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Starting a watch brand

A detailed account of a Fastlane process...

freelancedev

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Hi All,

Following on from some threads and posts I've made recently, and the great replies I have had to them, I am going to get started with a business.

You can see the thread that I made the other day here, my main struggle has always been that I have searched for brand new business ideas or pain points that have not been addressed yet and have struggled to find anything, and because of this I have just made no progress whatsoever.

I've been waiting for the golden goose to come along instead of just getting started building a product that is unique and better than what is on the market at the moment. A great post in the thread I made the other day encouraged me to focus on improving a product rather than trying to find pain points, I know this seems like a subtle difference but it has given me a few ideas to explore.

I'm still kind of floundering on what sort of business I am going to start, for now my focus is on the wrist watch niche. In my other thread I have done a brief analysis of some of the big players in the niche at the moment (MVMT, Daniel Wellington etc.) to try and get a feel for what sort of products are already being offered.

I have had a few ideas as far as what I can offer which may be different or improved value in the eyes of some people. I don't yet have a product in mind, and in a way I think it is difficult to know exactly what you're aiming to make with such a visual product until you have a visual representation or prototype.

Some of my ideas revolve around different colours, shapes, wristband materials and watch face designs than what is generally available from the big players. There is certainly an element of mixing different pieces of inspiration I have had from different manufacturers to make something which is truly unique.

I'm not sure which elements I want to fuse together and how the market will react to something which is very different to what is already available - I guess the only way to find out is to put the product out there and test it. I think some of the ideas that I have had, specifically around colour, can be very polarising and may totally flop.

To an extent, I feel that perhaps I am being too ambitious in looking to make something that is so different to what other manufacturers offer, and I should follow the 'proven' template while adding small elements instead of trying to mash together lots of unique variables?

I am ok with the process of building a shopify store and creating Facebook ads etc., but I am really unsure of how I would even go about getting a watch manufactured.

The last thing I want to do is go to a website like alibaba and import a cheap, generic, poor quality product. I'd like to build a high-quality product, but I'm not sure I have the capital to hand in order to go through the process of getting something basically manufactured from scratch.

Is anyone here in the watch game that has experience with any of these things?
 
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jlwilliams

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I know a few people who make or have made watches. It's not so different from custom knife making. The best thing you can do is locate a watch show and go to one. Typically they are weekend events where makers, collectors, dealers and enthusiasts in general do their thing. You would have the chance to meet people who do what you are contemplating.

Online research is vital, but you need to go to a live action event. Meet real people, handle real merchandise and so on.
 

freelancedev

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I know a few people who make or have made watches. It's not so different from custom knife making. The best thing you can do is locate a watch show and go to one. Typically they are weekend events where makers, collectors, dealers and enthusiasts in general do their thing. You would have the chance to meet people who do what you are contemplating.

Online research is vital, but you need to go to a live action event. Meet real people, handle real merchandise and so on.

I've had a quick search with google and the biggest one in the UK seems to be the midland clock and watch fair. There's not one till October so I've got a little time to continue doing research before then. The good news is that the fair is in my girlfriends home town, although it's still about a six hour coach ride for me, I'm not sure whether there will be any/many manufacturers there as it seems like more of a hobbyist event.

I've been doing a little research online for manufacturers and I've come across a company that seems to assist in the manufacturing of watches. Looking at their pricing they're very expensive, they have packages ranging from $5000-15000 which include things like market analysis, pricing analysis, designing, sampling and prototyping, although you have to pay at least 10k to get a prototype.

I hope I can find something a bit cheaper than this because I'm not sure I can afford to sink 10k+ into this project, although I acknowledge that it's not going to be cheap either way. I'm worried that I MOQ will be a barrier for entry for me when it comes to actually ordering the stock.

This company that I've mentioned seems to offer a service as a middle man between the watch company and the manufacturer in China, I guess I would perhaps be able to save money by going direct to manufacturers.
 

Daniel...D

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Hi All,

Following on from some threads and posts I've made recently, and the great replies I have had to them, I am going to get started with a business.

You can see the thread that I made the other day here, my main struggle has always been that I have searched for brand new business ideas or pain points that have not been addressed yet and have struggled to find anything, and because of this I have just made no progress whatsoever.

