The official wristwatch was first made in 1812 only to fit the wrist of the Queen of Naples. Well, we did have watches before during the 1570s which were called The Arm Watches. According to history, wristwatches were primarily made for women and were also worn by them. The men had Pocket Watches.
In the 1880s the men in the military started wearing wristwatches and since then they have been really popular. It is always said that men love wristwatches. Well, even women like them, don’t we?
Watches are big business these days. The last few years have been an extraordinary journey for a few brands and one such brand is Wode. Reet Sawhney, who has been a creative writer for many brands like TreSemme and Tata Motors along with Yankee Chhabra, a dentist, and an Ad man started Wode. Reet and Yankee firmly believe that numbing the senses with overconsumption needs to be replaced with a thoughtful minimalist lifestyle. Both their love for minimalism, literature, dark humor, and sustainability is now represented through a truly timeless medium, the humble wristwatch. I caught up with Reet as Yankee was a little busy and I here share some interesting excerpts.
What is Wode?
A minimalist lifestyle brand with a sustainable outlook.
What is the name, Wode?
Wode is an ode to Sir P.G. Wodehouse. The brand derives inspiration from arts, culture, and the literary world which is evident through the watch names, the brand language and packaging. The design language too is a derivative of classical watch designs for a contemporary world. And you’d agree that there is no one quite as timeless in English literature as Wodehouse.
What was the disappointment that led you to start Wode?
Simply put, the obsession of mass-premium brands with loud designs, bulkiness, and excessive features. While they have their set of own audiences and admirers, there were less than a handful of brands catering to the rest of us. The ones looking for a humble and elegant timepiece to adorn our wrists and guide us through the time of the day. But thankfully for us, the disappointment soon turned into excitement.
From being a creator at the advertising agencies to being the founder of Wode, tell us your journey. I’m sure it is really exciting.
Advertising has been a wonderful training ground and helped us cultivate out-of-the-box thinking. So, while we were busy shaping global brands in our humble ways, we thought there is an exciting opportunity we can explore with Wode. Moreover, the consumer insights and human behavior we pick from advertising does inform Wode in ways more than one. So, in a sense, it all comes together.
Your partner is a dentist. That’s a little unusual. Tell me more.
Not as unusual as his name! He was on his way to post-graduation in oral and maxillofacial surgery when an opportunity with Lowe Lintas presented itself. And being a guy who prefers ‘why not’ to ‘why’, he decided to jump aboard. But soon realized that creating brands as opposed to extracting molars suited him a lot better.
Why minimalism? Because it is a trend now?
To consume only as much as you need is our philosophy. The excessive culture is neither uplifting for people nor for the environment. So, it is more of a belief than a trend or fad for us.
Is it true that keeping a watch running is the best way to preserve it?
Absolutely, the advantage of a Japanese quartz watch, as opposed to mechanical watches, is the fact that it requires very little or no upkeep. Just replace the battery and off you go.
Does Wode come with a warranty?
Yes, we provide a 1-year warranty on all timepieces.
How is the color selection done?
We love pastels with a hint of metal. Bearing in mind the Indian skin tones when picking preferences. Throughout the process, the idea is to keep something muted on your wrist that does not scream for attention. But, making sure it is elegant and a treat for your eyes every time you glance at it from the corner of your eye.
What drives you when you embark upon the creation of a watch?
The idea of dealing in time is a fascinating one. The fact that we are working with one of the dimensions keeps us ticking.
What do you make in-house?
The design of the watch is done in-house in Mumbai before we start sourcing everything else. We collaborate with various designers, art directors, and 3D artists to achieve the same.
What is your take on the evolution of independent watchmaking?
It has been very slow and has a long way to go in our country. There are only a handful of independent watch brands in the country as opposed to the western world, and they’re still relatively very small. The watch industry is still awaiting that burst of innovation and new-age design, much like the fashion world has achieved.
What is the main challenge facing the industry?
The industry is facing an onslaught from the wearables market. There is a certain section of people who are in excited by gadgets and would love to embrace smartwatches. Alternatively, many find technology a bit too intrusive. The last thing they want is to charge another gadget every day and go around with notifications on their wrists. So yes, the tech world has shaken up the watch industry but our belief is that there is room for both, even in the times to come.
You can buy their beautiful watches on https://wodestudio.com/