Along with his father, Ilan Srulovicz is Founder/Owner of Los Angeles/Toronto based Égard Watches. If you’re looking for passion, you’ve come to the right place. From the mighty Chronobeast to the best selling Shade Blue to the top of the range Adoro, Ilan makes watches that not only stand out from the crowd, but which he personally stands behind. He is 100% involved in their creation every step of the way, and surely that’s the joy of discovering and choosing watches from dedicated independent watchmakers. We asked Ilan to tell us more about his brand and his collection.
1) First of all, please tell our readers about the Passages Limited Edition watch produced in collaboration with William Shatner, and how he got involved in the project
IS: Passages is a limited edition timepiece that William Shatner and I worked on together. The collaboration came about quite naturally. Mr. Shatner had previously seen our Brand Ambassador Casper Van Dien wearing some of our timepieces which peaked his interest. He asked for me to come by his office and discuss my design process, my philosophy on time and to chit chat. At this point he had been wearing our Adoro timepiece. After I explained the philosophy behind the brand and my desire to create unique timepieces that had a very personal meaning we realized that we had the same mindset as to what a timepiece should be. He had always wanted to create something for his family and is a huge watch enthusiast. Every time I would go in to see him and work with him on the design he would be wearing a different timepiece and comment on exactly what he liked about them and what he didn't like. He was so specific in his likes and dislikes that by simply following his advice and designing with him it became very easy to design something truly unique. The case is obviously the stand out feature which is something I had been experimenting with for quite some time on some other pieces. We took a risk on it but it paid off since the timepiece works great with that style case and now we know there is a market for it. Overall it has been a great experience.
2) William Shatner is not the only celebrity associated with your brand, please tell us about some of the other well- known personalities who wear you watches
RJ Mitte of Breaking Bad
IS: We have different celebrities wearing our watches. Brian Dietzen from NCIS is a fan of Égard and was wearing it in a recent photo shoot. Lance Reddick (from Lost and The Wire). Some of the cast from Breaking Bad including Jean Carlo Esposito and RJ Mitte. Casper, our brand ambassador came on board when he saw the designs. We have styled celebrities for the Golden Globes and Oscars as well. There is a group of celebrities out there that like the timepieces but I don't think that's what makes our watches special. I like to think that my timepieces are unique regardless of who is wearing them.
3) For readers who may be unfamiliar with Égard, please tell us about the origins of the brand and how you arrived at the name
IS: The first watch I designed was the Shade. My goal was to make a special gift for my father for his birthday. I planned it for a year and worked on a design and perfected it. I had a vast background in 3d modeling and Previs as well as design, so rapid prototyping the case and dial with the technology that exists today was a breeze. When the timepiece was completed the feedback on it from everyone was so good that we decided to make it available to the public. The name Égard came about because both my father and I speak French. Égard stands for "in regard to" or "in consideration of". The brand came about entirely based on the idea that it was in consideration of my father... hence the name.
4) The Adoro is one of your top of the line watches, please tell us more about this watch.
IS: The Adoro is a Swiss Made rose gold timepiece limited to 100 pieces. It is our dressiest piece. It was important for me to hit a certain price point. Making the case out of pure gold would have skyrocketed the price and only made it available to a different market. I opted to do a 20 micron thick 18k rose gold plating which is very thick by any standard.
This watch has a couple of unique things about it. The rose gold and brown dial combination is something not commonly seen (especially the way we put it together). The dial itself was also very hard to build properly. It has a lot of tiny intricacies that are easily missed upon a glance but on closer inspection are truly distinct to only this timepiece. The dial has a certain depth and build to it that I personally think is very unique. Out of my entire collection this is my favorite piece. It is also now my father's favorite but he still wears the Shade as well since it was the first watch I ever made for him.
5) Will you continue to use an ETA 6498 manual wind movement for this piece or will you seek elsewhere now that ETA is restricting supply of their movements?
IS: I won't get in to how I feel about ETA doing what it's doing because I find it somewhat harsh to independent watchmakers and smaller companies such as ours. But here is the positive lining. It has become such an industry standard to use ETA movements that it has almost become the "easy" alternative. With ETA dissapearing from the equation new options are being explored and realized. Some that might have been overlooked in the past. The new Miyota 9000 series is incredible. I LOVE that movement more than I can express. Unfortunately our watches even with Swiss Assembly would not be Swiss Made using that movement. I personally will use it regardless as I think it's a great movement and want people to wear it.
