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“To develop Grit, work less, focus more. Talk less, listen more” With G.D. Yildirim and Phil Laboon

Work less focus more. Talk less, listen more and listen to understand. Chose fewer activities to focus on, and constantly educate yourself. Knowledge is the power. I had the pleasure of interviewing G.D. Yildirim. Yildirim is the founder and Designer of Hauttman Watches. Hauttman timepieces known for its robust construction and by it’s quickly sold […]


Work less focus more. Talk less, listen more and listen to understand. Chose fewer activities to focus on, and constantly educate yourself. Knowledge is the power.

I had the pleasure of interviewing G.D. Yildirim. Yildirim is the founder and Designer of Hauttman Watches. Hauttman timepieces known for its robust construction and by it’s quickly sold out Deep Discovery design series in 2017. The company has attained a large number of customers by a fast increase of pre-order campaigns long waiting list. Hauttman LTD. Is based in UK. Yildirim has a successful track record of leading design departments in architecture working across multiple professions categories and demonstrating success in emerging and established markets. He has lived and worked in Europe, Gulf and the Middle East. Has significant skills and knowledge of Horology Design and an expert of technological tools.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path?

Thank you, it is a little cliché to say that but, my interest in to horology started when I was a child. I was eleven or twelve I found my grandfather’s precious watches at home and begin to dismantle. My mother was really disappointed about that. My intention was to fix the dial. My child hands couldn’t do any good but destroyed the precious timepiece. Since then my interest grow bigger.

My education and work history makes me an architect but one day I took a radical decision to I quit my fulltime job and begin to work for my true passion. So it’s my constant curiosity in to micro mechanisms and mechanical watches which lead me here.

Being involved in vide range of design facilities “environmental and product design” helped me to better understand that design is a language. Once you begin talking this language combine with self-thought experience accelerates the evolution period. Understanding the key point s with a great respect and anxiety gave me the opportunity to share my passion with millions since 2013.

Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

Just before graduation someone from my network recommended me to an architecture company in Bahrain. I was just 24, very happy and proud to see company owners are interested with my work. My adventure to gulf begin with that.

It was not easy to define ideal partner or team for me in that years. So I took some wrong decisions which put me in complicated situations. One day I was in a luxury lounge with a sheikh discussing business, the next day I was alone, detained by the traffic police without knowing why, at the local police station. The other day I was visiting a princes to decorate her new house. I was swimming in the ocean of strange waves, one after another. All of a sudden we found ourselves in the middle of civil uprising in Bahrain. Years later I saw the movie “Hologram for the King” took me back to those years. Similarity of story was shocking Tom Hanks was in my place, only missing the Arab spring part. I witnessed a little more tragedy.

During that period I didn’t want to share my struggles with my family. It was really hard to explain trough phone conversation though. We decided to leave Bahrain with my friend took a plane to Dubai without knowing the next destination.

We finished all cash we had while searching for a new job in Dubai. 20 dirham in my pocket was not enough till the next day. I was walking to take some fresh air around the Burj-Khalifa and trying to think. When I was just about to call my family tell all the story and return home, I recognize a familiar face beside me. This was a good friend from Bahrain he was taking pictures with his camera at the Burj-Park. I was absolutely shocked. He offered help to us, invited to stay over. In some days we received response to our job applications. Then I went to work in a company at Qatar and my friends stayed at Dubai.

It is a funny story but unfortunately I couldn’t laugh at that time. It was courage, resilience and my limitless optimism which brought me to Dubai and my confidence to my skills and creativity directed me to my new job in Qatar with a little bit of luck. I felt great appreciation not being alone that time and to have such dependable friends.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Being a young architect in Middle East was not easy for me. Most of the time I spent my energy to educate customers. They train you in school to provide more than what is asked for, which can be great. Most of the time, your boss is asking for exactly what they expect to see and they are asking for exactly what they want. But hold on you didn’t deal with the true challenge yet until you meet those who doesn’t know what they want. Language was one barrier that I was trying to overcome with English. Along with business challenges being have to adopt cultural differences made my patience ware off. In the end I saw that I was not the right fit for that market and my energy ran out to catch up with social and cultural differences.

I always had this personal watch-design projects a side. I was spending all my free time designing watches in computer and it was a great feeling to put my first watch sample on my wrist. I could simply look for an easy path to another direction and give up on my dreams, keep looking for a full time job somewhere else. But my passion prevent me from changing my plan. Even the idea of giving up on my dream seem more painful than all the expected struggles on this path.

