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.