I've been waiting for the golden goose to come along instead of just getting started building a product that is unique and better than what is on the market at the moment. A great post in the thread I made the other day encouraged me to focus on improving a product rather than trying to find pain points, I know this seems like a subtle difference but it has given me a few ideas to explore.

I'm still kind of floundering on what sort of business I am going to start, for now my focus is on the wrist watch niche. In my other thread I have done a brief analysis of some of the big players in the niche at the moment (MVMT, Daniel Wellington etc.) to try and get a feel for what sort of products are already being offered.

I have had a few ideas as far as what I can offer which may be different or improved value in the eyes of some people. I don't yet have a product in mind, and in a way I think it is difficult to know exactly what you're aiming to make with such a visual product until you have a visual representation or prototype.

Some of my ideas revolve around different colours, shapes, wristband materials and watch face designs than what is generally available from the big players. There is certainly an element of mixing different pieces of inspiration I have had from different manufacturers to make something which is truly unique.

I'm not sure which elements I want to fuse together and how the market will react to something which is very different to what is already available - I guess the only way to find out is to put the product out there and test it. I think some of the ideas that I have had, specifically around colour, can be very polarising and may totally flop.

To an extent, I feel that perhaps I am being too ambitious in looking to make something that is so different to what other manufacturers offer, and I should follow the 'proven' template while adding small elements instead of trying to mash together lots of unique variables?

I am ok with the process of building a shopify store and creating Facebook ads etc., but I am really unsure of how I would even go about getting a watch manufactured.

The last thing I want to do is go to a website like alibaba and import a cheap, generic, poor quality product. I'd like to build a high-quality product, but I'm not sure I have the capital to hand in order to go through the process of getting something basically manufactured from scratch.

Is anyone here in the watch game that has experience with any of these things?
Unfortunately, I haven't any experience but I think it will be cool to make wood watches
 
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Scot

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freelancedev

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There was an awesome thread on the inside that literally takes a watch concept to production with a Kickstarter campaign.

https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/co...tarter-campaign-one-year-in-the-making.62840/

I don't know if @exclusives88 is still around, but he would definitely be a guy to talk to about watches.

Might be worth the investment in INSIDERS to see how he did it and what mistakes could be avoided.

It didn't take much to twist my arm into joining :)

That's a very interesting thread indeed, and it looks like exclusives88 has had his fair share of challenges along the way. What worries me is the suggestion that his production run was priced at $55k. Obviously a price that it outside of most peoples (and my own) reach, although I'm not sure whether that is because he was designing a few different models, and perhaps it would be a lot cheaper with one flagship model to begin with?

It looks like crowdfunding could be the only way forward potentially if we are talking prices in that range.
 

freelancedev

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Ok so over the past 24 hours I've been doing more research and getting a better idea of what I want my product to look like. Kickstarter has been surprisingly good for this and seeing what watches do well has allowed me to get a feel of what works in this niche.

It's no surprise that the bad looking watches do poorly on Kickstarter, when looking through I was often able to guess correctly at how well each watch was doing just based on the pictures before I even looked at the pledge number. I want my USP to be just a F*cking great design. I feel like I saw too many people on Kickstarter who were trying to build a USP around a certain feature or style (example being inspired by the 50's for example) at the expense of the aesthetic appeal of the watch.

My question before starting all of this research would have been 'how different does your watch design need to be to stand out from the crowd as unique and get people buying'? On the evidence of some successful watches on Kickstarter, I don't feel like they're doing much different, they just have really good designs.

In the watch community, people refer to their dream watch as their "grail" watch. The concept I have in mind fuses the characteristics of some of my own "grail" watches and some grail watches that are popular with others. I feel that I am able to create an elegant watch which has similar aesthetic appeal to some popular "grail" watches at a lower price point.

This, of course, raises the question of what you can 'get away with' in terms of copyright/trademark/patent infringement? I am not talking about completely ripping off the designs of others watches, my ideas are based on certain colour schemes that I think will be popular and specific characteristics of the watch face, hands, numbers etc.

I think that my watch will look unique once I have some designs drawn up, but the last thing I want is a big player in the watch game to come at me and say my second hand looks too much like theirs for example. I'm not sure whether this would happen for something so seemingly minor, or whether it would have to be a full rip off to be considered an infringement?

