Any business has a story behind it, and we've been curious about Vannen's for a while. Luckily, David was kind enough to spare us some time to answer a few questions. Hit the jump to find out how and why Vannen launched, what artists we will see in the series next, and what special surprises we can expect later this year. Can you say Comic-Con exclusives? Yes, you can!
Oh, and did we mention we have the exclusive reveal of the price of the Luke Chueh watch? Yep ... we got that!
Tomopop: When did you found Vannen Watches and what inspired you to found it?
David: VannenWatches.com went live August 31, 2009. I was inspired to start the company because I love wristwatches, and could never find anything out the that appealed to me or my taste in timepieces. The other reason was that I wanted to build a pro-artist company that we as fans, collectors and artists can all feel ownership in. There's not too many companies like that out there with a communal vibe to them, so with Vannen I set out to bring us all together and really support the scene and our favorite artists.
Tomopop: Are you a collector of designer vinyl, a fan of the artists you enrolled in the project, or a little of both?
David: I do collect a little designer vinyl. I recently purchased a Yellow Kaws JPP and Hordak from the MOTU Classics line. I keep eyeing those Ashley Wood 3A robots too. The attention to detail on those things are insane. As for the artists I work with - yes, I am definitely a fan as well as a collector. I own some vinyl, prints and originals pieces from most of them.
Tomopop: What made you decide to launch the line with a smaller watch? Was it originally aimed more at women than men?
David: The standard size line came out first because it's an all purpose, mid-size model that could accommodate a wider audience ... both men and women. The beauty of the standard line is that it's not too big and it's not too small. Personally, I loved putting the standard line out first because I wanted people to see that you don't need a watch the size of a Hummer to make an impression.
Tomopop: What made you decide to launch Vannen XL?
David: I knew from the get go that a XL line was inevitable, but truthfully it was never a major priority because I felt like I was catering more to a trend rather than a person. But that all changed when I saw a photo of a collector wearing a watch that didn't fit him proportionally. When I saw that photo I decided to fast track Vannen XL. That was the moment where I realized I had to put my selfishness aside and accommodate people with bigger wrists, not a trend. And now we have a watch that truly fits everyone - Vannen XL.
Tomopop: What has been the best selling watch in the collection so far?
David: In terms of units made vs units sold; Brian Morris has sold the best. We made 500 of those things and they are almost gone. It blows my mind to think that almost 500 people are out there wearing Brian Morris watches. And of course the Huck Gee and Alex Pardee artist watches both sold out in in less than 72 hours - which was awesome - but their runs were much smaller. Either way, I'm proud of everyone on the roster no matter if they sold 50 watches or 500.
Tomopop: Are you able to discuss any of the artists that will be a part of the Vannen line in the future?
David: We've got lots of great artists lined up like GodMachine, Greg (Craola) Simkins, Junko Mizuno, McBess and Mike Mitchell. And there's so many more that I can't mention yet. We've got some fan favorites and some surprises in store.
Tomopop: Do you get requests for certain artists? What is the most requested artist?
David: The occasional request, but in most cases it's artists I'm already talking to.
Tomopop: Can you envision Vannen ever doing more than just watches?
David: I've got one thing moving forward that's not watches, but still keeping with what we do. But as far as getting into more accessory based stuff like belts, wallets, shirts, hats, etc; No, I don't see that happening. For the time being, I just want to focus on making artist watches.
Tomopop: What do you have in store for us in the future?
David: This month we've got two XL watches coming out ... back to back in the same week no less: Huck Gee's "Lifetime" and Luke Chueh's "Bloody Valentine". I'm really excited about both, but Luke's watch especially because people probably think they know what it's going to look like, but it's like nothing you'd ever imagine. It's a concept piece and a incredible design.
Luke's watch hits Sunday, February 13, and it's a shared exclusive between Munky King and VannenWatches. It's limited to 150 pieces and comes with signed and numbered packaging. We've also have a huge surprise planned for that watch, so follow us on Twitter or friend us Facebook so you don't miss out on the announcement.
And if you live in the Los Angeles area, Munky King will be hosting a Luke Chueh signing that same day from 2-4 p.m. And if you can't make it to the signing - Luke's watch will be on sale first thing Sunday morning on the Vannen website. I'm revealing the price to Tomopop first: it'll retail for $88.
Tomopop: Woo! We appreciate that!
David: Wait, there's more! The new Huck Gee "Lifetime" watch looks great, and if you liked his "Killing Time" watch then you'll love this one. It's a shared exclusive with our good friends at Vinyl on Vinyl in the Philippines commemorating their one year anniversary. "Lifetime" is limited to 150 pieces, retails for $85 and comes with signed and number packaging. As far as I know, it should be going on sale February 8 only at VinylOnVinylGallery, VannenWatches and at HuckGee.
Aside from those two incredibly sexy watches, we've got some great San Diego Comic Con exclusives coming up that'll blow you away.
Tomopop: That's so exciting David, thank you! We look forward to see what is coming next!