May be I was wrong but I was ready to try and fail about my dream. There is a famous saying from M.K. Ataturk to the youth “You will find the strength you need in your noble blood.” The question is do you have that strength within yourself or not?

You probably heard about this frog and boiling water experiment. I consider my previous position as that frog in the boiling water. With the courage my friends and dear wife gave me I made a business plan, quit my full time job and jumped out of the cooking pot. Without the Grit I couldn’t take a career turn and start over zero again.

So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?

It has been an exciting five years for Hauttman my new-found grittiness alone was not enough to win. As a designer and Entrepreneur I’ve dedicated my time implementing solutions to overcome “business challenges with my team. Through these efforts, we have paved the way for Hauttman’s future growth with passion.

With the effects of developing technology and accessibility, new watch brands are emerging to the market or wither away and die every year. Design makes the difference according our researches in watch industry. Since Hauttman started sales activities we feel that trough the immense support of watch enthusiast community with almost 20.000 members. Thanks to all these valuable members of Hauttman family. 
 First Edition of Deep Discovery Collection’s sales finished in a short period in the earlier year by fast increase of pre-order campaigns long waiting list. Deep Discovery series of Hauttman always comes with Limited Edition quantity. Therefore this announcement will always be delivered to Hauttman community and Facebook group users prior. Last month we were very busy with the new Hauttman chronograph series launch. Now we are just in the final days of the campaign of our new collection which dedicated to represent our (digital-first) brand mission and deliver the privilege experience.

At Hauttman we want to represent sincerity to our friends and connections. We want to become more than a high class product manufacturer. Our brand will not only be distinguished by its iconic design identity and multi-dimensional curves but also with its innovations and friend community activities network.

This year it’s a new chapter for our business and for our relationship with customers. We’ve been planning and working behind the scenes to create a new powerful team that better reflects our vision, value and ultimately the service we provide. It’s something everyone in Hauttman is very excited about.

So, how are things going today? 🙂

This year Hauttman reincorporated in London, with Demir Aykanat and his team joining the brand. Several departments restructured to meet the operational needs of the company. The changes have already great effects on our productivity.

There is always a better way and this formed the foundation of our moves towards new plans new goals every day. As a business, we have launched this changes as part of our commitment to finding better ways of bringing Hauttman watches out.

Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit?

It’s hard to answer, everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses. Fear was part of life all the time but I knew it won’t lead me anywhere to nourish my fears.

I knew I shouldn’t bother my mind with discouragement when I start to take these challenges. The biggest decision I took before I begin was this “put the idea of fear weakness or inabilities behind”

Off course I couldn’t do any of thatJ. Perseverance is the steadfast pursuit of your life mission in spite of obstacles. I had sleepless nights over and over again because of technical or financial challenges. Meanwhile I still knew that my biggest challenge was with distraction and I had to learn to protect it.

Time was against me, despite negative effects of stress to my motivation I had to be able to catch up with my program as fast as possible. Every time I lost my focus in to stressing complot theories I forced myself to focus on another topic “which I had less complot theories about”J. That way I could be more focused and productive.

Off course time is the cure. In several months by beating challenges one by one my confidence killed all that disabling stress and my confidence was a lot higher.

1. Work less focus more. Talk less, listen more and listen to understand. Chose fewer activities to focus on, and constantly educate yourself. Knowledge is the power.

2. Learn to say no, people sometimes may seem like supporting you but prevent you from making progress. Honor boundaries and expect your boundaries to be honored, too.

3. Showing up is not enough, you need stamina to hang in there to win. Work on your weaknesses. Treat power and endurance like a muscle, you can always gain more strength by training. Practice the art of patience every day.

4. Be optimistic, be positive, be the kind of person that you want to meet. Never let a toxic person change your inner goodness.

5. If you don’t believe in yourself do the necessary work to be convinced. You are your first customer. Promise yourself and keep your word.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?

It was not easy to define ideal partner or team for me when I’m just a new grad. I came to Middle East and because of my skills I received job offers from many companies. I was naive and inexperienced though. Everything was so nice until the civil uprising in Bahrain. When Arab Spring begin, in the most difficult time I met another architect. His name was Emile Al-Kareh from Lebanon and a true friend who helped me to come out from big trouble. Actually that time we both helped each other. Very moment we met we started to work straight ahead. We achieve to sign a contract of a small sky bar project in Manama Bahrain which I can’t forget.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

It doesn’t matter which corner of the world we are living anymore.

