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The History Of WOLF: From Watch Winders To Sussex

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Renowned for its luxury watch winders, WOLF has recently moved into fashion accessories too. Absolutely Sussex catches up with the fifth generation CEO of the business to find out more

As a five-generation family company, WOLF understand that extraordinary objects are representations of extraordinary moments in life. Since 1834 the WOLF mark has been a symbol of decades of innovation and the pursuit of the perfect design. They believe for a legacy to endure it must be nourished and upheld. Every day in beautiful WOLF cases around the world, centuries-old treasures live side-by-side with exquisite new designs. They are dedicated to honouring people’s stories and the priceless jewellery and timepieces they entrust to us.

The company is also moving with the times, as their Mimi Collection caught Absolutely Sussex’s eye recently. Mimi is for the woman on the go who needs her essentials close but wants to be free of bulky handbags. lnspired by both high fashion runway moments of the 90’s and ancient Japanese Sagemonos, Mimi helps you travel light so you can go about your day in style. With luxe leather pieces for storing earpods, phones, keys and credit cards, Mimi keeps your essentials safe and conveniently at your fingertips.

With a showroom in West Sussex, we decided to speak to Simon Wolf – the fifth generation CEO of WOLF – to find out more about the company’s history, why they set up home in the county and what’s still to come.

Simon Wolf
Simon Wolf

What was Philip Wolf I’s original vision?

As a silversmith in Hanau, Germany in 1834, he wanted to create things of beauty. When he started making boxes for his jewellery, he realised safe-keeping jewellery in a beautiful box was his calling.

What were his early creations?

Back in 1834 his boxes were simple and elegant. Those creations would be almost 200 years old today and alas none have survived.

Was the company always going to pass down through the generations?

Hindsight gives you an almost perfect perspective! I think it is more about destiny for a company, for a person, I believe it was always the destiny of WOLF to become a multi-generational brand, the course was set 188 years ago, it was just going to happen.

When did you first start working for the business and what did you love about being involved with the operations?

I was 20 and under the tutelage of Tony Cook our sales representative for the Southeast. After three months on the road, I had my lightbulb moment when I knew the business was for me. I went to work in the factory, on the production lines, warehouse, sample making, experiencing all departments. The process was fascinating, and I fell in love with it all.

Why did you open a showroom in West Sussex?

I lived in America for more than 30 years. My wife, Fiona, and I had always planned to come home to the UK permanently, and lockdown gave us that opportunity. We bought a cottage right by the sea in Climping. Having both grown up in the countryside – me in Surrey, Fiona in Sussex – we wanted to return to where we felt the most at home. We are surrounded by fields, hedgerows, woods with the beach just a short walk away. Positioning the office within half an hour from where I live was an easy decision to make. London? No thanks!

Roadstersinglewinder
The Roadster Single Winder

Today, what is the ethos behind WOLF?

We craft the spaces where legacies live. That beautiful heirloom piece of jewellery, the watch that was a reward to yourself. Precious things that are handed down need to be cared for and maintained, and that is what we do.

What have been the biggest changes in the evolution of the company?

I started my career when we were still using Telex to send messages! Communicating as it has evolved over the decades is perhaps the biggest challenge. Our brand is stronger than ever, but giving the company that voice and being consistent was, and still is, one of the biggest challenges.

Why should we own a WOLF Watch Winder?

First and foremost our winders are a thing of beauty, melding great design with something very practical. Our winders are the only ones in the world that count turns per day, an innovation we patented. Every watch brand specifies exactly how many rotations a watch should be turned and in which direction. Our watch winders can be set to do exactly what you require and if you’re not sure you can simply look that information up on our website.

What are the latest releases?

We just released “The Rocket”, the world’s smallest travel watch winder. It fits into the palm of your hand, so travels effortlessly in an overnight bag or suitcase. Technical hurdles have been overcome to reduce the size of all the internal parts, it took us nearly two years to develop.

What can we expect with the design of your watch boxes and jewellery storage?

Our design ethic is always, always, to make something that is beautiful, practical and solves a problem; helping you care for your watches or your jewellery. Many years ago we developed a solution called LusterLoc™ – we treat all our jewellery care product linings with this liquid and once the lid of the box is closed or travel case zipped it stops jewellery losing its lustre for up to 35 years.

How important are accessories to your company?

Luxury accessories, small leather goods, are a new venture for us. I had always wanted to design a collection, but held back until now. It’s quite a crowded market and I wanted to make sure we put our best foot forward.

How would you describe the W and Mimi ranges?

W is our wallet and business case collection, made from responsibly sourced leathers, it is our classic range that we believe will be timeless. Mimi is a fresh, bright accessories collection that took its design cues from the Japanese “inro” cases that were worn over the obi (sash) around a kimono. Today it is less about taking a big handbag with you and more about only having what is essential.

Mimi Pink
The Mimi Collection

How long have you created safes and what makes them special?

We have been designing and building safes for almost six years. The Atlas collection has been tested by Underwriters Laboratories in the USA and has passed the most stringent of tests. What makes them so unique is the almost limitless configurations of drawers and winders that you can place inside. A very safe place for your legacies!

Do you have any exciting collaborations on the horizon?

Yes we do, but mum’s the word for now!

What’s next for the company?

As the brand continues to grow it is all about telling the WOLF story of five generations and that the care and thought of what we design and make, all by hand, means that we will continue to keep those precious possessions safe for generations to come.

wolf1834.com

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