In 1979, Romania aced the art of horology (aka watchmaking) with the creation of Optimef- the first Romanian watch. 40 years later, the brand is reborn, thanks to founders Andrei Morariu and Bogdan Coste. Paying homage to the vintage classics, the creative pair reawakened the 70s and 80s aesthetics of the original watch brand but injected it with a contemporary geometric and minimal twist. So, let’s find out more from this retro brand who is inspired by architecture and looks to past trends and future innovations.
When and where did you first begin?
It all started with our passion for timepieces, contemporary design, and a simple question we one day asked ourselves in 2014: “whatever happened with the once productive Romanian watch industry?”
Where exactly does your design inspiration come from?
Mostly architecture and design trends from the past but also simple yet intriguing combinations of shapes and colours that catch our eyes, and clean aesthetics too. Beyond originality, refinement, and a timeless aspect, we want Optimef pieces to inspire not only aesthetically, but also through the story, they tell.
Describe your brand in 3 words.
Functional. Geometric. Playful.
What is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?
One of the most difficult aspects is balancing the time spent on the prototyping phase of the product as we want to make sure everything looks exactly as we envisioned it, even if it takes more time than planned.
Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most, and least?
Our answer to both these questions is related to new ideas as we really enjoy coming up with them. But, since we have so many, it is very difficult to narrow them down in order to decide which of them will become actual products!
Do you have a mentor?
We don’t have mentors per se, but we are inspired by artistic and architectural movements.
How long did your latest collection take to create?
From the idea to the actual product in our hand, it took about two years. This included brand registration, notebooks filled with sketches, 3D simulations, finding the right collaborators, creating the prototype and starting mass production.
What are your future plans?
We are driven by our will to create, improve and explore different design fields, which is why we are now working on new watch designs and intend to expand our brand to women’s handbags as well. Our goal is to be able to design and carry out as many of our ideas as possible.
Which pieces do you think everyone should have in their wardrobe?
Our Fărăzece Black model was our very first piece, so we feel that it is the one that incorporates most of our vision. Not only that, but it is a beautiful unisex timepiece that really goes with any sort of attire!
What attracted you to The Clothing Lounge?
The main factors that attracted us to The Clothing Lounge were the vast selection of designers and the clean aesthetic of the website since this is something that we feel resonates with our brand.
“We innovate, but we keep the retro design elements specific for the brand. The message and the vision remain untouched, but the experience it offers is something new.”- Optimef