It's difficult to be unique with watches, most diver watches, for example, pay hommage to the Rolex submariner naturally. There doesn't seem to be much information out there on what constitutes copyright infringement with a watch, I don't suppose anyone has any experience with this sort of thing?

I had a go at drawing some designs this evening, and lets just say that drawing isn't my strong point. I am likely going to have to hire a freelancer and tell them exactly what I want and just go from there.
 
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sparechange

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please do yourself a favor and stop. who even buys watches? i have the time on my phone and i have the time on my laptop. horrible idea. get into another market..
 

Longinus

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please do yourself a favor and stop. who even buys watches? i have the time on my phone and i have the time on my laptop. horrible idea. get into another market..

Wrong.

I don't know what the trigger was some years ago, but watches are super hot (at least in Europe). Huge watches, with massive flashy buttons or very weird numbers, you name it. There's a big market for it.

I like to wear a watch but really can't stand it when it's too warm. There, you have an opportunity already.
 

Invictus

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The-J

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please do yourself a favor and stop. who even buys watches? i have the time on my phone and i have the time on my laptop. horrible idea. get into another market..

Please tell me you're joking.

That's like saying, why wear a scarf when turtlenecks are already invented? Or why wear a necktie when shirts already have a top button?

Why use a pocket square: Kleenex already sells small tissue packs!

Why wear shoes with laces if slip-ons already exist? Hell, why wear clothes at all? Bath robes are already the most comfortable thing to wear!

I can go on forever.
 

Scot

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please do yourself a favor and stop. who even buys watches? i have the time on my phone and i have the time on my laptop. horrible idea. get into another market..

I love wearing watches. I have several Invictas, Citizen, and even some off brand watches that I thought looked cool. I enjoy skeleton watches a lot too.

Oh and you know, Tag Huer, Breitling, and Rolex beg to differ.

Fatal flaw in your thinking man. If you approach business in a "well I don't do this.." mindset, you'll never reach customers.
 

c_morris

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please do yourself a favor and stop. who even buys watches? i have the time on my phone and i have the time on my laptop. horrible idea. get into another market..
Watches have always been a fashion accessory. They just happen to have a secondary function. I know several people who own multiple, some very expensive, watches and telling time was not the reason they bought them.
 
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Walter Hay

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I've had a quick search with google and the biggest one in the UK seems to be the midland clock and watch fair. There's not one till October so I've got a little time to continue doing research before then. The good news is that the fair is in my girlfriends home town, although it's still about a six hour coach ride for me, I'm not sure whether there will be any/many manufacturers there as it seems like more of a hobbyist event.

I've been doing a little research online for manufacturers and I've come across a company that seems to assist in the manufacturing of watches. Looking at their pricing they're very expensive, they have packages ranging from $5000-15000 which include things like market analysis, pricing analysis, designing, sampling and prototyping, although you have to pay at least 10k to get a prototype.

I hope I can find something a bit cheaper than this because I'm not sure I can afford to sink 10k+ into this project, although I acknowledge that it's not going to be cheap either way. I'm worried that I MOQ will be a barrier for entry for me when it comes to actually ordering the stock.

This company that I've mentioned seems to offer a service as a middle man between the watch company and the manufacturer in China, I guess I would perhaps be able to save money by going direct to manufacturers.
It is almost always best to go direct to the manufacturer, but unless you have a thorough knowledge of the industry, it might work best for you to go through a middle man. The big problem I have seen with that in the watch industry is that the middle man is the only party in the game that is guaranteed to make good money.

They get paid without any guarantee of success, and their fees are usually very high because they are catering mostly to people who are almost totally ignorant of the processes.

Your concern about MOQ is well founded. A big factor is that the watch manufacturing industry is highly fragmented.

Watch manufacturers are never vertically integrated. They are basically assemblers, bringing in subcontracted components from a large number of specialist suppliers. In turn many of those suppliers also subcontract manufacture of components.

Every part of the supply chain will have their MOQ and the assembler has to satisfy them.

Here is a link to a forum for watch geeks. http://forums.watchuseek.com I'm not one of them, my interest is due to having imported thousands of watches from various suppliers after they made cosmetic changes for me. It is possible to buy Chinese assembled watches with movements ranging from cheap and nasty Chinese made, through good quality Japanese made, right up to high quality Swiss movements.

