How it all came to be...
One day, like most, we were entrenched in conversation over lunch. The shop talk of the day was our work over the past decade supplying the “who’s who” of the Swiss watch industry.
The conversation came to a turning point where we began asking ourselves why we were always outsourcing our creative, business and technical expertise to the benefit of other brands and their product categories.
“Why couldn’t we direct some of our energy and passion for watchmaking into something for ourselves.”
and then it hit us.
“We should be making timepieces for us!”
And making watches for us meant, how we envisioned a modern mechanical watch to look and feel. As designers and manufacturing experts we realized we had the know-how to make this happen, but without a brand to hang our hat on the entire project would bare little significance.
The Name Game
Some of us had ventured down the mystic road of brand building, but for most it was a new experience. Nevertheless we decided to dig our heels in and go for it. One idea was to acquire and revitalize an older brand that had success prior to the Quartz crisis that nearly wiped out the entire Swiss watch industry.
“Would it be possible for us to adopt and adhere to someone else's history and make it our own?” Many had tried and had rarely succeeded so we quickly scrapped that idea and moved onto the next.
It was clear we wanted to have our own name, a name that would tell our story, that we personally identified with and that was of our own creation. After two years and through blending languages, meanings and cultures we managed to come up with a name.
HORA - Latin for time, hour and season
AGE - English for lifetime and epoch
HORAGE - to be pronounced as it is in French. The name pays tribute to the French world of unrivaled luxury and excellence. Another French word that compliments the name is “Orage”, it means thunderstorm, which is an interesting perspective when looking to the future.
During this enduring name discovery we also found a visual and cultural aesthetic that resonated with us. The mosaic styling of the station names found in the New York subway were perfect and guess what… the font is Swiss and called Helvetica.
All in all we are very satisfied with the name. Horage simply reflects who we are; visionaries rooted in a historic industry, individuals with differing cultural backgrounds, connected, global and inspired to add value to humanity within our time here on earth.
Product … a never ending process. Modern, classic & timeless
Early on we had a clear understanding of the products we envisioned for HORAGE. Our vision is to create products that mesh modern, classic and timeless design. Beautiful round watches with a little edginess, true luxurious pieces which stand the test of time and no short lived trends or overly fancy aesthetics. HORAGE should be subtle, but characteristic of the best Swiss luxury watches of our time.
Looking back at these simple yet profound product and design principles they have allowed us to continuously instill our vision and reach our goals.
Completeness - Making our K1 movement
As our name and look began to evolve, our initial design principles began to materialize in the form of our first timepiece named Omnium. Through the development of Omnium we slowly began to realize that for us to become recognized as a true Swiss watchmaker we needed to develop our own movement or face hard times like those reliant on purchasing movements from the Swiss watch giants. To further our pursuit of making a movement the #1 supplier of Swiss movements used its monopolis powers to refuse selling movements to watch brands that were not part of their group of in-house brands and the smaller independent brands that had made a movement were either producing sub-par products or were being snapped up by other luxury powerhouses to ensure long term supply security.
We were not left with many options so we took to the challenge and began design, development and prototyping our own mechanical movement that we named K1. K1 is a mountain considered so technically demanding and dangerous that it’s south east side has only been summited four times. The name of the movement became a fitting metaphor for HORAGE as mastering the art of developing a new movement became our greatest challenge.
Launch - Freeze - Relaunch
Our first watch was launched in 2008, however launching our brand in the midst of a global financial crisis and without guaranteed access to a future supply of movements was not the best timing. In 2010 we decided to make our own movement and in doing so we froze our brand activities and went into hibernation. After 6 years of much sweat, pain and a few tears we were elated that our K1 movement was finally ready to be revealed to the world. With the completion of K1 we re-launched HORAGE with our own K1 movement through a crowdfunding campaign.
Crowd Reborn - Thanks to Kickstarter
When we set out to build HORAGE there was no such thing as crowdfunding. The iPhone had only just been launched and Facebook was only 3 years old at the time. When our K1 movement was ready for the world smartphones, social media and other means of digital communication were now the daily norm and it just made sense to utilize them for the relaunch of HORAGE.
In fact HORAGE is a company that has been shaped by the crowd. We managed to elevate people's understanding of crowdfunding and snub any doubts that a luxury product would find success with this strange mix of social collaboration and financing. But it worked and it has worked for HORAGE 4 times over, with campaigns not only on Kickstarter, but JD-China as well. Two seemingly different worlds, different cultures and new technologies that challenged the traditional ways of brand building. Both Kickstarter and JD-China provided us with many amazing backers that believed in HORAGE and these individuals support reassured us that crowdfunding was the way to relaunch the brand.
10 year anniversary
Today we find ourselves at the doorstep of a very special anniversary. 10 years since we started the K1 movement project and we will again celebrate with the crowd in 2019.
The next 10 years
We have proven that we can make watches and movements to the highest industry standards. To secure our place in the Swiss watchmaking “Hall of Fame” we will continue to work with you the reader and perhaps you might just support us in our ventures by becoming one of the few exclusive owners of a HORAGE timepiece.
Many thanks to the crowd from,
Andi, Tzuyu, Julia, Jonas, Celine and the rest of the team that helped make HORAGE reality.