Q&A: Rotary’s head of design explains the Oxford family

MattO'Neill

WatchPro spoke to Rotary’s head of design, Matthew O’Neill, about the Oxford family of watches and how it came about.

WatchPro: What was the inspiration behind the Oxford family?

Matthew O’Neill: We wanted to offer a collection of timepieces that imparted a contemporary edge to a reassuringly classic design. The inspiration behind this family is a fresh take on the heritage of the brand, seamlessly combining a traditional, smooth case shape with a crisp, clear dial providing maximum comfort and legibility for everyday wear-ability.

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WP: Why did you settle on ‘Oxford’ as the new family name?

MO: Having relocated our headquarters to Great Britain in 1946, Rotary watches are conceived, designed and developed in-house in the heart of London, one of the world’s most iconic and creative hubs.

Over the coming months we will align our collection into families with names reflecting our British roots – it’s an exciting time to be part of the business.

The aesthetics of this new family have a classy yet preppy appearance; the natural choice was to pick a place name that exudes the same characteristics as the inspiration behind the product and, with its young collegiate nature and traditional architecture, Oxford had it all.

WP: And the new gents’ leather straps – are these different to the usual leather straps?

MO: Correct, these are a first for Rotary. We specifically designed the soft calf leather straps with double pinched stitching for their styling and extreme comfort. I’m currently wearing the rich tan version now and I love it!

WP: Why did you choose a quartz movement as opposed to an automatic?

MO: We have several families in our collection and each one offers something different for the people who wear them by way of aesthetics and/or functionality.

The Oxford collection is intended to be more accessibly priced and by using a reliable, quartz movement surrounded by high specification case materials such as sapphire glass and 316L stainless steel, we can produce a very competitive offer with outstanding value.

WP: There is an interesting feature on the ladies pieces – what inspired this?

MO: We wanted to add a touch of glamour to the ladies pieces by setting the bezel with Austrian crystals which then continue to flow down the surface of the lugs, creating a delicate sparkle and unique appearance. This feature doesn’t disrupt the core essence of the family though, maintaining the same easy to read quality as the gents.

WP: What type of customers are you targeting with the new Oxford family?

MO: The Oxford collection will appeal to the young and young at heart, who want a watch with style, reliability and quality at excellent value for money.

It’s been a great collection to design as it embodies what Rotary is all about at the moment – maintaining its core values from the rich history and experience in watch manufacturing it has accumulated over 120 years and embracing the future with dynamism and creativity from an in-house team.

For enquiries please contact the Rotary sales support team on 0207 434 5536.

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