The Pita Barcelona Molinos Orbital has been turning heads on the Internet. In an exclusive interview with Revolution.Watch, Daniel Jiménez, Pita Barcelona CEO, tells us more.
Can you give me the history of your father’s career in watchmaking?
My father, Aniceto Jimenez Pita has been always passionate about timepieces since his childhood. Born in the countryside in southern Spain, he used every opportunity to play with mechanics as a kid (he was the de-facto “official” watchmaker when a clock stopped working for one of the rich landowners, earning a nice meal whenever the clock was fixed!). His first timekeeping device was a water and oil clock he made when he was 13. At 16 years old, he and his family moved to Barcelona, and he enrolled in the Mechanical Technical school to continue learning his passion for micro-engineering. He complemented these courses by reading all the watchmaking books that he could get (learning German in the process). Self-taught in watchmaking, Aniceto worked for different watch ateliers repairing and restoring all kinds of timepieces and clocks, until he opened own his store in 1971 (he was 24 at the time). Through his store, uncountable pieces were serviced and restored, continuously getting new watchmaking tools to restore timepieces where parts were not available anymore, and gaining some serious recognition as a skilled watchmaker.
However, after a few years, Aniceto wanted more, and all the insights he got over the years made him think how he would do things better and differently. Aniceto traveled to Baselworld, and after meeting the AHCI, a group of fellow crazy-artisan-watchmakers, and being invited to join, he started thinking about his creations and joined in 2005. I joined him in this exciting new venture, by co-designing with Aniceto the timepieces, and doing all the business side, letting Aniceto focus entirely on watchmaking tasks.
Two years later, after receiving good response from collectors and watchmakers, what started just as an adventure of artisanal timepieces, made us think of creating the brand Pita Barcelona, with the defined vision of creating timepieces with surprising functionality, with visual harmony and better usability, and embed our Barcelona and Mediterranean style into every one of our timepieces.
What makes your watches stand out?
Ingenuity to try new ways. Before starting the brand, for many years we were learning from many different vintage and collector timepieces, putting ourselves in the shoes of the creator. When we thought about creating our own timepieces, we decided to create “new recipes” rather than re-cooking the old ones, trying some ingenuity to travel the old paths with new tools or procedures, or creating new ways. For example, in watchmaking, there is a trend towards tourbillon complications. It is a respectable endeavour, although we feel it has been overly exploited, and therefore the surprise factor is totally gone.
The Oceana dive timepiece is proof of this philosophy. Aniceto always thought that the best dive watch would be the one that does not have any weak point. Having a crown creates many weak points (it is basically a hole in the case, where water and air can come in), and to minimize the issues, other brands put gaskets (that get damaged over time, a time bomb), or helium release valves (another way to say that there the watch is not watertight). We envisaged a way to combine our Time Setting Mechanism patent with a second one called Remote Transmission, for a distant magnetic gear connection, similar to the MagLev trains, that of course does not affect the spiral and therefore the precision. The watch is always in a secure position, and we always challenge any dive collector to set the watch underwater (it is not possible in other brands as the crown needs to be unscrewed, and thus the water flows inside). Oceana is our most technologically advanced timepiece, but there are other innovations, such as the slow-motion automatic Carousel timepiece, where the whole movement rotates every 12 hours giving the time without the need of a real hand, or the Sol y Luna, the first watch created in 2004 that uses a rotating Sun & Moon disk to display 24 hours without hands.
Tell me about the latest creation? How did you come up the handless design?
As the architect Mies van der Rohe said: “Less is More.” It is becoming a trend in our brand to simplify and refine, to enhance what makes a timepiece special and stand out. The Molinos Orbital is an homage to the old clocks with big gears, that my father and I got mesmerized by while servicing them. We wanted to transfer that feeling into a wristwatch, but we did not want to create a simple skeleton timepiece, where all the gears are exposed, becoming a bit messy. We thought of having just three gears and their pinions, floating and rotating constantly in a planetary manner, and maximize the space that those gears could use. And to make those gears stand out, we decided the gears would directly tell you the time (using two embedded stones, for hour and minute markings), so no hands will steal the attention. Floating Planetary in our case means that all the gears rotate, and the non-central gear transitions to multiple positions during the day, as displayed on the dynamic dial. Some gears and pinions are not locked in a fixed position in the dynamic movement, they move along. Complication Simplified.
Where and how do you sell your watches? How can Revolution readers buy your watches?
You can order and customize all our watches from our website www.pita.es. You can also find worldwide retailers that carry a selection of our timepieces in their stores, although their choices might be limited. Our customers can pay in US dollars with all the usual methods, plus Apple Pay, Bitcoin and even a free instalments option. We also include premium priority free shipping.
How do you spread the word about your watches?
As being independent also means to be flexible, fast and direct, we post in our social media about our timepieces, upcoming work, workbench insights to collectors and enthusiasts.
We also think that it is key to meet our collectors face to face and show them first hand our timepieces, therefore every year we attend different fairs around the world, showcasing a selection of our creations. Attending different fairs and events worldwide gives us the opportunity to discuss with anyone interested about the reasons why we have followed one design path, or created a complication. When somebody speaks with us, that visitor is not talking to a sales attendant, they are talking to myself or Aniceto, the founders and creators of every timepiece, and we offer first-hand information about our work and philosophy. We also learn a lot from our customers, and some discussions are the seed for upcoming developments.
Finally, we use email to inform about upcoming releases or events on a three to six month basis (we hate spam as much as our collectors). For busy collectors just interested in knowing when a new timepiece is released, we recommend signing up to our email newsletter.
What is the biggest challenge for your company to overcome?
The biggest challenge by far is to decide what timepiece to do next, as time (even for a watchmaker) is limited. We are a four-person team and we do everything by ourselves. We sometimes have to reject a special project from the start if we know we have a few projects in development and production stage, that is the hardest decision. And that is why also striking the right balance between traveling to events and being in the atelier is also challenging.
Of what are you proudest?
In this aspect, little has changed since we first exhibited in Baselworld in 2005, when we were just Aniceto and Daniel, and few weeks later worldwide magazines showcased our horological creations next to the big established brands.
Every time we meet a proud owner visiting our store in Barcelona, or meeting us in any of the events around the world, fills us with joy. We enjoy discussing our philosophy our timepieces, and showing the atelier and laboratory where all our timepieces are created. For us, creating a timepiece is a highly emotional process, and having other people sharing this feeling is the most fulfilling!