Tom Morf is an inspirational leader with immense experience in shaping brands. He is also the Co-Founder and CEO of Aramedes, a watch manufacturing company that integrates mechanical watchmaking with pioneering technology.
Aramedes watches are unique in the market. They combine the traditional craftsmanship of mechanical watchmaking with the latest technological innovations. This makes them both stylish and functional, and they appeal to a wide range of buyers.
Tom is a visionary leader who is committed to making Aramedes a success. He is passionate about his work, and he is always looking for new ways to improve the company. Under his leadership, Aramedes is poised to become a major player in the watch industry. Learn more about Tom’s journey and Aramedes through our interview.
What’s the idea behind Your Company?
Says Tom, “Behind Aramedes, there’s me and my partner Pascal Stübi, and we have been working in the Swiss Watch industry for years.
At a lunch meeting on April 8th 2016, we discussed the grade of innovation in our industry, and honestly speaking, we didn’t find too many. At least not from a functional side. All real inventions stemmed from 100 – 200 years ago and were certainly improved over the years, but not fundamentally. Mechanics have their limits and can’t do all the things you might want to find in a watch. Yes, there are new materials, better manufacturing with higher precision etc., but real innovation came from different angles.”
He also discussed his company’s objectives by saying:
“We wanted to create something new, innovative, and exciting that no one in our industry had dared to do before. We knew that the Islamic/Muslim culture, with its great achievements in astrology, mathematics, architecture, etc., would be ideal for such a challenge, not only because of their heritage and culture, but also because sunrise and sunset are of great importance in their daily life. Our idea, even more important, should serve as a bridge between two different worlds and cultures. This region celebrates the merge of tradition with modernity at its best. Like our motto: Preserve and innovate.
To achieve a solution, it was clear very soon that a purely mechanical solution wouldn’t work. Still, a combination of traditional mechanical watchmaking with a high-tech solution would probably be possible. For us it was clear from the very beginning, this had to be designed in a classic way with a dial and hands. No operating system, no touchscreen, no charging.
And the journey started in 2019.
When he said the word journey, a question automatically popped up, so we asked, “How did you begin your career journey? Do you have some advice for beginners?”
“My background is in mechanical engineering, which helped me understand mechanical machines. Then I completed a business administration program with a focus on Marketing. All these elements helped me a lot in my career. For beginners, I recommend the following:
- Education (always be curious and learn)
- Know-How (build your expertise)
- Authenticity (stay who you are, don’t imitate)
- Integrity (follow your principles and convictions)
- Respect (always respect other people)
- Walk the talk (do what you say), he replied.
We further discussed the goals of Aramedes with Tom.
“What’s the goal of your company?”
“Our goals can be described as follows:
- Being different is part of our self-image. That’s why we want to
build cultural bridges between Switzerland and the Islamic world, which should have a lasting impact.
- We want to stir the Swiss watch industry with new, fresh ideas.
- We want to build a sustainable business.
- We want to be a great employer.
- Everything and everyone is important.”
- Furthermore, our objective is to establish ourselves as a well-known and respected niche brand with a strong desirability. Not everyone needs to know about Aramedes, but the right ones.” he shared.
We further asked, “What makes the team successful, in your opinion?”
He said, “A successful team is made of individuals who work as a team to achieve a set goal. These individuals need to be complementary. Everyone is important, no matter which function. It is like a well-oiled engine. Every part has its role, and if one tiny little part breaks, it might be that the engine will no longer work. Hierarchies are an obstacle too. Hence try to reduce it. Still, someone is leading the way, but in a manner, others understand and accept. They will follow, even if they sometimes disagree.”
We also wanted to know Tom’s views on motivating his team. While discussing about it, he shares:
“The key to success is the team. Their motivation is of utmost importance. They need to know why we are doing what we are doing. They must be fired up on a regular basis. It must make sense to them to go the extra mile. They need to be incentivized not only with money but respect and appreciation for their daily contribution to the success of the company. Don’t let them execute only, give them tasks, competencies, and responsibility.”
How do you plan to motivate your team to go the extra mile? We further asked.
He continues, “Don’t micromanage. That’s not goal oriented and is only demotivating. Have faith in people. Let them be/feel important. I try to avoid “I” in any kind of discussions, presentations, or interviews. Instead of I, I use “we” because I alone can’t build/run a company. Even the most successful people in business can’t do it without having the right people on board. This is an illusion.”
For every company to reach their goals, it’s crucial to tackle challenges with proper focus. We wanted to know how Tom and his team move forward even during challenging situations. So, we asked him, “What keeps Your Company moving forward even during challenges?”
“Our strong team spirit keeps us together, not only in good times but also in difficult times. In a startup company like ours, there are so many things to be done, some are not even in place, and improvising is part of our daily work. We keep on looking back to where it all began. Look what we have achieved so far. Isn’t that great and enough motivation to keep going?” He says.
How do you think technology is leading to changes in businesses? Do you feel it’s helping Your Company grow?
“Technology is helping. You can work in a decentralized form around the globe. You have access to so much information like never before. Finding business partners has become easier but finding the right partner has become more difficult. There are so many out there. I can see that on platforms like LinkedIn. I get inquiries every day. Some of them have offerings we need, but which one to choose?
In our case, a high-tech module like ours would not have been possible 10 years ago. Hence the technology helps our company to grow. Without technology, we wouldn’t have started Aramedes. It was important for us to have a Unique Selling Proposition. That allows us to work the market from a different angle. We don’t need to compete with an offering others have too.” he says.
How is Aramedes adapting to digitalization?
“We call Aramedes a watch company and a tech firm. Hence digitalization is something we embrace and use. We’re not yet there, but all possibilities and options that make sense for us will be evaluated and, if needed, implemented.” continues Tom.
Do you use innovative ideas to be unique?
“Innovation is one of our brand values. Hence our product features unique functions, and our technology is patented. Merging two worlds into one product is quite an achievement. Let me explain again in brief: Our innovation is a luxury Swiss mechanical watch combined with a high-tech module that allows us to indicate Qibla, Salah and Fasting in an analog way. This watch is part of our Mecca collection and is exclusively made for Muslims.” Tom Morf says.
Elements To Success
We further asked Tom Morf to share with us his services and plans.
“We are in the process of building our product portfolio and services. Our goal is to offer new services for our watches, which no one in the watch industry has been able to offer so far. We are also working on exciting new products to complete our collection. The product is still one element to success, but we’re convinced that being customer-centric holds the key to sustainable growth. We want to have the most satisfied customers because they are the best brand advocates for Aramedes.” He says.
Lastly, we asked him, “Would you like to say anything else to our viewers?”
“Leave the beaten path. Explore new ways in doing things, even if it appears impossible at first sight. That’s why “magic happens outside the comfort zone.” Tom concludes.
Connect with Tom Morf on LinkedIn.