I don’t  remember exactly when it actually happened, most certainly during one of our many dinner & wine evenings where we usually end up questioning our decisions; why are we still doing the 9 to 5 thing and what do we want to achieve as entrepreneurs and as humans. In any case, at some point in the summer of 2016, the 4 of us all got together one evening, Angie, Chloé (our respective wives), Jocelyn and I, and started chatting about what should be our next entrepreneurial adventure.

The Mont Royal Watch Co - Designs

One thing we knew for sure, was that we wanted to build our own profitable business from scratch, give ourselves new entrepreneurial challenges within our fields of expertise, and somehow serve the world by giving back.

Most of the time, these discussions will remain just that, “a discussion”, with no real consequences, but this time was different. It was as if we had found a new source of motivation. A few days later, as the ideas were still lingering, Jocelyn and I decided to put a few guidelines in place in order to help us define the new project idea:

  1. Learn new skills (both regarding design and marketing);
  2. Design a physical product for direct to consumer e-commerce;
  3. Limit personal cash investment by doing most of the work ourselves;
  4. Get shit done/avoid all the usual business planning BS;
  5. Give 10% of net sales to carefully selected social causes;
  6. Keep our mouths shut and keep it a secret until ready to launch.

As our main mantra is “Get Shit Done”, we quickly got to work on finding an interesting and broad market, and it all came down to the “Fashion & Cosmetics” industry, which is the biggest e-commerce market. Yes, fashion & cosmetics! 🙂

Our first exploration idea was to design Fashion Sunglasses, and while it was a good idea for multiple reasons, we were not overly excited about it. Then came the idea for a Classic Watch, which was way more interesting to work on.

Why a Classic Watch?
Personally, as a user interface designer, I found in the watch world all the design aspects that I’m most interested in, such as a user interface that requires a very high level of detail.

With our fast moving society lead by mobile technology, we believe there is something genuine about a classic product, made to last. We wanted to design watches for the fashion-conscious men & women looking for a sophisticated and contemporary style, without breaking the bank; a watch that would stand out from the mass-produced minimalist designed watches that have flooded the market over the past few years.

So there it is. We now design and sell quality classic watches.
The secret is out.

The Mont Royal Watch Co - Time For Change

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Needless to say, we had a huge learning curve to go through, which started by trying to decipher the different market levels of the watch manufacturing business; a market that can go from the cheap $5 Walmart watch to the very exclusive Swiss watch for the 1%.

We then had to figure out where we wanted to evolve as a new watch brand, learn the language of watch design, the mechanical aspect of the watch movements, and once done, the watch manufacturing process; all of which took us several months.

Early in the design thinking process, we were looking at simply imprinting our brand onto existing manufacturer’s models, but soon realized that it wasn’t matching our vision and the quality standards we were looking for. We wanted our own designs with our own product specifications.

The Mont Royal Watch Co - Designs

With all the research we had done and after all the discussions we had with watch technicians, we spent most of October and November of 2016 working on the designs of a Chronograph model and a Classic model. By mid-December, we pretty much had our final designs.  The exciting part was about to start; the molding of pre-production prototype samples.

Check out this article to learn more on our design process.

Another article on how we came up with the brand and identity.

The Mont Royal Watch Co - Designs

It goes without saying that we are putting a lot of heart and soul into this project. It has now been more than 8 months in the making and is becoming much more than just creating affordable quality watches. We are very happy with the watches we have designed and everything we have learned in the process, but above all, we are very proud of our commitment to making a difference in the world by giving 10% of all net sales proceeds to carefully selected charitable and humanitarian projects around the world.

At the moment of writing this blog post, we are polishing the last details of the design, and putting a lot of effort for the official launch (early summer) – Yeah, quality takes time. Make sure to follow us, we’ll soon be sharing a lot of pictures and updates!