If you search the forum linked above under the keywords "Smoke and mirrors", you will find an interesting story about luxury brands re-labeling the movements made by other luxury brands, and identifying them as their own.

Some might not detect the subtle hint contained in my post thus far, so I'll spell it out.
  • Find a watch assembler that can supply a very high quality Swiss movement in a standard but high quality stainless steel case with your markings on the back.
  • Design your own bezel to fit that case.
  • Select a high quality crystal to fit also.
  • Design a face and have it produced by the assembler's sub contract supplier.
Presto! At relatively low cost you have a mid to high quality watch. The bezel and face designs can be the critical factors for acceptance, and your marketing skills can determine whether or not your project will succeed.

The production of the bezel to your design will be the only major cost input.

Walter
 
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sparechange

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rolex and other brands are already established, not sure how a watch brand will be a fastlane venture but just a thought. carry on.................
 

Scot

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It is almost always best to go direct to the manufacturer, but unless you have a thorough knowledge of the industry, it might work best for you to go through a middle man. The big problem I have seen with that in the watch industry is that the middle man is the only party in the game that is guaranteed to make good money.

They get paid without any guarantee of success, and their fees are usually very high because they are catering mostly to people who are almost totally ignorant of the processes.

Your concern about MOQ is well founded. A big factor is that the watch manufacturing industry is highly fragmented.

Watch manufacturers are never vertically integrated. They are basically assemblers, bringing in subcontracted components from a large number of specialist suppliers. In turn many of those suppliers also subcontract manufacture of components.

Every part of the supply chain will have their MOQ and the assembler has to satisfy them.

Here is a link to a forum for watch geeks. http://forums.watchuseek.com I'm not one of them, my interest is due to having imported thousands of watches from various suppliers after they made cosmetic changes for me. It is possible to buy Chinese assembled watches with movements ranging from cheap and nasty Chinese made, through good quality Japanese made, right up to high quality Swiss movements.

If you search the forum linked above under the keywords "Smoke and mirrors", you will find an interesting story about luxury brands re-labeling the movements made by other luxury brands, and identifying them as their own.

Some might not detect the subtle hint contained in my post thus far, so I'll spell it out.
  • Find a watch assembler that can supply a very high quality Swiss movement in a standard but high quality stainless steel case with your markings on the back.
  • Design your own bezel to fit that case.
  • Select a high quality crystal to fit also.
  • Design a face and have it produced by the assembler's sub contract supplier.
Presto! At relatively low cost you have a mid to high quality watch. The bezel and face designs can be the critical factors for acceptance, and your marketing skills can determine whether or not your project will succeed.

The production of the bezel to your design will be the only major cost input.

Walter

As always, Walter is a wealth of knowledge. Rep + for setting him on the right path


rolex and other brands are already established, not sure how a watch brand will be a fastlane venture but just a thought. carry on.................

One of our favorite watch brands is celebrating its anniversary with a big sale
 
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biophase

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please do yourself a favor and stop. who even buys watches? i have the time on my phone and i have the time on my laptop. horrible idea. get into another market..

rolex and other brands are already established, not sure how a watch brand will be a fastlane venture but just a thought. carry on.................

Ugh, whenever I read someone make. A statement like this, I immediately think think that this person is not successful.

This type of limited thinking makes you overlook so many opportunities. It's just something I just don't and can't understand.

Although I'd never start a watch brand and I personally think it would be a very difficult venture, any product with proper execution can be a fastlane multi million dollar business.
 

Ecom man

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Which watch do you prefer?


So based on what you have said in the thread it seems like you are trying to run a marathon before you even crawl.

Have you ever built a website before? Do you have any knowledge in online marketing? Facebook? Adwords? Do you have any systems in place at all? Customer service experience? Order fulfillment?

Assuming you don't know anything about those I would start crawling first. Go to one of those sites you hate and find 10 designs that you think are absolutely spectacular based on your knowledge from the research you have done. Order 1 of each of those designs. When you get them however many are crappy or just look super cheap don't reorder. Let's say 5 of them look good like the pictures. Then go and order 10 of each of those 5 good items. Now resell them using your chosen channel. (eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, shopify etc)

To sell them you have to learn a decent amount about online selling or online marketing. You will learn what products look great to you but don't sell or if you have an amazing eye for what people want and all 5 of the products sell you now have some seed money to do it again and some money to go to a manufacture and design your own watches.
 
