Dutch Courage: In Conversation with Batavi’s Ugur Mamak

After your positive reception to our recent review of Batavi’s new Kosmopoliet GMT, we decided to reach out to founder Ugur Mamak for a follow-up chat, discussing the company’s past, present, and future in the wake of the Komopoliet’s success.

Hey, Ugur. How’s life? How are things at Batavi?

Hi Edwin, life in the time of COVID-19 is strange and different, but all good here. Things at Batavi are also going good, very busy at the moment with production, and some side projects based on the Kosmopoliet collection. Can’t complain!

The Kosmopoliet is a seriously eye-catching design. Since the Scottish Watches review went live, we’ve had a lot of positive feedback about it. The success of the Kickstarter campaign seems to be a testimony to this as well. How are you feeling about it all; did you expect the Kosmopoliet to be such a hit?

Thank you for the kind words, I am so glad the response to the design has been positive. Also, thank you for the great review! We expected it to be a success, but you never know how things will turn out. It was very stressful because we were in the middle of this virus thing. Thankfully, we were funded the first day.
Could you tell me a little bit about the process of designing and manufacturing the Kosmopoliet?

Listen to the Scottish Watches Podcast here

Well, when we started with the Noordzee diver, we had a whole line-up in our mind and paper. The next in line was a GMT project. Personally, I love a GMT function, and I wear one almost all the time. The second time-zone is always set on Hong Kong time, to see if it’s a good time to send my manufacturer a message without disturbing their sleep…

On the subject of the Noordzee, I found it interesting how the design of that piece evolved into what became the Kosmopoliet. What lessons did you learn from the Noordzee that informed your process with the Kosmopoliet?

There is still so much to learn, Edwin. The most important thing I learned is the fact that you can’t do everything on your own. You have to outsource some things and leave it to the specialists. This was a big eye-opener for us, and for me in particular!

From naming your brand “Batavi”, to naming the Kosmopoliet after a 19th century Dutch clipper, you seem to be someone who very much wears their Dutch identity on their sleeve. Does your Dutch heritage consciously influence the designs and attitudes behind the brand?

Before starting this brand, we sat down and thought about our story and overall concept. We wanted to be known as a Dutch microbrand, to have a Dutch name and name all our models with Dutch names. I personally love history and I read a lot about it. So, one day I read this story about a small settlement called Batavi and their struggle and bravery against the mighty Romans, and I was inspired by them because I love underdogs. Batavi means “good”, or “the best”, so we stuck by that name. Simply Batavi. By doing this we want to contribute to this beautiful country and its beautiful people and promote it in a positive way.
I understand that you have a career background in urban planning, and noticed the way that the Kosmopoliet’s colour options evoke some of the iconic, colourful architecture of Amsterdam. Is there a connection there? Are you influenced by architecture?

I studied urban design and geographical information technology. We shared the same classes with architecture students and did a lot of projects together. Of course, I’m interested in and influenced by architecture. I love everything about good architecture, but I’m also very interested in design in general and cool colour schemes. I’m influenced by music, fashion and, of course, vintage watches!

What can we expect from Batavi in the future? Is there a new model in the works?

Like I mentioned earlier, we had a whole line-up already planned. So, now we have a very cool thing coming up next. Same DNA and design language as the Kosmopoliet. Very funky, yet classy. And with a vintage feel to it. Hopefully you will like this one too!

That’s all for now, thanks for your time Ugur!

Thank you Edwin, and Scottish Watches, for the interest and taking the time to ask me these great questions! Take care!

 

More info: https://www.batavi-watches.com/