Two minutes into our interview, TRIWA (Transforming the Industry of Watches) founder Ludvig has declared watches useless. “Everyone uses their phone to check the time now, right?” he asks. This is a strange admission coming from a man who runs a (very successful) watch company, which I point out.
“But that’s what’s interesting,” Ludvig insists. “That’s the framework we’re working in; that’s the new reality facing watchmakers. So how do you combat that?”
The answer, TRIWA has found, is in focusing on the fashion and design aspect of watches, rather than the material-oriented hyper-luxury that has previously propelled the industry. That doesn’t mean, however, that TRIWA isn’t inspired by what already exists in the watch industry.
“As Scandinavians, we’ve been taught to respect the traditional craftsmanship that goes into the creation of any product – watches included – and perhaps for that reason we feel comfortable pushing the boundaries of the product. It’s more about changing the market than about changing the product.”
TRIWA has been doing that since their 2007 launch by taking their product out of typical watch retailers and inserting it into fashion and lifestyle stores. “We want people to see the watch as an accessory that is part of their outfit, part of the whole package,” Ludvig explains. In addition to their plan for watches, TRIWA has expanded into bracelets and sunglasses.
“We started designing sunglasses in 2009 when we couldn’t find anything that we liked. So we made it ourselves! Then, on a factory visit to see sunglasses production, I saw that there were a lot of leftover acetate. We wanted to find a way to use that, so we created the bracelets.”
Since their launch, TRIWA has grown quickly and the watch industry has changed enormously. “What we’re seeing now is that people don’t just want one watch, they want a few they can choose from. It’s more of an accessory. We fill that need by making high-quality watches and straps that are also not so expensive that you can’t own a few of them, if you want.” TRIWA’s movements are made in Japan and their leather straps are produced at a tannery in Tärnsjö, two hours outside of Stockholm.
Does moving into the lifestyle market mean that we’ll soon be seeing TRIWA shirts and trousers? Ludvig shakes his head, “There are lots of people that make clothes and they do a better job than we could. We’re more about the decoration. It’s all about adding something cool to your look.”
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Header image credit: the very talented Kyle Nathaniel Jimenez