I know I get excited allot, I'm a passionate person and us outgoing peeps tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves. I often get excited but rarely MAD. Someone has made me MAD and that persons name is Nicholas Hooper. Okay I'm not really angry at Nicholas the emotion I am expressing is one of "About Bloody Time" and here's why. I had coffee with Nicholas in Brisbane last week and whilst chatting he opens up a beautiful watch case and before me springs an array of some of the coolest and innovative timepieces I have ever had a chance to play with. My thoughts, "THANK GOD, SOMEONE IS DOING SOMETHING NEW!" I am getting cranky over the same thing being done again and again as I am sure you are; yes trends are trends but there is always ro0m for diversity within the trend. The team at MAD ASSOCIATES are breaking the mould of distributorship and whilst being aware of the current direction and climate of the watch business are standing apart by bringing a range of brands to the consumer that deliver a cool contrast.
So who are MAD ASSOCIATES? Founded by a uber experienced watch crew with enough business acumen amongst them to run a small country the MAD ASSOICIATES Australian office is headed up by Mr MAD, Nicholas Hooper. What Nicholas and MAD stirive to bring to the Australian market is a portfolio that offers variety. Including the super cool SEVENFRIDAY, the brands under the MAD banner include BREMONT, ARONLD & SON, BOMBERG, SWISSKUBIK, ALEX BENLO and one of my favourite innovative brands QLOCKTWO.
Ever on the outlook for timepieces that offer the consumer diversity within their collections the MAD team are particularly selective when adding new distinctive ranges to their repertoire. Whist talking with Nicholas about his watches the desire to provide niche products in the market was clear. This is a team that want to do great things for the watch business in Australia and will never back away from forward and creative thinking when it comes to timepieces. If you are a watch connoisseur you must visit a retailer who stocks one of MAD'S brands immediately. They will be releasing newness soon that was discovered in Basel this year and from what I have seen there will be a waiting list, so you better stay in the loop. For me I must add a QLOCKTWO to my collection now, I mean like right now. I have been dreaming about a QLOCKTWO watch for a whole week since I got to try on the one above, I did not want to give it back!
The Watch Queen who went Mel Gibson for a brief moment has been tamed by innovation and once again I have found my zen place in the world of horology. Find yours and more information about the amazing brands of MAD at http://www.madassociates.asia/ or visit their on line concept store http://madconceptstore.com/
2015 was the year you have saw me barking madly about the rise of the minimalist to cool to care watch and I feel in 2016 will see no less. We will see more players in the market and more growth from those who have a well marketed fashion edge. The one to watch for 2016 will be CLUSE. With a 247K instagram following and over 500k facebook fans their simple laid back approach is going to appeal in the year where white shirts, flat mules and pleats are said to rule. Now available in Australia through Heart & Grace distributors it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to this new player. CLUSE highly appeals to the fashion consumer rather than your traditional watch customer because it is attractive on an accessory level rather than a watch level. What CLUSE offers is the chance to own the latest look and brand without the price tag and they do it well. What you need to remember as a consumer is that you can't get a Mercedes Benz on a Suzuki Swift budget.
It's definitely a lower spec watch being a base metal case with a stainless steel back and no water resistancy but as such comes with a lower price tag with Australian retail stating at only $149. Fashion watches are on the rise and are now becoming a seasonally changing piece. In the manner of disposable fashion chains like H&M some watch companies like CLUSE are starting to lower the specs of pieces and therefore enable the consumer to change their watch as they change their wardrobe. This is highly appealing to those who love to have multiple pieces to go with different styled looks and it seems this Amsterdam based brand is nailing this demographic. The leather bands come in a variety of colours and styles at an affordable $49 and the quality looks reasonable for this price tag.
If you are a one watch person and wear the same piece for years then CLUSE may not appeal to you but if you are a person who loves chasing the latest looks and has a watch to go with every outfit then you are going to love the fashion options CLUSE can bring to your wardrobe. To find your local stockist or shop online and see all the latest styles available in Australia visit http://heartandgrace.com.au/
Brainstorming about how to give back to the community you grow up in with your best mate can create remarkable undertakings. BARBAS & ZACARI the Melbourne based watch brand founded by mates Manny (Emmanuel Barbas) and Tas (Tas Zacári) brings not only a stylish collection of timepieces to the market but a charitable focus that is so often lost in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. It's rare to come across two young people who at the start of their careers put a philanthropic cause as the foundation of their company. A charitable outlook is an usually an afterthought when building a brand but these two guys are breaking the mould and putting their creative talents into something that is not only stylish but gives back.
Launching through kick-starter and entering the market in December of last year the boys (21 & 24) desired to bring a watch to the market that embodied not only the current on trend minimalist style but gave them an opportunity to make a difference in a cause they valued. Partnering with The Australian Cancer Research foundation, each watch sold raises five dollars that goes back into research. When asked why, their response is "#yourtimeisvalueable". The hash tag that embodies what BARBAS & ZACARI do is all about valuing your time, whether that be a mantra to be more organised or hug someone who has been affected by cancer the #yourtimeisvaulable is a starting point to understand what these two guys are about.
Their simplistic minimalist collection comprised of 43mm cases in rose, silver, yellow and black stainless steel carry a quartz Japanese movement and a variety of genuine Italian leather bands and that's just the beginning. With new styles soon too launch in a formal design the story of Manny and Tas is one to follow with interest. When speaking with the boys their drive and desire is apparent. They genuinely want to not only grow their company but make a difference in peoples lives. I get all mushy when I see a new generation of watch creators starting something that will not only give them a wonderful career but from the outlook creates a foundation of community. Whether you call it Karma, the 90/10 or reciprocity principle, combining entrepreneurial determination with a giving heart can only create amazing things. Starting at $139 discover more about BARBAS & ZACARI at https://barbasandzacari.com/