If you happen to like well designed, extremely uncommon watches with a Scandi vibe, you’re in luck. Anders Brandt, a co-founder of Danish model Arcanaut, sat down with Rob Nudds to elucidate the pondering behind one of the vital culturally fascinating watches on the market.
Rob Nudds: Hello Anders, thanks for sitting down with us at Fratellowatches.com.
Are you able to inform us the place your watchmaking journey started? Does it run in your loved ones? Have been you uncovered to it from a younger age? Did you fall into the commerce by chance?
Anders Brandt: Nicely, I stumbled into all of this by pure accident. I can’t brag about my nice grandfather leaving me a Trench watch from the warfare or beginning to gather watches on the age of ten – I simply kinda turned a model proprietor in a single day by chance.
Arcanaut watches began once I met Simon, my co-founder, at a bar in Copenhagen. We kinda simply stumbled into one another one night once I overheard him bragging about his Breitling Navitimer, to which I jokingly shouted throughout the room one thing like: “However you can’t see what the freaking time it’s!”
…my journey began from a spot of ardour for design…
And from there we spiraled into a really spirited dialogue about watches and design that lasted till the solar got here up. Throughout this dialog, we fell in love with the concept of making a very Nordic watch, not simply visually but in addition in having this genuine method to what a Scandinavian watch ought to really feel like.
So my journey began from a spot of ardour for design, which was tempered by Simon’s ardour for watches and vice versa — the fusion of those passions ended up changing into the inspiration of what’s now Arcanaut watches.
RN: What impressed you to start out your individual model?
AB: The idea of Arcanaut comes from this easy concept, or query, that Simon and I requested ourselves after we began out: “How would a very Nordic watch feel and look?”
So, then you definately gotta ask your self, “What makes one thing really Nordic?” – what’s it that really offers you that Scandinavian feel and look?
When individuals as we speak take into consideration Danish or Scandinavian design, most will take into consideration that modern minimalist look – however that’s too lazy. Anybody could make one thing minimalistic if type trumps operate at each step. The reality is that making one thing “minimalistic” is just not what makes one thing Nordic. In my thoughts, Scandinavian design is all about creating your individual guidelines, with a really functionalist method in thoughts. You must take into consideration what the function this “factor” you are attempting to design has, and the way it interacts with individuals; what offers it goal? Once you take a look at a watch from this angle, it was actually quite simple to us:
The watch wants to inform time successfully, be comfy to put on, and look good however not be intrusive.
RN: As a (comparatively) new model proprietor you should be a busy man. What does your typical day seem like?
AB: Nicely, daily is totally different. And my every day rhythm may be fairly erratic – typically I keep up late working after which sleep in and different occasions I’m an early chicken. I’m at my finest once I get a shiny concept, and people bastards have a wierd behavior of arriving unannounced…
However principally my day will include me combing by way of emails and Instagram within the morning, then leaping on my bike to go see producers round city, after which have lots of on-line conferences with design work in between.
RN: Do you sleep nicely?
AB: Haha, good query. Truly, I often sleep like a child. I’m one in every of these individuals who can sleep by way of a bombing raid.
However I’ve positively had sleepless nights over time. One thing you want to learn about Arcanaut is that we design and pay for every part ourselves — so if one thing goes improper, there’s no one else guilty or remedy our issues.
…it makes success all of the sweeter.
So yeah, typically I sleep like a child, and different occasions my thoughts is working time beyond regulation to attempt to remedy some bizarre downside that I’ve by no means confronted earlier than. That’s what I actually love about being an entrepreneur — having pores and skin within the recreation. I’ve tried working with issues that had little fast influence for me negatively or positively.
And I respect individuals’s dedication to their work even whether it is “boring”, so to talk. However I actually get a kick out of being chargeable for failures and fixing them — it makes success all of the sweeter. I believe you be taught much more that means in comparison with being just a little gear in a really large clock, so to talk.
Rob: How do you handle to stay engaged with the creating tendencies of the watchmaking business whereas attempting to blae your individual path? Do you assume it will be important (or important) for model founders to keep watch over their environment and opponents or do you imagine that may affect your course negatively?
AB: I as soon as heard that Sergio Leone by no means watched a Western film in his life earlier than making The Good the Dangerous and the Ugly. And as we speak, if you concentrate on it, there’s actually nothing extra iconic to the Western film style than seeing a squinty-eyed Clint Eastwood smoking a cigarillo in a close-up shot.
…I like being a trailblazer…
I believe it’s essential to understand that you simply don’t want to take a look at what everyone else is doing to achieve success in a area. Particularly in case you are creating one thing like a watch, the place tendencies and different peoples’ opinions simply find yourself hampering your individual imaginative and prescient. Being the perfect at doing what everyone else is doing is each honorable and really worthwhile, however I like being a trailblazer — going the place the map is clean and trusting your intuition and expertise.
