Tell us about your background and role at Lytt Labs.
In my previous life, I was a lawyer. After many years, I left the legal profession to join some friends to venture into the business world, manufacturing parts for the electronic industry. Over the following years, my interest and passion for watches led to the founding of Lytt Labs. My experience in the manufacturing industry contributes to the high standards we set ourselves at Lytt Labs. One of the lessons learnt, over more than 24 years in both the legal and manufacturing industries, is that “Good enough should never be enough”.
At Lytt Labs, I oversee and coordinate a small but dedicated international team. As we are a relatively small outfit, I’m involved in all aspects of the business. From design and prototyping to production and planning, from social media to sales and marketing. Our team consists of specialists from Singapore, USA, Holland, UK, China and Japan. This means having to deal with issues across several time zones.
Talk us through a day in your shoes at Lytt Labs, what do you get involved in?
My main job is to look 6/12/24 months down the road, to map out the strategy for our upcoming models as well as to ensure that prototyping and production is smooth and on schedule. Mornings are usually dedicated to the sales and production teams, and afternoons are usually focused on social media and planning. Evenings and nights are then set aside for discussions with the design team that is located overseas.
Why did you decide to go into the watchmaking business?
Sometime in 2013/14, a couple of old friends were karting together and over drinks that evening, we spoke about venturing into business together. Our common interests were cars, karting and watches. Casual talk morphed into serious discussions, serious discussions developed into actual action. Watches was simply the most sensible option as we were all passionate about creating and developing our own brand. At first, we explored the possibility of manufacturing movements as my manufacturing experience allowed me to be able to set up automated assembly lines etc. However, over many meetings and brainstorming sessions, we hit upon a revolutionary idea and would be unique and distinct in the watchmaking world. This would form the basis of our brand “Lytt” and our strategies moving forward.
You are an extremely busy man with other business interest outside of Lytt Labs. What’s your secret to managing time effectively?
Cliched as it may sound, enjoying work doesn’t make it “work”. Consequently, I could be dealing with multiple issues over multiple platforms in multiple countries in multiple time zones, but addressing each concern in a sensible and appropriately timely manner is important. Sometimes, the odd procrastination does happen (I’m only human… ha ha…), but nothing that is time sensitive or urgent.
Being flexible and understanding is also crucial to time management.
Share with us your philosophy for establishing and building business relationships
“Do unto others”. I strongly believe in taking serious and deliberate consideration of the “other sides” concerns and positions, to step into others’ shoes. I believe risk and rewards should be shared and balanced. I believe that my word is my bond, and I deliver on anything that I promise. The key is finding counterparts that have the same beliefs – not easy.
What does Lytt Labs stand for and who does it speak to?
Lytt (as I pronounce it “Light”) Labs is meant to be a beacon to an industry awash with the mundane. Innovation within the watch industry has stagnated and left to a handful of people. I guess the mainstream demographic of watch buyers contribute to this. Hopefully, with our upcoming models, we can rekindle the spark of ideas and designs. We are in the midst of our roll-out plans for 2 more models within the next 6-12 months.
Lytt Labs is not just a micro-brand which is trying to be different. People who are inherently attracted to us are people with individuality, with a sense of “Me”, who value intrinsic design value and quality.
How did your penchant for collecting watches begin?
My first “valuable” watch was given to me by grandmother. It was an Omega Seamaster. I still have it today. This gift started me on a journey of over 30 years. Over time, I was fascinated by watch design and the technical aspects of the movements and complications, and later intrigued by value and branding.
Do you collect watches to keep or to wear?
(Laughs…) I hardly ever wear any of my watches. I’m eccentric that way. They are kept in my safe, only to be taken out to wind and listen to the movement, and to admire. Safe Queens FTW!
What was the creative inspiration for the Inception watches and their design?
When we were first deciding on the design direction, our first major decision was “round or not round”. We obviously settled on “not round” as we wanted to develop our own design distinctiveness. As it stands, the case shape is instantly recognisable as unique. The multiple angled surfaces of the face/dial is also our take on the reflection of light. The entire face of Inception reflects light such that it looks different from different angles.
In a future model, you’ll see an advancement of our technical know-how relating to light.