Next we meet Darrell Spencer, Founder of Oceaneva, maker of high performance dive watches. Darrell has been in the watch business since 2006, operating in the ‘grey market’, selling other watch brands to clients all over the world. After 13-years in that market, he decided to start his own brand, Oceaneva, which is the first American-based watch company to test its watches in the true deep of the ocean.
We hear his views on business, the watch industry and future plans for the Oceaneva brand.
MWM: How is business?
DS: We’re doing well all things considered. The pandemic and inflation hit the watch market, and other luxury goods, pretty hard. We’re lucky in the fact that our watches are uniquely positioned to be both high value and accessibly priced for the specs. So, while we did slow down, it allowed us to take a step back, improve our product and put ourselves in a better position than before.
MWM: What are you currently working on?
DS: Our newest model in production is an automatic GMT watch. It’s scheduled to finish and arrive to us sometime in May of this year.
MWM: Tell us something we don’t know about Oceaneva watches?
DS: Oceaneva was launched in May of 2019, but the concept of Oceaneva is much older than that. I came up with the idea of the Oceaneva brand in the early 2010’s. I had samples made and everything in place, but I didn’t move forward with it because my business partner at the time wasn’t interested in moving into a different business. After we parted ways, I was reminded of the idea when I came across the old samples when reorganising my office. Also many don’t know this but we are the first USA based watch brand to ever send their watches down to deep depths of the ocean on ROV’s for real world testing and only the 6th brand globally to ever do so.
MWM: Which watch do you wear?
DS: My personal favourite is our Deep Marine Explorer II Aquamarine Mother of Pearl Dial (below), but the Red Mother of Pearl Dial is a close second. There’s something about the depth in the Mother of Pearl dials that really stand out. But I also keep a Black Dial DME II on hand because sometimes I need a neutral colour when the bold ones don’t fit with my chosen outfit.
MWM: Which watch would you like to own?
DS: If money was no object, I’d love to own a Rolex Submariner Date Two-Toned Yellow Gold with a Blue Dial and Blue Bezel (below).
MWM: What do you like best about the Watch business?
DS: The Watch Business allows me to truly express my creativity. I designed the brand logo on a sketchpad and personally design the look, colour choices, and specifications of all our watch collections.
MWM: What don’t you like about the Watch business?
DS: I don’t know if I’d say ‘I don’t like it’, but the hardest part of this business is getting your product’s value to be recognised by customers in a very saturated market. There are so many brands out there selling watches cheap, both in price and quality, that as a smaller brand we can have trouble gaining the trust of new buyers. But, all it takes is giving us one chance, and we’ll prove our watches are worth the buying.
MWM: What is next on the horizon for you?
DS: Our new website is launching within the next few weeks, which will provide a better shopping experience for our customers. It’s shaping up to be on par with the top brands in the industry. We also have a solid titanium series in the works, but we’re still early in the design process, so it won’t be available until 2024.
Darrell Spencer is a Friend of MrWatchMaster