Filipino Time

By Lorraine LorenzoJune 11, 2017

Watch out for the next big thing in timepieces

Filipino time is synonymous with the unsavory traits of tardiness and unprofessionalism. But for Ibarra Manila, there is a new meaning of Filipino time, one that is a symbol of elegance, sophistication and Filipino craftsmanship.

“We want to change perceptions by introducing a product that embodies punctuality, and that is, a watch,” explained Nico Moreno, founder of Ibarra Manila, one of the few Filipino watchmakers.

His timing couldn’t be any more perfect. An Ibarra watch was worn by President Rodrigo Duterte during his trip to Russia. The President, who is a staunch supporter of Filipino craftsmanship, even proudly displayed the watch, making him an instant “endorser.”

“I just took a chance. We’ve already been in the watch business since 2015, so I thought it would be a good time to promote a good Filipino product to the President. So I sent a watch to the Office of the President last February. I really thought it wasn’t going to get any attention so I was surprised when people told me the President endorsed it in Russia and there was a video of him wearing it,” he said.

Moreno shared that he noticed the President’s penchant for watches when he saw him checking out timepieces during an Asian trip. A connoisseur of watches, Moreno recognized that like him, admiration for a good watch could also mean value of one’s time.

Chance of a lifetime

The timing couldn’t be any better – the President just declined a gold Rolex watch given to him as a gift. He then placed more attention to Ibarra watch by wearing it.

Duterte proved to be the perfect brand ambassador. Interest for Ibarra watches surged and it was just the right push to encourage local businesses like them to do more.

Ibarra Manila is one of the many local brands currently making waves in the market, giving rise to classic concepts and interests such as leather products, tailored outfits, and the like. Moreno is currently collaborating with members from The Spark Project, a local community of local businesses that help each other through donation-based and crowd-funding investment.

For Moreno, making Filipino watches is a big gamble, but believes it is a leap of faith worth taking.

“I want to bring back the heritage of watchmaking in the country. People may not know it, but the country has a history in watchmaking,”

said Moreno, who became fascinated with the intricate technology, movement and design of a watch when he started collecting them. As a Physicist, the technology and science behind horology (the study of time) became a passionate interest, which became one of the main reasons why he started Ibarra.

Ibarra, although mostly assembled and uses parts from abroad, is Filipino in spirit because of its design and technology. The products are named after Filipino heroes such as Rizal and Plaridel (the model given to the President). The brand is also noted for its after-sales service, ensuring that those who need assistance can expect hands-on treatment.

Timely dreams

Ibarra pays homage to people’s respect of time. He believes that a good timepiece promotes punctuality and better planning at home, work and life in general. Moreno has big plans for Ibarra, and dreams big that the country will once more make a mark in the exclusive community of quality watchmakers around the world.

“My dream is to grow the brand and the business. I don’t want to just create quality timepieces, but I want to produce trained technicians – grandmasters of watchmaking in the Philippines. One day, our craftsmen will be respected around the world!”

Moreno’s fervent words encourages Filipinos to buy and support local products. It’s really about time that we do.

To know more about Ibarra Manila, visit