Introducing a brand that has existed for six years might make us seem a bit late to the party. Then again, talking about a brand’s history while it has only existed for six years might seem premature. Nevertheless, having written about several Robot models since 2021, we thought it was time to shine some light on the brand and company itself rather than on the watches. So I sat down with Bohematic’s CEO Josef Zajíček, and this article is about what we discussed.


From Bohematic to Robot

But before penning down my interview with Josef, let me start by explaining the differences between the two names I have dropped so far — Robot and Bohematic. For now, the latter, Bohematic s.r.o., is the name of the company that produces Robot watches. When Bohematic started back in 2018, the watches it produced were also branded Bohematic. However, according to the Richemont group, “Bohematic” came uncomfortably close to one of its watch brands’ model names. Consequently, Richemont requested that the new Czech brand refrain from using that name, probably seeing it as a threat. For a small, fresh-faced watch brand, Richemont isn’t an entity you want to fight around with. It’s a waste of time and money, and it brings negative energy. A new brand name had to be chosen.

The word “robot” was first used by the Czech writer Karel Čapek more than 100 years ago…

Josef then came up with the name Robot. It was one of the initial names he had in mind for the brand before choosing Bohematic. The word “robot” was first used by the Czech writer Karel Čapek more than 100 years ago, so it’s closely connected to Czech and Bohemian history. Therefore, you might find some early watches bearing the brand name Bohematic, but from 2021 onwards, all watches bear the brand name Robot.


About Josef Zajíček

Josef is not only Bohematic s.r.o.’s CEO but also the owner of the Autodrom Most race track. This, his background in the automotive supply chain, and his love for historic Czech racing cars explain the influence of Robot’s model lineup. Along with Michal Froňek and Jan Němeček — the founders of the Olgoj Chorchoj design studio — and a fair bit of knowledge about the history of Czech cars, Josef brings a solid foundation for Robot’s watch designs. Let’s see what I discussed with him about the plans for his emblematic watch brand.

Starting a

Why start a watch brand?

Gerard Nijenbrinks (GN): Josef, why did you start a watch brand?

Josef Zajíček (JZ): After 22 years in the automotive industry, I was looking for an adventure where I could influence the quality, design, and construction of products myself rather than just supplying what clients tell me to supply, including the required price. Besides the automotive industry, the Czech Republic has a history of watchmaking. As a proud Czech citizen and one with a love for watches, it was an obvious choice to start a watch brand.


Is a Czech watch brand a good idea?

GN: Except for patriotism, why do you think starting a Czech watch brand was a good idea? When thinking of Swiss brands, for instance, people think of accuracy. With German brands, people expect reliability, and Japanese brands make people think of attention to detail or perfection. What should people associate with a brand when they hear that it is of Czech origin?

JZ: The area in which Czech watchmaking was developed (Nové Město) is very much like the area in Switzerland where farmers in wintertime found the tranquility to produce high-accuracy products. Traditionally, products have been produced here with a precision comparable to those produced in Switzerland. So when people hear about a watch coming from the Czech Republic, they should associate it with craftsmanship and tradition. Czech people are known to have “golden hands” capable of making high-quality traditional products.


How did the first models come to life?

GN: You started Bohematic and the brand Robot with Michal Froňek and Jan Němeček. You had your business and technical background, while the other two had made their mark in the field of design. How do your specialties come together in a watch brand?

JZ: Michal, Jan, and I love historic car racing and the restoration of historic Czech racing cars. They both also love watches, and Jan had designed some watches for Prim (another Czech watch brand). That was our starting point in designing the first models in Robot’s lineup. We’ll soon present new and even more critical models for Robot’s second stage. For these models, we’re working with a famous Swiss designer with more international watch-design experience, with all respect for Jan.



GN: I understand that Robot currently produces around 250 watches per year. What is your goal?

JZ: We want to grow 50% annually and try to be at 500 pieces quickly. Ideally, our maximum annual production would be 1,500 to 2,000 pieces. This way, Robot will remain an exclusive brand.


Which countries have your greatest attention?

GN: What countries are the most important for Robot? Are you aiming mainly at the Czech Republic, or do you want to expand internationally?

JZ: Of course, the Czech Republic is our most important sales area. We still have expansion possibilities here and are working hard on that. Then, we want to expand in our neighboring countries — Germany and Austria — and other European countries as well. But the US, the UK, and probably some Asian countries also have our attention. Ideally, we would like to end up with 15 to 20 physical points of sale globally. Besides these brick-and-mortar points of sale, we aim toward online sales. A 50/50 division would be perfect.


A technical question now

GN: I noticed that all but one of Robot’s models sport La Joux-Perret calibers. Why does the Graphic model have an Eterna caliber?

JZ: Initially, we thought of working with Eterna on our movements. However, after we bought and received the first batch of movements, unfortunately, Eterna, in one way or another, disappeared. We love these movements and use them in Robot’s Graphic model. From that point on, though, we’ve bought movements from La Joux-Perret. They are beautiful and perfect calibers, but as a company, we’re often a bit too small for LJP. So, we’ll stay with LJP, but we’ll also use another well-known Swiss supplier for future projects.

Wikow 35

One last question

GN: My final question is about the Robot Aerodynamic. At first, I heard this model was inspired by the Czechoslovak-made Wikow 35 “Kapka,” one of the first aerodynamically designed cars in the world. Later, I heard that the Aerodynamic was inspired by the Tatra 77. What is the real story?

JZ: The Aerodynamic Robot model honors the first Czechoslovakian serial-produced, truly aerodynamically designed automobiles in general. The Wikow 35 was presented in 1931. An aerodynamic body was mounted to a regular type 35 chassis. Mass production was planned but never happened; the public wasn’t ready for it. Only six examples were made. Then, the Tatra T77 was presented in 1934 and became more successful. Over four years, no fewer than 247 units of the T77 and T77a were made. Although the Robot Aerodynamic draws inspiration from both cars, the fins in the dial are undeniably derived from the Wikow 35.



Robot is one of many microbrands that have sprung up in the last five to 10 years. The exciting thing is that they’re all very different in their approaches and goals. As watches are not refrigerators or laptops chosen by looking at spreadsheets, it’s essential to learn the background of the companies producing these small-scale watches. What are their mottos, what drives them, and what are their goals? This knowledge will help you choose a watch on a more emotional basis rather than just by comparing specifications. Bohematic’s drive and inspiration are from classic race cars and solid Czech craftmanship. The folks behind the company are proud of what the Czechoslovak Republic once was known for and are eager to show the world that the traditional skills and “golden hands” still exist. If this appeals to you, one of Robot’s attractive watch models will be a good choice.

To learn more about the brand’s watches and see the current model lineup, visit Robot’s official website here. As always, please let us know your take on the brand and its products in the comments below.