Local Coronado Resident Designs “The Hawaiian” Watch - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Home And Business

Local Coronado Resident Designs “The Hawaiian” Watch

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Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 3:56 pm

“The Hawaiian” watch is big, bold and it makes a statement. Made of Hawaiian koa wood and designed by Coronado resident Nilo Jones, “the Hawaiian” is a unique creation with a story behind it. Koa wood comes from the Big Island of Hawaii and was used to make canoes, surfboards, weapons and musical instruments like the ukulele. Now the wood is in danger on disappearing and Jones, who is half Pacific Islander decided to use koa wood from fallen trees to make the watch. The triangular etching around the face is inspired by the Niho, a symbol which reminds of shark teeth. “A lot of warriors had that tattooed on their bodies as a symbol of power,” explained Jones. The Hawaiian is very light weight with quality Swiss movement and has a scratch proof crystal sapphire. The watch is made by SWAE (Snow, Water, Air, Earth). Jones is the company’s vice president and has two partners Braydon Moreno and Mike Krogh.

While researching the wood, Jones and his fiancee Veronica Roybal travelled to Hawaii and came up with a plan. For every watch that is sold a koa tree is planted on the northeast slope of Umikoa Forest where reforestation is taking place. The Umikoa forest is known as the bearded forest. The land was once owned by King Kamehameha who united the Hawaiian Islands. Through GPS coordinates and a serial number that pin point the location of the tree one can check on the tree and follow its growth. 

When Jones and Roybal went to the bearded forest and planted a tree they had an amazing experience. “It was a life changing experience, we want to spread the word about this most valued hardwood, want to help so future generations can enjoy it as well. There’s only 10 percent of koa left,” explained Jones. SWAE has partnered with Hawaiian Legacy, a hardwood company  that will maintain the trees and help their survival

“Our watch catches everyone’s eye. People stop  in a crowd and go up to him to ask about the watch,” said Roybal. That proved to be true. During this interview in a crowded coffee shop a number of people approached Jones to ask about the watch he was wearing. SWAE plans to release the watch in stores by the spring. Currently the Hawaiian is for sale at several retail stores in Puerto Rico and targets the action, sport, urban lifestyle shops.

In January, SWAE launched a launched campaign on the crowd funding website kickstarter.com for 60 days. The first 300 people who pledge $160 or more will receive “The Hawaiian.” Once the watch is for sale in stores it will retail for $299.99. SWAE used kickstarter.com for its previous project, a switch watch also designed by Jones now sold in stores.

The company SWAE was created by a chance encounter between Jones and Moreno at the Hotel del Coronado. Moreno approached Jones because the designer was wearing a t-shirt and hat with the Big Black logo. Jones was the head designer and director of operations for Big Black. Jones has also designed for Polo, Calvin Klein, Nautica, Rusty, DC shoes and Quicksilver among the many companies. Jones started designing at a young age. “My brother had a clothing company and he designed for Rusty. When I was in eighth grade Rusty bought my designs,” said Jones. “I started as a designer but learned more about the industry with sales and marketing.”  Jones plans to also release “The Hawaiian” for women.

“The Hawaiian” prototype was raffled off for a cause. Jones had a cousin who first survived breast cancer but later passed away from brain cancer, so he had the idea of contacting giveforward.com a crowd funding for people with illnesses. Jones was able to raise $1,000 for a child with a rare form of brain cancer who is now in remission. Jones envisions doing similar projects in the future for other worthy causes.

Jones’s goal is “to help out the state of Hawaii, help the earth by giving koa trees back plus people look stylish at the same time,” he said.

To make a pledge and learn more log on kickstarter.com the Hawaiian. The SWAE website is www.SWAESWATCHES.COM.

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