Sari Anne Tuschman 2017-09-05 07:11:58
Vertex watches are back, but you have to be one of the lucky people asked to buy the coveted timepiece. It was after his grandmother passed away that Don Cochrane— the great-grandson of Vertex watches’ late founder Claude Lyons—had the epiphany that he should revisit his family’s legacy. “While sitting at work contemplating her life, I started thinking about her father’s watch company, Vertex,” Cochrane says. “I realized I had all the tools needed to bring it back—it was amazingly cathartic, knowing something so important to her could be brought back into the world.” This spring, Cochrane developed Vertex’s first watch since 1972 (when the company folded), a Swiss-engineered M100 that is a water-resistant, modernized version of the watch the British soldiers wore in World War II. (As the story goes, the U.K. Ministry of Defense commissioned 12 watches for soldiers to wear during the war—Omega, IWC and Vertex among them. The 12 were referred to as the “Dirty Dozen.”) But there was a catch: Cochrane wanted to make sure the resurrected company was truly built around its owners. With that in mind, he crafted a list of 60 people who were “invited” to buy the M100. The first 60 could each invite five more people to purchase the watch, and those individuals could each invite one more, and it continued from there, creating Vertex’s new, uberexclusive business model. “I care passionately about the company, and I want to also care about our owners,” Cochrane says. “I love the idea you can build a brand around people’s character rather than their capital—that if you see someone wearing a Vertex you know there is a story there.” While Cochrane won’t reveal the 60 names, he assures it is not just a list of A-list celebrities. “It’s been designed to be as diverse as possible,” he says. “There is a space pioneer in California and a science teacher at a little school in Wales. There are soldiers, and there are doctors. There are a few celebrities, but I have tried to keep the list full of interesting people, not just people of interest.” The first invitees were approached this spring, and Cochrane says the response has been both amazing and humbling. “Not only has the uptake been fantastic, but the feedback once people have their new M100 has been excellent,” he says. “There is a real sense of pride in ownership. In the future, I would like to bring Vertex to a larger audience but still at a very limited volume—maintaining a direct relationship with our owners will be at the core of how the company grows.” (vertex-watches.com)
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