Insights Process and Mindset

Insights Process and Mindset

I did something interesting today. A google search on “UBIQ Watches” turned up some discussions about our current campaign for DUAL SERIES 01. I’m not sure why I didn’t think that there would be some discussion online regarding our designs, prices, and launch. That’s the inspiration for this blog post and hopefully, some will stumble onto this and gleam some insight on questions they may have. Some info might be a tad repetitive, but it will make more sense as a whole. Get your favorite drink ready. It’s gonna be a long one.

I’m Drayson Phua, a creative director from Singapore. I have been in the field for over 20 years going from a junior designer to the head of creative for a major lifestyle company. Design has always been my passion and although we have a small team of designers now, I still enjoy working on new projects and getting into the weeds.

My son came to us late in my life, I will be 47 in 2024 while he will be turning 4. It was in fact my wife who suggested, after reading some KOL’s article on passing down luxury goods, that we started looking for a watch to pass down to our son in the future. It started a rabbit hole into reading and learning about horology and watches, going into shops, trying them on, browsing reseller sites late into the night, till one day my wife told me I had become obsessed. I realized I have reignited a passion I had in my younger days where I love buying and wearing watches, even though I was not exactly informed. They were mostly quartz fashion pieces, but all saw wrist time and love. A fully glowing watch from swatch, a burgundy day/date from Kenneth Cole and more.

For my big boy purchase, I went with the Black Bay 58 in blue. There seemed to be many reviews on it that emphasizes on its wearability and vintage inspired aesthetics. I guess now you might see DUAL in a different light regarding its size and finishing. Despite the Tudor’s solid build, I do not actually wear it all that much. One, I’m afraid of damaging it, although I’m just a desk diver, and two, it’s honestly kind of boring? My son has taken to telling me about watch ads when they appear on YouTube (my algorithm), “Daddy! Watch!”. He seem to have a little interest but only in the colorful, vibrant ones! He has 2 on rotation, a silly little monkey analog quartz and a digital Paw Patrol. They sit among the rest of his toys which, are all colors of the rainbow.

Inspirations aside, nothing would have happened if I did not stumble upon a local microbrand show, Spring Sprang Sprung, on my birthday in 2022. I went in looking for a present for myself and made acquaintance with Travis from RZE. I had seen their watches online before and I got a titanium field watch that day. We exchanged contacts as I wanted a strap which was not available at the show, and he promised to deliver it to me once stocks were in. I was struck by how a microbrand owner run their business, by being there and being present. Hard work as it might seem, it kind of appealed to me as I run my agency pretty much the same way.

Needless to say, I reached out soon with an intro on what I do and an offer to assist with my skills. I even prepared a presentation deck on watch ideas, which in hindsight was pretty amateurish but he welcomed me with open arms, giving comments and suggestions. Although we are not working together in any capacity, I regard him as my mentor, and he never fails to give me insights and advice on how to run a microbrand successfully. He will also be assisting us when it is time for fulfillments to be made with his knowledge on shipping, returns and repairs. Thank you Travis!

Now on UBIQ and DUAL. This obsession to see my designs turn into a reality stem from my passion in creating. With no future plans in sight, I started designing a watch, that turned into a series of watches to a 21.26GB folder worth of watch designs, iterations, genres and more. Every facet of what you see today from our logo, packaging, socials media posts and of course watch all came from my laptop. To be honest, this is a boon to UBIQ, being able to pivot, redesign, photograph and color match everything in-house instead of waiting on a response from an external designer. I only need approval from myself I guess.

DUAL is the end of that whole design exercise. A watch that speaks to me, the identity on what UBIQ is, and what I feel is a small gap in the microbrand space. Each colorway is matched using pantone charts which I fortunately possess in my day job and obsessed over to create a cohesive whole. Also being an experienced designer, I understand that preferences are subjective. There are many beautiful and interesting designs out there but this is our take. I did not want UBIQ to be a design by committee brand or be in a budget war where many brands offer similar specs and in turn, similar looks at super affordable prices. I hope people who love our watches see worth in our unique vision and design language and embark on a journey with us where we can introduce the next collection with their anticipation. 

Now, I am a pretty optimistic and driven person but everything up to this point has been formulated in my head. Collector opinions and whether if people will put their money in our creations remains an unknown till the day we launched. I would like to give a big thanks to all our backers who have shown me that we do have something unique to share with the watch world. And also, a major shoutout to photographers and reviewers who made DUAL look great! A few of them have been giving us constant encouragements that keeps us going when the days seem dark. I was the one who reached out in the beginning to see if anyone would be willing to give our new brand a look and I’m so glad that we are now approached on almost a daily basis by reviewers asking if they could have a closer look at DUAL. All comments, positive or constructive truly fuels us to improve and do the best we can. And for folks who have not heard of us before? Well, we are on the way :)

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