The internet is shrinking the world, by making information more accessible. Makes us see the events in real time, provides information in the speed of sound, which is good. There are many online organizations receiving donations to help the victims. It’s good to know there’s still goodness left in this world. But It seems like there been more pain than happiness lately.

With the awareness that someday we will leave this world. With my team we bring goodness to this planet by encouraging people of all regions, religions and races to recognize our shared humanity. Being a Millennial thought designer I’m using every opportunity helping our evolution, nobody has time for resentment and envy.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We will be busy with the demonstration of two special designs during the coming months,

We are working on a rare and exotic caliber in Neuchâtel. Hauttman Family welcomes its first in-house caliber for squelette compressor with self-winding movement. The new in-house squelette compressor represents masculine personality of the Hauttman in the skeletonized details of compressor caliber. We are really excited for this see through sapphire dial. The recognizable characteristics of the Deep Discovery collection preserved in super light forged carbon case with the Hauttman’s signature curve which is another exciting detail for us.

We have been able to grow and innovate in a way which is pretty powerful for a brand like ours. Searching for new futures to add our time pieces fuels us. To develop for the future that is going to continue, our network has new expectations from a fine mechanical watch. Empowered by developing technologies, working to meet that expectation gives me the energy.

What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?

I consider my previous position killed my creativity with the superfluous activities. Cornered me as that frog in the boiling water experiment. It shouldn’t have to feel that way. That’s not how you create successful company. We don’t allow employees being perfectly human at the office. Being perfectly human means accepting human imperfections. So I believe once the employee with the commitment to his/her work is found, employers can’t be perfectionists. We have to remember that we are human.

As employers we have to give up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming ourselves in front of our team. Knowing your imperfections and looking for the right skill to complete your company is the best way to create a successful team.

As a boss I want to bring motivation to my employees and be the best team player I can. I’ve always believed in collaboration as long as it doesn’t have a negative impact on team spirit.

Know your weaknesses and find a partner with skills you don’t have. It never feels bad and is rewarding.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I had a chance to start a movement it would be energy related to enlighten people to see the future of energy sources.

As you know today Solar panels can be used to generate a portion of your home’s power only in order to reduce your dependency on traditional power sources. You can install panels to provide electricity just for appliances or lighting, to reduce your dependency on the utility company which will lower your bill. World is depriving for an energy shortage, this is the real problem. The only thing we need for development is the energy.

For example there is an organization called ITER. Which is an intergovernmental organization, established in 2006. The purpose of the ITER Organization is to provide cooperation to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful purposes. Developing a machine “tokamak” to generate huge amount of energy from low input. This is an answer to the deprivation of the energy today. I am in misery to see that, not many are interested with this phenomenon.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

To be honest as a kid I’ve always been quite slow at doing things. I remember myself getting deeper and deeper on the subject without getting bored. You take attention of your parents when all the other kids are faster than you. In the faculty of architecture METU I benefit these slow habits during industrial design lessons. I was always interested in to getting deeper in philosophy of design along with technology, which became a huge plus for me by the time. In my first grade at the college I had the opportunity to help and most of the time finalize the deliveries of the 4th grade industrial design students.

At my first job as an architect I used to team up with colleagues who took all week to do which took me 2 hours to complete. Before my graduation I submitted a design for Mercedes-SLRO that is prized with scholarship in Stuttgart. During these times I received a job offer from a Construction company in Bahrain and decided to move there eventually. I am 34 now and still considered young amongst my peers. Things improve with experience.

New York is 3 hours further from California but it doesn’t make California Late. Some of us graduate collage at 22 and can’t find a good job opportunity for years. Some become CEO at their 25 die unexpectedly at 50. Some become a CEO at 50 and live till 90 years old. Obama was 55 years old when he leave office. Trump was elected president when he is 70. Everyone lives their own time perception in the planet. People around you may seem one step ahead. You should only compete with one person: yourself. You are neither late nor early. Wait for the right time to take action.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

They can follow us on Instagram @hauttman_watches

We can also be found in Facebook and Linked as @hauttman

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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