Hoptroff No.9 (photo:hoptroff.com) Hoptroff No.9 (photo:hoptroff.com)

We continue with the last part of the interview with Richard Hoptroff  (you can find the first part here).

Johan Sehlstedt: - Do you have any Hoptroff anecdotes you'd like to share?

Richard Hoptroff: -Last year we live streamed our sports watch showing World Cup football results, live. I wrote the following at the time, but we haven't really used the material before. So if you quote it, you'll be the first:

During the Brazil World Cup we live-streamed the watch displaying the results of each match as it was played.

What people didn't see was the slapstick behind the scenes. When we started, we didn't have the prototype. We just had a watch movement and a paper dial. And for the first few days, we had to set the results direct from the iPhone. I had to stay in the office till 1am every night. And we started to discover that what can go wrong, will go wrong. I kept a list of all that went wrong, so we could avoid them in future:

- Knocking a beer can over on the camera table
- iPhone deciding to upgrade iOS just before the start of the match. (I had to push the hands round manually)
- Receiving a phone call, and the phone's vibration on the camera table blurring the video
- Wrong webcam selected, streaming the top of my forehead live
- The paper dial curling up under the lights, and jamming the hands

Hoptroff London Hotblack Sports (photo: hoptroff.com) Hoptroff London Hotblack Sports (photo: hoptroff.com)

- It was also getting tiring, but at least our Technical Director Mike was working on the sports data server. By the time the teams were playing their second matches, he had rigged it up so the sports data server sent the data to the watch. We hadn't found a sports data provider, so we still had to enter the data manually.

Hoptroff London Hotblack Sports (photo:hoptroff.com) Hoptroff London Hotblack Sports (photo:hoptroff.com)

But at least now we could do that from home or the local sports bar. And we had the real prototype by this time (though not the strap), so it looked much better in the video. But the list of mistakes went on:

- Trying to set the scores in bed, listening to the radio, and falling asleep
- Letting a waitress at the sports bar have a go. She manages to reset server somehow
- Country flag displayed upside down, having to rush back to the office to change it. (The same waitress at least gets the credit for noticing that)
- Mike and I both thinking it was our turn to enter in the scores from home. Goals increment two at a time

Finally, Mike got the sports data server hooked up to a real-time data feed, and we relaxed a bit, and enjoy the sport. But the comedy continued:

-Mike makes a "small change" to the code. The elapsed time dial seeks the start position clockwise, and crashes into the case
-Camera lighting falls over. Darkness
-Getting the countries the wrong way round and having the data come up on wrong dial
-Live streaming WiFi router deciding to reset itself

We ironed out most of the problems, and were able to sit back and enjoy the last few matches. I have to say it was a real pleasure just to look at the watch. Not to admire it, but simply to know the latest score.

4 Hoptroff No.8 (photo:hoptroff.com)

Johan Sehlstedt: - One of my favourites is the Diary Watch(no.8), but which is the most popular Hoptroff-model?

Richard Hoptroff: -Sorry, I can't reveal that. Knowing which watches are popular and why, is too commercially sensitive. I will tell you this much - the most popular ones are not the ones I expected.

Johan Sehlstedt: - What the most demanding task in being an independent watchmaker today?

Richard Hoptroff: -Managing to be creative and run a business at the same time.

Johan Sehlstedt: - What will happen with Hoptroff in 2015?

Richard Hoptroff: -I don't know much yet, but a few things are likely. This year is the 60th anniversary of the atomic clock. The Science Museum want to do something with us on that. And a leap second has been announced mid-year. Our watches will be the first ever to automatically correct for that, right on time. And, of course we want to finish the No.10 back dial, if there is time.

Many thanks to Mr Richard Hoptroff for taking part of this interview. You can follow Hoptroff on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (and you can of course follow my Instagram).

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