Who is John Robert?

In a word, me. John Robert Barclay. A child of the 80s and 90s based in Melbourne, Australia and keen watch enthusiast. Also a father of four and until my mid twenties believed that I really was going to be a rockstar. Yep, I was that guy. 

Luckily for me my parents gifted me with a pretty classy name, perfect for a watch company. Thanks Mum and Dad. 

Kidding. There’s a little more to it, I’m not (just) an egomaniac. It represents the core belief which the company is built around; that people live on through their artefacts and the stories they invoke. No artefact tells the story of a gentleman more succinctly than his wristwatch. 

 A Star(t-up) is born

I was named for my two grandfathers, John (Jack) and Robert. Two lads from Scotland who found very different paths to Australia, they had both passed before I was born. Their artefacts and stories are my only connection with them and the lives they led. 

My lifelong watch obsession was sparked by the discovery of Robert’s own wristwatch in a drawer, some fifteen years after his passing. It was the white rabbit that led me to tumble into the world of horology.

As a ten-year-old in the early 90s, living in the peak of the digital watch age (hello G-shock), the idea that an all-metal, mechanical item could even function without a battery seemed like some kind of ancient magic. 

A quarter of a century’s worth of watch obsession has been boiled down and poured into my flagship watch - the Archetype. I’d like to think that in the distant future, a John Robert Archetype will be found in a drawer somewhere, and whisper somebody else’s grandfather’s story.

Read Part 2 here about how I came to believe that what the modern gentleman needs is full strength style.