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Who's behind Cyssan?

My life has been a portrait of unconventional. Over the past two decades I’ve moved around the world, working, and studying culture, education and language. From the UK to Italy, to China, to Switzerland, and back to the UK, wherever I lived, my attention’s always been drawn to fashion, art and design, and to women - how they live, what they do, what they love.

Watches have always been a key part of my life, especially when I worked as a teacher - I always wore my watch upside down so I could subtly check the time during lessons. But my attraction to watches and jewellery really grew after meeting Min, a talented watch and jewellery designer who’s designed for well-known luxury fashion watch brands, such as Valentino, Armani, and Burberry, as well as working at Swatch Group, the group that owns brands such as Omega and Swatch, in Switzerland.

I discovered more about luxury watches in Switzerland, and it was here that the idea for Cyssan first started. I’d been looking for a watch that combined an element of jewellery with the function of a watch - a double-duty accessory that looked cool and sophisticated, and came at an affordable price. I just couldn’t find anything. I realised that many watch brands focused on men and watch movements, rather than on women and what they wanted. Having been inspired by so many incredible women, all unique in their own way, and many of them inspiringly unconventional, I began thinking about creating a watch brand especially for women like them.

Due to my fascination with language, I moved back to the UK to join a department of Cambridge University, and it was during this time that I came across the name Cyssan, /Kis’n/, which comes from Old English and means Kiss. It’s such a meaningful word and I knew it would be the perfect name for the brand I’d envisioned creating with Min.

In 2020, I decided it was the right time to start working on Cyssan. This is how our first Cyssan collection started.

Your Cyssan watch should remind you incredible women that we own our time; we are the ones who decide what to do with it. 

Joanna Kim
Cyssan Founder and Owner

Joanna was named as one of F:entrepreneur's #ialso100 2023 - find out more here


The word sustainability is on everyone’s lips. A commitment we must make to our world today. We are committed. Cyssan is a responsible brand that engages in circularity. It is our priority to ensure the welfare of our planet and its people through our products, so we always work with suppliers who pay a living wage, and who provide a safe working environment for their staff.

We created a small debut collection of just 500 pieces with the intention of making our watches special to those who wear them, and to help minimise waste overall. For our first collection our hand-assembled, vegan-leather straps were made from a PU and microfibre base - we were keen on producing beautiful straps that didn’t harm animals. Plus, the production of these straps uses less resources than animal leather. We keep single-use plastic to an absolute minimum, and use recycled or FSC certified paper and cardboard for our beautifully unique watch packaging. Our packaging does not contain any animal by-products. We will always keep our packaging to a minimum, and make it something you can reuse.

For our future collections we aim to make the protective foam insert from recycled materials, and are looking into using recycled stainless steel in our watches - we’ll keep you posted.

Our team keeps up-to-date on how we can make our watches more sustainable, how we can promote circularity, and how we can do our bit to effect change. We will accept any watch back at the end of its use to be reused, recycled or upcycled. It is also our aim to join the 1% for the planet initiative as soon as we can.

A-little-bit-done-by-everyone is the way to effect change. Please do your little bit too!


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