Though not immediately obvious, there is more connecting Paulin to anOrdain than a love for making exciting, beautiful Scottish watches. Lewis Heath, founder of anOrdain, is married to Charlotte Paulin, one of the founding sisters of Paulin. While they do exist in very different spaces, Paulin and anOrdain have come together to create a wonderful blend of the two brand philosophies - without any of the usual drama that can sometimes accompany keeping it in the family.
Life, soul and creative director of Paulin, Eleanor, as well as visionary and founder of anOrdain, Lewis, reflected on the project.
How did this collaboration come to be?
Eleanor: From Paulin's perspective our goal has always been to produce as much as we can within the UK. We’ve been taking small steps year on year to accomplish this and our collaboration with anOrdain has brought us even closer to that goal: they have the expertise and resources that Paulin was looking for when we started dreaming up the Neo. anOrdain was also founded by my sister and fellow creative director’s husband Lewis Heath, so a collaboration seemed natural and so far has been effortless.
Lewis: Creating a good product on a tight budget is an appealing design challenge: that's been the main driver for us. We get approached a lot by brands asking us to make dials for very expensive watches, and we generally say no - this brief was much more fun, plus it's harder to say no when it's your wife and her sister! It is also rare to see collaborations between two watch brands, which made this quite fun.
What is it like working together with family?
Eleanor: Charlotte and I have been working together for years and it’s been so easy. I think it helps that in our personal lives we are very close, so that translates to a very open creative environment. I also think one of the many benefits of working with family is that you really know that you can rely on the other person, which in any business is key.
Lewis: Whether or not there is a Paulin NEO II will probably answer that question!
Where do Paulin and anOrdain meet?
Eleanor: We both offer something unique to our markets, just at different price points. anOrdain craft something rare and luxury within the watch industry, whereas Paulin’s approach to our products has been more affordable, design-focused and customisable.
Lewis: They do exist in very different spaces, which I think made this a lot easier, but there is definitely shared ground in terms of design. Both companies are products of Glasgow and of the art schools here and in Edinburgh, and that creates a common aesthetic within and between the two companies. I'd say there's also a very genuine relationship at both brands between the customer and the people, and a desire to give the customer real value and a good experience is very much part of that.
What are the distinctive Paulin and anOrdain elements in the Neo?
Eleanor: The Neo is fun and playful which is definitely something of a Paulin signature, and the craft aspect of the watch is something that anOrdain has introduced.
Lewis: It's actually become quite hard for me to tell now! There's a sense of playfulness and fun about it which is definitely Paulinesque, and there's no enamel obviously.. but there's a tangible feeling of individuality to each piece which I think we've brought to it.
What distinguishes the watch from the rest of the market segment?
Eleanor: The dyed anodised aluminium dial is truly unique to the market and it makes the Neo so special. The move away from minimalism that has been prevalent in our corner of the watch industry is also something that sets this watch apart; it's fresh, exciting and doesn't take itself too seriously.
Lewis: I don't think there's anything like it, and for a £395 watch, it is incredible value. Hopefully it will show some of the other 'British' brands how feasible manufacturing here can be.
To see our new collaboration in action find the Neo watch here.
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