"It took John Harrison 40 years to make his H4.
It took us 20 years to make the V7."
It must have been 1993. It all started out innocently enough. I was traveling and just wanted to know when the sun would rise the next morning. Go for a beach walk at first rays. Essential time information really.
My Rolex Submariner could not tell. I checked around, no other watches could tell either. What now? I decided to make my own. Couldn't be that hard? It was.
Didn't know, but it was like opening up Pandora's box. An endless stream of a fascinating history of time keeping came to light. It was one of the very original mysteries, the counting of day and night is primordial. Along with the sun and the moon it lies at the foot of all calendars and time keeping.
I envisioned the YES watch to be a beautiful mechanical time piece. At the Basel Messe in 1997, I had lunch with an engineer from Glashutte. After a few minutes he smiled, cut me off and simply stated that if I wanted to do all that in a mechanical watch, I would be carrying a backpack on my wrist. Case closed. We laughed and had another beer.
Turns out neither mechanical nor quartz technology are capable of rendering the time information I was after. Only astronomical algorithms combined with chip and screen technology could do the job.
Eventually we found our way to Hong Kong. The one place that could develop such a watch from scratch, and get it manufactured. Of the two dozen different manufacturing specialties needed to put our celestial time piece together, only Asia has all of them.
When it comes to the art and science of time keeping there are three fundamental cycles we have counted since the dawn of existence:
The nearly unsolvable challenge our forefathers of time kept running into was that these 3 cycles don't ever neatly sync up with each other. They all spin on their own cycle. Follow one and the other two will eventually go out of sync.
Albeit brilliant for man and the machine, the 23:59:59 falls woefully short of presenting the whole picture of time. In a world that is beginning to understand we must reconnet with nature, isn't it time we reconnect with natural time as well?
In 1999, we incorporated the YES watch company in Marin County, California and got to work with our Swiss and Hong Kong partners. Creating perfection was and is a whole lot easier said than done, but 18 months later we proudly released our first WorldWatch collection.
It was a rude awakening. In spite of being a very lean and mean time machine, the case measured in at a solid 43x16mm. The size prompted a nearly wholesale rejection in the market place. Turns out that the watch industry was not really in the time keeping business, they are in the jewelry and fashion business. Time keeping ability seemed almost irrelevant.
Those who had a practical application for the time data offered soon emerged. Astronomers gave us our first love. Photographers, cinematographers, pilots, boaters, world travelers, military personnel and watch collectors soon followed. With the YES watch, they could all plan their activities with much greater accuracy and confidence than ever before.
In 2004, we sent a sample of the Zulu watch to the Chief Astronomer with the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. His scientific and historical review was stellar, and I was beyond flattered when he immediately put the watch on display in the Museum collection. That is when I knew my instincts were legit.
There is no better product feedback than what you get from caring customers, from those who plunked down hard earned cash to buy. Over the years, we have listened intently and taken notes.
Manufacturing a quality product is easier said than done. Ask Apple or ask your local microbrewer. The answer will be the same. It takes everything you got and then some. We are honored to work with a team of seasoned watch development professionals out of HK with manufacturing capabilities in China.
Various watch parts are sourced from Japan, Thailand, Switzerland, Taiwan and China. Our key partners specialize in watch making and have decades of experience. Each of them works with a range of sub vendors.
Powering a time piece has been a challenge for anybody who ever tried. For the V7 a hardcore wireless charging system proved best. On a full night of charging you get up to 3 months of battery life. That is pretty darn good.