Milvin George, CEO of Lagado Watches
He’s been nominated by Forbes as one of the top 100 CEOs in the Middle East by Forbes in 2015, the only person from the watch industry to receive this accolade. With over 20 years of experience with the biggest names of the luxury business, such as TAG Heuer, Omega and Panerai, Milvin George’s entrepreneurial spirit and search for quality, consistency and style lead to the birth of Lagado Watches. With his expertise and eye for detail, Milvin tapped into his global network of craftsmen and watchmakers bringing together unique design and the finest materials. The collaborated effort, Lagado Watches, is all about understated, elegant timepieces for millennials, and just about anyone who appreciates refined style.
Mr George, you've been with TAG Heuer, and with Panerai, what made you turn entrepreneur and launch your very own watch brand, Lagado?
It will be a mistake to define luxury by price moving forward, it would be revolving around quality. We at Lagado are breaking the mould and redefining what’s perceived value for quality. In fact, our mission is to avail to watch lovers stylish and quality watches inspired by an Italian design code. I had this in mind 10 years ago. The urge to jump boats and embrace the entrepreneurial spirit peaked by the end of 2018, and I started to work on creating a watch brand at the beginning of 2019.
We worked with international consultants during this time, who collaborated with us by conducting research on millennials to understand their lifestyle behaviour in key regions such as Europe, Asia, and USA. The research provided us with valuable insights that went into every aspect of our watch design, brand communication, and what would suit Lagado in terms of distribution strategy. We collaborated with the best manufacturers, suppliers, photographers, agencies, and influencers. A year later, we launched Lagado first digitally. It was important given the DNA of our brand that we go online first since it’s the global platform that connects the world.
Alpha from the Evolve 44 mm collection by Lagado
What were the challenges in launching a watch brand in the midst of the pandemic?
We have always intended to launch the brand online first through our brand’s platform www.lagadowatches.com to give the brand a global birth since it’s launched first digitally. The pandemic pushed almost all customers to shop online not only for life’s necessities but also they were encouraged to buy luxury and premium lifestyle brands such as watches, fashion attire, and jewellery. As a result, several brands especially from the watch industry shifted their focus on digital first, where they found more consumption online. This meant that we should always think outside the box and be creative in how we reach out to our audience. We need to remain relevant and provide the best online customer journey.
Bold from the Evolve 44 mm collection by Lagado
Today, how many people work at the manufacture, and where is it?
Our manufacturing partner has about 150 employees, 80 of which are dedicated staff for the manufacturing side which includes quality control and production. We work with manufacturing units in Hong Kong, Italy, and Japan.
The meaning of ‘Lagado’ – what does it signify for you?
The word Lagado was derived from the Spanish word ‘legado’ which means ‘legacy’ in English. I am pleased to have the opportunity to share my 20 years of passion and experience in the luxury watch industry by conceiving contemporary high-quality timepieces at accessible pricing.
Global from the Evolve 44 mm collection by Lagado
I love the logo – it's like a small star – how did you come up with it?
As you know, symbols make a logo design memorable. This is because symbols effortlessly convey multiple meanings, emotions, and also instantly catch the attention of our audience and convey to them our brand’s message. The star represents collaborated efforts – that Lagado draws from a global community of designers, manufactures, marketeers, influencers, content creators, retailers, and media who are on a journey of excellence – and meet at Lagado. In fact, the way I see it, the customer is in the centre of our star, where our mission is to deliver excellence in watchmaking.
Icon from the Evolve 44 mm collection by Lagado
You have a love for Italian style – is that why you chose the Italian leather straps – what other Italian touches do the watches have?
‘Made in Italy’ is an expression of excellence, creativity, and craftsmanship. Italian leather manufactures are renowned for the quality of their textiles and the elegance and refinement of their construction. To obtain the best Italian leather special traditional techniques are used. Different types of treatments and different parts of the hide result in a great number of leather straps that dress up our watches.
Our design and product development team, in collaboration with our manufacture’s design department created the Evolve and Tempo cases that reflect robust yet minimalist Italian design with brushed dials. The Evolve case design incorporates a beveled grade A sapphire crystal while the Tempo line’s case is protected with a high-quality domed sapphire crystal. The glass is the ultimate in scratch-resistance with anti-reflection treatment and are sourced from suppliers in Asia and Europe. All lines are 5 ATM water resistant.
