5′ with Sophy Rindler – Co-founder of Tockr Watches
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 Sophy Rindler, co-founder of Tockr Watches.
Sophy Rindler is the co-founder and Partner of Tockr. She started the brand from Day 1 with Austin Ivey who is the founder and chairman of the company. Sophy has been a figure in the watch industry for several years and is known equally in the USA and in Europe by he industry peers.
What triggered the creation of your own brand?
When I met Austin in 2016, I was already working on creating my own brand with a designer. I was very excited to do what to me, was a dream come true as my love and admiration for watches has defined me in the last few years. Being a collector myself, it was always very interesting and somewhat conflicting to be the figure of one specific brand and yet known as an industry insider and a woman that wears many different watches of many different brands. But it did not scare me away and I knew I would one day create my own brand. However, it is difficult to do this alone and it’s also very expensive. Although many brands did great just by working on crowdfunding, I don’t have the digital and technical competency to do this alone so I needed a partner regardless. When Austin came to me with his project and his idea of creating a watch brand along with the resources that I didn’t have, I made the decision to give up my own brand and start this adventure with him. And it’s probably the best decision I have ever made.
What are the most significant difficulties you encountered?
Definitely the choice of the people we worked with. The original designer ended up being someone extremely untrustworthy, who put us for several months in a very difficult position and even started a twin fake Tockr website where he was selling our models at a fraction of the price (of course his where Chinese garbage when ours were high level swiss production especially with the radial engine dial that was made by Tec Ébauche in Vallorbe). But it hurt us, and it almost took us down because this guy started a massive email campaign towards our retailers and the entire press, bashing us and accusing us of stealing from him. Thankfully I am well known in the watch community and most of the press knows me so they all came to me asking me about it and decided to not only dismiss it but also for some of them to respond and threatened to report him. Then he burned himself in all the Facebook watch groups community which made him go away on its own but it took about a year for all of this to happen. That was the hardest part of the journey. The coronavirus is now showing also some hardship but this is universal. However, I am very confident that our team is so solid and our products are so good that we will also surpass that crisis.
Where do you find your inspiration?
The original inspiration came from the family story of Austin. His grandfather being a pilot during the war is what started the storytelling and the visual inspiration of our first models. From that point, we have been noticed by several organizations in the US, and one of them, the Commemorative Air Force, contacted us to partner with them on a DDay project which ended up being our most successful collection to date. We are trying to always be innovative. If you look at our collections from the beginning, Tockr has always done things with an edge. The radial engine collection for example. That was what launched the brand, and we created something that had never been done before. The radial engine that we built as the center of the design of our dial, is a visual that nobody had done in the centuries of watchmaking before. It took a lot of work, especially when it came to the design of the case and to the adaptation of the movement, because of the height of that three-dimensional engine that was sitting in the middle of the watch. But we succeeded and made a beautiful unique time piece. At the same time we released the Wing which was a daring and very avant-garde design also encompassing the radial engine but this time in a case that was shaped as a rectangle from the top and as a wing of a plane from the side. Think and mix of design inspiration of Parmigiani Bugatti, Urwerk and some MB&F packed in a $2400 watch. All of this with a matte stainless steel and rivets to remind the DNA of aviation. Then we just started doing Hydro-dipping on our Air Defender cases. Once again, we were the first watch brand that started using Hydro dipping for their cases choosing camouflage designs to remain within the spirit of military. Following this we did the DDay with a dial entirely made of the Aluminum of the famous C 47 that was leading the invasion in Normandy, named “That’s all brother”. Again, an entire dial made of the material of an aircraft has never been done before. It also gave this collection something extraordinary as each model is totally unique and cannot be duplicated because of the material used in the dial. USS Texas is using the iron of the battleship that fought in World War1 and World War2 as the inner bezel ring with a dial featuring the silhouette of the ship. And now we just released the very first ever made Hydro-dipping lumed cases. So our inspiration comes from military cues and always trying to find an angle that is different, unique, or disruptive.
How do you see the future of the brand? Is there any confidential(ish) information you could disclose to us?
Based on our latest release, I would say that the future is bright 🙂 🙂 Our latest Technology of lumed Hydro dipping, is going to put us on the map of innovation and cool factor as well. All of this with products that are below $3500. Look, the future is impossible to predict and the future of the entire industry is also in a week position. But I believe in the three principles that we have constantly applied to Tockr.
1- great products
2- great story (and no BS story like you see with many newly created brands
3- great value (a lot of watch for the price paid)
So far, we have stuck to those three principles and it’s been working very well for us. I think for a brand that is not even three years old, we have been doing pretty good and we keep on growing. Our team is phenomenal. Austin and I are so proud of the people that work with us and we are considering the entire Tockr team as family. We are also very accessible. Anybody who wants to talk to any of us can do it within minutes as we cover Europe and a couple times zones in the US. So in essence we are almost a 24/7 available brand. I am confident that the future will be OK. I know it will be challenging especially coming out of this crisis and we don’t even know when we will come out of it. But I think that if you always do your best, and if you always do good by others, success is inevitable.
Which advice would you like to give to someone willing to follow your path?
Find your own path. Not all roads are the same. What I did, I did it because it was me. If I had been someone else I would probably have followed another path. What I mean by that is that we all have unique and specific assets that we need to use the best we can in order to achieve our goals. However you need to have goals and know your deliverables. It’s very difficult to be a dreamer without a structure. I’ve seen a lot of people dreaming of creating their brands and going nowhere for lack of structure and objectives. Everything has to be calculated and prepared. You don’t go into watchmaking without a plan. And the plan depends on you and the people you want to bring into it with you. As long as you believe and that you have a vision, as long as you make sure you also have the tools to make it all happen, then chances are it will happen.
Anything else you would like to share with AWDO?
Keep being awesome !
Thank you for your time Sophy! The review of the Tockr Air Defender is available here, take a look at it 🙂