As a result of we’re so very restricted with assets, we additionally must be very inventive about approaching every part from design, manufacturing to advertising and marketing – we actually don’t have the posh of copying what everyone else is doing. And for those who take a look at historical past within the broadest sense, probably the most spectacular successes have come from individuals with constrained assets having to assume for themselves – from Alexander the Nice to George Lucas. However after all, it’s fairly a bet, and that doesn’t attraction to everybody.
RN: What features of horology attraction to you probably the most? Are you extra within the technical facet of issues, the aesthetic, the philosophical, or one thing else?
AB: I’m positively extra thinking about design and aesthetics than I’m on the technical facet of issues. I don’t actually get excited by overly difficult and technical fluff. Once you take a look at mechanical watches, there’s simply not a lot you are able to do technically higher. You possibly can after all, preserve including Tourbillions or insane problems, nevertheless it’s not prefer it’s going to make the expertise of the watch means higher.
What I get enthusiastic about is taking small neglected issues and making delicate tweaks that enhance the expertise considerably.
This may be something from doing one thing totally different with the straps to extend carrying consolation or utilizing a brand new materials that will increase legibility at night time. For me, that’s actually the place all of the potential lies – it’s all within the particulars that everyone else forgets as a result of they’re so caught up in attempting to impress one another.
RN: What does Arcanaut provide that different manufacturers on this aggressive worth level can’t? Why ought to somebody put money into an Arcanaut watch?
AB: I believe individuals who purchase our watches expertise lots of worth from all of the underplayed layers to the watch design. Carrying one in every of our watches is kinda this intricate expertise that you simply discover little by little. Very downplayed and delicate at first look. However then up shut, every part from the legible dial, the sq. crown, to the texture of the curved and ergonomic form of the case – to how the finishes work together with the sunshine within the room – creates this multifaceted expertise that’s very distinctive whereas nonetheless not being in your face.
…I would like individuals to expertise our watches.
It’s virtually like one in every of these dishes you will get at a elaborate restaurant, the place what you see in your plate appears quite simple at first. Nonetheless, then if you chew into it, it has all these totally different textures and taste profiles that blow your thoughts — and that’s exactly how I would like individuals to expertise our watches. So in case you are into one thing very understated but distinct and likewise need wonderful high quality and craftsmanship, I don’t assume there are some other manufacturers in the identical worth vary that ship the identical sort of expertise.
RN: When was the final time you discovered one thing new about horology?
AB: Don’t know if it’s about horology per se, however over the previous few months, I’ve discovered that each a part of a watch that may be manufactured in Switzerland (apart from perhaps the motion) may be manufactured simply as nicely and even higher in Denmark; you simply must be very inventive about the way you design and plan out your manufacturing course of.
One of many main issues we now have been attempting to unravel since we launched the ARC 1 was that every one the Swiss producers wished us to order a whole bunch of elements earlier than eager to work additional with us. Swiss watchmaking is generally a numbers recreation, and most producers don’t actually wish to hassle with little gnats like us. The entire system is constructed round making massive portions of the identical watch time and again, which is simply not what we wish to do.
So, that actually solely left us with two choices: Both attempt to get a big funding to pay the Swiss, additionally working the danger of compromising our personal imaginative and prescient for the model, or attempt to provide you with methods during which we might make every part in small portions again house in Denmark. We selected the latter, which have turned out to repay. Take the hands-on our subsequent watch for instance; as an alternative of the standard methodology of stamping the palms out of brass, which requires a big preliminary funding, we discovered a solution to minimize the palms out of metal in two elements: One normal and one customized half, after which fuse them collectively later when we have to.
…doing issues the Scandinavian means.
This methodology could be a really pricey solution to make the palms if we wanted to make 1000’s of watches every year, however the truth of the matter is that we might quite make small portions and at all times have the chance to provide you with new designs: Flexibility is vital for us.
And the humorous factor is that the one motive we now have entry to this kind of methodology is that Denmark has the most important listening to help business, on the planet, with plenty of smaller manufactures making extraordinarily small elements. So making the most of that’s one instance of doing issues the Scandinavian means. We ARE continuously attempting to reinvent the wheel, however we do one wheel at a time so we are able to learn the way to make it higher.
RN: Which classes you’ve little question discovered since beginning this journey have caught with you probably the most?
AB: Don’t attempt to make your self into one thing you aren’t. Firstly of all this, we, like many different new manufacturers, tried to painting this posh “We’re Swiss Made” identification, which is simply not who we’re. I come from the Danish countryside of Jutland, which is as removed from Geneva’s clear streets as humanly attainable. I believe it’s type of cliché to say that you want to be true to your self, however that’s as a result of it’s so rattling laborious for us people to be – in any case we’re no totally different from monkeys with the fundamental intuition to repeat what we see. The reality is, we’re not Swiss and we’re not sorry.
