You would think that in the age of smartphone overload that a great timepiece would be a thing of the past. Well think again. According to Ricardo Antonio Perez, the man behind RAPP Black. The watch industry is a thriving booming business.
Tod Hallman: Tell me about RAPP Black and what prompted you to start designing watches under your own label?
Ricardo Antonio Perez: The idea of launching the RAPP brand had been my desire for 10 plus years until 2012 when the concept became a reality. This was a passion during years in retail planning, buying, sales and marketing. In my career, I’ve worked with Dolce & Gabbana, Chrome Hearts, Disney and Sunglass Hut among many other brands. Finally after many years of design expertise, world travels & disco nights, I established an idea to grant my friends and the public my own accessory line that demonstrates freedom, creativity and fun…
Hallman: Can you tell me what exactly does the name RAPP Black stand for?
Perez: The name RAPP is an acronym for Ricardo Antonio Perez, with the last P referencing my place of birth and hometown. The Black symbolizes an independent, nonconformist and maven mindset in terms of fashion, art and international culture. RAPP Black in total is socially strong & beautiful!
Hallman: Design and construction seem very important to you. What’s the process that goes into designing each RAPP Black watch and what part of the process means the most to you?
Perez: Designing each piece is a 9-12 month process incorporating my influences from architecture, lifestyle and modern times. When I travel to different places I’m influenced by the museums, restaurants and people I interact with. Architecture is a big influencer as it helps in determining the construction of each design and how objects and materials work together. This results in us determining (a) shapes (b) materials and (c) colors. We then develop renderings, and thereafter, merchandise a cohesive collection that tells our story. Then you have a process of sampling, re-sampling, pre-production sampling, production, quality control and final delivery to our clients. It is an intense process of which all mean the most, as one co-depends on the other in order to make a great watch.
Hallman: Besides coming in cool designs and colors what are some of the additional features that set RAPP Black watches apart from other brands?
Perez: Some additional features that set us apart are minimalist small details such as unique specific marker fonts, custom crowns / buckles and unique, un-common finishes such as Royal Blue Plating, Gunmetal Plating and Brown Plating. We also use a wider array of Chronographs such as Big Date, 4 Eye and Reverse Date. Our overall approach is fresh, and our product is a reflection of who we are: an independent lifestyle company.
Hallman: Your brand has strong ties to two cities, LA and Miami. Why these two cities?
Perez: I grew up in LA and lived in Miami for many years. Both cities have a laid back mentality and are like no other place. They are diverse as they continue to grow and are the quintessential international destinations for stylish beautiful people.
Hallman: Do you find that today fewer people wear watches and don’t understand that a great timepiece is also a great accessory?
Perez: Not at all, because the fashion watch industry has grown significantly in the past 10 years and continues to grow with the advancing of cell phones and other electronics. This is also true for the ultra-luxury watches market. This confirms that people still buys watches, whether for fashion or as an investment and disproves the theory that said smart phones were going to kill the watch business since people could monitor time on their phone. Conversely, many electronic companies like Samsung and Apple are trying to break into the timepiece industry, proving that the watch industry is still going strong.
Hallman: So what can we expect to see from the new collection?
Perez: You can expect what we like to call “classics redefined” and retro styles with a modern twist. We’re also using different leather options and padding: calf, buffalo and lizard while incorporating industry mesh bands.
Hallman: You’re very passionate about music and have quite the eclectic musical background. Who are a few of your favorite artists and does music inspire your designs?
Perez: Yes music is one of my main inspirations. Some of my favorites are The Strokes, Gary Clark Jr., MGMT, and Charles Bradley.
Hallman: So if you were asked to collaborate or design a collection of watches for a major brand or retailer would you consider it?
Perez: Yes, I would be open to collaboration as long as this partner is open to maintaining the identity and unique elements of RAPP: an independent, non-conformist brand.
Hallman: Do you have any plans to expand the brand into other accessory lines?
Perez: We’re a young company planning to expand in new categories and we hope to communicate that in 2014. www.the-rapp.com