‘Hong Kong’s local watch industry has become a sunset industry?’
Watches have always been the representatifves of luxury goods. Swiss watches and some high-end watch brands are familiar to everyone. How can Hong Kong's small and medium enterprise(SME) stand out? Or is it doomed to fail?
Nicky, as the founder and design director of Hong Kong watch brand ‘NSquare Watches’, has been in the watch industry for many years and has experienced great and small disturbances. Although electronic products are popular nowadays, the number of people who wear watches seems to be declining. However, he still has confidence in the Hong Kong watch industry.
Stepped into a complicated and challenging world
Influenced by his father, Nicky has been immersed in the watch world since he was a child. Watch components are his childhood toys. The complicated watchmaking process is his entertainment program. 'Why watches are always sold expensively?' This question has been surrounded in his mind and never disappeared. Gradually it turned into a belief as he grew up, prompting him to stepped into the complicated and challenging watch industry without hesitation.
As early as 2016, Nicky co-founded NSquare Watch, a Hong Kong watch brand, with several like-minded partners based on his experiences and enthusiasm for watches. Moreover, Nicky personally served as the design director. Someone has asked him: "Why don't you devote yourself to those famous and mature watch brands? Establish a new watch brand is risky. Hong Kong's watch industry is declining. There is no future anymore." But Nicky just frowned and shook his head slightly to express his disapproval.
Fight with faith
It is not easy to set up a company in Hong Kong. As a small enterprise, it is difficult to compete with international enterprises in terms of production costs, publicity, labour force, etc. On the other hand, Hong Kong's watch industry is declining. Introducing or acting as an agent for the sale of foreign famous brands is the majority of the market. Why will Nicky still develop his own business in such a risky way? "There are still many opportunities here. I want to create an original watch brand that belongs to Hong Kong. People can wear Hong Kong brand watches to different seminars or events without embarrassment." He said.
"Fine clothes make the man. People usually wear a branded watch to the seminars or events. But I would like to say, Hong Kong brand watches can also be outstanding and high-qualified. Producing an affordable luxury watch that belongs to our customers and Hong Kong is my faith."
Watches are not only a tool
Wearing a watch usually reflects a strong sense of time and personal style of himself. "Watch styles are designed to be much simpler because people take it as a tool only. But watches are not only a tool!" Compared to the founder of NSquare, Nicky is a watch lover first. He said it with chuckle, "Watches represent not only time control, but also an attitude and persistence. Just as people are paying more and more attention for dressing, why don't watches need to be dressed up?" Nicky noticed that there are not much bold and specially designed watches on the market. Insist producing every watch with meticulous design, from the appearance to the interior. He persists every part of a watch is essential.
Balancing design aesthetics and watch quality is the hardest problem he often encounters. The materials used, the placement of accessories, or the shape of the cases all needed to cooperate with each other to finally make a watch with rigorous structure. Just like NSquare's hot series-SnakeKing/SnakeQueen series, the initial design was not pleased. After many times of revised and improved, the beautiful and unique shape finally reached the heart of customers and became NSquare's Masterpiece.
"NSquare represents I, I represent NSquare"
"Except stand for Nicky, N also represents infinity in mathematics; NSquare is equal to an infinite power: everyone has infinite development space. I hope every customer who wears our watch could understand our philosophy behind and appreciate the design of each watch. You can also be gorgeous and decent with a Hong Kong original brand instead of the international brand. You can express yourself boldly and don't limit yourself to the rules. You could have much more choices."
[Bold innovation and stylish style] is the philosophy of Nicky and NSquare, who do their best to focus on unique design and pursue a value watch that coexists with aesthetics and quality. Adhere to the quality commitment to customers, and will never let it go.
NSquare創辦人兼設計總監 Mr. Nicky Lee 專訪
早於2016年憑他的經驗和對鐘錶的熱誠，他與幾位志同道合的伙伴合作創辦NSquare Watch – 一個香港本地鐘錶品牌，兼親自擔任公司的設計總監一職。有人問他：「既然熱愛鐘錶，何不投身於大品牌？反而另起爐灶自行開設品牌呢？太冒險了，自香港工業式微，香港鐘錶界早已沒有前途。」他眉頭緊皺，輕輕搖頭表示不認同。
於香港開設公司並不容易，更要與財力雄厚度的大品牌競爭。作為小公司，不論是製作成本、宣傳、人手等都難以比拼；更何況香港鐘錶業日漸式微，市場大多都是引入或代理外國名牌鐘錶銷售，為何要冒險自設公司？「香港仍有很多機會。我想製造出屬於香港原創的腕錶品牌，令人帶著香港牌子的腕錶出席不同場合都不會失禮。」他如此道。 「人靠衣裝，佛靠金裝。出席各大場合為免失禮，大家都會帶一隻名牌腕錶。但我想告訴別人，香港品牌的腕錶也可以很出色、很特別，面對任何大大小小的場面也不會失禮。生產一隻性價比高的錶，任何人都可以輕易負擔得到一隻屬於自己、屬於香港的原創腕錶，腕錶不一定要貴買，香港腕錶亦能踏上舞台。」 腕錶不只代表時間 佩戴腕錶，通常反映了一個人有著較強的時間觀念；不同款式亦代表個人的風格口味。「現在很多腕錶款式設計越傾簡約，因為人們把它視為工具而已。但腕錶不應如此！」Nicky比起NSquare的創辦人，首先是一位腕錶愛好者，他笑笑地說：「腕錶代表的不只是掌握時間，更是一種態度、一種堅持。正如現時人們越來越會注重打扮，腕錶為甚麼就不需打扮？ 」Nicky留意到市面上有大膽並特別設計的腕錶選擇不多，因此自己兼任設計總監一職，堅持每一隻生產的腕錶都必需經過設計，從外觀到內部，每一絲細節不容忽視。