San Diego Business Journal

Carlsbad Duo Takes Watch Line to Market

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Local residents Todd Jacobs and Robert O’Donnell are launching a range of large, high-end watches under the Carlsbad company brand SISU Concepts Inc.

Four years of planning have led the duo to sell their timepieces, priced from $695 to $1,995 apiece, on the company website sisumovement.com and just recently through Watchismo.

Debuting about 1,300 individual pieces with no more than 150 of any one style, the watches are larger than most, some as large as 55 millimeters in diameter and weighing up to a full pound.

Jacobs is a competitive runner and triathlete who says he wasn’t inspired by the sports aspect as much as he was driven by the artistic challenge of creating something really big and tough yet elegant. Having a design background in apparel and footwear, Jacobs partnered with designer Andre Desalis of Switzerland to create distinctive watches patterned after military tools and implements, midcentury cameras and nautical themes.

“I provided the inspiration in scripted narrative and imagery and Andre put pencil to paper and created our look,” Jacobs said. “We didn’t try to make a watch everybody liked, but tried to make the watch the right guy loved.”

SISU, named after a Finnish term for perseverance and courage under duress, is a four-employee company that has attracted several private investors including one of the owners of the Brooklyn Nets NBA team, Artie Raven.

— Julie Gallant