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freelancedev

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It is almost always best to go direct to the manufacturer, but unless you have a thorough knowledge of the industry, it might work best for you to go through a middle man. The big problem I have seen with that in the watch industry is that the middle man is the only party in the game that is guaranteed to make good money.

They get paid without any guarantee of success, and their fees are usually very high because they are catering mostly to people who are almost totally ignorant of the processes.

Your concern about MOQ is well founded. A big factor is that the watch manufacturing industry is highly fragmented.

Watch manufacturers are never vertically integrated. They are basically assemblers, bringing in subcontracted components from a large number of specialist suppliers. In turn many of those suppliers also subcontract manufacture of components.

Every part of the supply chain will have their MOQ and the assembler has to satisfy them.

Here is a link to a forum for watch geeks. http://forums.watchuseek.com I'm not one of them, my interest is due to having imported thousands of watches from various suppliers after they made cosmetic changes for me. It is possible to buy Chinese assembled watches with movements ranging from cheap and nasty Chinese made, through good quality Japanese made, right up to high quality Swiss movements.

If you search the forum linked above under the keywords "Smoke and mirrors", you will find an interesting story about luxury brands re-labeling the movements made by other luxury brands, and identifying them as their own.

Some might not detect the subtle hint contained in my post thus far, so I'll spell it out.
  • Find a watch assembler that can supply a very high quality Swiss movement in a standard but high quality stainless steel case with your markings on the back.
  • Design your own bezel to fit that case.
  • Select a high quality crystal to fit also.
  • Design a face and have it produced by the assembler's sub contract supplier.
Presto! At relatively low cost you have a mid to high quality watch. The bezel and face designs can be the critical factors for acceptance, and your marketing skills can determine whether or not your project will succeed.

The production of the bezel to your design will be the only major cost input.

Walter

Thanks for the response Walter, as far as finding an assembler goes, can you find these on the same portals as you would for any imported goods (alibaba etc.)? I bought and read your book a while back and remember that you recommended definitely staying away from alibaba, I can't remember the website you recommended (I'll have to find your book on my computer again and re-read it) but would that website be a good starting point for finding an assembler?

As far as movements go, I had thought that it may be best to use Japanese, as although Swiss is higher quality, @exclusives88 found in his thread that it increased his production cost by too much. I suppose it really depends what your customer profile is, but I didn't have the watch geek community in mind as my target customer, so I think that Swiss matters less because of that.

View attachment 15934
Which watch do you prefer?


So based on what you have said in the thread it seems like you are trying to run a marathon before you even crawl.

Have you ever built a website before? Do you have any knowledge in online marketing? Facebook? Adwords? Do you have any systems in place at all? Customer service experience? Order fulfillment?

Assuming you don't know anything about those I would start crawling first. Go to one of those sites you hate and find 10 designs that you think are absolutely spectacular based on your knowledge from the research you have done. Order 1 of each of those designs. When you get them however many are crappy or just look super cheap don't reorder. Let's say 5 of them look good like the pictures. Then go and order 10 of each of those 5 good items. Now resell them using your chosen channel. (eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, shopify etc)

To sell them you have to learn a decent amount about online selling or online marketing. You will learn what products look great to you but don't sell or if you have an amazing eye for what people want and all 5 of the products sell you now have some seed money to do it again and some money to go to a manufacture and design your own watches.

I'm definitely not a noob when it comes to online marketing and have experience using facebook ads and adwords, I work in customer service at my day job too so I think I've got a lot of the raw skills to build a successful ecommerce venture. I'm not an expert but am happy to fill in the gaps along the way :)

As for learning what products sell well, I am finding that Kickstarter is a really great resource for this, as it is possible to see which projects were funded by how much.
 
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VDon

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I'd start with flipping watches to get a feeling for the most popular brands and designs.

The idea itself looks too complicated though, I am not a big kickstarter enthusiast.


