The past few months have really flown by for the team as we sought to get the invoicing, communications and delivery finalised for the recent Perception batch, whilst juggling the launch and delivery of our most recent collaboration with Revolution and making good on our new partnerships with official retailers around the world! We have also gone about furthering the development of our upcoming releases and novelties, as well as planning the next phases of our community development! While things have been hectic, to say the least, we have pulled through and are delighted to see so many new Perceptions out and about!
Read on for more insight into how the weeks have passed us by, as well as what to expect from us in the coming months!
A new generation of guardians and an invoicing game of twist-and-fit
First-off, we would like to say the biggest of thank yous to all those who have purchased Perception in this recently delivered batch! It has been absolutely wonderful getting tagged daily on Instagram by so many new accounts, as well as seeing your wonderful captures and wrist-shots on our WhatsApp community!
Here are some of our favourites that we have received from you in the past few weeks:
Keep the crazy photos coming; we hear there might just be compelling incentive for the very best Perception shots in the coming months! 😉
The watches arriving on your wrists and putting smiles on your faces continue to make everything worthwhile for our small team here at Atelier Wen, though that is not to say that the invoicing process came and went without a hitch! We faced several notable challenges in the invoicing process, including a change in our payment service providers and an unfortunately drawn out overall process. In order to keep your costs to a minimum, we had chosen, from this round of orders, to facilitate bank transfer payments in various local currencies so as to potentially avoid unwelcome credit card processing fees for all of you. In order to achieve this, we went to the trouble of setting up bank accounts in a variety of different countries to enable domestic transfers with minimal fuss. While somewhat manual, it is a payment format that we are happy to continue offering in the batches to come, albeit with some small but significant modifications to the process!
Having previously committed to taking reservations without collecting a deposit, it has also admittedly been rather tricky navigating drop-outs in customer orders and addressing the corresponding need to bump customers up our waitlist. Without a tangible guarantee that the allocations on the list would be honoured, there was always going to be the intrinsic risk of frivolous reservations and unforeseen circumstances. These unfortunately held up our ability to efficiently allocate the watches, as well as delayed and/or inconvenienced many who had genuine desire to purchase Perception.
On the production-end of things, the uncertainty that comes with this changeable allocation take-up also makes it extremely difficult for us to map out our production quantities and batch frequencies going forward. As such, we have arrived at the conclusion that this format of reservation is neither the most viable nor the most efficient moving forward, and we will be adjusting it to better serve our goal of getting the watches to those of you who truly cannot wait to receive it as quickly as possible!
However, we will be the first to say that we fully-understand the frustration of having to put down a large deposit only to face a prolonged wait for your watch, and this will, of course, factor heavily in our decision for the final format — we will soon have more information on this in a separate announcement. The hope for the future is that this wait for your Perception order can be drastically shortened, and we absolutely have plans to scale up our production to a reasonable degree! And as before, we ask that you place your name on our waitlist responsibly, and with due consideration and commitment for your purchase of Perception!
喜 (Xǐ): A Revolutionary collaboration
In other exciting news, the month of May saw the next step in our collaborative endeavours take shape, as the fiery red dial of our 喜 (xǐ) special edition was delivered. Launched on the 18th of April in conjunction with the industry’s media-powerhouse that is Revolution, 喜 translates to “jubilation”, and represents the joyous, unbridled resonance that Revolution shared for our mission to uplift and celebrate the underestimated capacities of Chinese artisanship and watchmaking. It marks a significant milestone as we seek to take our brand to new heights and bring about even greater emphasis on Chinese watchmaking prowess and culture, and we would once again like to express our immeasurable gratitude to Wei Koh and the entire Revolution team for giving us this opportunity to shine on the biggest of horological stages. It is a development that we take as a marker of how far we have come, as well as how much further we envision ourselves going in the days beyond! You can read more about this startling collaboration in Revolution’s article here!
A surprise appearance at Sotheby’s Important Watches: Part II
Speaking of collaborations, our very first dalliance in these waters, 传承 (chuán chéng), was — to our utmost surprise — a feature in the recently concluded Sotheby’s lot of Important Watches: Part II. Created in collaboration with Wristcheck, a prominent luxury watch reseller in Hong Kong founded by the celebrated Austen Chu (@horoloupe on Instagram), the watch went under the hammer, fetching an entirely unexpected 6985 CHF. It has been very much surreal to see the amount of attention cast on the piece, and needless to say, it both humbles and motivates us immensely to note the growing interest in our pieces and our brand.
