Marwan Eka Fadilah, the man behind Groot Watch, makes watches from cow and buffalo bone waste. He believes that bone craftsmanship will be a game changer in the watch industry, particularly as it offers a new eco-friendly approach that unearths the exceptional merit of animal waste.
Photo by Elok Studio
Groot Watch was founded in 2015, after Marwan noticed how wooden wooden strap watches were on the rise. Inspired by the idea but taking a different path, Marwan opted for bones to offer a sui generis spirit.
Groot, short for Global Root, is inspired by Indonesian tribes. They have four different series: Groot Asmat, Groot Dayak, Groot Baduy and Groot Madura. Groot Asmat is a Papuan-inspired timepieces wrapped in white-themed case and strap, depicting the pristine nature and culture of the local ethnic group Asmat that inhabits Papua’s southwestern coast. Groot Dayak is a golden brown-themed collection that reflects the invincible Dayak, an indigenous tribe in Borneo. The elegant black series Groot Baduy is specially crafted from buffalo horns as a nod to the Baduy who have successfully preserved their culture from external influences. Taking a different take on strap designs, Groot Madura series uses buffalo horns for its case and cow leather for its straps.
“We build and develop this product with a dream to gain global recognition for the cultural values of Indonesia that are embedded in each of our watches,” Marwan and his four-member team say.
Groot Watch focuses on the Indonesian market, but is expanding to the international market that has more interest in eco-friendly materials and quality. The main concerns are on product warrantees, returns, and the logistics. One of the challenges that Groot Watch faces is finding the materials. “I source the bones from noodle sellers and traditional market sellers in Bandung,” Marwan explains, noting that even though there is an abundant supply of cow bones, finding ideal ones needs effort. The selected bones are then handed to bone artisans for the handmade production process.
One of the key factors in crafting a great bone-based timepiece is the strap; it should be flexible enough to provide comfort for the watch wearers. As well, the dial and the movement need to be precise.“We do not compromise imprecision just because the watches are assembled by hand,” Marwan says. “Groot Watch products function just as well as mass produced ones do, from our watch system to placement accuracy.”
However, the main difficulty lies with the consumer. “The biggest challenge in using bone materials is in transforming people’s mind set,” Marwan says. “Raising awareness on the use of cow waste as a lifestyle product is difficult.”