look like old cockpit gauges and crown guards made to resemble a hand grenade lever. He uses different metal and color combinations for the dials, and the watches are all packaged inside vintage-style, hand-finished cigar boxes. “It’s almost like a Lego shop,” he jokes about his Providence design studio where everything is assembled.
Kingsley now has five employees who help him fill custom orders and make the limited-edition watches he sells mainly through his website (kingsley1945.com), with current prices ranging
from $800 to $1,400. “The website is very user friendly,” he says. “It’s like eye candy, and people really resonate with that. So a lot of activity happens online. People sometimes go on my Instagram (@kingsley_1945) and start a conversation through there.”
When customers buy a Kingsley watch, they automatically become a Kingsley Club member, receiving first access to new products and sometimes special promotions. But it doesn’t even take that for Kingsley and his customers to form a strong bond. “The consumer for a Kingsley watch is a very passionate person who’s very inspired by creativity,” he says. “I have all sorts of customers who have met each other through the watches themselves.”
Rhode Island restaurant owner Dino Passaretta, who owns several Kingsleys, says, “It seems like when I wear a Kingsley watch, people are like, ‘Oh my God, what’s that?’ Ramon is a very quality-driven person. He’s very detailed with certain little aspects of the design.”
Kingsley customers range from police officers and lawyers to chefs and watch enthusiasts who also own Rolexes and other pricier timepieces. “When you see a Kingsley watch, it looks very different,” says Kingsley. “People tend to comment on it; it’s a way to start a conversation.”
“When you’re sitting with someone who’s never seen one or heard of it, their eyes go to it,” says wealth manager Anthony Marcello, an owner of several Kingsley watches who splits his time between Rhode Island and South Florida. “I love the way they look, and I get a lot of compliments wearing them. … And I like having unique stuff; I like to have a little something that
everyone doesn’t have.”
Passaretta has known Kingsley since before he started the company and owns some of his earliest watches. He states, “The way Kingsley represents the brand, I think, is very important. …
He makes you a Kingsley Club member. I know with local people [in Rhode Island], he would always have a Kingsley ceremony to get your Kingsley, maybe at one of my restaurants or somewhere else. Other members would be there with their watches on, and the new member was becoming part of something.”
Those Kingsley Club members also help influence the new watches Kingsley creates. “I’m very consumer centric,” he says. “I might get overwhelming responses from members saying, ‘We love that compass face; can you do it in green?’ So I take a lot of that feedback and it really narrows the passage of what products we want to release.”
“Ramon does a really good job with the whole aspect of exclusivity and customization,” adds Marcello. “Once someone buys one Kingsley, it always seems like they end up with a second
or third. I’ve turned a lot of people on to him.” For Kingsley, that devoted clientele is exactly what he wants for his company, and he likes the intimacy of the whole customer experience: “This is a product of passion. I didn’t get into this aspiring to start a brand and become rich and sell it. I still to this day am the full owner of company. I keep it very boutique.”
Beth Luberecki is a Nokomis, Florida–based freelance writer and a frequent contributor to TOTI Media. Learn more about her work at bethluberecki.com.