Watch out for Ttanti!

In Kunza, an extinct language native to the Atacama Desert region of Northern Chile, “ttanti” means “seed”. The ancient word is now also synonymous with an environmentally-friendly, culturally-conscious line of watches being pioneered by two young Chilean entrepreneurs.

As Ttanti’s manifesto states: “Nothing is forever; only memories.” The Ttanti brand is built on the belief that the connection between man and nature inspires emotions that are the foundation to our life stories and memories. This belief has inspired the Ttanti duo to produce a line of watches that combines nature, ethics, and practicality. Fusing leather from the Chilean north with wood from the Patagonian south, and employing local artisans to produce the watches, Ttanti has created a product that embodies Chilean culture, resources, and craftsmanship.

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The Team

Maximilian Klapp and Angel Andraca are two visionary Chilean twenty-somethings that met while studying Design and Innovation at Universidad Adolfo Ibañez in Santiago. Intrigued by their studies in 3D design and digital fabrication, they began to think about combining their expertise to create a consumer product. With deep family roots in Chile, Max and Angel had always had a deep respect for the vast diversity of environments and natural resources in their country, as well as for the wisdom imparted by Chile’s ancient cultures. They believed that by manifesting these values in a consumer product, they could develop a triple-bottom line business that sold not only an artesenal, sustainable commodity, but also a more holistic, conscious lifestyle.

So why watches? Why not. The duo admitted they knew next to nothing about the watch industry when they got started. As Angel told AndesBeat:

“We iterated on a bunch of products… and decided that watches were an interesting focus for us. At the beginning we didn’t have a clue about watches. We weren’t afraid of being called ignorant by people who had more industry knowledge than us. Actually, it was good – because if you’re an ‘open book’, you can learn a lot. Most of the time you can learn great things by asking the most basic questions.”

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The Ttanti journey

Ttanti was founded a mere eight months ago. Take a look at the company’s website; it’s hard not to admire how far the team has come in a few short months. Angel told AndesBeat that for the first two months, he and Max were fully invested in the design process; 100% of their time was dedicated to studying and producing prototypes. They immersed themselves in the dynamics of what made watches “tick”, developing an understanding of the key parts they would need and making contacts with national and international suppliers. They hired industrial and graphic designers, focused on developing the Ttanti brand, and after six months of hard work, dedication, and “learning by doing”, the first Ttanti watch was assembled.

With sales already rolling in Chile, Max and Angel are already looking ahead to the international market: “We have already received offers from Spain, Switzerland, and Germany to export our products. Our strategy going forward is to fortify these international alliances.”

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Unique production process

Ttanti watches combine Chilean artisanship and materials with Swiss functionality. The team imports all internal watch parts from Switzerland, and works with artisans from the north and south of Chilean to gather and treat the raw materials. In obtaining the wood for the watches, the Ttanti team carefully selects Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood from the Chilean Patagonia; the FSC seal certifies that the wood has been collected in an environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable way to the surrounding communities and ecosystems. Upon being collected, the wood is carefully treated and smoothed by local artisans, then sanded and assembled. As a final step, the watch parts are inserted into the wood, the leather strap is applied, and a Mapuche loom is affixed to the strap. Check out the production process below:

Editor’s Note

Max and Angel belong to a new generation of entrepreneurs who understand that for the Chilean startup scene to thrive, one need not look for inspiration to the Silicon Valley pioneers or even to the “Chilecon Valley” antecedents. Companies like Ttanti are redefining the entrepreneurial ecosystem by leveraging the resources, wisdom, and languages native to this area of the world, and producing homegrown products that pay homage to Chile’s past, present, and future. Watch out, AndesBeat readers: this is what the future of Chilean entrepreneurship looks like.