Dedication, they say, is what you need. Well, Glynn Barker has it is spades.
At BaselWorld in 2011, clutching his hand-drawn designs, he spent his time, “boldly” approaching as many people as he could to see if anyone would be interested in making his watches. “I was turned down by some, prohibited by a few and encouraged by a handful,” he says. “But that was all I needed to make the dream come alive.”
This year it has done just that. Glynn’s designs were – and still are – entirely informed by his other life – that of a commercial airline pilot, and the Axion range is all about dual time zones and high visibility, just the sort of functionality that genuinely appeals to the real pilots who formed Glynn’s initial prime market.
Men being what they are, it has not taken long for the appeal to spread beyond that niche. There is, after all, a genuine romance about the world of flying. Glynn is alive to the romantic vision and his own love of watches echoes it. “I have been passionate about watches since childhood. I remember taking one of my father’s watches to pieces to see how it worked. I followed up the passion by becoming an engineer on leaving school.”
He then put himself through flying school, again proving himself capable of single-minded dedication; and then when he encountered a paucity of pilot’s watches his horological first love took flight again and he launched Axion.
So far, the watch industry has been a terrific adventure to him. “I feel part of the industry but only in as much as a small boy looking over the wall feels part of the sporting event he is witnessing. It will be some time before we are an established part of the industry.”
That may come quicker than he thinks. But for now he’s focusing on the ultimate goal. “All I want from the business is that we are known as an innovative quality brand,” he surmises. “Personally, I want to be able to design and create pieces whilst continuing to fly in some capacity. I think I will have achieved all of my personal targets if we achieve this.”
Well, he’s certainly got the dedication required.
Axion founder Glynn Barker was a Bering One to Watch in the WatchPro Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.