Check out our exclusive interview with the Father of Maven----Nathan Lo, who speaks about his passion, work and views.
What drove you to start your own watch business ?
My parents used to bring me to watch manufacturers when I was a kid and I was deeply influenced by them. This initiated me into the delicate mechanism of clock and watchmaking as the second generation of watchmakers in the family.
I want to build a brand that incorporates the elements of traditions, crafts, cool and luxe design and still appeals to the mass. And to carry on my family legacy in watchmaking by producing supreme quality timepieces with a contemporary edge.
How did you start it from scratch ?
I have spent three years working in a watchmaking company and ecommerce internship to learn and get equipped during my university life before creating my own brand. To begin with, I have absolutely no budget --- basically empty-handed to start this business and to promote Maven since I graduated last year.
However, I know crowdfunding may be the way to raise money and help me to realize my dream because it allows us to communicate with our customers and makes our backers part of the development process. That is why I chose this route and I knew I made the right decision when the indiegogo campaign succeeded, reaching 117% in the first 24 hours.
“I want to promote traditional craftsmanship to the new generation”
What makes Maven different from the rest?
Maven has a distinctive personality as our watches are minimalist, aesthetic, yet affordable and stylized in many ways. Our timepieces feature only high-end components and materials to withstand time, and act as delicate accompaniments in your everyday journey. The minutiae of the craft is what matters-- I want people to experience the wonderful details that go into the watches. I want to promote traditional craftsmanship to the new generation.
Another cool thing would be our great storytelling - how we weave the strands of urbanity and nature of our homeland together to build an intricate, poetic cobweb of modern tale. These become the essence from our products and help to bring life to our beautiful creations.
Why did you use marble in your designs?
The veins of marble vary and each pattern is spectacular. Just like the venations of leaves, rings of wood and swirls of water, marble veins evolve through time and life. We are intrigued by this story and power of nature and wish to include this natural creation as the quintessence of our design. The delicate streaks also mirror our minimalist ideology.
“It is often the details that really bring out the soul of an outfit or product.”
What do you think people look for when choosing timepieces – fashion or function? What kind of timepiece would you consider is in vogue now?
I think many brands are still finding its stride between fashion and function yet the two things not necessarily mutually exclusive. To me it is often the details that really bring out the soul of an outfit or product. And one of the most time-tested ways is an excellent watch.
Minimalist and handmade watches are the current trend. Many people are yearning for handmade goods in recent years and a lot of local brands stresses on aesthetic handcrafted products---as they believe, like we do, the importance of quality over quantity.
People often look for timepieces that are aesthetic, durable, elegant and personalized for everyday use. All-in-one-go. And these concepts run deep in the veins of Maven’s timepieces. Our watches look sleek and feel solid on wrists. They could be your everyday companion for many years to come.
“We hope to build classic timepieces that are defined by authenticity and timelessness”
Could you comment on the current watch industry in Hong Kong?
Veteran watchmakers in Hong Kong have gradually become a lost generation as the top craftsman are soon to retire and not many youngsters are willing to pursue watchmaking craftsmanship. Many people prefer mainstream manufacturers with prestigious labels than independent watchmakers, as fancy boutique stores seem more attractive than scrubby street stalls.
However, I do believe that there is a way to breakthrough traditions and revive watchmaking as an important part of Hong Kong’s culture. Many people start to acquire different tastes and begin to aspire to craftsmanship. They grow steadily into a niche market and that is something we can work on---that would be our response to the challenge of the new era.
With youthful minds and creative freedom, Maven hopes to honour these venerable watchmakers of the century by making extraordinary timepieces and combining the roles of developing, designing and producing watches. In the face of large corporations and their massive machines, our mavens are taking up a bigger challenge as both the designer and craftsman in the making. We want our wearers to appreciate exclusivity and never compromise on quality. We hope to build classic timepieces that are defined by authenticity and timelessness--which is also the philosophy of Maven.
What does the future hold for Maven?
I wish Maven would be able to grow and develop into a full-fledged lifestyle brand soon with regular updates of related fashion newsletter, a platform for interesting minds to exchange, share ideas and communicate frequently. I am also planning to extend our watchmaking experience to different brands and designers around the world, so you can definitely expect new series and possible collaborative projects in the near future.
What is your favourite spot in Hong Kong?
Kowloon Peak (Fei Ngo Shan). It offers a panoramic view of Victoria Harbour and looks out over Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. This is also where we took our inspiration video to capture the breathtaking beauty of Hong Kong.
“To find your true calling…”
What is your advice to young aspiring people and what are your personal goals?
To find your true calling-- as cliche as it sounds it is ever more crucial to follow your dream and understand what your passion leads you to. Love what you do and everything else will follow. Like the book ‘The Alchemist’ says, everyone has their own Personal Legend and if you want to succeed the whole world conspires in helping you to achieve it. Work hard, put in the extra hours and make it as good as it can be, that way you can strive to carve out your niche.
I really wish to keep traditional craftsmanship alive and to further promote indigenous products from our beloved city, to truly qualify as a ‘craftsman’-- a real ‘maven’. In the meantime, I am still learning about design, products and business to fully enhance and improve my skills. And like all young entrepreneurs, I dreamed of making my own brand and gathering a team of young individuals and designers to add creative insight. Now, I can design, select components, and set prices all by myself!