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Edinburgh engineers new watch design winds up in Tate

Two civil engineers based in Edinburgh have secured an order for their unique timepieces from the illustrious Tate Modern and Tate Britain in London.

Patricia Molina (30) and her partner Hector Patoo (29) used their interest in design to launch Patoo Watches, bringing their first Velvet Collection, comprising eight watches with different coloured velvet straps, to market last spring.

Following a visit to a tradeshow in London, the couple’s watches caught the eye of the Tate’s buying team with their timepieces going on sale in both museum’s retail outlets in December. Discussions are now underway that could see the watches sold in both Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives.

The Velvet Collection has featured in both Spanish editions of Hello Fashion and InStyle magazines, and gained traction in the duo’s home country of Spain, in Edinburgh, London, and Australia.

Now, the couple, who have been helped by Business Gateway Edinburgh, are looking to attract more stockists in Europe as well as investment.

Patricia said: “Having our watches sold in both Tate Modern and Tate Britain is a huge validation for the brand with strong sales over the festive period. The Tate buyers immediately liked our watches and a deal was easily struck, which affirmed our belief that once people see our watches they immediately appreciate how unique they are.

“We believe Patoo can become a market leading, trendsetting global brand so our focus in 2018 will be to attract potential distributors and sales agents as well as an investor to help accelerate our growth – and that is where Business Gateway will be of assistance. We initially went to Business Gateway when our first sample was ready and our adviser, John Hill, helped us develop financial and sales forecasts and understand where the main risks and opportunities are for Patoo. His connections will be of great use to us as we look to grow.”

John Hill, Business Gateway, said: “Creating a contemporary watch with eye-catching packaging that was inspired by a limited-edition edition of Vogue has already attracted a great deal of interest in Patricia and Hector’s brand, with shops in Edinburgh, London, and Spain stocking the first collection. Since engaging with us, the couple have laid down solid foundations for their business and we will continue to offer advice to help the company reach its full potential.”

Having moved to Edinburgh to continue their work as civil engineers six years ago, Patricia and Hector decided to use their passion for design to create a new watch concept after Patricia, a lover of fashion and trends, spotted a gap in the market. 

Three years ago they started work on a revolutionary design, however, during development they realised they did not have the financial resources needed to bring the model to market and decided to protect the design for later development and initially pursue the Velvet Collection to launch the brand.

In spring 2018, the Woody Collection, an eclectic collection of five timepieces that combine wood, leather, and vinyl to create a watch that is elegant, informal, and never been seen before, will be launched. 

She said: “I’d started to realise that most watch brands were just replicas of each other using the same materials, shapes, proportions, and selling points. I felt there was a real lack of innovation in their design and that we could improve on it. Being a start-up we quickly realised that our first design wasn’t going to be feasible so we looked at other ways to be innovative and trendsetting, initially using a velvet strap and then experimenting with wood. 

“Unlike our competitors, every single aspect in the design of our watches is customised – from the shape of the hour marks and the hands to the exact pantone colour of the strap. The Woody Collection is actually made of up to seven different materials, but when you look at it, it seems like one uniform piece.”

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