Bob is the founder of Camber Watches and has been playing with watches since he was a little child. In this interview Bob tells us a bit more about his life and how he came up with the idea for Camber Watches.
Well Bob, to start, could you tell us a bit more about who you are? (where you are from, your daily life, your interests)
Yes, ofcourse. I’m Bob, born and raised in the Netherlands, Breda to be specific. At the moment I am living together with my wife and 3 sweet kids. I have actively been working in the jewelry world for about 21 years in which I now have 2 companies. One is the jewelry store (called Segers-Jonkers) that once started with my great grandfather for which I come up with and create jewelry. The other company is the brand that I created called Camber Watches. Camber Watches is kind of an ode to my love for watches and racing.
Where does your passion for racing and watches come from?
My great grandfather was the first one in the family to have a jewelry store. The store was passed on to my grandfather (who also created his own watch brand called SEJONA) and my parents. As a child, I was always playing with reusable parts of old watches to combine them into a new well-working watch. So as an example, I collected all the different parts of used Camel watches to create my own Camel watch. This is in short version where my ‘watch-genes’ are coming from.
Later on, I studied to become a goldsmith in Antwerp (Belgium) followed by a study ‘small-businesses’ in Rotterdam. During my period in Rotterdam I also started my first side-job in a jewelry store (when I was 21 years old). In the years after that I worked for several jewelry stores in Amsterdam, Roosendaal en Breda. While I was working for the store in Breda I went to several watch fairs in Switzerland. On these fairs you are being fed with the stories behind the brands like IWC, Breitling etc. The stories behind these brands make the ‘Expensive Brands’ special and therefore sell their watches. Since not everyone can afford an expensive watch like Breitling, I thought by myself, why don’t I create a watch brand that has a wonderful story (vintage motorsports) AND is more easily affordable? And this is how Camber Watches came into being!
As an example, by adding little stones from the circuit of Monaco and parts of a rubber tyre that drove on the circuit I want to make the story more real. Regarding the types of watches, I’m inspired by the ‘timeless classics' so these are aspects that I want to add to every upcoming chapter. I’m really in love with the time from around the 50’s which I try to implement in the watch.
What do you think makes CamberWatches different/unique from the other watches on the market?
It’s the whole story behind the watch with the different chapters for every watch. It’s also the value that people get for their money, an excellent quality watch for an affordable price. And it’s the physical parts completing the story that comes with the watch (like the stones and the rubber with the Monaco version). Lastly, it’s the package that the watch is coming which is pretty and includes the 3 different straps (allowing people to switch the straps day by day).
There’s many beautiful watches on this price level, but I haven’t come across a brand yet that includes so many extra features.
What do you hope CamberWatches to accomplish? (in terms of marketgoals or a message/value that it has for their customers)
I want to make wonderful watches that are within reach for a big audience and have a beautiful story behind it. I have a lot of fun when I am being creative and have to come up with new ideas, like a new subject for the next chapter but also the design of the watch that belongs to it. Camber Watch doesn’t have to become the new Breitling or any other big brand, I want it to be a beautiful brand (watch and story) that allows people to fall in love with it.
My passion for racing has always been there and is mostly navigated towards the vintage racing world. I watch many videos on YouTube about legends like Fangio and Stirling Moss, who come from the raw world of racing (back in the 50’s & 60’s) in which the risks around racing where much higher than nowadays. Recently I watched a video in which Fangio drives his car into the water, he gets himself out of the car, takes another car in the pitlane and continues his race. It’s impossible to think about that now with all the safety rules in place, but it makes racing much more interesting (I think)!
What made you come up with the design of Camber Watches and the name behind it?
It kind of started with an idea that I wanted to create a watch brand with good-quality watches, a beautiful story and for an affordable price. Then I came across the name Camber (vertical angle of the wheel) which sounded accurate to me as the name for a vintage racing watch (since a watch has the same circle as a wheel). Then along the way of creating the watch and it’s story, new ideas came to me, resulting in what is the Monaco Camber Watch today.