Vieren: Making The New Generation’s Timepiece
t was February 2020 when I met Project Runway Canada Winner, Sunny Fong, at his home in Toronto. Over the next ten months I would have an inside perspective on the launch of his latest design adventure, Vieren. A Swiss made luxury watch brand, and original concept of form meeting function, with an old world craft meeting modernity.
“These are the samples of what we will be showing at Baselworld in the spring.”
“I love the design process in fashion, I love how fast it moves.” Sunny said as he poured me a coffee, “Usually I’ll take two contrasting ideas and make them into one. Moments of modernism, architecture, texture…It’s that idea of subtlety and sexy together.”
A nondescript cardboard shipping box had quietly appeared on the table. “These are the samples of what we will be showing at Baselworld in the spring.”
Leaving temptation on the table, Sunny whisked away to get the door. It would be Jessica Chow, the co-founder and CEO of Vieren, arriving to walk through the collection and launch plans with us.
Jess quickly introduced herself, and with great passion dove directly into talking about the watch, “When we were designing this, I wanted to make sure that our watch was really something that could be constant and be on someone’s wrist all the time.” Sunny added, “The thing about a watch is – it’s neutral, you don’t have to be a certain body type to wear it. That’s why we focussed on the little elements.”
“The one thing that I thought would make it uniquely ours was to create this gold ring inside of the case, and that we would have on every watch.”
“Our iconic rectangular watch case is highlighted with a stark white debossed geometric pattern, exclusive to our Diamond series.”
“Matte black DLC plating offers excellent abrasion protection, low friction, and a diamond-like hardness that’s fade resistant.”
“…from our custom octagonal crown to the exhibition case – those are the little things that make it a signature watch.”
Taking my last sip of coffee, and observing the finely tuned collection in front of me; I proposed a simple question, “So…why automatic and Swiss Made?”
Jess began to explain, “Switzerland has always been known as a watchmaking industry and they’ve been able to hone their craft over generations of watchmakers – and are now excelling at being the best in quality as well as craftsmanship.”
She Continued, “To make an automatic watch, it takes 160 pieces. Because of this, It’s much more difficult to achieve a mechanical watch. The Automatic movement – you have the rotor behind the movement, and when you move, you wind the spring and you don’t need a battery.
“So, theoretically it can actually last you forever."
It was at this moment I discovered how coveted the “Swiss Made” label which adorned each of their time pieces was. It represented generations of watch makers refining their craft, a rich cultural history, and an excellent point of distinction between an heirloom and fast fashion.
Excitedly, Jess continued, “ Automatic watches are powered by you – your everyday inspiration to keep focus and keep moving. We’re focused on empowering you to make the most out of every second of your life.”
Sunny added, “…and if you don’t wear the watch, time stops.”
At this point I completely understand their message of “powering your time” and the importance of wearing this timepiece daily. It’s a talisman of power, and self motivation.
The next several weeks for Sunny and Jess were filled with late nights and early mornings, prepping for the biggest exhibition in the industry, Basel World.
Being the most important industry show in existence, brands such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Graff would take this opportunity to display their finest workmanship. It would be crucial for Vieren to have a flawless presentation as they would sit next to the leading craftspeople of the world.
Some time later, I found myself in Mexico taking in what would become my last vacation for the foreseeable future. Slowly over the course of the trip, the news broke that the pandemic was hitting a world wide scale, and I began eyeing my return flight home.
One morning over breakfast, my phone rang out a familiar “ping,” but the news which it delivered was anything but settling.
Sunny: “Basel World is cancelled.”
I leaned back into my chair, and took in the news. The worlds premiere watch fair, which had run for 103 years was not only cancelled for 2020, but also major players were pulling out for 2021.
Me: “So, what are you guys going to do?”
I anxiously awaited the reply. So much work and preparation had been made for this event, and the unthinkable had happened.
Sunny: “We’re still waiting for more details, but we will make the best of it.”
Check back for part two of this editorial on Vieren, and discover how Sunny and Jess powered through obstacles and successfully launched their creation to the world. I can assure you, it is a rollercoaster ride you will definitely want to read about.
Thank you to the team at Vieren for the opportunity to write this exposée. For more information on Vieren, or to purchase one of their limited edition time pieces, please visit their website. For the latest updates on Vieren, be sure to follow their Instagram, and their Creative Director Sunny Fong. To discover more people like Jess and Sunny, visit the People page.