As part of our ‘A Moment With’ segment, this time we are going to interview the founder of Roue Watches. We have reviewed the Roue Watches HDS One and it is one of the best minimalistic watches we’ve ever reviewed. As part of interview with Alex Iervolino, the founder of Roue Watches, we find out what made him start the brand and the successes and difficulties he faced as a new start up.
Who is ROUE watches?
A micro-brand watch studio that creates timepieces inspired by iconic retro styles. We use interesting design ideas from 1960s through 1980s and put them into a modern watch.
Why did you decide to start ROUE watches?
I worked 20 years in finance and finally it was time to do something I like and could have fun. I always loved aesthetics since I was a kid . From Industrial design and Scandinavian furniture to architecture and classic cars. I studied and collect many of them. I aso designed some of my furnitures at my home. I am a great enthusiast and a collector of industrial designers such as Dieter Rams, Hartmut Esslinger, and Richard Sapper. My father was a long time classic car collector, so this universe has been in my life since I was born as well.
I think in a micro-brand watch company I could combine most of this background. I am able to apply my creations running a global small business.
Why the name ROUE?
ROUE means wheel in french. A simple association with our motoring culture.
What makes ROUE watches unique?
I think a watch brand needs to transmit a concept. Either a design, a philosophy or a personality. Our principles are based on few ornaments, just necessary things, legibility. No shinning and mostly matte finishing. We pursue the idea that good design, whenever the era it comes from, has to mix well. You can see that in our straps. Their styles fit in every of our watches. Either the 1980s inspired silicone or the 1960s rally leather strap. They go well in every watch we produce. We love to bring good design details from watches, cars, appliances everything that was beautiful and great, we put them together into our brand.
If I had £150 to spend, why would I choose to buy a ROUE watch instead of, for example, a Rotary Mechanique?
First of all because Rotary Mechanique is for Grandpas. Just a joke but I simply don’t understand comparisons like this. I believe each watch has its own style, message, moment to use. You buy a ROUE because you understand and like its concept. You buy a Rotary because you like their concept. Best of all, both are super affordable brands so you can have a Rotary and a ROUE. For me ROUE is not meant to be your only watch. It is a super quality watch with sapphire crystal, the best straps and best quality movements.
Many people are favouring an automatic movement, why did you use a quartz movement?
Because they are reliable, accurate, cheaper, thinner… An automatic with good quality would cost a lot, especially the chronograph version. This would place the brand on a different niche. Instead of a USD 230 chronograph, it would be a USD 500.
Also, many guys are using low-cost, low quality Seagull movements to call their watches automatic. My Japanese quartz will last much longer. I sell honest quality. I promise you get the best quality for the price.
Starting a new business is hard, but how did you keep yourself motivated and believing that ROUE Watches will be a success?
Kind of a cliché but you need to believe in what you are doing. There are good and bad days and you need survive in this very competitive business bringing something new and interesting. Persistency (other cliché) is also essential.
What was the hardest part / moment in the journey of creating ROUE watches?
I think the moment when you decide that you will make it and you don’t have a single contact to begin is tough. You know nothing. You don’t even have a manufacturer… That was scary but we get surprised how things improve over the time.
Do you think traditional watches are dying and will soon be replaced by smart watches? Even Rolex has entered the smartwatch market!
I believe wrist watches are a fashion accessory. More than before. It is a style object that should reflect your kind of personality, your taste in a world that everybody looks so similar. I also think people are still looking for a traditional watch to avoid all this new technology. It is an escape from the digital world. This trend will last many more years but it will certainly have its cycle.
So this was our interview with Alex Iervolino and we hope you have learned a lot about being a founder of a Startup. Do visit Roue Watches to see their full watch collection and do read the review and watch the unboxing of the HDS One.