5′ with Jerry Wang – CEO of Dryden
Getting to know a new watch is something we love, but what if you could discover a bit more about the history of that watch’s brand? Today we’ve spent 5 minutes with Jerry Wang, CEO of Dryden.
What triggered the creation of your own brand ?
Before starting Dryden Watch Company, I worked in the creative industry as a full-time photographer. I became interested in horology after the search for a durable everyday watch led me to the WatchUSeek forums. Like many budding enthusiasts, I settled on an Orient Mako and was pretty much hooked after that.
I started branching out into product photography and focusing on watches as a unique blend of my two passions. I worked as a content producer for a number of mainstream fashion brands and microbrands which gave me the opportunity to learn more about the industry. Creating my own brand was always a dream of mine and the pieces finally lined up when I met a locally based watchmaker to help me with the technical side of the product design as well as assembly and quality control.
We launched our first project in early 2019 and plan on releasing our second project this summer.
What are the most significant difficulties you encountered ?
The first thing that comes to mind is the process bridging an idea to the final finished product. During product development, a lot of times we are limited by the physical limitations of the components and other parameters. For example, during the initial idea exploration phase for our Chrono Diver, we wanted to create it in a more vintage size like 39mm. But due to the physical size of the mechaquartz movement and the spacing required to make it water resistant to at least 100 meters, the case had to be 41mm+. For us, we went with the option that makes the watch more durable in the long run.
The other big challenge as a new business is gaining traction and brand awareness. We don’t have a huge marketing budget to push our brand in front of a mass audience. Thankfully we have community groups like AWDO to help us spread the word. I’ve also enjoyed getting to meet people in person whenever possible. Events like Wind Up and other local gatherings such as RedBar have been instrumental in helping us build more personal connections.
Where do you find your inspiration ?
I think for me, the two core components of the watches I love in my collection come down to design and ergonomics. I always start by thinking about the end consumer and what they’re looking for in a particular type of watch. Then we create our design around that focus.
When we start a new project, I would say the case is what we spend time refining first. To me, a good watch is all about proportions. Dial size vs case size, case size vs lug-to-lug, the weight distribution and the curvature of the lugs all factor into how a watch wears on the wrist. After all, if the watch doesn’t feel good on the wrist (sticks up too much from the wrist, too heavy, too long of lugs), the customer is less likely to wear it.
Then we work our way to the dial / hands / bezel (if applicable). We explore different variations of the design, revising through multiple iterations until we find the right combination that matches up to our expectations. The process usually takes us about a year and multiple prototypes before we start the final production.
How do you see the future of the brand ? Is there any confidential(ish) information you could disclose to us ?
I hope to grow our product line and release 1-2 new projects every year. The first of those is a sleek modern diver that will be ready late summer / early fall.
As we continue to assemble here in the US, we may also start making custom build options available to offer our customers a more personalized relationship with their timepiece.
Which advice would you like to give to someone willing to follow your path ?
I think a lot of enthusiasts (my former self included) are drawn to the allure of creating their own brand – wearing some they designed. However, there’s a lot more that goes on behind the scenes in building and growing a brand than people realize. Everything from refining production details, quality control, marketing, shipping, fulfillment, customer service and so much more. I’ve been fortunate to have a pretty good working relationship with my vendors, my technician who handles assembly plus repairs and have been able to do the majority of our marketing myself. Even still, some days it feels like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything accomplished but I’m loving every bit of the experience so far.
So my biggest advice for someone who wants to become a brand owner is to decide upfront if the full ownership experience is what you want and have a detailed business plan from start to finish. That paired with a little bit of patience is in my opinion the best way to build and grow a brand for the long run.
Anything else you would like to share with AWDO ?
My favorite part about the brand experience is to interact with the watch enthusiast community. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our products or just talk watches in general. After all, I am still a collector at heart :). Feel free to reach me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via any of our social media channels.
Thanks for your time Jerry !