RN: What was the worst expertise(s) you’ve had to this point in watchmaking?
AB: Again in 2018, proper earlier than Christmas, I used to be in Geneva to choose up the primary batch of ARC 1 watches that had been to be delivered to clients who wished to present them away for Christmas presents. I don’t wish to go an excessive amount of into particulars as a result of I don’t wish to choose on one in every of our former enterprise companions, however the story ends with me having to name all the purchasers from my Airbnb and inform them that we wouldn’t be capable of ship the watches earlier than Christmas anyway.
…probably the most valuable factor you’ve gotten is your phrase…
Sitting alone in an condo through the holidays to attend for a batch of watches that didn’t make it was the worst expertise I’ve had to this point. I hate not with the ability to make good on my phrase — in any case, probably the most valuable factor you’ve gotten is your phrase, and if individuals don’t belief it, you’re not likely price a lot.
RN: And the perfect?
AB: At any time when someone from Denmark orders a watch, we attempt to ship the watch personally. There’s actually no higher feeling than seeing someone expertise one thing that you’ve got designed and made your self, getting to place your watch on their wrist for the primary time is a incredible feeling.
RN: What sort of watch will get you excited? As you might know on Fratellowatches.com, we’re type of obsessive about Speedmasters. Is there a mannequin or a model that has the identical impact on you?
AB: Humorous sufficient, there are literally no different watch fashions that get me extra excited than Omega Speedmasters. For me, it’s the right mix of story, performance, and understated magnificence – It’s not in any means pretentious or attempting to be one thing it’s not – it’s only a rattling tremendous watch.
RN: What are you carrying proper now?
AB: Proper now I’m really carrying one in every of our personal prototypes. It’s an ARC 1 DLC or “D’ARC” as we name it.
RN: Which dwelling watchmaker would you most prefer to work with and why?
AB: Powerful query, so many nice individuals to select from! However I believe I must go together with Maximilian from MB&F. There’s simply one thing so avant-garde and funky about every part the fellows at MB&F do, not solely might I in all probability be taught rather a lot about design, however furthermore be taught rather a lot about watchmaking by working with him.
RN: Has your curiosity in watchmaking modified you as an individual? Does it make you take a look at issues another way?
AB: I’ve been pondering rather a lot about how my kind of philosophical outlook on the world has modified with my journey into watchmaking. From this very rational and fairly somber means of life to a extra appreciative means of life.
It doesn’t make any sense from a logical standpoint.
Mechanical watches are fairly unusual if you concentrate on it. If you happen to had been a Martian visiting earth, you’ll discover it extremely unusual to see individuals strolling round with these technologically out of date machines on their wrists. It doesn’t make any sense from a logical standpoint.
There are this stuff that maintain us collectively, a type of glue if you’ll: Artwork, traditions, and love – actually don’t make lots of logical sense, nevertheless it’s what retains us collectively and makes us human.
Watches are actually this extremely subtle means of speaking concerning the climate. I actually love the truth that I may be sitting in an airport and converse passionately with a complete stranger as a result of he’s carrying a particular watch that I discover.
And I believe earlier than this, I actually had this frigid and calculating view of the world, the place issues that didn’t have fast tangible worth, didn’t have worth in any respect.
Now I see that the perfect issues in life, what holds the world collectively, are all of the issues that don’t actually make rational sense – however make lots of emotional sense – amongst this stuff are watches.
RN: What’s subsequent for Arcanaut?
AB: Proper now we’re taking the time to experiment with new supplies, design, and mess around with totally different concepts for our subsequent mannequin. We’re in no rush and actually wish to ship one thing unimaginable and completely sudden to our clients.
…it’s simply a lot simpler to make nice issues when it’s made in your yard.
Sooner or later, we’re going to manufacture and assemble virtually each a part of the watch in Denmark. This isn’t as a result of we expect there’s something improper with making issues in Switzerland, or us simply eager to model our watches nationalistically with “Made in Denmark” — nevertheless it’s actually from a extra sensible standpoint: it’s simply a lot simpler to make nice issues when it’s made in your yard. If I’ve a brand new concept and I wish to check out, I can soar on my bike and go to a neighborhood producer, slide a beer throughout the desk, and get issues finished in a few hours — that’s innovation for ya!
And final however not least, we just lately welcomed a brand new member of the Arcanaut tribe — our longtime pal and enterprise companion, James Thompson from Black Badger is now a part-owner of Arcanaut. This can be a main push for us, creating watches in new exiting supplies and experimenting rather a lot with design and manufacturing, which you will know is James’ specialty. So the longer term seems to be shiny, proper now we’re simply taking the time to make sure we might be delivering one thing spectacular for the following mannequin.
This interview was performed between Rob Nudds of Fratello and Anders Brandt of Arcanaut on October 16th, 2020. Be taught extra about Arcanaut right here.