Inspired by his love of fine watches, Tirafalo Otlhogile has come up with a luxurious timepieces that oozes class and boasts an exciting local twist.
Growing up, the Mahalapye-native was fascinated by the concept of time and the ever-changing trends used to capture it.
Out of this fascination was born the brand ‘Nako’, an upmarket line of Botswana-inspired watches that Otlhogile launched last month having realised a gap in the oversubscribed market.
“I tend to know quite a bit about watches. At some point after realising how the market works in terms of watches, I looked back and observed that in Africa we are mostly consuming without any input from us in Africa,” said the 35-year-old founder of ‘Nako’ ( Setswana for ‘time’) noting that he came up with the name instinctively.
“It was instinctive in the sense that I wanted the watch to carry something about us as a people – and what greater way than to use the word nako!”
Speaking to Voice Money a week after his watches hit the market, Otlhogile explained he wanted to fashion a product steeped in the country’s history and culture.
It was for this reason that the back of ‘Nako’ watches are engraved with an artistic picture of the three dikgosi, Khama III, Sebele I and Bathoen I.
“I wanted to honour the three chiefs and their contribution towards Botswana’s Independence. The idea also is to use the watch to preserve part of our heritage, so that’s why we are taking a historical, as well as artistic, approach to it,” revealed the self-confessed watch enthusiast, who stressed that whilst the country has a rich history he feels it is not preserved in the right manner.
“It is mostly done through T-shirts which sadly don’t last. But with a watch, this watch will exist 10 years from now and can then be handed on to my son,” reflected Otlhogile, whose watches are designed locally but manufactured in Switzerland.
With a price tag of P3, 000, Otlhogile says Nako is here to compete with the big brands in the luxury watch industry and adds the price has nothing to do with the place of manufacturing, but rather with the material used to manufacture it.
Otlhogile’s watches, which come with a two-year warranty on the mechanism, are truly a thing of beauty.
Waterproof to 10ATMs (the equivalent of 100m underwater) Nako timepieces include luminescence minute and hour hands, genuine leather straps and display both the date and day.
Not one to rest on his laurels, the highly ambitious Othlogile revealed his Three Dikgosi collection is only the start as he plans to introduce more lines focusing on other African countries.
“We can’t limit ourselves to just here; we still have a long way to go, we still have a lot of work to do!” he exclaimed adamantly, adding that since last week’s launch he has been inundated with enquiries mainly through social media.
“For now we are taking orders, people are making split payments and we deliver to the people or they collect,” concluded the watch wizard happily.