TWO CLOSE FRIENDS PASSIONATE ABOUT CHINESE CULTURE
We are two close friends from France who came together while studying in Beijing in 2016 through a common passion for China, watches and starting novel projects.
Robin has had a passion for watches since age 14 and worked at the French Chamber of Watchmaking in Shanghai and at Christie’s in London. With his keen interest in Chinese horology, in March 2016, he was appointed to join the China Horologe Association as “Execution Expert”. The CHA is the Chinese national-level government organization that oversees and promotes the watch industry in China. He is a graduate of the University of Warwick, Peking University and London Business school. Outside of Atelier Wen, he works in a private equity fund in Paris.
Wilfried is not only a graduate from China's top two universities - Peking University and Tsinghua University - but also a tireless entrepreneur at heart. With his experiences in numerous startups and perfect mastery of Mandarin, Wilfried has coordinated both our design and manufacturing from Beijing since the very beginning. Outside of Atelier Wen, he is the founder and CEO of Zaapi, a start-up building digital commerce infrastructure for Southeast Asian MSNEs.
RE-IMAGINING TRADITIONAL CHINESE DESIGN
Our identity is embodied in our name, Atelier Wen. Atelier Wen, the “culture workshop”, combines the French word for workshop (Atelier) and the Chinese word for culture (Wen 文). And indeed, ours is a project led by French and Chinese creators with a mission to re-define the meaning of modern Chinese style and display it in a novel form that speaks to all who appreciate items of beauty and meaning.
This project could have never taken off without the support of our two brilliant Chinese designers, Li Mingliang and Liu Yuguan, from the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology. They have been single-minded in iterating designs time after time and ever-ingenious in their approach to re-imaging traditional Chinese design relevant for the modern world.
In the future, we will be working with some of the most audacious contemporary Chinese designers and artists, coming up with increasingly bolder answers to the open-ended question of what constitutes modern Chinese design.
ABSOLUTELY NO COMPROMISES: MAKING THE VERY BEST CHINESE WATCHES
High quality watchmaking has been at our core since Day 1, because we wish to give fine Chinese watchmaking the credit that it is due. Indeed, the Chinese watchmaking industry is one of the most developed in the world and a key supplier to many so-called Swiss or Western brands. No branding hat tricks here. Our pieces make use of the best expertise and materials available, traditional and modern, all of which proudly originate from the Middle Kingdom.
The brand has evolved a fair bit since its inception. When Porcelain Odyssey was sold out and we decided to move forward with the development of Perception, we had a long reflection period and came to the conclusion that, in order to properly celebrate Chinese culture and craftsmanship like we want to do, we would need to become one of the single best Chinese watch brands. A strategy shift vs when we created Porcelain Odyssey thus occurred. We want to become one of the very best Chinese watch brands and not just a premium lifestyle label, and that is why we substantially increased quality levels with Perception.
WE COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT THEM
This journey would not have been possible without the collective efforts of many friends, family and ardent supporters and we wish to express our heartfelt appreciation to them here.
In particular, a great thank you to Li Wei from the China Horologe Association for his mentoring and oftentimes, hands-on support on brand conceptualisation, design and manufacturing.
A great thank you, too, to Daniel Wang and Justin Lam for their unfaltering and never-ending support.