In full disclosure I, Ariel Adams of aBlogtoWatch, am involved with a new business called Independent-Watches.com. In this article I am going to tell you the basics of what that website is, what prompted me to come up with the idea, and why I am involved as one of the founders. This is probably the last time you’ll hear about Independent-Watches.com from me via editorial on aBlogtoWatch. In the future when you hear about what’s going on with Independent Watches, it won’t be in my voice and will be via an advertisement (where messages like that belong).
Independent-Watches.com will primarily be a discovery platform for lower-production, independently-owned watch brands with a direct-to-consumer online sales model. Small watch brands around the world are started by passionate collectors who get the inspiration (and courage) to make their own products. If you think like these typically interesting entrepreneurs, then you’ll tend to like their watches as well. Why is that? Because they are usually in this business to make the watches they personally want to wear. I suppose that is what really distinguishes the types of products Independent-Watches.com is all about promoting – products made by watch lovers for watch lovers as opposed to someone who has heard “there is cash to be made in fashion watches.”
Independent-Watches.com won’t serve as a store for these brands but rather a marketplace and discovery engine helping consumers who are seeking these types of products. What do I mean by marketplace? Independent-Watches.com will not earn money each time a watch sells. In fact, the watches in the marketplace aren’t even sold via Independent Watches but rather, when a consumer wants to buy something they are directed immediately to the brand’s own product check out page. Independent-Watches.com will charge reasonable, flat monthly rates for the brands it invites into the marketplace and will earn the same revenue if a brand sells 5 or 50 watches per a month.
The goal of Independent-Watches.com is to alleviate the ongoing complexity and concern of marketing for enthusiast-driven small watch brands so that they can focus on making more and better watches. Our hope is that people who love watches by boutique, independent brands priced on average from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand will come to Independent-Watches.com as a destination to learn about new brands and products that are pre-vetted for quality and legitimacy by the team.
Are we talking about so-called “micro brands?” Maybe, but I don’t personally like that term. In the context of the wristwatch world, the phrase “micro brand” has often been used to define start-up brands who sell watches via websites and who use blogs and social media to spread word of their products. I don’t know the difference between a small and mini brand, or a micro or boutique brand. I’m not sure any of these sayings are anything more than a literary remark on how to compare these brands with bigger, corporate owned ones.
I prefer to define these brands by two things. First is production numbers which are usually in the few dozen to few hundred (or even thousand) watches per year. Second is what I talked about before, and that is to consider who started the brand. Is that person a watch lover themselves? Were they in some form or another an experienced and accomplished collector prior to starting a brand? Was their primary intention to produce a watch with a design that they wanted to wear, or at a price they felt something should cost? If you can say “yes” to most of these questions, then let’s just call it an enthusiast-founded watch brand that sells direct to consumers online.
This article serves to officially launch Independent-Watches.com to an audience, and is an invite for you to explore it and watch it grow. We’ve built and tested the platform and over the next few months will continue to add brands. We invite you to sign up for the newsletter if you want to hear about all the new watches and brands that will participate on the platform, and can of course give us feedback about functionality and desired future features. A quick note as well in regard to the future size of the Independent-Watches.com marketplace – it will never get above more than a few dozen brands. At some point Independent Watches will designate the marketplace as being “full” in order to preserve the viability of the customer browsing experience. For new brands to enter, we will need to ask others to leave.
Let me end by telling you who is involved with the management and operation of Independent-Watches.com. In addition to myself (founder of aBlogtoWatch along with my other accolades) the founding team includes Richard Paige (watchmaker, watch designer, accomplished watch retailer, and founder of Timezone.com), and Mark Carson (watch designer, small watch brand founder, software developer, and long-time aBlogtoWatch community leader). If you find that you like what you see with Independent-Watches.com and want to help in one way or another, we’d love to hear from you when you feel the time is right.
I know that I’m pretty good at making it clear when I don’t feel part of the watch industry is being operated or managed correctly. I probably won’t stop being a professional critic, but as much as possible moving forward I am going to be agreeing to opportunities where I can practice what I preach and help run businesses which keep watches interesting, fun, approachable, and honest.
The website again is independent-watches.com