Company: Traska | Founder & Owner: Jon Mack | Website: traskawatch.com
Kicking things off in 2021, I’ve been planning this new series of articles for a while, where I interview the owners of various microbrands, with questions from members of the watch community. What better company to start with, than none other than the owner & founder of Traska, definitely one of my favourite microbrands. I have reviewed all 3 versions of their Freediver, their Summiteer and I’ll be reviewing their latest model, the Commuter once it arrives hopefully very soon.
Traska was founded back in 2018 by Jon Mack, a lover of vintage watches, but disliked the fact that they were way too fragile for everyday use. So… he designed his very own watch, the Freediver Mk1, that hit our community with absolute phenomenal success. Since then, the company has grew at quite an extraordinary rate, with more staff being taken on, helping Jon cope with the constant demand of more Traska watches being made available to the general public, and of course for us watch enthusiasts. So with my rather small introduction complete, it’s over to you Jon…
Interview with Jon Mack
- Any plans to release the new Commuter in different dial colours (yellow, mint, red, salmon, etc)? Roger Cohen
Jon: Right now, we are laser focused on getting the Woodland Green, Glacier White and Slate Black Commuters in stock and ready to order ASAP. After this… who knows! We always listen to our community and in fact many of the colors which are now in our rotation were inspired by comments and requests in groups like this, so I definitely wouldn’t rule it out.
- Are you into vintage watches, if so, do you take any influence from any particular brand? Jamie Mfarlane
Jon: I *love* vintage watches. It’s been a passion/borderline obsession of mine for years, since long before I started Traska. I never really focused too much about specific brands… I was mostly looking for quality and value. I would buy and trade vintage pieces as a hobby, and liked to dip my toes into a bunch of different styles. What really gets me is the ‘50s-70s design aesthetic. Everything just looked better in those days, from cars to watches. Unfortunately watches built back then may have been sturdy once, but now that they’re “vintage,” they can be pretty delicate. The idea for Traska actually came to me after my beloved 1966 Bulova Snorkel broke because I stupidly took it into the ocean for a dip (the full tragic tale is on our website). I wished there was a watch with vintage charms but modern strength, and so I set out to create one.
- I know there was a limited run of 25 white Summiteers last year, but do you have any plans on releasing the Summiteer and/or Freediver III with a white dial? I'd certainly buy both! Will Duncan
Jon: Man, I love white dials. They are versatile, emotionally affirming, and go with pretty much anything. That said, it just would NOT work with the Summiteer. I could give you a million reasons why, but the short answer is my design-nerdy-perfectionism simply wouldn’t allow it. The Freediver is another matter and there is a chance maybe one day you’ll see one with a white dial. But as I say, right now we’re just focused on getting our current designs in stock and available to this community as quickly as possible.
- Why does it take Traska so long when releasing more inventory? Eduardo Diaz
Jon: I suppose my perfectionism has been a factor here - I’m never satisfied until I’m 100% satisfied, and would rather delay a new model, rather than rush through something that isn’t quite right. Traska is also a young company - we’ve only just outgrown our Kickstarter days! We’ve made strides to increase and speed up supply, but demand has always been one step ahead. It’s flattering, but also I agree it’s something we need to work on. For now, we’re doing the best we can one production run at a time.
- My main question is regarding plans to increase accessibility. I'd hate to see Traska continue going down the direction of HELM, with release frenzies. In my opinion, it only really benefits scalpers, not the brand or enthusiasts. Jonathan Taliani
Jon: Totally hear that! As I said above... we’re currently just doing this one production run at a time, trying to keep up with demand. We exist for and because of enthusiasts and relish the direct connection we have with our customers and community, and would never do anything to put this at risk. Improving supply and ease-of-access is a major long term goal for us - we don’t want to be in “start-up” mode forever.
- Why did you choose 36mm for the Traska Commuter? Back to classic sizing is a killer move as far as I'm concerned. David Miller
Jon: If you ask me, 36mm is as classic as it gets. Afterall, it’s the exact dimensions of the Rolex Day-Date (anything worn by both LBJ and Jay Z is surely a classic, right!) I get that right now there’s a bit of a fad for larger dial sizes, and that’s cool. I respect that. At the same time, chasing the “flavor of the day” is not who we are. Most of the watches in my personal vintage collection are in the 34mm-36mm space, and so I feel pretty good about keeping Traska loyal to this tradition.
- Are there plans to distribute these beautiful watches in Europe? Tom Wartenberg
Jon: Thank you for your kind words, Tom! Actually, Traska watches are already available in Europe (when we have stock available, that is!). We have many customers in Europe and even owe a lot of our aesthetics to my own personal connection to Scandavia. I know that having to pay VAT at your end is a real pain… that said, if we created a European entity and shipped locally in Europe, we’d have to add VAT to the price anyway, so it would come to the same thing.
- Will Traska be selling a second batch of the Commuter watch later this year? Damir Azhar
Jon: Absolutely! We’re working on getting more stock available as we speak. Definitely jump on our newsletter and Instagram… we should have an update in a few weeks.
- Any plans on releasing more colourful Traska models anytime in the near future? Alem Arnautovic
Jon: We are always open to suggestions from our community, and so again I definitely wouldn’t rule it out. The Mint Dial Freediver has been a hit for us, as has the Woodland Green Commuter. Both of these will be back in stock soon!