Japanese and Swiss-made timepieces usually take the limelight when talking about watches, but in recent years, more and more relatively small, local brands are emerging in different countries.
This article will feature watches from New Zealand—local brands that were built out of the founders’ love for the craft of watchmaking. We’ll talk a little bit about the brands’ beginnings and feature some of their most popular models.
Magrette was founded by Dion Wynyard McAsey in Auckland, New Zealand. McAsey thought of building his own watch company when he was working as a Managing Director of a creative agency, designing for a watch company.
McAsey has been a fan of watches at an early age. In 1975, when he was seven years old, he was given an automatic watch by his mother. This sparked interest in timepieces, and from this period, he started to build his watch collection.
He started to build the brand by envisioning the simplicity of the past:”…an older world and the stories in the lines on the faces of elderly people…black Italian suits and stark white shirts. I saw cobblestone roads and the well-worn buildings of days gone by,” as well as classic yachts. He wanted to make watches that are not influenced by trends, but with something that can stand the test of time.
The brand makes engraved timepieces—works of art created by artist and engraver Andrew Bigg . One of the popular engraved models is the Tamanuitera watch, which has a cushion-shaped steel case (or a square case with rounded corners), similar to a Panerai.
According to a Gear Patrol article, Magrette gets materials from different parts of the world. The dials are from Germany, the straps come from Canada, and the graphics are from Taiwan. The movements are from two of the most reliable watchmakers in the world, Japan and Switzerland.
Haka is a clothing company that also makes watches for men and women. The creation of the company’s watch line, which features unique, original designs, was brought about by the success of its apparel and lifestyle products such as bedding and sports gear.
Haka products are available at Postie Plus (starting September) and are available in New Zealand and online.
Roys Road Watch Co. is a New Zealand watchmaker that creates minimalist watches. According to this Kickstarter page, the brand has a “classic, simple, and modern” style.
The aesthetic of Roys Road watches is minimalist, made from genuine leather, runs on a Japanese movement, and has water-resistant features. The names of the watches are places in New Zealand, such as Plimmerton and Red Rock—both of which are from the brand’s first collection.
Like many startup brands, the company started creating their first collection with the help of a Kickstarter campaign. This campaign introduced Roys Road’s first collection, which asked supporters to make a pledge and help the brand get started.
According to the Kickstarter campaign, the Roys Road team designed the watches in New Zealand, and then the designs were sent to an international manufacturer (it was not indicated where exactly). The final inspection is conducted in New Zealand.
Komrade New Zealand
Komrade is another relatively new watch brand from New Zealand. The company focuses on making robust, high-quality military-inspired field and dive watches.
According to Komrade’s website, the brand’s Military Watch is worn by members of the United States Air Force, the British Army, and the Australian Defence Forces. The site also added the maker has over 20 years of military service, allowing him to build durable and high-quality watches.
One popular model is the Komrade Urban Diver MK2, a 43mm dive watch with a mesh bracelet and a stainless steel case. There’s also the 44mm Komrade White Pointer, which has a titanium case, making it 30% lighter and 50% stronger than stainless steel.
Komrade notes on its website that they use a US-based repair facility for any warranty and post-warranty work. This is USA Watch Repair, the brand’s official repair and service center which specializes in watch repair and restoration, working on brands like Rolex, Breitling, Omega, Tag Heuer, Seiko, and so on.