Growing the global AW family
As it has been from the very beginning, the global Atelier Wen community continues to be the most precious thing that has sprung up around our brand. May saw this further cemented, providing our team with even more amazing opportunities to mix and mingle with our communities across the globe!
Robin’s return to Singaporean shores at the beginning of the month drew a truly heartening turnout on what had been a rather damp #atelierwensday. Despite the soggy weather, more than thirty of you appeared at Cafe Tailor Made to hang out, talking watches and eagerly devouring any hints about what came next for Atelier Wen! It was special, as ever, meeting both old friends and new, and with Singapore being home to one of our strongest concentrations of Perception owners, we naturally look forward to seeing you all again soon!
Following swiftly on the heels of the get-together in Singapore, Robin was back off to Europe to co-host an afternoon of festivities with the merry folks behind Prosper, a prolific retailer based in Brussels, Belgium! In the latest instalment of a series of events during which Prosper opens up one of their shops on the first Sunday of the month to host a featured brand in a meet-and-greet, Robin got to interact with a steady flow of local collectors who came in to chat. Special cocktails were organised, and the entire atmosphere was an exceedingly convivial one filled with warm conversations and keen interest in our brand. It goes down as the first event (of what we hope will be many) in Belgium, and we would like to express our immense gratitude to Brice, Ilan and the whole Prosper team who made this affair possible!
Not one to miss out on the fun, the newest member of our team, Ignatius, took a couple of days to zip up to Hong Kong with the prototype of our collaborative 喜 (Xǐ). There, he reunited with Justin (@justintime.hk) — arguably our brand’s biggest supporter, and gallivanted amongst many other fast friends of Atelier Wen, including the likes of Daniel (@wongerbonger), in town from faraway Ottawa, as well as the legendary @watch.ho who kicked off his very own watch club, Watch Ho & Co, with one heck of a party! It was also a wonderful opportunity to connect with many of our other community members from Hong Kong, and to put a face to the varied personalities whose voices, conversations and debates fill our WhatsApp groups with such wonderful bustle.
Atelier Wen, now Officially on Discord
Of course, the community building doesn’t stop there. It is with great pleasure that we are also taking this latest journal entry to finally announce the launch of our official Discord channel! With the platform gaining increasing popularity amongst enthusiasts and hobbyists of all sorts, we thought it might be a great way to increase our reach within the watch community and present us with even more opportunities to interact with those as passionate about watches as we are! Do join us as we embark on this new communal adventure!
A very special note of thanks goes out to a certain Richard from the community who lent us both his expertise and time in setting up the server. This would not have been remotely possible without him!
Expanding our reach with new official retail partners
Our watches have, thus far, largely seen distribution directly through our website and reservation list, but the month of June sees us take a huge step towards expanding our network of retail partnerships and hopefully providing you with more avenues to get your hands on our watches! We are extremely honoured to now have our watches offered alongside some true giants of the independent watch landscape, and we will do our utmost to continue pushing the envelope of what can be achieved in Chinese watchmaking in the months and years to come!
Atelier Wen is now available at the following retailers:
Chrono Theory, Tokyo, Japan
Well-regarded for being a retail champion of independent brands in Japan, Chrono Theory finds its home in a futuristic, private boutique and bar in the heart of Ginza, Tokyo. It was founded in early-2021 by the legendary Japanese collector, Chronopeace, known both for his astonishing collection and strong taste for blue shades, and carries in its catalogues more than 30 different independent labels including the likes of Urwerk, Czapek and, now, Atelier Wen!
The initial contact with Chronopeace was made in October 2022, shortly after the Perception 1 Special Edition we made with Wristcheck was announced. Robin then went to Tokyo a few months later to meet with some potential future retail partners. Not being familiar with the Japanese environment, it was initially a little hard for us to gain clarity on who we should be working with. However, the Chrono Theory team struck us as the most enthusiastic and professional one, and the retail concept; really more of a space dedicated to collectors rather than a mere shop, felt very much aligned with what we stand for. We eventually met up one more time in Geneva during Watches & Wonders '23, and the partnership was agreed upon.
