Frank Geelen's MONOCHROME has become one of the largest watch online magazines in Europe and continues to grow. The online magazine like the individual is both intelligent and well informed.
1. Describe briefly your childhood?
My father was an accountant, and later team manager, and my mother was house wife and took care of us (and later the grandparents, the neighbors, etc.) and did a lot of voluntary work.
Growing up in a small town in the countryside meant growing up in an ideal picture. Lots of forests around the corner, with our huge climbing tree, creeks, spooky stories and the lot. And there was a dirt-bike race track, where we raced with our small bicycles and well… life in a small town in the 1970’s was pretty good. Hardly any traffic, we knew all our neighbors, or actually pretty much everyone in the neighborhood and all that was our playground.
2. As a child did you have any driving ambition
Policeman, fireman, doctor, soldier, and… well, all the usual suspects.
3. What is your first significant childhood memory?
Playing in a large sandbox at the crèche, and lots of water in the mix… good fun.
4. Have you ever had another profession? What did you do?
After studying Communication Science at University, I started at an IT firm (impossible to find a job in communications at that time), later switched to the Ministry of Transport where I became manager of the e-Services team that was responsible for all intranet en internet websites of the ministry (>220 websites). After a few years it was too much hardcore IT for me and I applied for a job as policy advisor, which I did for seven years, before quitting and doing MONOCHROME fulltime.
5. What made you decide to go in the direction you are currently in?
Once I found out about mechanical watches, there was no way back. It fascinated me and I read everything I could find on the web. Most watch magazines (except a few German magazines) did not do it for me, as the information was more marketing language and didn't explain what made the wrist worn devices to intriguing.
After some years of reading, later participating in forums, I noticed that it was difficult to find the quality information as both in forums as in the entire online world, there was a lot of ‘rubbish’. With MONOCHROME I wanted to start a place where you could find quality information about the nicest watches… and I guess that’s still what it’s meant to be.
6. What’s the worst job you’ve had to do?
Some of the summer jobs at farmers in the area where I grew up. But hey, I wanted to buy a moped, so I had to… and later for my electric guitar and amplifier, I had to work again. Not the nicest work, pretty hard work actually, often getting up at 4:30am in order to start at 5am, which is not my natural moment to wake up.
7. What’s been the hardest moment in your life so far, and how did you overcome it?
There have been a few, like with everyone, but a tough one for me was to actually quit my job (at the Ministry of Transport) in order to pursue my dream to run MONOCHROME full time. How did I overcome it? Work, work, work… and my wife who supported me!
8. Who has had the strongest influence on you?
Of course my parents have had a gigantic influence, but for the rest I honestly wouldn’t know if there’s one person that I can blame.
9. What are you most proud of?
Quitting my job, finding the best friends and teammates imaginable, and together making MONOCHROME to become the largest EU-based watch media (and one of the biggest worldwide).
10. What advice would you give to a 20 something thinking of taking a similar path as you?
Follow your heart, don’t be afraid, and always keep your eyes open in order to know the dangers and possibilities.
11. Name three things on your bucket list.
Learning French (or making all French speak English, but I think I’ll be more successful by learning French myself).
My son is now almost 4 years old, but some day I hope we can do some scuba diving together. To me that would be awesome and of course I hope he will love it as much as I do!
Designing our own house (together with my wife).
12.Where do you think the industry is going to be in 10 years time.
I don’t think it will have changed much in ten years from now. There will still be lots of people interested in a nice mechanical wristwatch, new and vintage, and there will be people collecting these lovely wrist-worn time-telling machines.
However, I’m sure that the retail side of things will have changed a lot, and that will have an influence on collections and even production, as there will be much more customization possibilities.
To learn more about Monochrome monochrome-watches.com