There are many other Swiss alternatives as well such as Selitta which is essentially a clone of the 2824 from ETA. There are a ton of options for watchmakers in today's market that I am not worried at all about it. One movement I am hoping to use for version two of the Adoro is the Vaucher 5300 microrotor movement, although that will place the version two Shade in a much higher price range. It is a beautifully crafted movement. I also plan to work with great movement engineers and produce some of our own one day.
6) What makes Égard stand out next to other affordable luxury brands on the market? For example, you do not restrict yourself purely to watches.
IS: I believe what makes us stand out is that I am making watches that I personally want to wear. I don't care about trends, industry standards, what's currently selling etc... I simply design from a place of passion and take risks. I find that we are at a stage where watch designers are scared to break away and take a chance. When a company see's another one do well with a design everyone suddenly is making a variation on it. Every watch is starting to look the same and although I appreciate the subtlety that can be found in the small changes that a great company makes to its designs that make it better or different, I am choosing to be bold and make pieces that are a bit of a statement , not because they are huge watches or diamond encrusted etc...but because no one else is designing watches that look like them.
Whether you hate my watches or love them I don't think that anyone can say that they are "generic" looking. I make all my cases from scratch, all our dials are molded (to have a 3d element), we finish our cases extremely well. We pride ourselves in putting the work and effort in where we can. At this point that means we use more common movements but spend our resources elsewhere to make them stand out. We do offer some leather goods as well although I wouldn't say that sets us apart since most watch companies do branch out to other areas such as jewelry, pens etc. once they feel they can.
7) You are a father and son team with offices in Los Angeles and Toronto, which one of you is based in LA and which one in Toronto?
IS: I am based out out of LA and my father resides in Toronto.
8) Please tell our readers more about the 48mm Chronobeast
IS: The Chronobeast is our largest watch and definitely more noticeable than the rest of the collection. It's our only quartz watch in the Égard collection but it is using a Swiss Made version of the 5130b. This is not your run of the mill quartz movement. Almost no other companies have used it which is a shame. Ronda did something with this movement that wasn't done before. They made a chronograph, alarm and big date on an analogue movement. I really like the movement and wanted to design a watch around it. If I was going to make a quartz watch under Égard, it would have to be action packed. The dial on the Chronobeast has the signature style of being 3d with different layers and textures. It's one of those risky watches because I made an aviator/tool looking case but classed it up with Roman Numerals and a completely different style. This watch gets strong reactions which is exactly as intended.
9) Similarly, please tell us more about The Hunter
IS: Ahhh The Hunter. Well I have always found the TV case on the limited edition Monaco from TAG to be a really nice case. The DLC black limited edition TAG if I recall was selling for $12k which was quite high and I couldn't find other timepieces that had that same "pow" to them (sorry I don't have another word to describe my reaction to it). I set out to design a unique TV case watch with my signature 3d dial elements . Believe it or not this was our hardest timepiece to build. The mold of the dial was extremely difficult to get right and getting the crystal to not hit the hands while maintaining the thickness of the case was extremely difficult. In the end after numerous times failing we finally got it right and I am really proud of this one. This is an example of not using ETA by the way. We opted for Selitta and I couldn't be happier.
10) What is your best-selling model?
IS: The Shade Blue was our best selling model and we are out of stock. It was limited to 50 pieces of each color. It can still be found on Amazon and some other retailers should have some available since we sent some out.
11) Please give our readers an idea of pricing for your watches
IS: Our Égard collection can be found starting at around $800 and going as high as $1750 for different timepieces and depending where you find them (Amazon has some good deals going). We opted to stop selling direct and set up good relationships with retailers and are now in the works of having our timepieces in a bunch of different locations. It should take a couple of months and we will be up and running in different online and physical retailers. We also have a new collection being released in a month called "Civil". There are currently 5 different models in it (in different color variations) and they are all really unique and hit a lower price point. They should range from $300 to $500. I am really proud of the Civil collection since we were able to create that same unique style and quality but at a lower price point. I think some of the readers are going to really love the designs we have there.
12) Finally, what’s the key message you want to communicate to Watchuseek readers about Égard?
IS: I want the readers to know that I enjoy the conversation I get to have with them regarding design and watches and that the forum has been a great place to communicate my ideas, goals and hopes for the brand. I look forward to continue growing and presenting my watches to everyone. Most important I want to let everyone know that when you buy one of our watches you are buying it from me and I stand behind it. Quality control and customer support are in my opinion the backbone of a company and I will always be available (no matter how big or small our company becomes) to answer questions, and make sure that your desires are met.
Ilan, thank you for answering our questions!
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