Interview Edward Cho – Founder of Fleux Watches

It’s always great to discover new brands.

A few weeks ago I came across Fleux Watches. A young Canadian brand that does things really well. I’ll tell you more in my upcoming hands-on review of the FLX002.

But first, and to find out more, I interviewed Edward Cho, the founder of the brand.

I’ll let you discover Edward and his brand just below.


Could you tell us a bit about you and about your story with watches?

My obsession with watches stems from being raised by my grandmother. One of my earliest memories is my grandmother winding her watch – a men’s sized Rado that was most likely my grandfathers. I would watch her intently, as she would wind her watch on a daily basis telling me: « You have to feed it to make it come alive. »

The idea of feeding a mechanical object was so mesmerizing that it made me see watches as living objects.

My obsessive journey began with the 1989 Timex Ironman. I loved it so much that it quite literally never left my wrist. Due to excessive wear and tear on the playground it eventually broke, but it was a great first start.

The next 30-odd years (and counting) of collecting afforded me the opportunity to learn and experience the joys of almost every type of watch, but my life has never been the same since I discovered vintage divers.

Dive watches are utilitarian, practical and robust; yet the sheer variety and graphic nature of these beautiful timepieces have always drawn me to them. Simply put, they are playful in design, while having to be engineered for robustness.

When the idea to create a new brand came to you? and when do you start working on the creation and on the launch of it?

Since graduating from school, I’ve been an entrepreneur and I have no idea how to do anything else. Although I’ve been emersed in the worlds of technology/software and hospitality, the idea of designing and creating a physical object has always fascinated me. I guess it was always on my bucketlist of things to do. But the question was – what am I going to make?

I’ve also never started anything that was born out of a hobby/passion. When I saw brands like MKII, Baltic and Unimatic start up and find their audience, they inspired me to really think about how this might be possible. But this feeling would generally be fleeting because really, who starts a watch company?!

Fast forward to 2021 – on one of my daily (literally) searches of vintage skin divers online, the feeling of starting a new company returned – so I sat down and started designing what I wished other companies would produce. I then contacted as many manufacturers as I could find and well, here we are!


Could you tell us from where comes the name of your brand?

I had originally wanted to name the company after the gentleman who invented the modern diving rebreather in 1878 – Henry Fleuss. However, I quickly learned that another brand had the same idea for one of their models.

After brainstorming for a few days, I had a list of names that didn’t make much sense, didn’t look great graphically and/or had no meaning to me whatsoever. But what I also had was a list of descriptive words to describe what I wanted the brand to be.

The word Flux stared back at me. It perfectly describes how we plan to operate – small run batches of watch designs that are ever changing. Should I have named the brand Flux? Nope, too short and unfortunately also taken.

What I really wanted was FLEUSS. But you can’t always get what you want. And then it hit me – try combining the two words to see what you get. Bingo. 

FLEUss + fluX = FLEUX

What’s the most important thing in the process of creating your timepieces?

Ensuring that the designs I create are harmonious and translate perfectly to the physical pieces. For example, there’s nothing more agonizing to me than seeing a beautiful watch, with impeccable finishing ruined by the application of a massive logo that neither fits the overall design of the watch nor what the designer was trying to convey. It’s also one thing to see your designs in 2D, but to manufacture a three dimensional piece, ensuring all the components work together can be an agonizing process. Agonizing but tremendously rewarding in the end.

What steps do you go through to develop and produce them?

I imagine my process is the same as many other brands. It starts out as a simple photoshop/illustrator image where it’s very easy to play with the dimensions, colour, and/or placement of each component. It’s also critical at this stage to see how each of the design components interplay with each other. Once this process is complete, I send the designs to the manufacturer where further revisions are made and a prototype is made.

Waiting for the prototype is likely the most exciting and terrifying part as you never know if a design that is in 2D translates well to the real world. The next step is living with the prototypes for a few weeks, evaluating them on the wrist and in different situations. Notes are made if any changes are needed and communicated to the factory. At this point, any parts/pieces that need to be reproduced for re-evaluation are made and the process starts again. Once I’m satisfied with the final prototypes, production begins which gives me time to get all the marketing materials ready for launch. Once the production watches are completed, the factory carries out quality control but I also conduct my own quality control on each watch delivered. 


From where comes your inspiration concerning the design of your pieces?

As Fleux is a skin diver brand, we take inspiration from vintage divers from the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Do you have an anecdote about the design and creation phase of your timepieces?

