“I’m a tinkerer.”
For Filipina watch designer Riane Garfin, it took no time to channel that urge and create a work of art.
“I like opening up things and putting it back together. If you like to tinker with things, there’s nothing more fascinating than a watch. I’ve always been fascinated by watches — their art, engineering, architecture, history, physics and mathematics. I trained at the BHI (British Horological Institute) because of this passion. I didn’t just want to be in the business of watches; I wanted to understand the history and inner workings, too.”
In 2018, LEUPP /lu:p/ was born.
The independent Filipino-owned watch brand has a studio tucked in the leafy Putney district of southwest London, dedicated to making simple, clean and contemporary timepieces at a pocket-friendly price.
“Design is something I’ve just always been obsessed with. Particularly clean, uncomplicated design. There is a gap in everyday wear watches. Watches in this price range are not particularly aesthetically pleasing and are more focused on just logos being stamped on a generic product,” Garfin tells the Daily Tribune in an email interview.
LEUPP is a play on the word “loop,” Garfin explains, “because that’s how a watch keeps time, the movement oscillating that drives the motor to move the watch hands in a cycle of repetitions.”
Time, for the watch designer, has been put to good use.
“There was no eureka moment on how I entered the world of entrepreneurship. I just always thought I would live my life designing and creating products and make a business out of it. And that my nine-to-five job would just be a means till I get to a point that I can afford to open a business. But I was in my 30s and still doing a desk job with a lot of creative repression. One day I thought just get on with it,” she recounts.
“In 2014, with just P20,000 worth of stock I started a small fashion accessories business. Then my business partners joined and invested in the business. As we grew, we expanded to other accessories including watches. After several years in operation, we realized that our watches were the obvious favorite. So in 2018 we changed direction and focused solely on watches. That’s when we renamed the brand to LEUPP.”
The pandemic, Garfin says, was the biggest challenge they have ever had to overcome, as with all businesses.
“Some physical locations had to shut down and we had to be agile in growing the online business. Major changes and platform developments were implemented, some overnight. Each day wasted in retail is an impactful loss. You have to be fast in making decisions,” she muses.
Still, LEUPP will tick on and, in fact, should be coming out with a new collection by the second quarter of this year.
“We’re very excited,” Garfin says. “Making watches satisfies this need and impetus in me to create something that others will love. I wanted to make something with care for design and elegance. A sophisticated product but still affordable. As an introvert, this is how I connect with people, providing something beautiful and very accessible.”
For those who are not into flashy brands or simply appreciate a stylish watch for daily wear, LEUPP has a range of sleek, minimalist watches for men and women
— no bulky buttons, no confusing dials or oversized straps.
“All that’s left are clean lines and an easy-to-read display that does exactly what a watch should: tell time,” says the company statement.
To clock in some good vibes, the brand is making it even easier for people to get their hands on a LEUPP. With prices starting at P1,899, LEUPP has a Buy One, Get One offer on all watch styles: leather, metal and mesh and canvas. Visit their website and you can shop any two watches for the price of one!
Shop now at www.leuppwatches.com. Follow LEUPP on Facebook and Instagram.