AEGAON has released 4 watch models during our ten years of business. The most significant one of them is the “Tabula Rasa” – in all its color, strap and size variations. Instead of setting the 2015 design aside, we’ve actually increased its production every year. It has truly become a timeless hit and here’s our analysis on why that is along with the untold backstory.
“TABULA RASA” - the watch that could have ended AEGAON already in 2015.
As AEGAON designer Janno Roodi has continuously mentioned in his past interviews:,, If I had the chance to go back in time, I would never have gotten into watchmaking”. There’s no good without the bad and it’s time to shed some light on his notorious sentence.
We had our share of obstacles to overcome with our first design, the “Peacemaker 65”. “Tabula Rasa” was our second design in line – minimal, rough, classic, simple yet awesome. For us, it started out as a clean slate after the first design, which inspired the Latin name, already estonished by our world-famous composer and a musical genius, Mr. Arvo Pärt. So the name fell to its place quite naturally. Unfortunately, nothing of the kind can be said about the watch itself coming together.
The pre-orders oversold during one weekend when no one was paying attention. Components manufactured in Estonia didn’t want to fit together. Components ordered from outside were delayed and as if this wasn’t enough already, we’d purchased completely wrong equipment for stainless steel coating from Italy which did nothing of the sort we were promised it would.
Days and nights we spent like alchemists in some sort of a shady “Breaking Bad” lab, trying to make chemicals and currents to give us the desired result, to no avail. We worked 72h shifts sleeping on the workshop floor. Even on Christmas eve, we could only afford a few hours at the dinner table. Customers were waiting, some less patiently than others, receiving one excuse after another on why their order won’t make it in time as promised.
Needless to say, some disappointed people wanted a refund. But there were also enough of those who decided to encourage instead – they are definitely the ones to thank for the fact that we finally came through. Nevertheless, the whole experience was nothing great to look back on and still brings the taste of blood in our mouth when we think back on it. So, in a nutshell, that’s the story behind Janno’s infamous quote.
There’s always a better way and mistakes are to be taken as lessons.
It is common in the watch and fashion industry to release at least one new design annually. For us, that kind of productivity was in no way an option. Instead, we emphasized the design to be resistant to time and trends. It was a total success, taking the fact that we still sell a design from 2015 more and more each year.
“Tabula Rasa” is a design we have improved and perfected with each series. Merely looking upon it, no one but ourselves can tell the difference. That’s because most of the improvements are of a technical kind. After all, we were competing with watch brands that had hundreds of years of experience and trust. As a new and unknown name from “nowhere”, we had to make our quality outstanding aside from the distinguishable design.
For the past couple of years, “Tabula Rasa” has been as great as it ever will be. It could easily stand next to Swiss production as far as quality is concerned – scratch-resistant sapphire optics, 10 ATM water resistance, and a dive-watch crown. You could hardly find another design watch at the price range of 300€, that could withstand even a deep-sea dive. Maybe we did go a bit too far with it, but we’re still proud to have achieved that kind of level.
More than just a watch or accessory.
We figured it out pretty much in the early stage, that a watch as a symbol of status has lost its significance. At least for most people and definitely people who chose to wear AEGAON. In a way, the “Tabula Rasa” has been a seven-year-long social experiment.
Let’s look at the variety of people who wear it – ladies and gentlemen, young and old, suits, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, salesmen, top executives, sportsmen, clerks, farmers, soldiers, etc – what could possibly be their common nominator?
“Tabula Rasa” is not in any way a luxury watch as we haven’t even got to making a luxury watch yet. In fact, there is nothing luxurious about it and every experienced designer would say that the whole design is imperfect. The way we see it – it is the imperfection that draws people, as it reflects their true nature and values, that have absolutely nothing to do with luxury lifestyle. Why wear a cheap copy of a luxury watch, that has nothing luxury about it? It would have fake written all over it and as obvious as the day is wide. The “Tabula Rasa” on the contrary is honest and real in all its imperfect beauty which harmonizes with one’s true self.
So you see now how the “Tabula Rasa” has been simultaneously AEGAON’s greatest challenge and progressor. For the people, it has become a significant and dignified gift for all sorts of occasions. May they be receptions, farewells, tributes, beginning of new life or life joint. The watch has totally started to live its own life by bearing meanings and connecting people. We are just grateful and glad to be a part of it.