The asymmetrical design of the hour marker dots on FLX001 was a complete fluke. I was in the process of playing around with the size of the markers and happened to stop midway through, only to find that it completely worked! Well, it worked for me at least. Honestly, I was really hesitant to produce this because it’s so unusual. However, I’m happy to report that our watches just won a Good Design Award for 2023, so at least someone else thinks they’re pretty cool too!

From your perception, what makes your watches so special?

I’ve been collecting watches for ~20 years and if there’s one pet peeve I have is hearing a tool watch can’t be worn with a suit, or that a dress watch can’t be worn casually. In my book, there are no rules to fashion, which is ultimately what watches have become over time.

While I’m not sure that this makes Fleux special, I’ve tried to design a watch that can be worn with anything and be taken anywhere.

Could you tell us how your collection is composed and what is the price of your watches?

Our watches are priced at $499 USD with free worldwide shipping and there are currently two models available – FLX001 and FLX002.

The current plan for Fleux as a brand is to produce variations on the archetypcal skin diver case. This means the case will remain the same but the dial, hands and bezel inserts will change with each release.


Do you have an idea of how many watches do you already have delivered?

Thankfully, our original run of 600 watches (300 of each model) are almost sold out.

Social networks are really important for microbrands like Fleux Watches. Could you let us know how and why do you use them? and what’s your strategy to stand out from other brands in your price range?

As a designer and collector myself, I’ve always been on the hunt for designs that speak to me. It’s never been about making money or flexing the latest hyped watch. Sometimes I don’t know why a certain design speaks to me. Other times, a design I’ve never seen before teaches me something new. Social networks like Instagram are the perfect way to discover what’s new or simply to discover and share something old that I’ve never seen before. For example, I’ve been a huge fan of and am really thankful for IG accounts like @Chronographes_. Fred really has impeccable taste in collecting, his eclectic collection is really inspiring. His collection has driven me to see designs in new ways and unfortunately, has made my wallet lighter than it should be.

As for standing out from other brands, I’m not sure that I strategize to do this at all. I’d really like for the designs to speak for themselves. 

Let’s talk about distribution. Obviously, you use the direct sales strategy which is better for a young brand like yours. Could you explain us your distribution strategy?

Selling directly is a great way to connect with customers directly. I love getting emails from customers telling me how much they love their new watch or answering questions from prospective customers. The one downside I’ve discovered is that many people do not understand there are always customs duties to be paid – whether it’s paid directly or if it has already been paid for by the local retailer and passed on to the customer in the retail price. Either way, I suppose it might be easier to sell through a local retailer and I’ve had some inquires about carrying Fleux in far away locations and it’s something I may pursue in the future.


What is your first market? Will you try to develop other markets in the future?

My first market was and will always be global.

Do you plan to participate in watchmaking events in the coming months?

I would love to commit to something but my wife and I are expecting our first baby in April of 2024 so it’s difficult to commit to anything at the moment.

Now and more generally, what are your plans for the future?

Working on our next release as I type this and excited to share them with the world soon!


What aspects of your brand you think people should know more about?

As a collector myself, I’ve always loved vintage watches but what I never like are the headaches. I’m sure any experienced vintage collector can tell you a story or two about unscrupulous sellers embellishing the condition of the watch you just purchased. For example, “in running condition”  usually means – the watch works but don’t expect it to tell the time properly.

Fleux began as a way to bring really cool vintage diver designs out from the past at an affordable price point, but without the headaches.

OK, now something more personal. For you, what’s the most important thing to find in a watch?

It’s simple – do I like the design? More often than not, it’s really just as simple as finding a design cool. Sometimes that means it looks elegant. Other times, it’s quirky and fun. Sometimes, it’s a combination of all three.

To finish, are you also a watch collector? If yes, what kind of watches do you collect?

I’ve been very fortunate to have owned everything from a Timex Ironman to vintage military Lemania’s. Although my collecting behaviour has been somewhat subdued since starting Fleux, I’m always looking for something new. After collecting for ~20 years, I feel like I’ve seen almost everything out there but then there will be that magical moment where something I’ve never seen comes along and makes me say: “Wow!” I guess that’s why I’ve been drawn to collecting in the first place – it’s the hunt to find something that surprises and inspires me.


You can follow Fleux Watches on the social networks :

Facebook / Instagram

If you’re interested to buy one of them just click HERE.

Jonathan Kopp

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