Mr. Fleming grew up in Alexandria, Virginia, and was the first watch collector in his family. (His father is a partner at a venture capital firm; his mother is a retired accountant; and he has two younger brothers.) Initially, his own options were fairly limited: When he became interested in watches, he Bought a steel watch. Victorinox and Orient dive watches, and in 2015 he received the Omega Speedmaster he wanted as a high school graduation gift.
But while he was studying at Stanford University, he started collecting watches—he now owns about 75 of them—from brands ranging from Casio to Patek Philippe. He also immersed himself in watch websites and forums, and started an Instagram account to post photos of his favorite watches. Through the app, he gradually began meeting other collectors, such as watch photographer James Kong, who became Fleming’s chief operating officer in January. The company’s other two full-time employees are chief financial officer Grace Rood, who is Mr. Fleming’s girlfriend; and brother John Fleming, who oversees various areas of the business.
During his senior year at university, Thomas Fleming began developing a line of natural soft drinks called Atmos, but even while working on the project, he thought it made sense to start a watch brand, partly inspired by The popularity of watch micro-brands in China. Last few years. He graduated in 2019 with a degree in management science and engineering and founded Fleming, which will sell directly through its website and associated social media accounts in 2020.
Watch industry experts say collectors still find smaller brands attractive. “There’s a lot of interest and demand for microbrands, whether they’re affordable or high-end,” said Mr. Brower of Fratello Watches, noting that microbrands allow collectors “to be more personal rather than just following the crowd and buying their own. watch”. The 10th Rolex or the 20th Breitling. “
Fleming, who now lives in Washington, D.C., said he initially did not plan to use his last name with the company. But when checking copyright clearances for potential names for the brand, which is wholly owned by Mr Fleming and invested by his family, his surname was available while several other options were not.
“My hope is that if we succeed, people won’t associate the name just with me, but with the brand as a whole,” he said. “They probably didn’t know there was a guy named Fleming behind it, which is great.”