When Jonathan Ferrer was a junior studying industrial design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, he landed an internship at Movado, a watchmaker headquartered in Paramus. At the time, Ferrer had no clue how watches were made.
“Wasn’t even in my wavelength,” says the Edison native. But after six months at Movado, Ferrer developed a new passion—and an idea to start his own company.
“I noticed the process was very long,” says Ferrer. The big brands took, on average, two years to release a new watch. “I knew I could design something, sample it, and have it ready to mass produce in about 8 to 12 months.”
Following a few years freelancing to learn the business, Ferrer founded Brew Watch Co. in 2015. The brand was largely mapped out in the coffee shops he frequented, particularly Hidden Grounds in New Brunswick. Industrial espresso machines became the catalysts for his designs, which feature rounded edges and a brushed-metal aesthetic. That spring, he raised $40,000 on Kickstarter to fund production.
“Typically in watches, you see inspiration from sports, racing, military history,” says Zach Weiss, executive editor of the watch publication worn&wound. “Brew stands out from other small, independent brands by having such a distinct and atypical brand story.”
Ferrer began sourcing parts from Japan and China and found a manufacturer in Switzerland. For his more exclusive designs, he took classes to learn how to assemble watches by hand. Last year, Brew sold more than 200 pieces at $495-$625, mostly through his website. Every order includes a handwritten note describing the thought and craftmanship behind the watch.
“If you want to stand out and want to be true and honest,” says Ferrer, “you need to go the extra mile.”
Today, Ferrer, 28, lives in Woodbridge, filling orders and designing and assembling watches in Brooklyn. Once a week, he heads to NJIT in Newark, where he is an adjunct professor for industrial design, teaching future entrepreneurs how to make time for their passions.Click here to leave a comment