BEHIND THE COLLECTION: Explore By Simple Watch Co.

  • Style
posted by jbrebner

The timepiece. A critical addition to any wardrobe and one that can instantly lift your style to the next level when done right. And Simple Watch Co are definitely doing it right. Building on their global reputation as purveyors of the sleek, minimalist aesthetic, their latest collection ‘Explore’ is blowing dive-watch stereotypes out the window.

A tough, reliable surf-watch with enough style to take us from ocean to office every morning is top on any surfer’s wish list, so we decided it was time to seek out the finer details of this collection. We caught up with Dion Kovac, Brand Manager at SWCO to talk all things ‘Explore’ – from life at the crab shack Byron Bay office, the technical aspects of a watch with a 200m depth rating, and the understated style of the “less is more” mindset.

Join the conversation!


Dion, thanks for catching up! Can you tell us about yourself and your role at Simple Watch Co.?
My name is Dion Kovac and I am the brand manager for Simple Watch Co.

What was your career journey to get to this point and why?
I grew up on the Gold Coast and moved to Sydney in the mid 90’s with some friends to start a skate company and from there that lead to travelling the world and eventually opening up a series of stores around the inner city. Shortly after my daughter was born I got the opportunity to move to Byron and  it was there that I met with Dave, Adam and the Sidelife team. Living in Byron has been a dream for many years so being able to live and work in a creative way with an amazing team has been a dream come true.

Simple Watch Co. has grown a massive following since launch in 2015 – can you tell us what you’re about and why your watches appeal to so many?
Simple Watch Co is about minimal timepieces that say something unique about the individual wearing them. The watches appeal to a certain person who believes that less is more. We have no logos, lights or alarms on the watches – just classic good quality pieces


Can you tell us about the team you work with and the Simple Watch Co. office?
There’s a team of around 15 working at Sidelife HQ: we have Mr Simple, Herschel and Simple Watch Co so there’s plenty going on from clothing production, sales and marketing to in-house photo shoots. The office is an old school timber yard in the industrial estate. We’ve left the front part of the building in its original form and called it the crab shack and we have a bar and BBQ area down there so most of lunchtime is spent enjoying a laugh and throwing some darts.

Let’s talk your latest collection, Explore – who’s it designed for?
The new Explore watch is all about the adventurer who is seeking the rugged outdoors lifestyle, and the inspiration behind the watch came from the creative person in search of the above, beyond and below. It’s our take on a dive watch. We’ve stripped it right back to a minimal aesthetic.

What makes the Explore collection so different from previous collections?
The collection has always been splash proof with depth ratings of 20-30 metres; however, the Explore has a depth rating of 200 metres. We have been testing it in the waters with many underwater photographers and legendary local surfers and the feedback has been awesome. We had a lot of feedback from people expressing their frustration in the past with chunky flashy watches so the need to create something new for the range was important. I feel we’ve come away with such a staple essential that will stand the test of time.


Where did you draw inspiration for the materials used and the overall style of this collection?
The movements in this watch are Japanese so you know the quality and precision is second to none. All the watches have soft Italian vegetable tanned leather which becomes even better over time.  

What was the process involved to take the Explore collection from concept to customer?
We work with Katapult design (also based in Byron) who are an award winning creative agency, so being able to sit with them and brainstorm and workshop an idea into reality is always exciting. We then make our initial samples and make any necessary tweaks based on feedback from colleagues and customers. The whole SWCO team works closely to achieve the end result – a beautiful time piece!


What is your favourite part of the design process and why?
My favourite part of the design process is actually receiving the samples. It’s pretty exciting seeing the first set – you’re looking at something that started as pure imagination and grew into something that is a physical piece ready for the marketplace.

Which timepiece from the Explore collection will we catch you in and why?
I love vintage military so the Khaki Nato in Silver White was a no brainer for me but they’re all super nice!  We will be offering a range of colour bands later this year so you can mix it up and create your own colourway – I love the concept of putting your own custom spin on it and making it your own.