Argos Watches Wants to Redefine Everyday Watch-Wearing
There was once a time when timepieces were an indispensable part of a man's daily ensemble. Before smartphones and smartwatches, one could easily rely on the ticking piece clasped on his wrist every time someone approached him for the time. Watches weren't only an expression of style; they also held their wearer to a certain level of propriety.
Not so much today. While there are still men who choose to follow this time-honored tradition to wearing watches on the daily, many timepieces have been relegated to being markers of life milestones such as graduation or getting a first job, or as collectors' items that a select few could take out for a spin among their rotation of watches.
Meanwhile, the everyday guy has traded the chunk of metal for smart screens. While the latter have their merits, they don't come in quite as handy on a rainy day, or when your battery dies out.
Enter Argos Watches, a local microbrand that seeks to help modern-day men redefine their everyday watch-wearing. Born amid the pandemic, Argos was formed by friends Ivan Soberano and Gregory Yu, who bonded over a mutual deep-dive on horology during lockdown. Throughout the period, the idea of forming a microbrand came to them, pulling in partners Nikki Columna, Stephen Cruz, and Trish dela Cruz to form Argos.
Explaining that they wanted to represent a Filipino watch brand with global sensibilities, they settled on the name Argos, based on the Greek poem The Odyssey by Homer, named after Odysseus' loyal dog—the only one who recognizes Odysseus after the latter returns home years after.
Just like Argos in the Greek poem, the brand wanted to represent itself as an everyday companion throughout struggles and triumphs.
The inspiration for their name alone makes a fitting lead-up to its pilot model, The Odyssey. With their tagline, "Make it your time," Argos isn't afraid to be out of the ordinary while empowering its wearer to take charge of their time. The group says their designs are typically inspired by a mix of heritage and contemporary designs, and this timepiece is no different. Guided by their production philosophy to "dare boldly and execute greatly," the group takes inspiration from classics like Grand Seiko. Argos places a new spin on their watches, including a textured dial and a bright-hued second-hand tip while still ensuring they're suitable for daily wear.
"We wanted the watch to be as premium as possible, all while ensuring its reliability and durability. We used a top grade 316L stainless steel for the case and used an ever-reliable Japanese NH35 automatic movement for the heart of the machine," Argos' brand director Ivan shares. Their team of local watchmakers assembled the pieces, creating a bang-for-your-buck, quality Filipino watch that doesn't place a dent in the pocket. Argos is also working to offer leather straps by local leather craftsmen.
Having sold their pieces mostly online, Argos' fresh and contemporary approach to local watchmaking also earned it a successful retail debut as part of The Barracks at ArteFino. Esquire speaks with Ivan to learn more about its Odyssey watch, and what makes their watches tick with those new to watch-wearing.
Esquire Philippines: You joined The Barracks at ArteFino this year. Was that your first time introducing the brand on that scale? What was the experience like?
Ivan Soberano: Yes, it was the first time that we introduced the brand on that scale. It was a truly meaningful experience, especially for young brands like us. We take pride in the opportunity to be showcased alongside many other Filipino craftsmen who, like us, strive to improve our craft each day.
Who is the Argos watch made for? What kind of wearers or customers do you have in mind?
The watch was designed for those people who want to "make it their time." Whether it is for making their time to lead, to take on new adventures, or to celebrate, an Argos watch can always be there as it is durable and versatile. It was also designed for those people who dare to be different and not blend in and make their own choices. Whether you're someone who's making great waves or someone who dares to be different and challenges the status quo, we believe that we share the same philosophy of daring boldly with our choices and executing them greatly.
What is the concept behind your flagship model, Odyssey? Can you share the process behind designing this?
Our flagship watch, the Odyssey, was designed completely on the ideas of all five founders. From the materials used, to the small elements, such as the compass hand-inspired second hand with the orange tip, everything was a collective of elements that the team wanted the watch to look like.
While we also got inspiration from a lot of well-known and small watch brands, the execution was completely unique. One of the best qualities of the watch is the dial texture, which resembles a sandy or pebbled surface. This is rarely seen in a watch, and we really dared to be unique in this aspect. Even with the date window at the 6 'o clock position, which is very uncommon in watches that usually have this in the 3'00 position. The Odyssey basically highlights a design that is unique, authentic, full of passion—qualities that its makers embody.