What was the inspiration behind the brand?
Eyewear is more than just eyesight correction - it is part of a larger identity. People want to show who they are, their values and their style with their accessories. We didn’t want to look the same, but how to be different in a market full of incredible eyewear?
The main inspiration is a mix of Swiss value and watchmaking. Swiss people do not speak much but when we say something it should be meaningful and concise. You should see the same in our products - simple and pure design, without unnecessary decoration. And as the watchmaking industry, we wanted to bring into the eyewear space a real technical item that would dazzle our customer when they take a closer look at our products.
With their innovative hinges, the Von Arkel frames combine exclusive and elegant style with unrivalled technicality drawn directly from watchmaking talent.
What compelled you into the eyewear industry?
As a child, my eyesight was quite bad, but this was only discovered when I was around 6 years old. The first time I tried glasses with corrective lenses, it was like the world had changed around me.
The impact of having someone influence my world in such a way stuck with me and was a key factor in my decision to become an Optometrist. Coming from that Optometry background, I was not only invested in the people I used to serve, but also in the products that I was selling in my boutiques. I believe that having that view enforced my belief that I could provide eyewear for my clients that would exceptional.
It was always a fantasy of mine to develop a brand on an international market, and I’ve been able to achieve that.
The Von Arkel hinge is really quite unique, tell us a little bit about that?
In my opinion, the hinge is the main technical part of your eyewear (except perhaps the lenses), and it is also one of the weakest points of a spectacle. It’s also the heart of the eyewear, where temples and fronts are connected and what makes your eyewear functional and operational. It is without a doubt, the most interesting part where you can integrate micromechanical technology that brings the added value.
More than just nice design, we use all the excellence and know-how of the Swiss watchmaking industry to give our eyewear it’s unique patented hinges, with a distinctive DNA marked by micro-technics and innovation. Swiss Made contributes not only in aesthetic but follows through into the quality of our manufacturing and adherence to the standards we have set. From materials to industrial partners, every aspect has been considered to deliver a truly exceptional product.
Explain the “plug and play” concept of the Von Arkel designs and how the iPad plays a part?
We believe that the Eyewear industry is ephemeral, led by fashion and design, both which change rapidly. On the other hand, watchmaking is an institution and timeless. It is our strategy to offer the timeless touch to our client's spectacles. In this respect, our hinges are bringing this identity and story that will last year after year through our different collections.
We also believe that customization will be key in a couple of years. It exists already but mainly for a more low-end product. With Von Arkel, you will soon be able to keep your hinge and change just the frame to follow fashion.
The iPad / iPhone application will be supporting production and sales management to increase efficiency and reactivity as customization generates some issues in terms of production.
Finally what can we expect to see from Von Arkel at 100% Optical in January 2018?
Our newer offerings will really revolve around our hinges. We have the Caliber 6.00, a smaller version of our current hinge designed especially to create a women’s collection. The Buffalo Horn 9.00 is a far more opulent option which we are excited to showcase. We think people will also really get excited about the Entourage Soft Polyamide which is a plug and play, colourful collection that has a metal frame with Swiss Polyamide front and tips. There is potential for a few surprises so make sure you come and see us at our stand!
Christophe Kozma, CEO, Von Arkel