Connecting to watch designers and manufacturers

As you will know by now if you have read any of my previous posts, I love the crowd and am passionate about connecting with people all over the world to bring Culem to life.  

So, it may come as no surprise that I turned to the crowd for watch designers and manufacturers

I conceptualised the basic design idea in my journal on 25th October 2017:

“I have a goal to create beautiful watches that constantly inspire travel and can be used practically when travelling in different time zones around the world.

My thought at this stage is to start with a GMT (dual world time) watch.  A GMT has an hour, minute and second hands displaying the local time. Additionally, it has a fourth 24 hours hand showing the second time zone in another part of the world.  

The essence of a GMT inspires travelling always, even when its owner is not travelling.  Travelling is always on top of their mind when they glance at their GMT.

Additionally, the dials will display the beauty of the world as a masterpiece in all of its glory……..”

(Then, I continued to write more design details, but I will cover this in a later post.)

Connecting with watch designers

I started to look for watch designers on Google and and reached out to about 10 of them.  They all had a fantastic portfolio and I contacted them directly.

7 responded and 3 did not.  I did not chase the other 3, but just wanted to see what could happen with those that responded.  I had a voice or video call with each of them and all of them seemed very passionate about their work, which I admire.

I met 3 of the designers in person – 1 in the UK and 2 in Switzerland.  I was impressed with all of them and I decided to work with one of them for my first collection based on his creativity and previous accomplishments.


However, I sat on the decision for a while because I was not 100% sure. During that time, I realised that I needed to investigate and research a bit more.  

So, fortunately, I hesitated on telling the designer that he had been awarded the project and what happened next took me by surprise….

Connecting with Swiss watch manufacturers

I jumped onto Google and searched for Swiss watch manufacturers and found several that I was interested in speaking to about their services.  

For me, Swiss Made is the ultimate ideal in terms of watchmaking and I could not wait to meet them and learn more about private label watch manufacturing.  

Before I knew it, I was on a plane to Switzerland and met two manufacturers in person.  Both meetings went very well, but it was an easy decision in more ways than one.

From the first moment I met Christine Le Marquand at Walca’s office in Biel/Bienne in Switzerland, I made my decision to work with her and her company.  Sometimes, there are moments when you just know, and this was one of those moments.

After consuming mountains of Swiss chocolate and drinking lots of coffee during our meeting, we discussed my manufacturing requirements and the various services Walca provide including:  watch design, technical design, prototyping and of course manufacturing. In fact, they provide a complete suite of end to end services for brands like Culem.

On top of this, we both enjoyed our meeting and discovered that we share the same passions for watches and travel.  

Christine casually mentioned at the end of our meeting that she wanted to introduce me to Walca’s senior watch designer, Damien Ummel.  She said that she enjoyed seeing my passion and that Damien is the same.

The icing on the cake

I did not expect to meet another watch designer, yet it is with pleasure that I did!

Again, from the first moment speaking to Damien, I knew that I wanted to work with him.   We had an immediate connection and were completely on the same wavelength. On top of that, his talent, passion and creativity spoke louder than words.

I wanted him to turn my creative vision for the Culem brand and watches into the ultimate reality.

I could not believe it.  

Why is it sometimes that when we are not looking for something, we find something bigger than we ever expected!?!

I believe that the power of two or more connected minds is greatness (I will discuss this in a later post.)

My Christmas came early

Finding Christine and Damien were my Christmas gifts this year (just 11 months earlier than Christmas) and we will get to unwrap Culem watches to the world in April 2019.

It’s been a magical year – Merry Christmas!

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Thank you for reading.  M.

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