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Wednesday
Oct122011

Bespoke Wrist Watches Over the Web



In my opinion, there are only two kinds of great watches: The cheap, classic looking, functional, everyday watch (like the $30 Timex “Weekender” I just bought from from Amazon) and the kind you merely look after for the next generation (I do not own one of these). In between there are countless makers and labels of watches that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars but are likely made of commodity components and justify their price points with overdone retail experiences and New Yorker advertisements heavy on yachts and classic race cars. Most of these watches are not special, they are just kind of expensive.

For the same money or less I suspect you could design a watch that while lacking a dubious Swiss heritage and attendant pretense, would be unique to you and therefor, in some sense, timeless. Online customization tools are common in other consumer products (cars, shoes, computers, even homes) but after a short look around, I couldn’t find a decent one for watches.

This isn’t the kind of high-concept idea we usually discuss here at Not Stealth, but I thought it’s accessibility would stir some conversation.

I want to be able to log into a website and choose from several different movements, a wide range of case shapes and finishes, different materials and colors of strap or bracelet, the shapes and colors of the hands and face, and even the font the of numbers. I would pay at least $200 dollars for a watch that I designed, even if ultimately it didn’t look very different from one I could have bought off-the-peg, so to speak. This Bespoke Watch Company could add some social features such as highlighting and naming people’s designs for others to buy, and offering follow-up service or sales of parts of color variations on the original.

The need for something like this is compounded by the fact that younger people are mainly using their phones to tell time. This puts pressure on watch companies to give people another reason to buy a watch, such as self expression. Swatch did this well, but in a very 20th Century way, mass produced, disposable/collectible way. The time for the custom wrist watch has certainly come. Why doesn’t this exist already?