It all began on the Internet where Robert, based in Germany, posted his watch designs. They caught Derick’s attention, who was halfway across the globe in Hong Kong. In March 2010, the two of them started ZIIIRO.
“Since Robert first unveiled his unique watch concepts online, our first watch — the ZIIIRO Gravity — has been featured on popular webzines such as Engadget, Gizmodo and Yanko Design. The idea is a timepiece that indicates the passage of time through a constant change in patterns, without conventional hands, markings or even a clasp. The ethos is minimalism so there are to be no distracting elements in our designs.”
“I was absolutely thrilled at having the chance to take my designs into production. We spent the following nine months on research and development. One big hurdle was that neither of us had any product or watch design background. And on top of that, I had to juggle between ZIIIRO and my day job as a media designer. It was highly challenging but at the same time fun and exciting to dive into this new world. I’ve never dreamed of this day where I’m designing products that would bring joy to people all over the world.”
When things got more real, we needed to find somebody who was the missing link between us and the watch production facilities.
Hei came onboard as the third member of Team ZIIIRO and was in charge of all technical aspects of production. With everything in place, it wasn’t long before ZIIIRO launched its first two models, GRAVITY and MERCURY, on their custom-built webstore.
“The day we launched our webstore, Robert and I “met up” on Skype for a launch countdown. I still remember the epic moment when I clicked on the mouse and watched our webstore, bearing our fruits of labour, go live. Then we waited for feedback from the first owners of our watches, fearing they might not like their new time machines for some reason. There was a lot at stake because we’ve put in every bit of our heart and soul into ZIIIRO. As it turned out, everyone really liked our watches!”
Overwhelmed by the positive response, Robert and Derick realized that with the ZIIIRO brand they created a perfect platform for subsequent ideas to become true. Regarding the way how we work on new projects together, not much has changed since the beginning.
“One crazy thing that most people don’t know: From the time I first met Derick online, we’ve always been communicated with each other by Skype, E-mail or Facebook – but always only by text. We got familiar with that circumstance, on the one hand because of the time difference from Germany to Hong Kong, on the other because I had to talk to him during my work time of my regular job. I can’t even say why, but we never called each other. So we never even heard each other’s voice for more than 2 years! The first time we met, was when I invited Derick to my wedding in 2012. Later on, we got to meet more often, when we visited him in Hong Kong or on the Berlin Fashion Week where we exhibited for a couple of times.“