The story started in the summer of 2018 with me looking for a new watch. After looking for months I simply couldn’t find the watch that suited my overall wishes. I’d been wearing my Hamilton Jazzmaster Auto Chrono for years because it was minimalistic all-round and I simply loved the design. Why could I not find the watch that I was looking for? I have been working as a sales representative for around 8 years now and we Dutchmen tend to form opinions on people based on the things they own. Since my customers range from small (1 employee) up to large (1000+ employee plus) I wanted a watch that I could wear everywhere without having it saying anything about the person I am.
After some months I came up with the idea of designing my very own watch. Why? I hadn’t even done such a thing before and, if you know me in real life, I’m not quite the so-called handy person. In fact, I do the cooking at home, while my girlfriend does the hard labouring. I’m quite the practical person though. So, I thought, why not give it a go and after two hours of drawing at my kitchen table I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t even able to draw a straight line, let alone a watch and at that point I turned to a medium I was actually capable of drawing in, Paint! Not quite the first thing that might come to mind. After an evening of drawing, without having a clear design in mind, I came up with my very first design. Since I’m the kind of person who isn’t capable of keeping things to myself, I shared the design with friends, relatives, family and even my customers and the reactions were really positive. So, after receiving the question “now what?” often, I took my design to a customer of mine who is specialised in metal. He told me that he would be capable of making a mould for me, howeverit would cost around 15k and then I just basically just had a mould, nothing more. Like what I said before, I’m not quite the handy person so I parked that idea. He then came with the advice to simply order some watches online and disassemble them in order to get more feeling with for it. So, I did!
After this I wanted to order another few watches to dismantle. So, I contacted a couple of suppliers, asking them to produce a certain watch for me. I hadn’t realised that I’d apparently subscribed to a mailing list and I received offers from twelve different companies to produce those watches. I turned back to my practical side and decided that I was going to reach out to the one who spoke English the best. That might be the best decision I made in this story. However, the next day they asked me if I had a design of my own which I wanted to do something with. My first thought was no way, it’s mine! After a good night of sleep, I decided that I had nothing to lose, I wanted to have this watch for myself, nothing more, nothing less. So, I decided to send them a picture, taken with my phone off the screen of my laptop. They reacted positively to it and then they helped me to make a design so I could get a better view of the watch. This came back two days later and it made me really happy. So, this was the start of something great I thought. We designed together for around three months (I gave the input, they helped me with the realization of it) at the end of which I had this one watch ready to be made!
In the meantime however, a good friend of mine suggested that, whilst I was at it, I should add another design for himself - Rosé gold with blue. Great, I thought, why not? After that another friend (during a drink with all of us) said he’d like to have it in steel/blue and another one mentioned all black. So one watch design quickly became four. I gave a go for these four watches and then they told me, ‘Sorry mate, we’re not going to make these watches.’ My contact’s director said the watches weren’t good enough to be made, the case was far too difficult to produce for the agreed price and they wanted to have a thicker strap with the somewhat robust case. Negotiating directly with the director we agreed upon the production of these four watches, but obviously with quite a price increase since I didn’t want to step away from the design. So, after another couple of months, I got the go! The watches were made and arrived in November 2018. When the package arrived, I rushed home to pick up the four watches that had been delivered and took them with me to my next appointment that day. I was very excited so I decided to open the package with the customer I was meeting. We both were really excited with the end result. It had all cost me a small fortune and apart from that, it was my very own design, how cool is that! So, once again I started sharing my enthusiasm with everyone I knew and soon the question came if it was going to be possible for them to also buy one from me. Since I hadn’t planned on anythingafter these watches the answer was simply no. But after hearing this over and over, I had to rethink my initial plan. I hadn’t seen myself as an entrepreneur, but I decided to take the big step and start Brunmontagne!
My surname is Bruinenberg, which basically, in English, means Brownmountain. Both not quite the names I liked for my brand. So, I turned back to my practical side again and came up with the idea to use something as easy as Google Translate! After trying all sorts of combinations, I added “Berg'' again and noticed Montagne! Bruinenberg became Brunmontagne. In May 2019 the watches were ready and I started making appointments with my customers for deliveries. Since I’m the person that really likes to listen to feedback, I wanted to experience the reactions of my customers myself and thus asked if they wanted to do this in person. Apart from that I took the watches to a few watch professionalsand asked them to carefully review them and tell me what they did and didn’t, like. The first weeks flew by and after many cups of coffee and happy chats I had the privilege to look into those happy eyes when they got their watches. For me that was a dream come true. The name of the first watch (The Representor) came from two ideas. First of all, I was a sales Representative and second the watch represents my introduction into the world of watches. Fun fact now though, my customers like to call themselves ‘Representors of Brunmontagne’ and I enjoy calling them this.
Then all of a sudden, my watches were picked up by a Dutch watch community called Horlogeforum. Things went really fast after this. I got many positive reactions, people even started a (I had to blink twice when I read it) National Brunmontagne Day and due to all this helpful feedback I knew I had made all the right decisions so far. So far there are three new editions introduced with many thanks to my customers; Rosé gold with Green and Steel with Black. The Steel with Green Representor had previously been suggested so that went into production as well. I’ve been enjoying this amazing ride for around two years now and still enjoy every day of it. As you might have noticed, I’m purely telling how it went and am not trying to enhance things which weren’t there. People who know me in real life know that I have one really important skill and that is trust and down to earth honesty. So, this is the story of Brunmontagne. It brought me a watch that I am really proud of, which has developed me as a person and most of all, which brings a nice story for people to relate to. I have quite some examples of the most amazing stories which my watches are part of now, which I would love to share with you all someday. Kind Regards, Pascal Bruinenberg Founder Brunmontagne