Just like other items we adorn, watches also tell people a lot about ourselves. It's a subtle but revealing accessory. The intricate craftsmanship has evolved over time from the beginnings of the 16th century as a mechanical device to the now familiar quartz movement and more recent smartwatch. Brands are steeped in their own history and buying into this means buying into an identity already pre-determined. Vincent Irfah and Florian Fernandez are the founders of Nepto Watches and are looking to turn this idea on its head. Just like the evolution watchmaking has undertaken, the pair are setting out to create watches to compliment our sense of self at a time where individuality is celebrated.
Sublime: Your website describes how you both met and forged a friendship, which then led to this collaboration. Why did you choose to focus on watches in particular?
Vincent Irfah: I come from an engineering background and we decided to focus on watches first of all because it’s a passion of mine, but more importantly because I really like the precision and details that is in designing watches. There’s a huge amount of competition in the watch industry, yet close to all watches follow the same design of having a round face. I really believed that we could bring something fresh and original in design. And that is exactly what we did.
S: There's an emphasis on duality on your website. What is it about the concept of duality that you believe people will resonate with?
VI: We want people to see our capacity of designing different shapes and models. We wanted to go against the norm of only having one shape and just making different colours of the same model. Having the two collections gave us the possibility to work on two unique designs and opened the doors to creativity. We also want people to make the relation between the inspiration coming from both Paris and Berlin, between elegance and extravagance.
S: In an industry which for years have produced watches for each gender, why was it important to make your watches unisex?
VI: We currently live in Berlin and we really want to fight the constraints of gender. Blue/Man, Pink/Girl. This concept is history. We know that people often want to define shapes, style, and size of watches through gender. But we want to go against that. For example, my girlfriend wears a Shield Black Reverso. The smaller models in the collection numéro 1 are not to her taste. And I really like that. I actually really like a large but slim watch on the small wrist of a woman. It’s stylish! An alternative chocie for watches for women is Nordgreen's collection.
S: Where did your love for watches come?
VI: One place in particular that my love for watches came from is a watch store called “Chez Maman” in Paris. When I was 19, I restored a flat nearby to that very store. I really liked their selection of watches. The watches were not too expensive but it was a really striking collection.
S: Identity for many people nowadays is important. What does identity mean to each of you and how is reflected in your brand?
VI: Identity to us is about individuality and this is exactly what our brand is about. We want to offer watches that give people an expression of uniqueness. We are a new brand, but with time we believe our watches will stand out for their shapes and people will be able to immediately recognise 'That’s a Nepto watch'.
S: With sustainability, the environment and a growing consciousness in how we live our day-to-day lives, how does Nepto fit in with this future? What message do you want Nepto to send/stand for?
VI: In terms of sustainability and the environment, we are working on producing our metal case with recyclable stainless steel. We also want to avoid the plastic in our packaging and displays completely and we are soon to have vegan straps in our collection. We can proudly say, NEPTO is a small company with a really low environmental footprint. The biggest way we can all make positive change for the benefit of the environment is to vote for political parties who can make big breakthroughs in environmental laws. That will increase the change every business needs to make. For now, we lead by example.