About the Founder
The US Armed Forces Military Watches is an incredibly unique watch company based in Spotsylvania, Virginia. The company was founded by Mr. Stoney Darrell Evans, who began his journey to the watch industry in Japan, as a former diplomat in the US Embassy for six years. While in Tokyo, he met incredible military personnel, who greatly helped and inspired him to create a world of magnificent military wristwatches. Mr. Evans and his two sons are best known to produce waterproof military wristwatches of the best quality, suited for military men, collectors, and advocates globally. Mr. Evans is invited by Microbrand Watches Business to share his incredible story with other entrepreneurs.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
As they rightly say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. My journey to discovering my love for watches started from my appointment as a diplomat at the American Embassy in Tokyo. The first two years during my stay was incredible. I met a lot of people and I easily made friends with them. Some of the people I met believed my coming to Tokyo was a divine orchestration. I remember an incident in a Saki bar, where a guy named Mike from IBM told me “God sent me to Tokyo for a reason”. A year after that, an old lady at Yokota Air Base casually walked up to me and said the same thing. Her words shocked me and the familiarity of it made me stop in my track. When I turned to ask her questions, she was gone. This was pretty scary; I was so creeped out that I left the base almost immediately.
Indeed, everything around me fell in place. I was always in the right place, at the right time. My inability to speak Japanese fluently was not a hindrance to my relationship with the people. I was nice and polite to everyone, which in my opinion is a recognized international language, and I believe that made up for my lack of fluency in Japanese.
Over time, my friend Yasoda, an enthusiast of wristwatches, asked me if I was interested in military watches. At that time, I didn’t know so much about it but I was always optimistic about great opportunities. We delved into the idea of US Military Watches with the logos on the dial. We made a prototype, and it came out good. To confirm the quality of what we had made, I showed my friend, Patty, a manager at the Navy Annex Building and she was impressed. She showed the wristwatches to her boss and they wanted to know how much it would cost and how many they could get.
I was ecstatic! It was time to start a business. My excitement was however short-lived when my friend, Bow, who at that time was a procurement officer, informed me that I needed a patent trademark from the military to use their logo or he would steal the idea.
In the search of a solution, I shared my story with a friend from the Readiness Center at Yokohoma Base. Fortunately, she told me to call her uncle at the Pentagon and ask him about using the US Marine’s logo on the watches. She, however, failed to tell me he was a General at the Pentagon. If I had known, maybe I would have been better prepared.
I called his office to ask for an officer Hall (I have forgotten his name, so we will name him Mr. Hall). The caller on the other end was a bit confused, as they were no officer with that name but a General. Whoa! A general! I was dumbfounded because the generals in the Pentagon building were popular for their strict and no-nonsense behavior.
Immediately the general came to the phone, he wanted to know why I was calling him, and how I got his number. I was so nervous to the extent I felt that calling the general was a mistake. He went ahead to ask me a load of information and ordered me to repeat it back to him. I mixed some of it and did not get it right. He goes on to tell me that in the military, a soldier is only told once to carry out a mission but since I was a civilian, I had another chance. With rapt attention this time, I wrote down everything he said on my kitchen countertop and repeated them to him. He laughed and said I did ok for a civilian, but he was not making any promises on the Permission letter. At that point, I pledged not to call a high-ranking officer again.
After waiting for two months, I got permission to use the US Marine’s logo on the watches. I was ecstatic and I shared the great news with my friends. However, I only had one letter at that moment and needed more from the other military branches. Fortunately, my friend Daniel Smith, who worked with Stars & Stripes military magazine assured me that he would send a letter to the other military branches for permission. I later got permission from the other branches to use the logo. It was indeed a great win.
The journey to starting my own business was not yet finalized, as I needed a patent trademark. I contacted an international lawyer who wanted to bill me the sum of $10,000 to do the filing work. I couldn’t afford that amount right away, so I decided to save up for it.
After six years in Tokyo, it was time to go back to America. I got an offer to be an inspector at an environmental technology company. As fortune will have it, my first assignment was at the US Patent Trademark Office in Arlington Virginia! It was there I was informed that to patent a trademark would only cost $375.00. That lawyer was trying to rob me!
I decided to start the process myself, it however took me about 3 years to complete the registration but I succeeded. At this stage, I had everything I needed to start my own company and without any form of restriction, I and my team designed various elegant wristwatches. The first set of watches made for sale was the Fortis Commemorative watches.
Our wristwatches are made with essence. We are proud of our new release called “the Pentagon watches”. This watch was designed to represent the Pentagon building and its significance.