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Ibarra Manila

Somehow I remember all the watches I’ve ever had, like we were kindred at one point. I remember my first real pay check and buying my first real watch. I remember sitting in a dark theater with this boy and feeling like it was meant to be, because we had the same backlighting in our timepieces. I remember when my Mom gave me her vintage gold watch. The first time my husband gave me a watch while we were dating. The second time, after our daughter was born. And that one time, I was wearing a rather flashy gold watch and clumsily flushed it down the toilet of an airplane. Listen, those things can really suck.
A watch is my daily necessity, and I’ve had my eye on Ibarra Manila since its launch late last year. I am thrilled that there’s finally a local brand that I can wear everyday, no matter the time or place.

Named after the main character in Jose Rizal’s seminal Noli me Tangere (Latin for Touch me not), the brand is patriotic, paying tribute to legendary Filipino gentlemen both fictional and real. Its first watch is named after Rizal himself–the national hero who was an elegant polymath.

The Rizal watch comes in two diameters, and in gold, rose gold, or silver plating. The calfskin leather strap comes in brown or black. The watch has Swiss quartz movement and a scratch-proof Sapphire crystal window. All the essentials of a proper watch.

Ibarra’s young founder is Nico Moreno, originally a physicist turned entrepreneur. At the launch of the brand, he said the aim was to show the world that the Filipino “could compete at a language everyone speaks.” Rizal would have been proud.

The watches are water resistant. You can wear them while white water rafting, swimming, fishing. Although I may not be wearing my Rizal in the water, I will be wearing it every other time.

This is one watch I’m never flushing down an airplane toilet. Not in a million years.

Ibarra Manila’s new limited line, the Plaridel, is now available for pre-order here.

* All photos by Ina Amor Mejia.

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