Peter Henlein, a German locksmith and clockmaker from the city of Nurenberg is credited as the inventor of the world’s first watch. He lived in between the years of 1485 -1542. According to historians, prior to his invention an instrument called a sundial was used to tell time.
Egyptians are believed to have used this simple instrument from as early 1500 BC. Watches have over the years become very important tools that are used to tell time and help in running day to day activities in an organized manner. They have even evolved into becoming a symbol of fashion and stature. They are many types of watches today among others, wrist, pocket and wall watches.
A wrist watch is one of the most interesting technological time pieces ever to be made. In fact wrist watches seem to have taken precedence over other types of watches as they have become more popular. They are not only used as time tools, but a symbol of status, fashion and even pride. Popular international brands range from Rolex, Hublot and Casio among others.
Locally, Mpho Gaopelo who is a Francistown based young entrepreneur has started his own watch brand “Mpho” which is already gaining recognition locally and abroad. Gaopelo is a registered nurse who works for Tati River Private clinic.
In an interview with The Telegraph last week the 34 year old down to earth entrepreneur who hails from Bobonong said designing watches has always been his dream at a tender age.
“I am a trained nurse but my other passion is the art of designing watches. I am fascinated by these inventions particularly the wrist watches. I have always dreamt of becoming a watch designer. I am a self taught jewellery designer and I have been in this trade for four years,” he said as he produced some of his self branded watches.
Gaopelo owns a jewellery stall adjacent to the busy and popular Galo Mall in Francistown where he sells necklaces, leather belts as well as ear rings. He revealed that he has a contract with a Japanese company (Skime Trading Company) in Tokyo where the watches are manufactured. Gaopelo is of the view that jewellery business has the potential to transform Botswana’s economic fortunes as the country has a number of minerals such as copper, diamonds and even gold.
“What I do is I send my designs to this Japanese company where the watches are manufactured. Our country exports a number of raw materials abroad. It is high time that we process our raw materials into finished products. My plea is for the government to assist upcoming jewellery designers in that regard,” he said.
“My other plea is for the government to make it easy for local jewellery designers to source raw materials locally as I get mine from abrod. We have everything from minerals, cattle leather and other resources. My dream is to have a manufacturing plant in the country which is also going to help create jobs,” he added.
Gaopelo has already sold 1000 units of his products to the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom (UK) where he claims the demand is very high. He markets his products mostly through the internet. His watches are made of stainless steel coated with brass, silver and gold. He said that he will soon open a jewellery shop in Francistown and Gaborone.
“My watch designs are inspired by big watch brands such as Rolex, Philip Patek, Casio, Apple and Hublot,” he said.