Mr Jones Watches
We take some time to ask some Qs and connect with some of our brand new peeps that have joined the Impulse family.
Introducing Crispin from Mr Jones - London based studio creating properly conversation starting watches.
Tell me a little about Mr Jones Watches?
CJ: Mr Jones Watches started back in 2007, at this time I was producing one-off pieces for exhibitions and events that were a sort of cross between fine art and design (I have an undergraduate degree in Sculpture and a Masters in Interaction Design, so kind of made sense to me!)
I made a one-off series of watches for an exhibition - you can see them here - I was drawn to the watch as a technological survivor, after all the wristwatch is around 100 years old and still looks contemporary, whereas most technology, especially digital technology, looks antiquated a few years after release.
The watches were well received for the exhibition and I thought it would be interesting to develop a small series for production, rather than exhibition. I found a factory who would let me make a small order (500 pieces) and released the first series as five designs, each in a numbered edition of 100 pieces in summer 2007. Three of the models sold out quite fast and people kept asking when I’d make some more, so I decided to update the design and reissue the sold-out models, calling them the “Permanent Collection” and set to work on designing a new series.
This model of releasing a new design as a numbered edition and reissuing it if it’s popular is one we still follow now - it allows us to be really experimental without over committing to stock. Our next big change happened in 2012 when we setup a workshop in London to sample printing and assembling new designs. Quite quickly we released we could produce small series from this workshop and began releasing small (20 - 30 piece) editions that we’d made here.
Over time we acquired more skills and confidence and from 2015 all the limited edition production has been done here in London, along with a quite high proportion of the Permanent Collection models.
Phew, sorry if this is a bit long, couldn’t make it much shorter!
JE: Answers can never be too long! Actually love a detailed back story and it’s so fascinating to find out where cool products were founded and how they evolved. Its amazing how often passion projects turn into livelihoods and the beginnings of brands can often appear out of nowhere.
Your personal favourite product you sell?
CJ: Hmm kind of like asking a parent which is their favourite child! Honestly we wouldn’t release anything that I wasn’t happy with, but I’m really pleased with Sun and Moon because this is a design that is based on a very old way of representing the time, but given a modern twist.
JE: I’m sure some parents may say they have a favourite child! Always thought they liked my brother more. Joking. Kinda. Personally I’m a Last Laugh fan, absolute love the time display on the teeth. Genius.
What's your future vision for Mr Jones Watches?
CJ: We produce eight or nine new watches each year and our focus is always on striving to make these pieces as unique, creative and ambitious as we can.
JE: Ambitious being the operative word. We’re looking forward to your 100th design dropping this year.
If you could design or build any timepiece what would it be?
CJ: Hmm on this money really isn’t an obstacle to us - I don’t believe an incredible watch needs to be expensive (although the big Swiss companies work really hard to create this impression!); what we do is exactly what I want to be making, so I guess the answer to your question is all our watches.
JE: That must mean there isn’t a need for watches with lasers, and pop-out flowers and super ornate gold leafed straps then!
How would you describe your dream lifestyle?
CJ: To be creatively fulfilled and to divide my time between living in London and somewhere with mountains; also to have a large pack of miniature dachshunds trail me around everywhere.
JE: Who doesn’t love 20 dachshunds to keep you occupied when walking those mountains trails?! Sounds like a winning life.
Would you rather have an unlimited free international plane ticket for life or be able to eat at any restaurant you like for free for ever?
CJ: I’d take the restaurant any day of the week - I’m not a huge fan of airports, nor really of flying.
JE: Plane tickets are usually the winner when we ask this question so this is a pleasant surprise. Agreed on the airport front - delays and over priced food. Not fun.
Favourite TV Show or box set?
CJ: Antiques Roadshow, always fascinating to learn about our social history through the random objects that people bring along each week.
JE: Good choice. Ever seen American Pickers? Love the 1850s to 1960s American antique and salvage stuff. Learn so much and always helps with some creative design now and again.
If you could start out again what would you do?
CJ: I really wouldn’t change anything, it’s been a meandering path to get where I am now, but I’m lucky - I’ve enjoyed all the various things I’ve done in my life.
JE: Love this. So often store and brand owners who have had a long journey wouldn’t change a thing. Half the enjoyment is struggling through the process and making the most of life as you go.
Can you recommend who we interview next?
CJ: Of course - I’d suggest you check our my partner’s store: Another Studio - they create exquisite gifts for thoughtful givers.
JE: They’re next on the list! We’ll be sure to drop by and say hello.
For those interested, we are running this brand new interview series to get to know as many Stores or Brands as possible. If you'd also like the chance to take part, showcase your stores personality, and forever get a pretty spot on the blog, drop me an email - email@example.com - and we'll get it done.