June.
Where would you like Erroyl to be in ten years from now?
We hope to still be around and have carved out a niche within the global watch industry. We don’t have world domination on our list, though that would be nice, rather we want to bring well priced refined and elegant timepieces to the market.
I guess all budding watch companies aspire to develop an in-house movement, we are no different in this desire. We know this is totally beyond us at the moment but this would be our dream.
We also hope to continue to draw attention to some of the great watch companies coming out of Australia through our watches. We have some wonderful companies here including Melbourne Watch Company, Bausele and Haigh and Hastings and rather than compete with these we see ourselves and complimenting the other companies and drawing attention to the innovation here in Australia.
I hope that your readers come along on this journey with us.