The Limited Edition, Leicester, UK
For those of you unfamiliar with them, The Limited Edition was established in 2015 under the direction of industry veteran and GPHG Academy Member Pietro Tomajer. They are a luxury retailer singularly dedicated to introducing collectors to, and championing the world of, independent watchmaking. As an official partner of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants [embed link: https://www.ahci.ch/] (AHCI), The Limited Edition seeks to bring to the fore the skills and individuality of independent and artisanal watchmakers, as this burgeoning sector of the industry increases in visibility and popularity amidst the wider watch world. With a judiciously curated selection of beautiful and fascinating contemporary masterpieces from the most revered watchmakers of our time, we are proud to consider them one of our brand’s new homes!
Our relationship with The Limited Edition was set up well-before Perception even launched by none other than the legendary Justin Lam. As an existing customer of Pietro’s and arguably our brand’s biggest supporter, he recognised the synergy between our two projects from early-on and sought to connect us. The connection established, Robin first met up Pietro at the AHCI exhibition during Watches and Wonders ‘22, where he complimented the original prototypes despite their flaws, and expressed his interest in taking up an allocation for his own client base. The watches were, of course, not ready then, and Robin caught up with Pietro two other times; at Geneva Watch Days in September ‘22 and then again at this year’s instalment of Watches and Wonders. Both times he asked after the pieces, and it was at the latter that Robin was finally able to give him an affirmative on this. This prolonged interest from such a reputable and stellar name in the industry has certainly humbled us, and we look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with Pietro and his team!
Prosper, Brussels, Belgium
Prosper was founded in February 2022 by Jean-Baptiste Tardy, a veteran of 20 years with the Richemont Group, and Brice Wittmann, a former restaurant operator and long-time appreciator of fine watches. It began with a vision of hospitality, and the idea that not all luxury boutiques need-be intimidating for the uninitiated. In their own words, their three separate spaces along rue Antoine Dansaert form “unexpected points of sale that give pride of place to major luxury houses along with local designers”, that nonetheless come together as a welcoming, collective whole, both by and for watchmaking and jewellery enthusiasts. This characteristic warmth and uninhibited, relaxed atmosphere that Prosper exudes serves as a particular hallmark that sets them apart, and represents what they fondly designate the complete Prosper experience!
Before we can talk about how we came to work with Prosper directly, we have to first acknowledge the two catalysts who connected us to them. These go by the names John — of the Shanghai Watch Idiot Savants and Redbar Shanghai, and Jan — the man behind the eponymous Belgian blog and accessories retailer Atelier de Griff. Together, they formed the two degrees of separation through which Robin eventually came to encounter Brice, and by which a Ying prototype — on photography loan to Jan after Robin’s interview with him in early-2022 — came to rest in a display case in Prosper’s boutique for more than a year. This connection having been established, Jan later invited Robin up to Brussels for an event where he met Brice in-person. Shortly thereafter, the invitation was extended by Brice to feature Atelier Wen in an instalment of Prosper’s regular series of “Super Sunday” showcases, where Robin got to engage with local collectors over cocktails.
That we were so-cheerfully represented in their space for so long, without any commercial agreements or expectations, convinced us wholly of Prosper’s sincere advocacy for watchmaking. Furthermore, having experienced it first-hand, Prosper’s jovial atmosphere felt like a match made in heaven for the spirit that we wish for our brand to convey, both within and without the community that we have built. As with the previous retailers, we are truly honoured to associate ourselves with Prosper, as well as excited for what this relationship has in store!
What’s to come in the coming months?
With the second batch of Perceptions having been delivered, and as we cross the midway point of the year, there is plenty more for our team to get on top of in the immediate future, including the implementation of a new solution to our reservations conundrum. That being said, we absolutely do have plenty of more exciting things planned for you all in the months to follow! Prototyping is ongoing for some very special new projects, and Robin and Wilfried will be heading to Hong Kong and China next week to shoot some videos and make sure that everything is proceeding as-planned! As we have hinted at above, there will also be a fun little incentive to see just who can take the best photo of Perception soon!
We hope you are as excited as we are for what we have in store!
See you soon,
Wilfried & Robin