A Piece of Space Strapped to Your Wrist
With a vision, “to produce watches more inspiring and emotional than any others” Werenbach watches utilise pieces of used Russian Soyuz rockets to place something special on your wrist
Column by Mr WatchMaster
The Zurich start-up company Werenbach has been making watches since 2013 out of material from spaceborn Russian Soyuz rockets. Up to now the watches have been produced in very limited editions and sold directly to clients. Three watches have already been unofficially tested by astronauts in space. Patrick Hohmann is the owner and CEO of Werenbach. He has written about his entrepreneurial beginnings in the adventure novel ‘Werenbachs Uhr’ (Bilgerverlag, 2015). Mr WatchMaker sat down with Patrick to find out what drives and motivated him to embark on his epic journey to build watches from space rockets.
How is business?
I am very satisfied. We reached our funding goal at Kickstarter within one hour. After one month we have raised over 500,000 CHF. Today we are about to become the most funded Kickstarter project from Switzerland ever! This proves that there is a market demand for our watches.
What are you currently working on?
I see the chance to move from a local oriented watch atelier to a watch company that sells its watches to an international market. This is a huge and very delicate step since it requires a lot of changes to the team and in the business setup.
Tell us something we don’t know about Werenbach Watches?
The most interesting material parts of the rockets are not processed yet. It’s the material above the engine. This material is totally burned and has very interesting structures. Now we cannot build this material into the watches because the variation of the material is too big. Therefore, we need to build a configurator with which our customers can choose their dial. The result will be unique watches configured to the individual taste of the owner.
What watch do you wear?
It depends on my mood. But mostly I wear the Chrono Classic – my first watch. Chrono Solar and Deep Space are also very often on my wrist.
Apart from your own brand, what watch would you like to own?
I really cannot wear something else.
“The moment it struck its first second was magical. There were thousands of thoughts running through our heads – thousands of memories of good and bad moments and times when we had thought about giving up. Finally we were able to hold it in our hands with pride: the first watch made from a rocket which had flown up into space.”
What do you like best about the watch business?
It’s all about emotion and striving for perfection. To create a watch which is worn with pride fascinates me. It’s also the process between an idea and the realisation of a timepiece. This process is very complex and multi-faceted.
What don’t you like about the Watch business?
The market is saturated. The competition is huge. To build up brand visibility is very expensive. This is a huge challenge for ‘microbrands’ such as Werenbach.
What is next on the horizon for you?
I have three big targets: 1) Generate a sustainable cash-flow which enables us to build up the brand; 2) Realise the configurator which I mentioned above; 3) To acquire rocket material from another space nation to create the next collection.