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High school student David Chen, who launched his watch business Dashchen last year, will exhibit at the Sydney fair
High school student David Chen, who launched his watch business Dashchen last year, will exhibit at the Sydney fair

High school student makes Sydney fair debut

This year’s International Jewellery Fair (IJF) line up includes a 17-year-old exhibitor who designs his own watches.

David Chen, who is still at high school in Sydney and is the youngest supplier to exhibit at the trade show, launched his watch business Dashchen in August 2016.

David Chen, Dashchen founder
David Chen, Dashchen founder
"I founded Dashchen because I felt that the current watches on the market did not really grab my attention and the ones that did were way out of my price range."
David Chen, Dashchen founder

“I founded Dashchen because I felt that the current watches on the market did not really grab my attention and the ones that did were way out of my price range,” Chen said.

“I am hoping that through the IJF I am able to acquire enough capital to begin the first round of production and expand my brand nationally and internationally,” he added.

Chen said his first design – the Carbon 1, a hexagon-shaped watch with a Swiss quartz movement, red carbon fibre dial and sapphire crystal glass – was the result of a “wild imagination”; however, its fruition was not a simple process.

“It took nearly four months of manufacturing to complete the first set of three samples,” Chen explained, noting he lacked a jewellery background and had to “learn everything from the start”.

“I did not like the look of them and wanted to go back to designing round watches but a part of me said to keep my idea as it was original and unique.”

Gap in the market

Commenting on why his watches would be a welcomed addition to the Australian market, Chen stated: “My watches are unique, unisex and will stand out with a reasonable price that will definitely attract consumers from all target markets. They are made with the highest quality and the unique characteristics of the watches will be an interesting selling point.”

Chen has designed three additional models that will be on display at the IJF and explained that new models were “under development” and to be released as a limited edition range in 2018.

The supplier told Jeweller he hoped to also expand the business through a crowdfunding campaign.

“I am aiming to launch on Kickstarter in mid-August with a $60,000 goal to raise enough money to begin the first orders and to provide me with enough reserve stock to last through Christmas,” Chen said.

Chen’s stand will be located in the Village, which is a new area on the IJF show floor developed to promote the contemporary designs of up-and-coming local and international suppliers.

The IJF will take place from 26 August to 28 August at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.

The Carbon 1
The Carbon 1

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