In the watch industry, there are a number of big players, most of whom work in a way that is almost as fluid as the mechanisms of a watch. Whereas the small brands are worth watching for a different reason, they are driven strictly by their passion for watchmaking and their desire to create new and intuitive products. Young watch start-ups all share a similar goal, and that is to be successful.
A Growing Number of Young Watch Start-Ups
It is easy to see that there has been a large increase in the number of young watch start-ups that have been appearing over the course of the past few years, and a number of these young brands often have big ideas to bring with them to the industry as a whole. Unfortunately, a large number of these young brands actually go unnoticed by the industry.
One of the most difficult things about being a young brand is that it is often difficult for both young brands, and solo designers, to find appropriate funding arrangements, and a number of new business ventures are having to turn to alternative forms of funding arrangements to finance their ideas. Often a large portion of them have to turn directly to investors, competing for attention.
Why are so many young brands using Kickstarter?
Luckily, it has become incredibly easy for young watch start-ups to find investors due to the increase in crowd-funding platforms on the internet. Kickstarter has quickly forged a name for itself as one of the most idyllic platforms for watch manufacturers to use, to raise money and fund their own processes. One of the main reasons that people are willing to use Kickstarter to invest is because it actually puts a lot of effort into protecting investors, as there are a number of rules for items that cannot be posted on Kickstarter.
Baltic, an example of Kickstarter funded project
These rules are important, because they generally result in the products featured on Kickstarter being of a higher quality than they otherwise would be. As a watch start-up you literally have to sell your idea on Kickstarter, showing people exactly why your idea is worth investing in. You should also offer anyone that pledges money a reward for doing so, as they are directly helping to finance your venture.
Most of the time within the watch industry this reward is actually the opportunity to own a copy of the watch before it has been commercially released, and usually for a lower price than the upcoming official retail price. A number of watch start-ups have successfully funded their ventures using Kickstarter, and a lot of independent watches that are currently in production were initially featured on Kickstarter.
Featured: The New “Bronson” by Collins
Here at Monochrome, we have a passion for all things related to watchmaking, and the technical aspects that make up the industry as a whole. But, we also have a soft spot for the stories behind a brand, and the things that influence independent watchmakers. This is why we are more than happy to introduce you to the new “Bronson” by Collins, due to the designer’s unique inspiration.
The designer found his inspiration in the form of vintage audio recording gear, as he spent a lot of time in recording studios while growing up, and even went as far as building a boutique recording studio. The watch itself features a number of hints that strike us as paying a subtle amount of homage to the vintage audio equipment that clearly captured his imagination.
The readability of this watch is evident, with numbers that stand out well against the colour of the dial. The watch itself also features a large amount of lume, in the form of super-luminova paint, allowing you to read the time in dimly lit areas. There is also a small date window at the 3 o’clock point of the watch. All of these features are quite basic, and they can be found on a number of other models that are readily available on the market, but this particular watch also plans to offer a specific level of affordability – and the content / price ratio is something that must always be considered.
The PVD model of this watch features not just one, but two different Sapphire crystals. The use of an extra Sapphire crystal is evident in the price of the watch. The Sapphire crystal on the front of the watch is there to offer the durability and scratch resistance that it is renowned for, while the Sapphire crystal on the back can be used to view the inner mechanisms of the watch.
The movement of this watch does reflect the price, as it features Seiko NH35 Automatic Movement. This specific type of movement is known to be reliable and robust, and offers a very decent alternative to the ETA-clones and feels as qualitative as Miyota movements – and it does help to keep the price very low. In our opinion, the smaller details featured on the “Bronson”, are the details worth noticing. They keep in line with the designer’s inspiration. There is even a small ‘volume’ indicator featured right on the crown of the watch.
In our opinion, this watch is a decent purchase at its price point (starting at US$ 225 in steel and US$255 in PVD-coated steel) because of the value it provides. Although some of the features are quite basic when compared to more expensive watches, as you do get what you pay for in the majority of cases. What makes this watch different is the unique influence that spurned the creative process, which is something you wont be able to find in any other brand! Kickstarter campaign just started here.
This article is written by Matthew Catellier, who covers “Value Propositions” for Monochrome, and also publishes affordable timepieces on his own website Watch Review Blog.