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8 Questions to Marc, owner of Islander Watches

Updated: Jan 19

If you have been into watches for a while you have certainly seen his face. During his many years in the industry, Marc built strong relationships with some of the most esteemed entry-level brands and solidified a reputation as a no-bullshit very knowledgeable nice guy.

The video below covers a little bit of his journey:

As an experienced watch producer and enthusiast, Marc has unique insights into the industry. He gently shared some of his thoughts during our conversation.

1. Most of us do what we can for a living, not what we want. Did you start working with watches by choice or were you pushed into the industry by luck?

I had made a conscious effort to try to sell interesting watches I found online. I purchased them in bulk and started selling on ebay. I did this while employed full-time as a Mechanical Engineer.

2. What inspired the decision to start designing and creating watches? Business opportunity or artistic impulse?

The discontinuance of the SKX007 basically forced me to create my own version to keep my business flowing. It was a natural progression to start fresh designs as time went on.

3. Considering we are seeing an increase in the number of new watch companies, what sets Islander apart from other brands in the industry?

I think there are a few things, in no particular order. A) Customer service. I feel we offer the best customer service/experience anywhere. B) Value. I think our product offers a very good value for the upgrades you get in every watch over conventional brands. C) History. While Islander doesn’t have heritage itself, the store does. I’ve been online for 20 years. These 3 things set me apart from other brands.

My favourite Islander, the Upper Brookville
My favourite Islander, the Upper Brookville

4. Can you describe the design process that goes into creating a new watch?

That’s a long journey. It starts with one of us seeing something in the wild we think is cool. Not watch related. For example, on the Islander Northport, my chief designer Ryan was inspired by the Long Island Sound which is a stones throw from his house. The ripples of the water, the way the water and land change color, etc. From there, we iterate and iterate drawings, eventually getting our factories involved to help us solidify and eventually produce. That’s a 30 second version of what takes us months.

5. Your background certainly helped, but how hard was it to find the right suppliers?

I clearly know a lot of people in the industry, but in the end, it is doing business with people I trust, and people who have similar values to me and my company.

6. Who is your priority target market, and how do you tailor your watches to their needs and preferences?

My basic market is American males, maybe 25 to 45. I do resonate with that demographic as I and most of my staff also fit there. I believe price is king for this market, and that is probably the most important target when doing design, and deciding what gets incorporated into the watch and what doesn’t.

7. Which latest trends and styles in the watch industry do you find more exciting?

Finally, with the advent of inexpensive GMT movements, we will see more and more GMT models come out from not only Islander, but all brands most likely. That’s probably what has me most excited right now.

8. What are your future plans for the brand, and which new watch designs can we expect to see in the coming months?

Just to keep growing. There are new releases planned out right now till basically the end of the year. As I said above we will see many more GMTs, and eventually a mechanical chronograph.

The Islander Calabro GMT World Time
The Islander Calabro GMT World Time

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