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An Interview with Leon Leong, founder of BOLDR Supply Co.
Words by Justin Hargett

BOLDR Supply Co. makes classically stylish watches for “the adventurers of the world” that are built to deliver exceptional utility and dependability at an affordable price. We spoke with founder, Leon Leong, about the origins of the brand, where BOLDR finds inspiration for new watches, and how they’re using their platform to give back to charitable causes.

What first interested you in watches, and how did that lead to BOLDR Supply Co.?

I was into technology, and I loved the outdoors. The very first watch that we designed was a smartwatch which we coined as a “clever watch,” because we wanted a smartwatch that won’t run out of battery throughout the day while delivering the vital information you need. Unfortunately, we ran into manufacturing issues that dampened the project. Many customers liked the design we put forward and didn't mind foregoing the technological aspects. We regrouped and kickstarted BOLDR again, and this time delving into analog watches. 

I wear a BOLDR Venture almost every day. I personally love that style of field watch, and also find that the 38mm case, combined with the lightness of the titanium, seems to fit my wrist perfectly. What's the story behind the Venture (and the Wayfarer's) design, and the specs you ended up using for them? 

The Venture was designed to be the quintessential tool watch, so that anyone could use it for everyday wear. Amongst all our models, the Venture is loved by both male and female fans who find utility in its lightweight and durability. We were inspired by the great tool watches that came before such as the Hamilton Khaki. 

Since seeking adventure was part of our brand manifesto, we figured field watches were best type of watch for an adventurer. Thus, deciding on specs was easy—we included everything we would want to see in a compact, stylish field watch.   

The Expedition watches are inspired by some of the world's iconic peaks—Eiger, El Capitan, Matterhorn—and boast the rugged functionality one would expect to go with those mountains. What was the most important function you felt you needed to include in that package?

We found it wasn’t just one important feature, but a combination of beautiful design and functionality. Quality materials are essential for a watch that is going to see a lot of adventure time, but we needed to balance that with aesthetics too. We created a watch that’s not just for rough situations, but one you’d want on your wrist no matter the occasion.  

The Field Medic Chronograph, and the Rally Chronograph, are two unique interpretations on the Seiko VK64 Meca-Quartz Chronograph caliber. Were there any challenges designing around that movement, and setting the two watches apart in function and style?

The challenge lay in delivering the right utility to its user. Our designer Danny Guzzi partnered up with Dr. Karan Madan to ensure the Field Medic would serve its purpose to a medical professional. The same went for the Rally, which features an easy-to-use tachymeter for those who require it. 

The Odyssey Freediver is one of the most recent additions to the line-up. Where did you draw your inspiration for the first BOLDR dive watch?

The Odyssey dive watch series drew inspiration from 1960s industrial diving helmets; the big bubble-shaped ones. The rivets around the edges of the helmet are reflected in the first Odyssey (2017) bezel design. Apart from being a chunky tool watch with 500 ATM, the Odyssey series is instantly recognisable by its angular lugs & shaven edges. All further iterations of the Odyssey have been imprinted with this unmistakable design DNA which now adorns our more recent releases such as the Odyssey 45 and 40mm Freediver.

I know that giving back and environmental sustainability are important tenets of the brand. Can you talk a little bit about the various non-profits BOLDR's watches support, like Doctors Without Borders, National Breast Cancer Foundation, as well as your pledge to support sustainable, environmentally-friendly materials in your products and packaging?

It’s just a small way of doing our part. The responsibility belongs to all of us, and helping on any scale will compound if enough brands do it. That’s why we reached out to social causes and offered to contribute via a percentage of sales from collaboration watches. 

We are actively working towards sustainable packaging because we love the idea of recycled/upcycled goods. Not all materials have only one life, so why throw them out?

Discover more from the Boldr Collection in our Windup Watch Shop, with several models on sale now through Labor Day!