Since 2006, MONOCHROME has been dedicated to fine watches, however, the journey began as early as the year 2000. In preparation for my first backpacking holiday in Asia and my first time deep-sea diving, I started looking for a watch that would be fit for six weeks of backpacking in the Far East and diving. This search caused a LOT!
Going from one amazement to the next, finding out about the difference between quartz watches, Seiko Kinetic (a big thing at the time), automatic and hand-wound watches, and learning more about the different brands; many of which I had never heard of. It was also a time when information about watches was much more difficult to find than today; information online was scattered all over the place and often there was more opinion than knowledge.
After ‘lurking’ in various forums and reading everything I could lay my eyes on, I later became more active and shared the gathered knowledge in the various forums. However, the idea to start my own website, ‘collecting’ all good information in one place, already sprouted in my mind and in 2006 I installed WordPress and a database, selected a ‘theme’ and started writing.
As visitor numbers picked up, brands became more open to sharing their news with me and invited me to events and manufacture visits. Mind you, these were different times! Receiving press information about a new watch was not a given fact (I was online, and online was not up to the standards of luxury) and I more often than not, I had to promise not to do anything ‘bad’ with that, which could potentially harm the brand. I kid you not! Taking photos of a watch? No way, these were luxury products and I was not allowed to take my own photos. Over the years, this slowly changed and I can still remember trying to convince PR managers of the various brands that I wanted to take ‘wrist shots’ (a word no one at the brands ever heard of) to show the watch in its natural habitat. Something that we consider to be normal today certainly was not considered normal (by watch brands) pre-2010.
It was a hobby that slowly turned into a ‘hobby-out-of-control’, until the point when I was working 40 hours a week for my employer and another 40 hours (at least) writing about watches. I attended retailer events, local events from the bigger brands and in 2009 I went Baselworld for the first time…
It was an interesting period. I was not trained as a journalist, but when working at the Ministry of Transport I learned how to write! I was not trained as a photographer, but out of necessity, I had to learn to take good photos. According to all experts, writing for the web should be brief, concise, less than 300 words per article. Since I thought it was not doing just to describe the lovely technical marvels that wristwatches are in less than 300 words, I decided to not take any ‘writing for the web rules’ into account and go for long-reads, in-depths, explanatory and borderline educational. And we still do this today!
In 2013 I quit my job to run MONOCHROME full-time. While there were already a handful of contributors helping out with the occasional story, things started to change more vigorously when Brice Goulard, our current managing editor, applied and wrote his first story, late 2013; the following year Brice became MONOCHROME’s managing editor. Late 2016 Xavier Markl joined MONO as Swiss and Technical Editor and early 2018 Rebecca Doulton joined us. This is our core team!
In 2015 we started with our documentary-style long videos (all on our YouTube channel), we’ve stepped up the Instagram game, opened a webshop with accessories for watch enthusiasts, improved the daily and weekly newsletters and there’s much more to come. I sincerely hope you enjoy the horological menu that we serve every day.