Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Exclusive: Interview with Lionstone Watches Founder Daniel Kampf

I always love the world of timepieces and exploring what is new. Watches are a great way to accessories any outfit, whether dressy or casual, and can make great heirlooms that stay in families for generations. While Baselworld just finished in Switzerland and showcased the true luxury world of horology, some of pieces are quite expensive.

I was recently introduced to Lionstone watches and immediately fell in love with the affordable luxury approach that founder Daniel Kampf is using to build his brand. Lionstone watches embody the idea of high-end, luxury without the high price tags that come with some brands. Kampf believes that everyone should be able to afford a beautiful, modern watch that is built to last.

The brand is launching a new superslim ceramic line which is made from high-tech ceramic resulting in a durable and stylish timepiece. The best part? This new ceramic line will start at only $149. I love the sleek design which gives the watch a contemporary feel that can be both dressed up or down. I asked founder Daniel Kampf a few questions about his brand, the new watch, and his vision for the future of the brand.

LTPG: How did you get interested in the fashion and specifically timepieces? 

DK: I have always loved fashion but I think my interest spiked when I left school and started to travel around Europe and Russia. The importance of fashion, in my opinion, is often underestimated. Dressing properly opens doors you didn't even know existed. I found that self-tied silk bow ties, for example, even work as a conversation starter. People are interested in you when you are dressed sophisticated. I got my hands on "The Preppy Handbook" a couple of years ago and never looked back.

For me, timepieces are an important part of fashion but there is more to it. I read somewhere that people check their wrist around 50 times a day on average. I certainly do. It is hard to describe but when you wear an alluring watch and you check the time, there is this short burst of pleasure and satisfaction that goes along with realizing what time it is. It's just a fleeting feeling, hard to grasp. But it's there. Some things go out of style but a beautiful timepiece never will. It will make you happy over and over again.

LTPG: What prompted you to start your own company and follow the path of an entrepreneur? 

DK: I come from an entrepreneurial family. When I grew up, everyone around me had their own business and I became accustomed to this way of life. I knew from an early age that this is the path for me. During my studies of Business Administration I briefly worked as a fashion consultant for Hackett London. I loved the interaction with the clients and enjoyed helping them look their best. I consulted a few grooms on their wedding outfits which are definitely memories worth having. But, life is short and you should do what makes you happiest. Everything else is a waste of time. Being an entrepreneur is, and always was, the only thing that makes sense to me.

LTPG: We all have seen prices rising over the years from major design houses and quality decrease. How are you committed to change this? 

DK: We change the issue of rising prices and quality decrease by not even starting with this habit. I always felt it is wrong to sacrifice build quality in order to turn a higher profit. Our timepieces are not expensive, and yet the quality is superior to almost everything else in our price segment. This commitment to excellent quality at a reasonable price is the very foundation of the Lionstone brand. We will keep prices steady and reasonable.

Furthermore, we really despise planned obsolescence. No one likes things that break after the warranty runs out. For us, it was never an option to go down that road. To underline this principle, we give our customers a 3-year limited international warranty on all of the watches that are purchased through our Indiegogo campaign. This warranty is going to be extended up to 10 years if we reach the right sales volume. When you grow up in Germany you really value quality and reliability. It was therefore natural for us to implement this into our brand.

LTPG: Why do you personally love the new ceramic watch?

DK: What I really love about our high-tech ceramic is how it feels on your wrist. You can't really compare the material to anything conventional. It is harder than stainless steel and yet it feels more cozy and warm when wrapped around your wrist. I like the sleekness as well. The case has a height of just 6 mm and this is what makes the Superslim Ceramic so contemporary and stylish. We took great care in taking the best photographs of our watch but we all feel that they still don't do it justice.

The best part about this watch is that our high-tech ceramic material doesn't allow for permanent stains. This is of particular importance when it comes to the women's Alpine White model. Even after several years of constant wear, the watch will look as shiny and bright as when you first opened the box it came in. The Superslim Ceramic is my first created timepiece and it will always feel special to me. I wanted to create a beautiful, reliable and reasonably prized watch and I feel that I succeeded with this model.

LTPG: Who is the ideal "Lionstone" customer?

DK: The ideal Lionstone customer is really everyone who wants a beautiful timepiece that is built to last. The details and materials that we have invested in our watches give them an eye-popping quality, yet the ceramic material is comfortable enough for casual, everyday wear. It's a great timepiece for anyone looking for a timeless, day-to-night watch.

Our watches are priced for someone who is not ready to spend half a month's salary on a watch, but enjoys owning something alluring but reliable that will keep him/her happy for years to come. This makes Lionstone a great choice as the first piece for a budding watch collector.

Because we are crowdfunding, our watches also appeal to fashion-forward people who are always ahead of the curve. We are a new brand with a mission to change the watch industry, and our Indiegogo campaign gives true trendsetters the first chance to own a cutting-edge accessory.

LTPG: How do you envision Lionstone expanding moving forward?

 DK: After the Indiegogo campaign we will work on increasing our customer base for our Superslim collection on an International level. At the same time we will start developing a new model with an automatic movement. We will test a range of different automatic movements for precision, reliability, shock absorption and destruction. An assessment center for automatic movements if you will. We are also looking into the possibility of creating our very own automatic movement. So whichever movement we will chose, the Lionstone brand's principles of quality, reliability and affordability will be perpetuated. As these things take a lot of time and dedication our automatic model will presumably be ready to hit the market in Summer 2016.

If you love the mission of Lionstone and want exclusive access to the new ceramic watch, you can support their IndieGoGo Campaign

Photos: Lionstone Watches


  1. Those watches are so sleek and classic. Very cool interview!


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