Aqua Mesh from the Tempo 33 mm collection by Lagado
Are your movements in-house or from elsewhere? The Tempo models are both chronographs – with the small seconds counter?
We are sourcing reliable quartz movements from Japan from different suppliers that meet our quality control standards. The Tempo line has an analog quartz movement with three years of battery life. The movement is mounted to express time in the form of hour, minute hands, and small second-hand counter just above 6 o’clock. As for the Evolve collection, the watches are equipped with a Japanese analog quartz chronograph with a three-year battery life.
This is a brand for millennials – so what exactly do they want and what kind of watches would you be making for this group?
Lagado’s customer is a multi-hyphenate who feels at home whether in New York, London, Paris, Mumbai, or Hong Kong. In today’s world, age, ethnicity and nationality are less important than cultural fluency and global exposure. Lagado is proud to be sourcing the best manufacturers and designers from around the world to make versatile watches to fit in with millennials’ global adventures.
A multi-hyphenated lifestyle represents today's aspirational way of living. Not confined to one job, one identity, and one expression, a multi-hyphenated person usually has multiple identities, multiple interests and even multiple jobs. She might be a lawyer in the day, a yoga teacher at night and be an owner of an Etsy shop.
Charm Mesh from the Tempo 33 mm collection by Lagado
The Tempo models and the Evolve come in stainless steel (with different alloys and treatments) with a silver mesh bracelet / or leather – why did you decide to go for interchangeable straps? Is this for pure fashion that you have also played with the case finishes?
Our global research on millennials showed that we must appeal to personas with what we call multi-hyphenated lifestyle that represents today's aspirational way of living. Not confined to one job, one identity and one expression, a multi-hyphenated person usually has multiple identities, multiple interests and even multiple jobs. We are delighted to provide our customers the Interchangeability feature with a quick release spring bar that can be done at the customer’s convivence suiting his/her occasion.
Marble Charm Mesh Charm Mesh from the Tempo 33 mm collection by Lagado
You have two models for Tempo – 33 mm and 41.5 mm – going forward would you be doing two separate collections in terms of sizes?
Tempo 41.50 mm and 33 mm are part of a contemporary line that reflects Lagado's distinct identity with a domed sapphire crystal; the ultimate scratch-resistant crystal for your watch. The line offers a diverse choice of unique timepieces with a wide range of cases made of different materials, equipped with quartz analog movements.
Our product development approach is to keep well defined lines and minimize the number of SKU’s per product line. Therefore, both sizes are considered part of the Tempo line and we are working on introducing new dials in both sizes and the possibility to introduce new sizes under the line by end of 2021 / beginning of 2022.
Marble Sky from the Tempo 41.5 mm collection by Lagado
Would you be adding more complications moving forward?
Our watch development department is working on a 3-5 year plan, managing various projects, in order to enrich our offering and present our customers with timepieces that have new features and functions. Mechanical movements, and GMT with date are currently under review.
Mystic from the Tempo 41.5 mm collection by Lagado
How many watches do you plan to launch per year?
We plan to launch 12- 18 SKUs as line extensions to the Tempo and Evolve lines. Keeping a streamlined collection enables us to focus our communication and avoids diluting the brand with a huge number of watch models.
Sky from the Tempo 41.5 mm collection by Lagado
Are Lagado watches available in India?
We are selling online at https://lagadowatches.com/.
Shotgun from the Evolve 44 mm collection by Lagado
Which are your favourite Lagado models that you like to wear – and when?
It’s a tough question, especially when you are part of developing the brand collection where you validate and approve the best designed watches. But I must say I have a weak spot for and find myself often wearing the Shotgun, the Evolve 44mm Chrono and the Vibe from the Tempo 41.50mm when I want to dress up.
Lifestyle Insider is a kind of junction point, connecting people with diverse interests that touch on the more luxurious aspects of lifestyle – fashion, design, travel, food and spirits, art, watches and jewellery, cars, yachts, and aviation, and technology. People today don’t fit into boxes and categories. In our individual ways, we are interested in diverse themes, products, and the challenges that face our world today. You will judge how well this effort of mine caters to your passions and proclivities.
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It’s an exciting time for brands all over the world. With change comes opportunity. With the global ‘reset’ and uncertainty on many fronts, there is a chance to write a new script. Let’s be those pioneers.
A bit about me:
A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.
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