Interview with Eza Watches founder Adriaan Trampe

If you are following the microbrands and watch news in general you probably have heard Eza watch company which makes watches under an old watch company name which went defunct in Quartz crysis and was ressurected back in 2016 with help of a young watchmaker and entrepreneur, Adriaan Trampe! So here is an interview with Adriaan! Soon I will write up another story about this brand, so stay tuned!

1. Introduce yourself?

My name is Adriaan, I am 27 years old. I come from Rotterdam, The Netherlands. This is where I lived until I was 23 years old. This is where I studied my bachelor. Next to my bachelor I studied at the watchmaking school in Schoonhoven for four years and finishing with an internship at the local Rolex service centre. During this time I worked at a local jeweller store. Which was for me more like a candy store ;). After this, I moved to Switzerland to study my master. During these times I started with Eza Watches. This came from the idea to create a vintage-looking dive watch. I simply couldn’t afford one and had some experience with some prototyping during my school time. This is why making my own would be the best option. Looking for a name for the watches I came across Eza Watches. The name was taken by a marketing agency but didn’t do anything with it. I convinced them to sell this to me and that is how it all started. The idea was to make the first series of 300 pieces and see what would happen. The money to make this first series was taken from the launch party in 2016. A sort of crowdfunding campaign, but then in our way. This was such a success that I decided to continue with Eza full time after my master studies.

2. What started your watch passion?

I love craftsmanship in general. Not only watchmaking but other areas as well. What intrigued me to start with watchmaking is the idea that this is a craftmanship that will never die. While slowly machines take over some jobs of a watchmaker, there is a large part of the craft which can’t be replaced. It is a great mix of technical aspects (how the watch works and performs) and aesthetics (how the watch looks). I love this combination and enjoy working with it every day. 

3. What makes a good wristwatch to you?

For me, a good wristwatch needs to perform well, made of high-quality materials without compromises. It needs to be usable as a daily beater. Most of all it needs to make you feel good every day when you put in on your wrist. In my opinion, it should not only be an accessoire, but also an addition to your style and who you are. I do my upper best to create this in every watch I make. At least for myself, this is what every watch does so far. I hope I can make many other people happy with wearing these watches as well. 

4. What watches do you have in your collection?

And maybe you could list them and tell an interesting story about a particular one?My watch collection is not very big. If I could list them, it would look like this I own an all the Eza timepieces available now and wear one of them every day. I try to change as much as possible. Next to this, I have three watches I made during my watchmaking school studies. Two of them are hand-wound with ETA 6498 movements. One is a study piece from ETA with a case made by them, dial and hands. The other one I made myself with a silver dial. The last one is a chronograph ETA 7750. It was very difficult to find a dial which would match and fit the case I had. After many trials, I have made my own dial. I am quite proud of this watch because a lot of sweat and tears went into it. (I was still learning in school that time, so made a few mistakes). The dial doesn’t look perfect but has some small details which uhhh, let’s say proves it’s hand-made ;). I own 8 different Eza timepieces from back in the days. Some very funky looking and others more dressy. The 1972 model I made is based on one of these watches. I own a Seiko SKX009. I think this is a great watch for its price range. Yes, you see that some compromises are made. For example on the bracelet and the precision of the movement. But, if you want to spend about 200 CHF on a watch, this piece is something I would recommend. 

5. Who is your ideal customer?

An ideal customer is a happy customer for me. Of course, I like to sell many watches, but I enjoy most when people wear their watch regularly. There are quite some clients who wear their Eza as a daily beater. Sometimes it is even their only mechanical watch. It makes me feel very proud that they have chosen to wear a mechanical watch in the first place and especially that this watch is an Eza!

6. Tell about what you like to do outside of watches. Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I love to hang out and meet with friends. We do a lot of bbq’s at the lake here in Lausanne. It is an ideal way to relax and have some fun. When you are too hot in the sun, you just jump in the lake and swim a little. I have something with swimming in open waters. I love to do it and prefer it much more above an artificial pool. Whenever we are hiking and come across a lake, I have to swim. Even if it’s close to a glacier and the water can be SUPER cold :). The inspiration for the watches comes mostly from books and old watches. Some of the famous brands’ vintage pieces are going up crazy. But there are some gems out there. Watches that look great, have a story and don’t cost more than 150 USD +-. The inspiration comes from these old watches and I try to make a reinterpretation of these but with modern materials. (like sapphire glass, modern movement, etc.)

7. How do you see your watch brand in the future?

There are many ideas I want to work out with Eza. What is one of the biggest things is that I would like to split the collection into two parts. A contemporary collection, this would be more modern watches like the Sealander and the AirFighter. And a vintage collection, which would be purely based on old Eza watches from the past, like the 1972 I have now. This part I enjoy the most. I think it is great to wear a watch which looks like a vintage piece but you can use it as a daily beater. This might not be the best selling collection, but I enjoy it the most and it is great for other people to wear a relatively rare watch. 

8. Are there any other new watches coming out anytime soon?

For now, no new pieces are coming soon. I doubled the collection during the last year and I need to focus on a few other things for now. I am working on ideas and I am already quite sure that the new watch will be a modern version of an old Eza piece again :).

9. What was the hardest part of resurrecting a watch brand? And why Eza?

That’s a good question. I think there are two difficult moments in the process. The start, how to get the money to produce your collection. I was lucky that I was still a student so my monthly expenses were very low. Then came the part of changing it from a project into my real job. Then suddenly you have to pay yourself each month, while you need to save for new models/stock to buy. I chose Eza because the story is a great story and the diving watches from the past matches the initial idea to make a vintage diver. Also, the town of Pforzheim is a forgotten place. There was a large watchmaking industry back in the days and lot’s of different factories working together on projects. I do the same now where I work with different factories to make the parts and assemble in the town of Pforzheim. I follow the same vision of making the watches as it was done for Eza back in the days.

10. Any suggestions to someone who wants to make their own watch company?

Yeah sure, just do it! Give it a try. Especially now with platforms like Kickstarter, it is quite easy to set-up your project. Everyone’s situation is different of course, but from my experience, I would advise to start a watch company as a project next to what you are doing at the moment. From the first idea and the launch of Eza I worked on the project for more than a year. And especially in the beginning, there are moments where there is nothing to do for 2 weeks. Like waiting for a sample. And it is important to not have the time pressure to launch to make sure the quality is as you want it to be. If someone has any questions about this I would be happy to answer their questions! just write to 🙂


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