TRIBUS is one year old this month, which means the company has not spent a single day operating without the buffeting headwinds of the global coronavirus pandemic.
And covid has not been the British watch company’s only challenge.
A deal with Liverpool Football Club — beloved of its founders James, Jonny, Jake Ward and their father Chris — turned sour after the club declared itself as a founder member of the short-lived, ill-conceived and catastrophically unpopular European Super League project.
A business that survives a battering like this in its first year is made of the right stuff to thrive as conditions improve, and the time has been spent productively in designing four highly commercial collections, perfecting manufacturing at its Swiss suppliers, honing its marketing story and building sales through direct to consumer ecommerce and partnerships including with WATCHPRO Shop.
“TRIBUS is a brand with balls and brains,” urges co-founder James Ward in reference to the company’s ability to adapt despite the carnage of the past year.
“Launching any new business will always face challenges, launching in a global pandemic with an in-depth range of Swiss made chronometers can only be applauded,” he adds.
With or without the pandemic, TRIBUS was always going to be positioned as a brand that delivers the style, precision and quality of legendary Swiss marques but — because it operates off a much lower cost base and cuts out middlemen’s margins by selling direct — it can offer premium watches at prices affordable to a much broader audience.
“The TRIBUS position allows watch enthusiasts the opportunity to step up to a much higher quality watch without breaking the bank,” Chris Ward describes.
Judging from the first four core collections, TRI-01 to TRI-04, TRIBUS is focusing on developing a signature retro look drawn from the mid-nineteenth century that can then be built upon with special editions with headline-catching partners.
Liverpool FC was the firsts of these, but will not be the last football collaboration.
A second special was associated with a project restoring a famous World War II Spitfire.
Keeping it simple and establishing a signature style sounds straightforward, but is arguably the hardest trick to pull off in watchmaking. Every tiny detail matters if you are making a three-hand automatic with industry standard movements from the likes of ETA, and TRIBUS has clearly sweated over the small stuff and delivered a suite of watches that are all precision-made to COSC-certification standards.
TRI-01 SMALL SECOND COSC
£906 to £1,395
Simplicity in its finest Swiss form. Paying homage to the elegance of the 40s and 50s dress watches with its modern-retro visuals, the TRI-01 Small Second COSC features a chronometer-certified movement inside its Swiss-made case.
TRI-02 GMT 3 TIMEZONE COSC
£1,186 to £1,695
Modern retro visuals meet a bold black and yellow colour scheme. Equipped with a 24-hour chapter ring and internal bezel, this chronometer allows you to read three time zones simultaneously.
TRI-03 POWER RESERVE GMT COSC
£1,396 to £1,995
In the TRI-03 Power Reserve GMT COSC, form and function can exist with elegance. The TRI-03 can track multiple time zones simultaneously, with an indicator displaying what remains of its 42-hour power reserve.
TRI-04 POWER RESERVE GMT SPORT COSC
£1,466 to £2,295
A Swiss-made chronometer with dual-time and power reserve complications. A blackened dial with red or orange detailing ensures this watch will be a bold addition to any wrist.