Gesendet von iPhone mit Tapatalk
 

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Here's my suggestion. I love skeleton watches. I love smooth watch movements and seeing the insides work. But you've really only got three options when buying skeleton watches: cheap Chinese crap for $30, Sturling $1-200 range, or $3,000 plus Swiss watches.

Why not look into the mid-premium $3-400 range good quality skeleton watches?
 

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rolex and other brands are already established, not sure how a watch brand will be a fastlane venture but just a thought. carry on.................
MVMT sells cheap Chinese watches and is expected to do $90 milliom this year....
 
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Here's my suggestion. I love skeleton watches. I love smooth watch movements and seeing the insides work. But you've really only got three options when buying skeleton watches: cheap Chinese crap for $30, Sturling $1-200 range, or $3,000 plus Swiss watches.

Why not look into the mid-premium $3-400 range good quality skeleton watches?
There definitely are decent quality skeleton watches with automatic movements in this price range already, Rotary is one of the more popular manufacturers that do them.

I've not really made any progress today. I value @biophase opinion and hearing someone as accomplished as him in ecommerce say that they wouldn't personally start a watch brand makes the task feel more daunting.

On the other hand hearing from @Jake that MVMT are on track to do $90m is mindblowing. I knew they were doing well, but not that well!

I know that my next step is to go on upwork and give someone my ideas and get some sketches done. I'm procrastinating on doing that because my mind keeps worrying that I will sink significant money into this and not succeed.

My back up plan has been to buy residential properties to rent out, and I'm worried that by investing in this business venture I will take myself further away from my goals, but property is a safe option that will never allow me to drive an Audi R8.
 

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Thanks for the response Walter, as far as finding an assembler goes, can you find these on the same portals as you would for any imported goods (alibaba etc.)? I bought and read your book a while back and remember that you recommended definitely staying away from alibaba, I can't remember the website you recommended (I'll have to find your book on my computer again and re-read it) but would that website be a good starting point for finding an assembler?

As far as movements go, I had thought that it may be best to use Japanese, as although Swiss is higher quality, @exclusives88 found in his thread that it increased his production cost by too much. I suppose it really depends what your customer profile is, but I didn't have the watch geek community in mind as my target customer, so I think that Swiss matters less because of that.
In my latest book revision I have set out details on how to safely source on Alibaba. If you have purchase details from the time when you bought my book, email my support team. The address should be in the book you have but just in case, I will PM it to you. Give them the email address you used when you made the purchase and they will send you a free download link for the new version.

Now to business: Yes you can find assemblers on Alibaba, but the search keywords will be watch manufacturers. It will take a lot of effort to sort the good from the bad, and more effort to find ones that will allow you to provide or at least design your own bezel and face. You could even have them make a skeleton face for you, and they could design that for you with your brand name and/or logo on it.

For ideas on branding and labeling you might find my labeling book of interest. You can see the contents list here: Should I use Teespring or a manufacturer?

I only ever imported watches with Japanese movements, and never had a return. Using the much more expensive Swiss ones is only of value for the image, not for the reliability. Others , particularly the watch geeks would disagree, but the world of marketing is filled with expensive products whose main attraction is the high price. I give a staggering example of that in my labeling book.

I know the problems @exclusives88 encountered, and other Fastlane members that I have helped have also encountered a great deal of frustration. Despite my experience in importing and selling a lot of watches, I would not try to start a watch brand. My business was as a middle man, and the watches all carried logos owned by the customers.

Walter
P.S. I woudl like to add that although I often help people who will possibly be competing with one another, I am scrupulous in maintaining confidence.
 

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In my latest book revision I have set out details on how to safely source on Alibaba. If you have purchase details from the time when you bought my book, email my support team. The address should be in the book you have but just in case, I will PM it to you. Give them the email address you used when you made the purchase and they will send you a free download link for the new version.

Now to business: Yes you can find assemblers on Alibaba, but the search keywords will be watch manufacturers. It will take a lot of effort to sort the good from the bad, and more effort to find ones that will allow you to provide or at least design your own bezel and face. You could even have them make a skeleton face for you, and they could design that for you with your brand name and/or logo on it.

For ideas on branding and labeling you might find my labeling book of interest. You can see the contents list here: Should I use Teespring or a manufacturer?

