Leon (25) and father Berry (59) from Zwolle design their ideal watch: ‘We never stop talking about it’ | Zwolle

indebuurt.nlIf there is one subject that Leon (25) and father Berry (59) Groothuis from Zwolle can talk about for hours, it is a watch. “To the surprise of my mother and girlfriend. They think: why can you talk about one subject for so long? We never stop talking,” says Leon. The gentlemen made their dream come true by designing their own watches under the name Berlé Watches.

When you visit Leon and Father Berry, it’s almost always about watches. “Since my father was little, he has been interested in how clocks work. I inherited his passion from him. Now I’m also a big fan, and we don’t talk about anything else.’

“It is the most beautiful piece of jewelry”

When asked what is so great about watches, Leon doesn’t have to think long. “We think a watch is the most beautiful piece of jewelry for men, and we enjoy the operation of an automatic movement. We also both like to look proper and like to work with the look of a watch.”

From design to watch

Their dream was to have their own watch made. Your ideal men’s jewellery. They took pen and paper, looked at their own collection – they each have twenty to thirty watches – and drew their most beautiful watch. When they saw each other, every detail was sometimes discussed at length over a beer.

Three prototypes

When the design was ready, they took their sketch to a supplier. “He prepared that sketch digitally. This gave us a better picture of the perfect watch.” After a year of designing and tweaking, they received three samples. “The prototypes were almost finished, exactly how we wanted the watches to look. We made some minor changes, such as the colors of the second hand.”

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One of Leon and Berry Groothuis’ watches. © Rick Bell.

Gray dial

The most important thing that father and son emphasize in their designs is that their jewelery is ‘subtle’. “So the watch goes with any outfit. For example, we found that there are few watches with a gray dial, so we made one.” They also wanted a relatively affordable watch. Their watches cost between 240 and 250 euros. “We also didn’t buy the most expensive watches for our collection.”

Three watches on the market

The men released three watches: one with a silver dial, gray case and green seconds hand, one with a blue dial and one with an all-black look. They are currently only available online, but the plan is to also sell the jewelry at a jeweler. “So people can see and feel the clock. It is sometimes difficult to get a good picture of a watch online.”

‘We almost always agree’

The cooperation between father and son works well, says Leon. “The special thing is that we almost always agree with each other. We think alike on many aspects. We can talk about a second hand for a very long time, but we always agree.”

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Leon (25) and Berry (59) Groothuis with their three watches.
Leon (25) and Berry (59) Groothuis with their three watches. © Rick Bell.

A few millimeters longer

Not everyone wants to spend hours talking about second hand, says Leon with a laugh. “My friends are less interested in the technical history, and my mother and sister do not understand that we are talking about a pointer for so long. If a pointer needs to be a few millimeters longer, I talk to my dad about it for hours. I can only really discuss the details with him.”

Next design

For the men, Berlé Watches is now a start-up, but they hope that they can spend more and more time on their business. “That is the ambition. For now, we mainly work on it on weekends and evenings.” The duo are already sparring over the next design. “For example, about the colors. We want to use the same shape, but we like a creamy white pointer or a bold color, like a red pointer.”



This is an article from indebuurt Zwolle. At indebuurt.nl you can read about beautiful places, new shops, inspiring residents and entrepreneurs, food and drink, living and going out. And all about your city!

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