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So, What Is So Special About The Independents?

A question tackled by Łukasz Doskocz, in his soul-searching article for the venerable online watch magazine Quill & Pad – the point of which he revolves around, interestingly, a fantastic caprese salad. As the editor-in-chief of premium Polish watch publication CH24, Łukasz is a usual suspect on the watch reporting scene and major press trips to Switzerland. By “translating cuisine into horology”, he uses the example of a quaint, family-run Italian restaurant he visited on one of these trips, in which he ate the most amazing truffles and the aforementioned caprese. However, it wasn’t just the great food that made the experience so notable, but that the family who made this food were right there in front of him, serving the food they had made.

Witness Rebecca of Struthers London perform watchmaking surgery at their own atelier

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“It was so special I would wish to visit there one day again. And in much the same way I always look forward to meeting the great independent watch creators. This feeling is precisely what one great watchmaker and close friend once told me when I asked him how he would convince me to buy one of his watches rather than one made by a big brand.

His reply was typical of this genre, “When you buy a big brand, you buy from someone you don’t actually know or who has been gone for a long time. When you buy independent, you actually buy from someone who made that watch with his or her heart, passion, and imagination.”

There is no doubt that once you decide to spend a significant amount of your own money on a mechanical watch, you want it to be special in many ways. You want it to be personal, exclusive, and as close to bespoke as possible.

You also want the quality to be impeccable and handmade like the old days.

Let’s face it: a majority of the watches crafted today have very little in common with the way the old watchmakers worked, bent over their benches with a set of old-school tools and a loupe precisely positioned over one eye.

As much as possible is done by hand: some still manually create drawings, use vintage tools, and maintain quasi-bizarre machinery that often looks strange to the modern eye.

Creativity is another word that sparks my passion for independents.

And creativity is by no means limited to the indies, but let’s be honest here – they do master it best.

While big players stick to the “what sells” formula that often bases upon its so-called brand DNA (whatever that is), the boutique brands and independent makers have made the word “creativity” their collective motto.

The risk is immense and profit might be slim, but the creation process is priceless. They may not be able to put food on the table or a roof over their heads with it, but history books will certainly welcome them with arms wide open.

And for us consumers it’s like buying piece of history while creating it at the same time.

In the end it leaves you – the consumer – with an important choice: would you rather have a hamburger from a faceless chain restaurant or fresh caprese from a proud Italian chef?”

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The excerpts in this article appeared originally on Quill & Pad

Header via TimeOut

Images by Struthers London, Haute Horologerie Journal and Akrivia