I only ever imported watches with Japanese movements, and never had a return. Using the much more expensive Swiss ones is only of value for the image, not for the reliability. Others , particularly the watch geeks would disagree, but the world of marketing is filled with expensive products whose main attraction is the high price. I give a staggering example of that in my labeling book.

I know the problems @exclusives88 encountered, and other Fastlane members that I have helped have also encountered a great deal of frustration. Despite my experience in importing and selling a lot of watches, I would not try to start a watch brand. My business was as a middle man, and the watches all carried logos owned by the customers.

Walter
P.S. I woudl like to add that although I often help people who will possibly be competing with one another, I am scrupulous in maintaining confidence.

Interesting to hear that you wouldn't start a watch brand, I've now heard this from two forum members I greatly respect. Why would you not if you don't mind me asking?

Not enough to completely put me off the idea, but it is discouraging to hear this.
 
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Interesting to hear that you wouldn't start a watch brand, I've now heard this from two forum members I greatly respect. Why would you not if you don't mind me asking?

Not enough to completely put me off the idea, but it is discouraging to hear this.
I have no doubt that it is possible to succeed in a new watch brand venture, but there are too many cons for me to consider it.

Not that I would consider starting any business venture - I am enjoying my retirement and this hobby of helping new importers and eCommerce entrepreneurs. It gives me great satisfaction.

Among the cons, I see:
  • Massive competition. I have always preferred to establish a monopoly;) and I did achieve that, or very close to it in both of my major businesses.
  • Snobbery is so prevalent among the watch buying demographic. This could be used to your advantage if your marketing skills are good enough, but I don't like the idea of appealing to that fickle characteristic.
  • Intricate technicalities. The tiniest error can be extremely costly. The errors might not be yours.
  • True differentiation by design is a case of "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", so you would need a major market survey to be sure your design has the necessary appeal. Very costly, and results of such surveys are never guaranteed to work in practice.
If I were to start a watch brand, I would find a good looking watch preferably from a smaller assembler (manufacturer), that is standard production, with the best Japanese movement, give the face a totally new and impressive image, and sell that under my own brand. Otherwise known as private labeling.

Walter
 

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Just got a crazy idea.

What if you were like the T-Spring of watches?

Think about it, look at a lot of the watch brands that are extensions of existing fashion and designer brands. Michael Korrs, Fossil, Tommy Hilfiger, etc etc.

What if you created a platform or a service to partner with growing fashion brands and design and produce watches for THEM.

Hell, there are a lot of people on the forum here who dream of starting a clothing brand, how cool would it be if they could sell watches to their existing customer base?

Start small by creating a watch brand in small scale to get the experience designing and sourcing, get the networking and contacts to manufacture and source, then scale up by building OTHER people's brands.

When you're a millionaire, I'll gladly take 1% for inspiring you haha
 

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I also wouldn't consider starting a new watch brand from scratch for the same reasons that have already been outlined... but that doesn't mean you shouldn't. I would, however, consider a watch subscription service in the likes of Watch Gang or Eleven James.
 
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I have no doubt that it is possible to succeed in a new watch brand venture, but there are too many cons for me to consider it.

Not that I would consider starting any business venture - I am enjoying my retirement and this hobby of helping new importers and eCommerce entrepreneurs. It gives me great satisfaction.

Among the cons, I see:
  • Massive competition. I have always preferred to establish a monopoly;) and I did achieve that, or very close to it in both of my major businesses.
  • Snobbery is so prevalent among the watch buying demographic. This could be used to your advantage if your marketing skills are good enough, but I don't like the idea of appealing to that fickle characteristic.
  • Intricate technicalities. The tiniest error can be extremely costly. The errors might not be yours.
  • True differentiation by design is a case of "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder", so you would need a major market survey to be sure your design has the necessary appeal. Very costly, and results of such surveys are never guaranteed to work in practice.
If I were to start a watch brand, I would find a good looking watch preferably from a smaller assembler (manufacturer), that is standard production, with the best Japanese movement, give the face a totally new and impressive image, and sell that under my own brand. Otherwise known as private labeling.

Walter

Yeah I completely agree with your last two points and those were concerns I had. A big fear is that after ordering 1000's of units they could be defective which would leave me financially destitute, and also the fact that the aesthetic appeal of a watch is so subjective. The second point can be solved by using Kickstarter to launch the venture, but I don't think there is really a way to solve the first point.

