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news from Kobold and a short film


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Michael Kobold

Member since: Jun. 03, 2013
Dear Friends,

In the fall of 2002, we launched the first Kobold with a Soarway case. It was the beginning of a new era.

The Soarway case was the result of more than two years of R&D, working closely with master watchmaker Gerd-Ruediger Lang and Kobold ambassador-in-chief Ranulph Fiennes. Since then, the Soarway case has become the mainstay of the Kobold line of watches and it is thus only fitting that our first short film is dedicated to this ingenious case and the men who designed it.

Watch Embrace Adventure - The Soarway Case by clicking on this link: https://vimeo.com/171203897

Like 2002, this year marks the beginning of another new era for Kobold. Kobold now produces all of its watch cases in-house - after three years of struggle. We’re very proud of this fact, especially because we stuck with the decision and forged ahead, even when facing defeat. Another example of Kobold living by its creed - Embrace Adventure.

Looking back, I am glad I decided to make the transition from outsourcing our watch cases to producing them in-house. It was a bet-the-company decision. First, we had to invest in a new headquarters, then relocate the entire company, before we could begin to acquire the machines and the know-how how to produce our own cases. This was far more expensive and time-consuming than we had budgeted. Finally, we had to catch up with several hundred new orders and service watches.

Today, our efforts are finally beginning to pay off: Kobold is the only U.S.-based watch company that fabricates watch cases in-house -the first in over 50 years to do so- and as a result we are now in a position to provide better quality watches than ever before in our 18-year history.

One factor that contributed to the difficulties we experienced was the fact that Nepal was rocked by two massive earthquakes in 2015. As many of you know, Kobold began assembling the Himalaya, Lynx and Transglobe models in Nepal in 2012 (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-17523049).

Three weeks before the first earthquake hit Nepal, I founded the Soarway Foundation (soarway.org) with the explicit goal to help Nepal in case of an earthquake. Today, Soarway is run by Ambassador Scott H. DeLisi, the retired three-time U.S. ambassador to Nepal, Eritrea and Uganda.

I took a leave of absence from Kobold to focus on the reconstruction efforts in Nepal and the work we have done in that beautiful country has made a difference in the lives of countless people. It is only because of Kobold that I was able to participate in this important project. An upcoming documentary film detailing some of this work will be aired on PBS later this year.

Following the earthquakes, we stopped making watches in Nepal and today we focus on making straps, watch pouches and other accessories in our workshop. Later this year, we will re-introduce the popular Kobold canvas straps, which are now also made in Nepal. We have partnered with Maiti Nepal and CNN Hero of the Year Anuradha Koirala to train and hire 60 women who have been saved from trafficking by Maiti Nepal (you can learn more about Maiti Nepal on soarway.org).

My absence from Kobold, however, contributed to the challenges we faced back at Merry Oaks Farm. After a management reshuffle, things got back on track, but not before a number customer service-related problems had developed. I am proud of the new management team, especially of our C.O.O., Jessica Kocisack, for taking the necessary steps to correct these problems. After all, we could not do any of the work we do here -or, indeed, in Nepal- without the support of our customers.

We are committed to winning back the hearts of those customers who got caught in the middle of the transition process, and it is my personal goal to rebuild those relationships and to restore their confidence in the Kobold brand.

For nearly two decades, Kobold has enjoyed an excellent reputation -built on quality watches, personal and responsive customer service, as well as unrivaled design- and we look forward to using the same recipe for success in the future, now that the difficult transition period is behind us.

It is only because we could rely on your support that we were able to accomplish this historic achievement and I want to thank you very much for giving us the chance to prove what we can do when we put our minds to solving a problem.

Very kind regards,

Mike


Michael Kobold
Founder, Kobold Expedition Tools, LLC

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