Powerful players in the watch world
There’s no doubt that the internet has turbocharged the world of business start-ups across the board, but it seems to have proved especially useful to people with aspirations to launch watch brands.
Inevitably not all such start-ups succeed – but one that has enjoyed phenomenal success in a short space of time is UK-based Omologato, set up little more than three years ago by Shami Kalra, a car and motor sport-loving graduate of the London College of Fashion who spent the first 25 years of his career working in corporate design.
In the summer of 2015, however, Kalra shut himself in a room for a few hours and came up with the concept of a watch line that took styling cues from the world of motor racing. The following day he posted his first designs on the ’net and, within hours, had the germ of a successful online business.
Now Omologato is a name that’s widely recognised in both the classic and contemporary areas of the automotive scene, so much so that the brand has attracted something of a cult following.
It offers more than 25 designs inspired by everything from the world’s great circuits to cars and legendary drivers. It makes, for example the official James Hunt chronograph in collaboration with the driver’s son, Freddie, offers a 500-piece Derek Bell chronograph and was working on a design with John Surtees prior to his death last year. That was finished in collaboration with his family, with all profits going to the Henry Surtees Foundation.
Having created watches dedicated to tracks such as Indianapolis and Laguna Seca in America, Omologato has now launched a new model called the Monza that marks its latest collaboration, this time as an official partner of Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale.
Another 500-piece edition, it’s a stainless steel chronograph with smoke-effect case and a distinctive Monza logo with the small seconds counter at the six o’clock position. Inside, there’s a fine, Japanese-made quartz movement while the perforated leather strap is finished in signature Monza blue.
Omologato Monza chronograph, £349. www.omologatowatches.com
Plenty of watches have been inspired by instruments used in cars, ’planes and boats – but it has taken another start-up brand to create a range that really pulls it off. Launched in 2017 by former HSBC banker Francois Moreau and staffed by a clutch of former Rolex and TAG Heuer employees, Reservoir offers a collection of well made and imaginatively designed retrograde watches. Fans of the Mini will appreciate the Longbridge models that replicate the car’s signature speedo.
From £3,500. www.reservoir-watch.com
Montblanc marked its second year as the timing partner of the Goodwood Festival of Speed with the launch of two watches based on existing Timewalker models. The Cappuccino, available from Montblanc boutiques, was created by David Cerrato, the Morgan-loving ex-Tudor designer who heads Montblanc’s watch division. They are available as a three-hand automatic with date or as an automatic chronograph.
£2,345 (three-hand automatic); £4,400 (automatic chronograph). www.montblanc.com