I didn't really plan on targeting the 'watch geek' demographic, but more the demographic that would purchase a fashion watch like MVMT. I can't imagine many people who are seriously into watches wanting to buy a MVMT watch, but there is a big market there for people who just want something to look cool.

My idea for the watch design was based on a watch that is popular in the 'watch geek' community for it's aesthetic appeal, and I believe it would have appeal to the wider casual watch buyer. The watch was limited edition and brand new was retailing at several thousands of pounds. My goal was to bring the design aspects of this watch, which made it so popular, into my product (not completely copying it) and offering it at an affordable price point for the casual fashion watch buyer.

As you say though, it's incredibly subjective as to whether people will actually like the watch.

Just got a crazy idea.

What if you were like the T-Spring of watches?

Think about it, look at a lot of the watch brands that are extensions of existing fashion and designer brands. Michael Korrs, Fossil, Tommy Hilfiger, etc etc.

What if you created a platform or a service to partner with growing fashion brands and design and produce watches for THEM.

Hell, there are a lot of people on the forum here who dream of starting a clothing brand, how cool would it be if they could sell watches to their existing customer base?

Start small by creating a watch brand in small scale to get the experience designing and sourcing, get the networking and contacts to manufacture and source, then scale up by building OTHER people's brands.

When you're a millionaire, I'll gladly take 1% for inspiring you haha

That's a very interesting idea, I guess that the business model would rely on going direct to the manufacturer for each individual component of the watch and have it assembled separately to avoid the costly mark ups.

I can imagine a lot of starting capital would be required to get this sort of thing off the ground, and a lot of knowledge and contacts which I don't have at the moment. I feel like there would be no way to build contacts without having the vast capital required to order from these manufacturers though. Starting a watch company in small scale seems to be impossible, as Walter mentioned the other day MOQ can be a big barrier to entry.

There are definitely a lot of companies that come to mind when you mention growing fashion brands, especially small to medium sized brands that I have seen on instagram. The question is whether these brands would be interested in selling watches, and if they are why they haven't before (and whether my product/service would solve the pain point of why they haven't before).
 

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Yeah I completely agree with your last two points and those were concerns I had. A big fear is that after ordering 1000's of units they could be defective which would leave me financially destitute, and also the fact that the aesthetic appeal of a watch is so subjective. The second point can be solved by using Kickstarter to launch the venture, but I don't think there is really a way to solve the first point.

I didn't really plan on targeting the 'watch geek' demographic, but more the demographic that would purchase a fashion watch like MVMT. I can't imagine many people who are seriously into watches wanting to buy a MVMT watch, but there is a big market there for people who just want something to look cool.

My idea for the watch design was based on a watch that is popular in the 'watch geek' community for it's aesthetic appeal, and I believe it would have appeal to the wider casual watch buyer. The watch was limited edition and brand new was retailing at several thousands of pounds. My goal was to bring the design aspects of this watch, which made it so popular, into my product (not completely copying it) and offering it at an affordable price point for the casual fashion watch buyer.

As you say though, it's incredibly subjective as to whether people will actually like the watch.



That's a very interesting idea, I guess that the business model would rely on going direct to the manufacturer for each individual component of the watch and have it assembled separately to avoid the costly mark ups.

I can imagine a lot of starting capital would be required to get this sort of thing off the ground, and a lot of knowledge and contacts which I don't have at the moment. I feel like there would be no way to build contacts without having the vast capital required to order from these manufacturers though. Starting a watch company in small scale seems to be impossible, as Walter mentioned the other day MOQ can be a big barrier to entry.

There are definitely a lot of companies that come to mind when you mention growing fashion brands, especially small to medium sized brands that I have seen on instagram. The question is whether these brands would be interested in selling watches, and if they are why they haven't before (and whether my product/service would solve the pain point of why they haven't before).
I am commenting on the sentence that I have bolded in your post.

Most manufacturers would have a standard case and movement, with a variety of bezels to choose from, and you could simply offer a range of bezel designs to the fashion brand, with the face design and band being the only bespoke items. In effect that is what I did. If the fashion house wanted a new design bezel, I would be inclined to say that you could not do it without a deposit of $10,000. Myabe even decline the business.

Walter
 

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