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INDUSTRY INTERVIEW: Rotary’s head of design, Matthew O’Neill, on the thinking behind its Avenger range

Rotary Avenger 1

Rotary watches celebrates its 125th anniversary this year and it is marking the occasion with a series of special launches, including the new Avenger range. New additions to the family feature a chronograph function for the first time and make use of bubble mineral glass to deliver the retro aesthetic of the original 1960s design. Rotary’s head of design, Matthew O’Neill, has overseen the development of the range and he reveals the factors that have shaped its creative and commercial thinking.

What was the inspiration for the design of the Avenger?

We recognised a growing desire for vintage, nostalgic watches among watch enthusiasts and consumers so we delved into our rich archive of vintage designs, which by the way is 125-years-old this year, and selected an absolute classic by the name of Avenger.

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Our new Avenger range lends itself perfectly to this heritage trend with classic styling and uni-sex case size. We have managed to give the original 60’s model a subtle upgrade but still maintain its vintage beauty.

What’s new for the Avenger family in 2020?

This collection has all the distinctive features of the original timepiece with smooth integrated lugs and vintage style bubble mineral glass but we have included new colours to inject a contemporary twist offering sunray finished tones of blue, silver and champagne.

Sitting alongside the classic 3 hand models with date windows at 3 o’clock is the 38mm two-eye chronograph version enhancing Avenger as the go-to retro watch collection.

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

The quartz movement allows us to maintain a slimmer profile allowing the watches to keep the classic good looks of the original design.

What type of customers are you targeting with the new Avenger family?

The Avenger has always been a cult favourite for Rotary lovers. It’s the perfect everyday watch with its classic styling and rich heritage. The case sizes have been designed to appeal to both gents and ladies looking to add a retro classic to their trend savvy wardrobe and who are looking for a quality timepiece that demonstrates a nod to Rotary’s 125 years of watchmaking.

You mentioned that Rotary will be celebrating its 125-year anniversary this year, is Avenger the only family that will reference the brands heritage for SS20?

 We are really proud to reach such a monumental milestone in the brands history, therefore Avenger is not the only family that references Rotary’s rich and vibrant past. For AW19 we launched Heritage- a collection of 3 limited edition models that took inspiration from our archive models from the 40s, 50s and military connections. Rotary were one of official suppliers to the British Army in World War 2.

For SS20 we have created 3 new iterations including a full titanium bracelet model, all of which are limited to 300 pieces only. Further to that, you’ll notice that all our quartz products will have the special 125 year celebration case back. And to be honest, when we design our watches here in our central London studio, we are always taking inspiration from our past. Our expertise and experience allows us to develop and maintain our heritage through all our products.

How will you be marking 125 years of watchmaking in 2020?

Well I cannot say too much at this stage as I would hate to spoil the surprise but we might be launching a few unique watches that pay homage to our 125 years of watchmaking. And, of course, a big celebration is planned for the second half of the year.

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Tags : designrotarywatches
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour