Jordy Cobelens, TW Steel CEO and co-founder, and self-confessed music and adventure nut, swept through South Africa recently, chiefly to go shark cave diving in Gansbaai, but he did find some time to talk watches too.

Jordy Cobelens, TW Steel CEO
Jordy Cobelens, TW Steel CEO

With a dark, large and stylish TW Steel Maverick on his wrist, Cobelens shared the thinking behind the current direction the watch brand is taking – and it’s a natural evolution for the Dutch-born, Swiss-made brand with a strong sense of heritage.

Growing up in Amsterdam, Cobelens loved two things: music and watches. So as a youngster he was either behind turntables or selling his father’s bespoke watch range to family and friends. Now he brings the two passions together as head of the company.

His father Ton is chief design officer alongside Cobelens who cuts an energetic, highly mobile and media savvy CEO. He has carved out a brash positioning for the family business with a signature oversized timepiece, a strong brand alliance with dance music and a sponsorship deal in Formula One with Sahara Force India.

As a new kid on the block TW Steel’s growth (more than 100 countries worldwide across about 5000 retail outlets) can be attributed in part to Cobelens’s social nature and massive ambition.

At 19 he opened his own record store. Three years later he started TW Steel with his father, signing some of the biggest celebrity names as brand ambassadors, among them Kelly Rowland and David Coulthard. Next was securing an F1 sponsorship deal.

Calling himself a natural “closer”, his other venture is Steel Entertainment Group, a talent agency for DJs who also flash TW Steel at events, an indirect marketing tool for the watch business.

As part of the vanguard of Millennial-generation captains of industry he seems to navigate social media with an effortless merge of work and play. He is unashamedly open to his fans across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

“I make an effort, I use different apps and edit them, I try to inspire, I’m not secretive — it’s usually personal and I make sure it represents my reality.”

In between posts of New York Fashion Week, the Monaco Grand Prix and beach vistas, there are also images of his baby niece during a grocery run.

TW Steel Maverick
TW Steel Maverick

The new TW Steel Maverick gives a modern twist to vintage style, but it’s look is still firmly rooted in the brand’s make-up.

For the launch of the timepiece, Corbelens and his father collaborated with Numbnut Motorcycles in Amsterdam to create a state of the art, custom built motorcycle, called The Son of Time. A once-off timepiece was also built to complement the motorcycle, but neither is ever likely to hit the open market, says Corbelens.

For him the most important part of the Maverick launch process has been the appreciation of great craftsmanship and good-looking design. The dial is simple, with an option in retro cream, and the vintage leather strap has heritage written all over it.

While TW Steel watches will never change their DNA and follow trends in different fashion directions, Corbelens believes that the current appreciation for a simpler life, and sensual pleasures like good coffee and a visit to the barber shop, are an important part of the modern lifestyle. He’s created the Maverick for that person, and we wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a TW Steel barber shop on the way too!

The Maverick collection comes in 38mm and 45mm cases and sports either a tactile vintage leather or Milanese steel bracelet.

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