There are women, then there are Queens. Sophy Rinder is an all-around badass. Along with being the head of RedBar Miami and the professed Watch Queen, she is also the Co-Founder of Tockr Watches. Founded in 2017, Tockr has managed to create a nice niche’ in the aviation aficionados of watch collecting with their Air Defender chronographs, the Skytrain – a take on the modern pilot watch, and the D-DAY C-47, which is a special edition version of the Skytrain dedicated to Lt. Alfred Pepper, a personal friend of the brand and WWII C-47 pilot.
Sophy has always been a great source of knowledge for me and has contributed amazing articles for Scottish Watches. I wanted to actually pick her brain and share it with you and she agreed. Turns out, to be the Watch Queen, you’re gonna need a set of balls.
When did you know you needed to produce your own watch?
I started in the watch industry in 2015. A year later I had already all the designs and suppliers lined up to launch my own brand, Rindler Watches. But I decided to partner with Austin instead because I just didn’t feel ready to be on my own, and being a team member seemed a lot more sensible and reasonable. So although the Rindler Watch never saw the light, I have zero regrets, on the contrary, to have become the co-founder of Tockr, and I am very proud of what we have accomplished so far.
Women are not abundant in this industry, but the ones that are in it, are huge. Chabi Nouri, Chief executive at Piaget said in the New York Times in Sept. 2019, that she encourages women in the industry to be confident and unapologetic. Since you have no issue doing any of that, what would your advice be to girls or women interested in watches and/or watchmaking? 🙂
Be smart, educate yourself. Gain knowledge before doing anything. Surround yourself with the right people and find a mentor if you can. I was very lucky to have met Andrew Block who became my mentor and taught me an infinite and irreplaceable amount of things from his own experience as an industry leader for over 30 years. Don’t play the game of the cute girl. It gets old very fast. Use your brains and think before you talk. One thing that Andrew always told me and that I have started to manage to apply (which is not easy considering my talkative nature) is “it’s better to have people wonder why you’re not saying anything, than wonder why you opened your mouth in the first place”. Being a woman in this industry is very challenging, so if you want to succeed, read a lot, become someone that will be respected because you have something to contribute with your thoughts and ideas and not with your appearance.
The Skytrain is a unique take on the traditional pilot watch. It’s a clear break from the drab and sort of uniform look of traditional military watches. What I love most are the orange highlights that carry from each dial to each strap. The crosshairs remind me of older sights on surface-to-air guns from WWII. What were the most important elements for you to be captured in this model?
Its simplicity. We wanted a back-to-basics take on design with this watch, without compromising with personality. The C47 plane on the second hand is the signature of this collection that includes the D-Day series since it is the same case. It’s fun and gives an additional visual to the watch while keeping up with the aviation DNA and spirit.
The love of watches seems to run in your DNA, as your kids are now owners of iconic pieces. As time passes, what would be the best thing you would hope for them to take away from ‘this thing of ours’?
A mechanical watch to me is a way to reconnect with what really matters. Time and humanity. What my kids are taking away from the passion I am sharing with them, is the level of intelligence in watchmaking. Mathematics, physics, astronomy, architecture, aesthetic, common sense, design, all these skills are indispensable to create a watch. When you read the book (which anyone interested in Horology should own) called “The Theory of Horology”, you will be blown away by the amount of intellectual capacity needed to become a watchmaker. Asides from that aspect, I want my children to appreciate products that take time to make. I want them to appreciate history and past accomplishments that define present successes. Sure Rolex is not hand made anymore (at least not for everything), but the story of the brand and all the accomplishments made over the last centuries have built the icon it became today. In a way, it teaches them to work hard today so they become accomplished and valuable tomorrow.
Aviation is huge for your brand, focusing mostly on military heritage. We saw Breitling have success with tribute watches to TWA, Pan-Am, etc. I grew up watching Top Gun and Iron Eagle. Any chance modern military aviation (80s-Present) will be represented in one of your future designs?
Right now we are working on another WW2 project for 2020. However, the success of D-Day has given us several opportunities for partnerships and collaboration for a more modern era in the aviation and military field. We are not convinced yet about what was presented to us but are definitely keeping our minds open to any possibility.
Watch Queen. That’s a hell of a title. How did it come about?
Hahahaha! This title was given to me by my good friend Lenny who is the owner of the watch brand Ernst Benz. Then without knowing this, my partner Austin started to call me Watch Queen on all our chats, so I decided to hashtag is and it actually took off very fast! I guess it fitted 😉
I know that your favorite chronograph is your Daytona, and you wear your Air Defender pretty often as well. On the road to your next watch (I know it’s a Daytona), what has made you think twice about holding out?
The only reason I don’t have a ceramic Daytona (white dial) is because I am not on an AD list. And there’s no way in hell that I would pay a penny over retail for any watch ever.
Lastly, I want to buy a time-only watch with a blue dial. Why should the Tockr Skytrain Sunburst Blue be at the top of my list?
I would say because you get a swiss automatic movement watch for $1200 with a cool and different design. You will also support a small independent brand (just like people buying art from young emerging artists), and that you will buy a watch that has real people behind it, accessible, super-nice, always ready to work with you if you need anything whether it is complimentary service on a non-warranty issue, or an extra strap, or a customized project, and even going out for drinks together!
Sanford has been a watch lover all his life, but just recently got into the hobby deeply after making some lifestyle changes. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, he offers a perspective of a seasoned rookie – not knowing much, eager to learn, with a keen eye for dumb shit. His writings focus on news in the watch industry, model reviews, and the occasional op-ed sprinkled with a movie quote or two. Be sure to check for his upcoming series’ as well as his assessments of watch trends. Feel free to reach out to him on Instagram!
You can find Sanford at @quest327