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Already in 2012 Simon Schmidt founded the watch brand EQVIS. One watch, a thousand possibilities. This is the VARIUS. 100% designed in Germany and 100% produced in Switzerland.
And with a lot of passion. A watch that can be changed over and over again using patented interchangeable systems. A reason for me to ask more closely….once more exactly to inquire….
All the time I ask myself what the company name EQVIS means. How did you come up with such a brand name?
EQVIS is an artificial word, an acronym for the three pillars of the brand: Emotion, Quality and VISion. Normally it works the other way around, so first the vision of timeless design, implemented in uncompromising quality to create something that touches people emotionally, but then it doesn’t sound good anymore. In my past as a graphic designer, I have helped to develop several corporate identities, and the experience I gained was of course beneficial in finding the brand name.
Simon, how did everything start? When did your passion for watches start? Your first watch?
It must have been about 2003 or 2004, when I saw a photo of a Panerai Submersible 1000m and thought to myself, this could actually be a watch for my father’s son.
Less than two years later I designed the first watch for a customer and again two years later I could quit my old job as art director in the advertising industry to work only as a product designer in the watch industry.
How did you come to the decision to found your own company?
With the idea for the Varius came the idea to found a brand to market the watch. I had few reservations, have been freelancing for over 20 years and am used to working independently and taking risks.
How did you come up with the idea that you could put together your own individual watch in countless
Maybe you’ve heard or read about the term “Exit Watch” before? When I read the term for the first time in a forum, I had to smile, the one watch that replaces the whole collection, that is supposed to take the suffering out of the passion of collecting, somehow funny.
In the end, however, it shows how much emotion watch collectors invest in the topic and so I thought about how to bring an Exit Watch from the world of myths into reality. It quickly became clear to me that this could only work with a watch that could be changed many times so that it would never get boring on the arm.
Own patented changing systems. How did this happen and what is the advantage from the customer’s point of view?
First and foremost, the option of changing the watch components yourself is a feature, a gimmick, if you like. The advantage is obvious: you can experiment with many different shapes, colours and materials directly on the watch, without great financial effort and without the danger of damaging anything.
Of course, the buyer is not forced to make use of this option, it is, as I said, an option. If you wish, you can also configure your favourite combi from the existing interchangeable rings and ribbons (will soon be offered on the website with the help of a virtual configurator) and not use any tools yourself.
Do I understand correctly that I am ordering a variant of the watch and can then reorder virtually all parts, materials and colors individually later? Be it the bracelet, the bezel…
At the moment the Varius is delivered in a large wooden box with stainless steel changeling and cognac-coloured calfskin strap. The box also contains a leather case with the Varius tool, polishing cloth and spare screws and screw bars, as well as two other changelings, one in Forged Carbon and one in Tin Bronze (CuSn8), and a black nylon strap with Velcro fastener.
According to Adam Riese there are six different watches and variations from the beginning. If only one more component is added, there are already 12 and so on. The EQVIS eShop offers a constantly growing number of changelings (upper lynette), dividers (narrow middle ring) and straps. The latter can of course be ordered anywhere thanks to the 24mm strap lug width, the Varius strap changing system allows this without any problems, as long as our 3mm thick screw bars can be accommodated.
In the course of the year, the online configurator will add a second option for those who don’t necessarily want to screw. Then the watch comes virtually configured in a small wooden box without any extras, but with a corresponding price advantage. If you still want to screw it yourself, you can order everything you need in the EQVIS eShop.
The watch market is highly competitive. New brands emerge almost daily. How did you manage to be so successful so quickly and establish yourself on the market?
EQVIS is far from established. In order to create and establish a brand with substance, you need not only creativity, diligence and financial means, but also patience. Varius has a long development time behind it to become an independent, qualitatively uncompromising, stand-alone product, after which comes the difficult part, successful marketing.
This is not as easy today as it was ten years ago, because first of all, thanks to Trump, Brexit, etc., customers are now sitting on their money, because the biggest enemy of luxury is uncertainty, and secondly, in times of kickstart microbrands and social media overload, it is more difficult than ever to attract substantial attention.
Nevertheless, the market is far from saturated and the overwhelmingly positive response to the Varius itself makes me look very relaxed into the future.
What will we see of EQVIS in the future?
In any case, more watch models, special editions in collaboration with artists, designers and other watchmakers, more shapes and materials for interchangeable rings and, if I see it, design products beyond watches.
For example, I was a musician before I became a designer and have a few ideas for guitars that I would like to realize under the EQVIS label. I even have plans for a car in the drawer, but this will have to wait, just because of the current uncertain situation in the automotive industry.
What else would you like to say to my readers?
Don’t take everything so seriously, it’s just watches! 😉