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Time Concepts: Stylish, Rugged, Quality

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The Vintage Szanto brand

Time Concepts was established in 2007 as a platform for developing watches for a wide array of brands and retailers, in addition to licensed watch programs, and ever since has established a long history of developing and delivering high-quality products. Using design acumen perfected over decades developing watches, Time Concepts’ stylish and functional offerings stand the test of time, operating flawlessly. Perfected under rigorous quality control, these stylish timepieces are crafted with deft precision and built to last. Time Concepts’ watch designs run a long gamut of preferences, opening a bevy of opportunities for wearers to express their style while enjoying their favorite activities in the varied realms of Sea, Air and Land, with watches suitable for everything from scuba diving to aviation, as well as for great outdoors activities like hiking and general wear. 

By Selene Muldowney and John Tapley

Time Concepts has done design development and/or developed watches for some of the world’s most prolific companies and organizations, including (but not limited to) Eddie Bauer, Orvis, West Marine, Cabela’s, LL Bean, 5.11 Tactical, West Marine, the Special Olympics, and the Singapore Navy Dive Unit, among many others. The Time Concepts web store features the company’s own brands (the vintage Szanto brand and the Official Hawaiian Lifeguard Association (HLA) watch, which commemorates the association’s history and spirit), brands it manufactures (Jack Driscoll), and also brands it distributes (CT Scuderia).

We spoke with Time Concepts founder Managing Partner Barry Cohen about its watch products, and ongoing and future projects. Time Concepts dive watches will be featured in future editions of Scuba H2O Adventures Magazine.

John Tapley (JT): What is the history of Time Concepts?

Barry Cohen (BC): I’ve been in the watch business for more than 30 years. I founded and built the Luminox watch brand for 27 years. Invariably, over the years, people would ask …. “Hey, you know watches. Could you make one for me, for our brand or stores.” I realized I needed a platform to develop private label product for a wide array of potential clients so I started Time Concepts with the purpose to make watch products for retailers and brands, and at the same time have the platform to take on licensed watch programs as well.

Around 2013 or so I had an epiphany: “If we’re trying to build something, we need our own brand; just making watches for other people isn’t going to build company value.” That was the reason for the advent of Szanto. It wasn’t my idea – a local celebrity chef, Tyler Florence is a watch nut and had some of my Luminox watches. We’d gotten to know each other, and he called me up one day and said, “You should make a collection of vintage timepieces because no one is doing it.” I took time to observe the market and realized he was right, and then conceived a collection of vintage-style design watches made for today, most with the reliability and affordability of quartz movements, and eventually also added automatic mechanical movements.

Time Concepts quality control

I’ve visited over 35 factories over the years in Switzerland and Asia: all kinds: assembly, manufacturing, case stamping, dial making, crystal making… you name it, across the board, and I’ve seen all levels of quality from very high down to surprisingly poor quality, and decided for our products, we would insist on only superlative quality. Working with our primary supplier, all assembly and manufacturing, and even parts storage, is in a dust-free, temperature and humidity-controlled clean-room environment. The people are covered head to toe and to get into the space, you have to first go through an anteroom that blows air all over you and sucks air and dust out. We know what we have is inordinately high quality that is reflected in our remarkably low defect rate of less than a one-half percent and over the past five years we’ve not yet had one water failure.

JT: What are some recent Time Concepts and Szanto developments?

BC: We’ve just added a sub-brand of Szanto: Szanto ICONs Signature Series. I reached out to some people I’ve known who are famous within their niches to see if they’d be interested in us developing “their” watch. The first ICON series is the Danny Sullivan Signature Series, designed with and for the legendary racecar driver, Indycar Champion and Indy 500 winner. Every ICON Signature Series was developed with design input from each ICON so we end up with a watch the ICON loves; right now we’re developing samples for production approval for five more ICONs including another racer, Indy 500 winner and Indycar Series Champion Tony Kanaan; Roland Sands of the motorcycle industry; rock star Huey Lewis; world-known car designer Frank Stephenson; top big wave surfer Shane Dorian; and legendary 49ers running-back Roger Craig; with others to be added after the launch of these series. Some will release by April and May, with the others to follow shortly thereafter, and then we will work on adding more.

As if this were not enough, we are launching two other new watch brands tied to societal movements to release in summer 2019! We have lots of exciting things going on at Time Concepts!

For more details on Time Concepts and its products, visit https://timeconcepts.net and www.szantotime.com.