Made in China, and proud of it: Atelier Wen

The brainchild of Walpole & London Business School Programme alumnus Robin Tallendier, Atelier Wen, was formed by a team of of French and Chinese designers aiming to bring modern Chinese chic to the world.

Their first creations, watches, promote Chinese watchmaking prowess and convey a story rich in meaning through modern Chinese aesthetics.

The starting point of this venture was the founders’ observation that however they are branded, many, if not most, watches in the world are partly or completely made in China. Indeed, following the guidelines of the Swiss Watch Federation, which are the world’s most stringent, it is actually possible to make a “Swiss” watch using only foreign-made parts.

Atelier Wen was created in response to this, promising transparency and authenticity in its creations. The disruption of Atelier Wen lies not in its manufacturing or business model, but in a daring brand philosophy that challenges this great fiction of the industry: that only Swiss, German or Japanese watches are quality watches.

“People increasingly demand transparency in what they buy and that’s something the watch industry hasn’t been delivering,” explains co-founder Robin Tallendier, “with Atelier Wen, we have taken the opposite approach and created a brand that takes pride in its origins”.

At the intersection between tradition and modernity, Atelier Wen’s first series, Porcelain Odyssey, is exclusively made in China and combines elements of Chinese design and craft, such as porcelain dials in the style of traditional Chinese ceramics.

Through their Kickstarter campaign, Atelier Wen hopes to rally people behind their vision of authenticity and urge them to wear “Made in China” with pride.