What is a Watch Microbrand?
In the most basic terms, microbrands are companies that produce on a relatively small scale, and so it follows, watch microbrands will create far fewer watches than regular big-name brands. A few big players have always dominated the watch industry and with the emergence of conglomerates (corporations merging), small brands stood little chance to match their marketing power and garner much attention from consumers - regardless of the quality and value they offered.
That is until now.
Watch microbrand funding
With the growing popularity of crowdfunding websites, creative and innovative watch designers have been given a platform to expose their unique designs to vast audiences. Many start-up campaigns have proven hugely successful over the past few years, completely changing the face of the global watch industry. While mainstream brands such as Rolex and Tag Heuer have an established reputation for quality and classic design, an increasing number of watch collectors and enthusiasts are choosing microbrand watches.
Watch quality versus status symbol
People buy watches for various reasons. Some for status, others simply practicality and yet even more, for the appreciation of the work that goes into the manufacture. For a watch to be useful as a status symbol, you probably are better off with a well-known name brand, rather than a microbrand. If that is not the highest priority, then it may be another story. The cost of purchasing high-end designs, with quality en-par with major boutique brands such as Breitling and Omega, is relatively low as microbrands rely on customer satisfaction to grow their name. In fact, the exact same movements used in some of these brands, are used by various microbrands and sold at a fraction of the cost. History, reputation, and marketing have served well many of the readily recognized names in the industry, and many enthusiasts and collectors simply can't afford to pay the price.
Who would create a watch microbrand?
Microbrands generally consist of a small team of young, passionate watch enthusiasts who have found a lack of watches to suit their needs and taste. This drives innovation, producing unique, high quality and practical designs. Being enthusiastic about watches themselves means, they were consistently confronted with the often-shocking cost of owning premium watches as well as the torrents of stagnant and repetitive designs. This is why some micro brands have made it a mission to change the possibilities, for their fellow collectors and enthusiasts.
When less is more
Because of the relatively small production numbers, consumers choosing microbrands are unlikely to see their watches worn by others, thus catering for those seeking an exclusive product. It happens to be refreshing to see something different, but being rare can also add real value. Consumers that are fed up with seeing the same old products will relish witnessing a wave of new designs that are forward-thinking, brave and authentic.
What to look out for when purchasing from a watch microbrand
Buying a microbrand watch presents an opportunity equally as it offers a danger and there are more than a few things of which to be wary. Not every microbrand created, is driven by pure motives and like in all industries, there exists more than a few unscrupulous types, out for a quick buck. The only antidote to this problem is knowledge and awareness. Often, there is glaring evidence if people just looked, so the first thing to do before supporting a campaign or buying directly from a microbrand, research it comprehensively.
To make it a little easier for those who may lack experience or knowledge, here are a few basic pointers for what to look for:
- Where does the movement originate? A cheaply made movement will be sourced from China, and although not always the case, it's often one of the first red flags.
- Where is this watch assembled? Read between the lines, as companies go to great lengths to disguise that their watches were in fact, made in China. Often, creative marketing and wording such as 'designed in..', which says nothing about where its produced.
- Is this a new company, or have they proven themselves already? If indeed, it is brand new, you might want to really pay attention to how they sell themselves, looking for deceptive behaviors. Otherwise, you should have any number of reviews to follow up on for microbrands that have produced and delivered watches.