How A Former Advertising Big Shot Built The World-Class Filipino Watch Brand, Makina


What are you willing to sacrifice to follow your dream? Danilo Villanueva Jr. already had a promising career as an advertising professional catering to big clients here and abroad. But, he let it go to pursue his dream of creating world-class timepieces.

Images by Makina via Facebook and Dan Villanueva via ANC

In 2016, Dan made a big career decision when he decided to follow his heart and build Makina, his own watch brand.

Since Makina was launched, it has had a total of 10 different models. Their latest is called the Makina Raum. In a report by ANC, Dan said he wanted a Filipino-made watch that can compete globally. He wanted his watches to represent the Philippines wherever he goes.

“I thought back then, if I create a watch that looks so Filipino, it would pigeonhole us, and that won’t bring us a lot of options in the future. I want to sell it globally as well. I want to take the Philippines wherever we go,” he said.

Born in Quezon City, Dan studied in Hong Kong, Australia, and the United States. He also used to be based in China, Dubai, and Los Angeles.

His love for timepieces grew because his dad was a watch collector. He was acquainted with watch brands such as Panerai and IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre even at a young age.

When Dan was still building Makina, his family supported him. His wife Maetel became the operations manager while his parents helped with the import and export logistics.

Soon, his hard work paid off as Makina watches gained their own following. It has commissioned a limited edition model for international company Philip Morris and worn by local celebrities like Piolo Pascual.

One of the best lessons we can learn from Dan’s inspiring story is about not letting go of our passions. Most of the time when we’re too busy working for other people’s dreams, we forget ours.

“I couldn’t even begin to start dreaming of my desired business because of the limited time I had due to working for other people’s companies. Hence, a good one year off without income must arrive,” he said in an interview on The Vulcan Post.

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