Launched in 2014, HODINA is a Seattle-based brand with a focus on minimalist design. Meaning ‘hour’ in Ukrainian, HODINA’s range includes watches, rings and other timeless accessories for those who appreciate a refined, simple aesthetic and ‘less but better’ approach. HEY GENTS spoke with HODINA’s founder, Vadim, about the inspiration behind the designs, work-life balance as a husband and wife team, and what’s on the horizon for the brand.
How did the idea for HODINA initially come about?
Growing up around my father who is a watch specialist (since he was 18 years old) has inspired me to approach watches. I was surrounded by watches a big portion of my childhood. As a kid, my preschool bus would drop me off at my dad’s watch shop where I would observe my father working and take naps on a couch he had in the back. I later began collecting and restoring vintage watches. Being inspired by the simple and small (36-38mm) nature of vintage watches, I decided to interpret a design of my own. HODINA was born in 2014.
As a husband and wife team, how do you manage work-life balance?
It’s tricky because we both currently work full time. I manage BOZH Creative, and Dasha works in HR at a healthcare company. So you can imagine our schedules are full. The biggest discipline for us has been to schedule work and play. It’s so important to rest well so that you can work well. We try to stay really focused in the morning so that we can get out and enjoy the outdoors in the afternoon.
Where do you find design inspiration?
I often make the statement “everything is design” because literally everything has been designed whether good or bad. As cliche as it sounds, I find God breathed nature to be the truest inspiration. So when designing a timepiece, I think “how will my design contrast against nature, palm trees, mountains, shadows and the environment that it’s in”. The result ends up being simple and neutral. One of our photographers once commented, “your watch photographs really well”. That is exactly my goal.
What’s the most popular product in your collection?
The Oslo timepiece. The reason is that it’s our latest and most refined design in terms of quality and appeal. We’ve had eight watch designs prior which I consider ‘eight steps of refinement’. In each iteration we would improve something new — whether it’s the leather strap, the case shape or the mechanics of the piece.
Tell us about the design of the Oslo timepiece.
For the dial, we were inspired by the simple and functional look of industrial gauges. The case shape is a bit contoured as it sits on the wrist, taking inspiration from the perfect ‘skipping rock’. The ‘perfect leather strap’ has been a challenge for us to source until now. We found an Italian vegetable tanned leather that is sturdy and ages well. The overall line comes in three colours: silver, black and rose gold. We found that these three colours look the best in brushed 316L grade steel.
What’s next for HODINA?
Our plans are to level up the quality of existing and new products. We want to introduce new product categories that speak the character of our brand — less but better — and complement our current line. We’re currently working with a US-based leather studio to reproduce our existing cardholder with a new, locally-made approach. The leather is sourced locally, and the final wallet is being stitched by hand. We’re hoping to release it early this year.