Crowd sourcing… seems like everyone’s doing it these days. And, why not? It’s probably the best way ever to realize your dream project. And as we’ve seen a few times over (Pebble, Anstead, Sioux City Watches), it seems to work out well for watch brands. Today, we’re going to take a look at 2 new crowd sourced projects, one for a dramatically inexpensive quartz watch, and the other for a lust-grade mechanical.
The first project is by a couple of young dudes in California called MVMT. Their goal? Create timepieces that don’t go through the normal price inflation of retail brands, thus handing the savings down to the consumer. Their video opens with a rather bold statement on pricing in the watch industry, one that we’ve discussed ourselves on w&w before, regarding the artificiality of luxury prices. While we all know there is a lot more to it than watch costs X to make so it should cost Y to sell, we also all know that a lot of watches, especially quartz retail watches, are simply too much money.
So what does their watch cost? Well, if you buy it now through indiegogo (yep, this one is not on kickstarter) it will only cost you $59, or around $100 retail… And that’s an undeniably low price for any watch. Of course none of that would matter if the watch it self was ugly, and fortunately these are decent looking. They are large watches, 45mm with 24mm lugs, with minimal, but bold dials and hands. The watches are definitely masculine and sporty, reminding me of Nixon watches and the like. There are a few different color and strap options based around black and white dials, black or tan leather and a steel bracelet.
MVMT is looking to raise $15K, which they are already close to achieving. Should you want to contribute, clearly the $59 dollar option for one of their watches is the most logical choice. These funds will get the brand on their feet, so they can develop more affordable watches. Hopefully moving forward they will also be able to make watches with some focus on the movements within, as a brand named MVMT might want to think about such things.
A. Manzoni & Fils
The next campaign we will be looking at is the A. Manzoni & Fils Canopus Weekplanner Watch. This project was started by Oliver Ike, founder of Ikepod watches, the brand know for its modern mechanical watches designed by Marc Newson. This new brand is in a similar vein as Ikepod, pushing the concept of contemporary design in luxury watches, but is doing so via reviving an old brand. Like the previous project, they are making the watch available at a fraction of its eventual retail cost via kickstarter, but since this is a Swiss made mechanical luxury watch, the price is $5,000 down from the eventual $15k.
The name A. Manzoni & Fils originally belonged to a Swiss movement manufacturer that existed until 1978. Reviving that name symbolizes the new brand’s dedication to Swiss manufacturing and craftsmanship, using Swiss made movements and doing all manufacturing locally. But traditionalism really stops there, as Mr. Ike’s other goal is to veer from classical watch aesthetics and push modern industrial design. As such, the watch was developed over a several year period with Finnish designer Ilkka Suppanen, whose style is stark and architectural.
A quick glance reveals their strive for a modern aesthetic. The watch has a rounded square shape with an elegant sculpted profile, tight tolerances and fine finishing. The shape is pebble like, with smooth lines that traverse from the domed crystal, all around the watch. The dial, which features a complete calendar, is textured and layered, giving it a sense of depth and detail. The mix of a fairly classical high-end complication and bold modern forms is intriguing and certainly different. On the inner most area is a unique pattern called “Cotes De Copacabana” (the wavy lines), which refers to Brazilian and Portuguese architecture and brings a different flavor to the watch. This pattern is also located on the rotor of the movement.
Perhaps the coolest designed element of the watch is actually the bracelet. The unique link design is crisp and attractive, clearly working with the design of the case. The clasp is particularly interesting, featuring a patent-pending fine regulation system, which allows the wearer to micro-adjust the fit on their wrist by depressing a central button. Lastly, a Soprod A10 with a Dubois Dépraz complete calendar module powers the watch. Admittedly, 15k seems like manufacture movement territory, which would also be in fitting with the brand’s heritage, but this is nevertheless a high quality movement.
So, what do they need to realize this project? A lot… or $850,000. Obviously such numbers have been achieved on kickstarter before, but not for a luxury product that even at a discount is over the price threshold of average consumers. Pledge packages start at $25 for a thank you PDF and go to $10k for a 2-watch set, but also include various interesting wooden and leather items. Naturally, we hope they achieve their goal, but can’t help but feel like it is a bit of a stretch. We also assume that given the amount of development already put into the watch that they have a serious back up plan.
And there you have it, two more watch crowd sourcing campaigns. I’m sure there are plenty of others that are live right now, but these being polar opposites seemed like an interesting duo to look at. One watch is about as cheap as possible, and the other costs as much as the previous brand’s entire pledge goal. It’s amazing and oddly promising for new companies that both use the same tools to fund and launch their brands, perhaps even hitting up the same pledges. Kickstarter and the like have really opened the door for a throng of new brands, which some might say dilutes the market, but as far as we’re concerned, the more brands that are out there the more options there are. Good brands and products will rise above the rest by designing unique, quality products and satisfying their customers.
by Zach Weiss