Piano Chow On The Independents Place In The Industry And The Men Who Buy Them
In our Insiders series, we invite our friends from the world of independent watchmaking to share their perspectives on the issues that matter most to them.
Piano Chow is founder of The Lavish Attic, one of the few brick and mortar stores available to explore and purchase Independents. With the feeling of a concept store, The Lavish Attic is situated in the historic Pedder Building in Hong Kong, and is decked up with sofas and plants for a comfortable atmosphere. The store houses many SKOLORR friends, including Manufacture Royale, Speake-Marin and Urwerk.
With a wealth of experience in the watchmaking world and a direct line of contact with independent watch aficionados, Piano is the perfect insider to shed light on the intricate nature of these incredible brands, and the men who buy them.
PIANO CHOW: While major watchmaking brands rely on history and tradition, the work of the independents is to create trends and set new standards of craftsmanship and innovation. Across the decade and a half I have spent working in the watch industry, I have watched the gradual diminishing of high-quality, luxury craftsmanship and the growing demand for bespoke. As new technology emerges, big brands are changing with the market, but the Independents are sticking to their roots, evolving their core values with their clients. Although the Independents production volume is no match compared to big brands, Luxury should be niche with unorthodox design and professional craftsmanship, exclusive and limited in quality.
Those who buy from the Independents don’t want to be force fed by the market what everyone wants, they understand what they want; their confidence and personal tastes are clear and refined so they no longer look for mass social recognition. In fact, at The Lavish Attic, many of our customers have been collecting watches for years and have grown though the stage of traditional brands, such as Rolex and Panerai, and are now looking for something different. Finally, they turn to independents for their passions, innovations, craftsmanship and most importantly uniqueness.
While big name brands’ history and second-hand values floods the mass market, independents guarantee creativity and personality.
With many independent watchmakers, it is necessary for the buyer to actively seek out the watchmaker themselves. Both in purchasing but also in terms of discovery; independent brands don’t typically invest in marketing or even understand the value of it, the entirety of their energies go into the incredible craftsmanship for which they are known.
Platforms like The Lavish Attic, and SKOLORR, allow for potential buyers or watch enthusiasts to discover these under-the-radar brands and learn about them from people who have genuine relationships with the makers. It’s quite special.
Our clients come from all walks of life, age is not a factor but rather mentality. They believe material goods are ultimately for cheering up lives. They believe certain craftsmanship is worth waiting for and want to understand the history, the company, the vision the stories behind each brand. Investment value is definitely not their first priority; our clients tend to be pioneers rather than followers. It’s these clients which shape and define the fabrication of our core mission and goal.