Interview with Rogier van de Ree, Creator of Pheidippides Watches

Interview with Rogier van de Ree, Creator of Pheidippides Watches - Porthole Image 3

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Interview with Rogier van de Ree, Creator of Pheidippides Watches - Porthole Image 3

  • Hi Rogier, please share with us more about yourself and your background in this industry

Not too long ago I received a nice inheritance, so I could afford some nice timepieces all of a sudden. Wearing them turned me into a true aficionado.

Being an electrical Engineering and Computer Science graduate and professional photographer I have both a technical and a creative background. A general understanding of technology, mechanics and construction helped me to quickly learn the tricks of the trade of developing watches.

Learning from the first design I now make the technical drawings myself to a level that makes the CNC guys happy. I also learned how to communicate with suppliers to get what I designed. This paid off during the development of the second design which was a proverbial walk in the park compared to developing the first design.

  • Please share with us how you got started with Pheidippides Watches

Somehow I guess every aficionado dreams of creating his or her own watch. I am no exception. Through several watch forums I got to see a lot of watches, some more inspiring than others. And then it started. Buying a watch with a clear theme ignited my creativity and I sketched my first design based on an ink pot. Drawing as much design details from a single theme as possible gave me quite a bit of joy. When I showed my sketches to a few friends early 2015 one of them said he wanted to have one. So I had to decide: leave it at that or seriously go into the watchmaking business. The rest is history as they say. I will admit that that same inheritance enabled me to make the necessary investments in time and money to make it happen. Otherwise I would have had to leave it at that.

Interview with Rogier van de Ree, Creator of Pheidippides Watches - Porthole Image 2

  • What inspires you when it comes to design

What challenges me is taking a single theme and see how much design cues you can draw from it. Or come up with a weird idea and find out how to construct it. Sometimes you see a watch with a bit of this and a bit of that. No real choices made or lack of originality. I enjoy designing a watch that appeals just by itself. Due to catchy design details, surprising constructions and/or eye pleasing shapes. Like the New Beatle does. Big words? Yes. Lots of fun? Yes again.

  • What are your unique selling propositions compared to many startup brands out there

I do not know how creativity works, but somehow I manage to come up with shapes, constructions and details you seldom encounter elsewhere if at all. I also dare to step away from the beaten track. I do not use standard components, but for the movement. All parts of each of my designs are custom made so I am free to create a harmonious and elegant ensemble of parts, turning them into beautiful watches.

I selected only well-known Swiss suppliers for all of the major parts (glasses, dial, hands, movement). And I am lucky to have found a German workshop that has a lot of experience in making jewelry. They master CNC machines to a level that even surprises the CNC machine seller. They know their way around surface treatment and make my cases stand out to the finest detail. European made quality watches with a twist for everyone to enjoy.

Mechanical is my thing. Although it is much cheaper, you will not find a battery in any of my watches. Better for the environment as well.

Interview with Rogier van de Ree, Creator of Pheidippides Watches - Porthole Image 3

  • What are your goals for Pheidippides Watches in the next 5 years

During the last year I created 4 designs, each very different from the others. We have turned 2 of these designs into prototypes. The Inkpot needs to be tested for some time to find out the actual wear of its construction. The Porthole will be launched on Kickstarter on April 15th. I aim to earn my investment back, so I can continue investing in the other models.

The Hourglass will be next. I plan to make prototypes during the summer and launch it by the end of this year. The Sportscar will be prototyped during the winter and launch in the beginning of next year. It will shortly be followed by The Inkpot which should have been sufficiently tested by then to launch it with confidence. And idea number 5, even more unique and daring, has been born which will make it to the market by the end of next year. In the meantime I intend to make female versions of The Inkpot and The Porthole and create some variations of each model. Variations mean other color schemes, with or without date, moon phase and the kind.

With at least 4 models and some variations per model I hope to have enough body to be interesting for watch shops to put my watches on their shelves.

No shortage of ideas and plans. This will keep me busy for the coming years. Assuming the watches will sell…

  • Which timepiece is your holy grail and what do you personally look for in a watch

There are too many truly beautiful watches out there to have a single holy grail. The Roger Dubois Excalibur Skeleton is one of the finest skeleton executions that shows the inner workings of a movement in a comprehensible way. HYT, MB&F and Urwerk are just a few brands among many which made some surprisingly original timepieces with very different ways of showing time which I admire. On the other hand the Movado Museum watch is beautiful beyond compare in its simplicity and deserves a place in every collection.

It is no surprise by now that I am looking for that special feature that sets a watch apart from mainstream design.

Interview with Rogier van de Ree, Creator of Pheidippides Watches - Porthole Image 1

  • Is there anything else you would like to add to the Gracious Watch Readers

Keep on looking on the internet and Gracious Watch in particular to find beautifully crafted timepieces. Stay informed and gradually know what you are looking for in a watch and find it. It will give you years of joy wearing that specific watch that you were always looking for. Know when to stop searching and start finding your favorite watch, otherwise you will have to revert to your smartphone to read the time forever.

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