Q&A: Andrey Kravchuk. Ukrainian watch brand RIDER1991
“Be free with your tempo be free be free”, – sang the legendary frontman of The Queen, calling for freedom in all the meanings of the word. The same idea of free movement and individualism was expressed in the GM design group team’s design product, wich they made in a collaboration with Andriy Kravchuk and Olga Kuchmeyeva – the founders of the Ukrainian designers clock project ZAVOD. Thanks to them, the first Ukrainian watches brand RIDER1991 was born, the entire line of which has recently appeared in our online store.
According to the brand owners, this watch was created for independent riders, travelers, of any social status or age, yearning for adventures and victories. This time we talked with the co-founder of RIDER1991 and ZAVOD companies Andriy Kravchuk about things that designers where inspired by and the newbies, that are expected in the near future.
Prostir86: Why did your started your clock business? After all, initially you were selling products of European brands, but in the end, you founded your own brand.
Andriy Kravchuk: Among my hobbies, there always have been the art, design and personalities that stood behind them. Yes, my wife Olga and I initially had a different kind of activity – she worked as a marketing strategist, and I worked for a company that collaborates with architects and designers. Once, when I was looking for a gift for my wife, I saw an interesting model of watches – it was Ora Unica made by Italian designer Denis Guidone. Then it was only a concept, which was released only a year later. In addition, I waited and bought them as a gift, and realized that there are not only Tissot and Casio brands in the world, but also many alternative brands worth paying attention to. Therefore, we had the idea to start our own business.
We came up with the name ZAVOD and the slogan “Start your watch”. It is directly, the call for the acquisition of its own accessory and an active meaningful lifestyle.
In the beginning, we combined our main work with the family business, but then Olga and I began to work exclusively on our project. Therefore, we opened a small concept-store on Podol in 2013, and began to move forward.
Prostir86: How did your own RIDER1991 line come about?
А.К .: ZAVOD was originally created with the idea of developing its own craft watchmaking. Therefore, being engaged in many brands, we always thought about creating our own brand of watches. However, since we are not professional designers, it was difficult for us to create a model on our own. We were looking for congenial companions and accidentally met Nazar and Roma (Nazar Malets and Roman Geviyuk, the founders of the GM design group. – Ed.). We talked with them when the guys bought watches in our store. We discussed a quick idea. Soon they came with a ready-made sketch. This was what we needed and we began work on the RIDER1991 line.
Prostir86: How much time spent on the project? Moreover, what was the source of inspiration?
A.K.: The creation process took about a year. Designers drew inspiration from the stories of their friend, who at that time had just returned from a trip all over Ukraine on a Café Racer motorcycle. We liked the image of a free traveler, and we began to develop our project around it. Nazar and Roman offered to make a recessed head of the winding mechanism – so it will not interfere with the motorcyclist and this accessory will be comfortable. We also linked symbolic aspects together – freedom of movement and the fact that this product was born in Ukraine. Thus, the name RIDER1991 appeared, symbolizing the free traveler and the numbers – it is the year in which our country became independent. In general, the word and the numbers – an allusion to the names of cars.
Prostir86: How did first place at the Industart international industrial design competition affect you?
А.К .: We took part in the very first Industart competition and we won, – the jury called Nazar the best designer. It inspired us a lot. After that, we became confident in our business and began to search for an international partner. At the exhibition in Basel, I found a quality Hong Kong manufacturer that works with many well-known European brands. He implemented the case, skreen and hands on our project.The strap and the Japanese mechanism we chose separately.
Prostir86: How much does the buyer interested in a product with the mark Made in Ukraine?
А.К.: Foreigners are certainly interested in it! Visiting our store, they acquire exactly RIDER1991. Most of our orders come from France, USA and Germany. And the Ukrainian buyer – at will. Initially, many regular customers of ZAVOD shop supported us on Kickstarter. Then they willingly purchased the product, because they trusted us and were pleased with the watches they had bought from us earlier.
Prostir86: How do you plan to continue the RIDER1991 series?
A.K.: We are already working on an updated version of the watch. The new collection will be in other shades, with the date displayed on the dial. We will devote it to the SS-500 – experimental model of the motorcycles, created in the 1970’s at the Kiev Motorcycle Plant. Our team made a whole investigation, finding semi-assembled models, and most importantly – the designer himself. I met him and inquired about the history of the bike. Now we are actively working on a project in collaboration with the Ukrainian brand Syndicate.
In addition to RIDER1991, we are working on several more watch projects. Now we are preparing to launch a new watch in collaboration with a famous European designer Alexey Iskos, who was born in Kharkov, by the way. Now we are at the stage of searching for the “jumping hour” mechanism, which will suit up for the price. We are preparing another project together with our national legend and pride – the Antonov airplane plant, but this is still a secret. 🙂 In addition, two more interesting projects are in development. That is how watch production is born in Ukraine. We hope)
Text: Tata Andrus’