We can promise you that starting up a micro watch brand is no walk in the park. Here is a little story about just part of creating the Stuckx watch brand which is currently on Kickstarter (and fully funded, so anyone ordering a watch now will certainly get one).
Let’s put it out there, you either use existing cases from one of many case manufacturers, put in a different dial and you are set to go and declare it as “new” on Kickstarter. This is happening under your eyes right now. OR you go the elaborate route and truly design your own watch. And look for the right suppliers for each part.
Trust us, the latter route is the hardest one, but also the only one for us. Now we might have a better starting point than most: working together with an experienced designer who has been making watch designs for over 20 years did help… Having sold other micro brand watches to end-users for over 7 years made us aware of customer expectations in customer contact and service. We, as you can say, roughly knew what we were up to.
OK, so we faced the same challenge all micro brands are facing: what movements to use in our designs. As a matter of fact, without deciding on the movement, the design cannot be made. As simple as that.
Now the funny thing is, when you try to purchase a Swiss movement being a non-Swiss company, things start to become hard. How hard? Full payment upfront and long, long delivery times kinda hard. Exactly something a small company does not like to hear. Then there is the grey market. Actually not a bad choice and many (also we) do make use of the overstock that is sold to trading companies. We use an ETA 2824 in our RocK models, as that movement is easy to service and to replace.
But still, what you really want is to have a relationship directly with the supplier and technical support when needed. Especially when aiming to bring an automatic chronograph to the market. If you mess it up in assembly, the boomerang effect will be huge and could even develop into a threat to your brand.
Choices indeed are limited. The ETA 7750 movement is the obvious choice. Well known and fully accepted. Expensive and yes, Swiss, with its obvious pros and cons. Then there are some Asian suppliers that really we didn’t even consider. Not that these movements are bad, some actually can be rather wonderful. It is the QC and large variance in quality that puts us off. Too big of a risk.
Luckily we already had a business relationship with the special Seiko team called TMI. Their only purpose in business is to supply Seiko movements to other manufacturers. We all know the Seiko reliability and great price/value ratio. Many micro brands use the TMI NH35 automatic movement or NE15 movement along the Miyota 9015 to replace the Swiss movements that are harder to source nowadays.
One of the latest additions to their offering is the automatic chronograph called NE-88. It features a column wheel, a vertical clutch and runs at 28.800 bph. When reading the specs you come away impressed and when trying it you just feel it is built to last. The combination of a column wheel and vertical clutch makes for a supple starting chrono hand without “jerk” as is often noticed in cam-lever operated chronographs.
Other rather famous chrono movements using a column wheel (in a totally different price range) are the Zenith El Primero, the Rolex 4130 and the Lemania 321. A column wheel simply is harder to produce, as it requires additional finishing of parts.
Seiko uses its 8R28 calibre with the column wheel and vertical clutch movement in their high end Ananta series. It was TAG Heuer to use the Seiko TC78 movement as base for their 1887 calibre. If TAG respects the build quality of Seiko, who are we to disagree?
The good part is that the NE-88 It is roughly the same price as the cam-lever operated ETA 7750 with horizontal clutch but with better sales conditions.
More importantly, the Seiko team actually works together with us to bring our products to the market. This means real support to our technical people and all documentation we could ask for.
So when we had to choose between going safe or going safer, we decided to trust our gut feeling and decide for the Seiko/TMI NE-88. This is a partner we trust and at the end that is what counts on the long run.
In effect it makes us the first micro brand to use the NE-88 movement (one could argue that Vostok, who used it in their Mriya model, outgrew the micro-brand status).
We take a leap of faith that the real watch lover will be able to see the value of a Japanese made Seiko chronograph with superior specifications and appreciate our boldness to simply step away from the tried and tested 7750.
We actually use the NE-88 movement in our “Bull” model that is currently available through Kickstarter. Price for this model started at 699 euro for early bird pledges. That is the advantage of running a direct sales model with no expensive organization on top.
As you probably will notice, we made a huge wink to the classic wedge shape bullhead watches of the seventies whilst adding details like a 3D cnc’ed ceramic bezel and a full 200m WR.
We were genuinely surprised to see the campaign reach its funding goal within only 3 hours after launch. We hope it is because people recognize the little details that make this bullhead different and hopefully more original than most watches offered on Kickstarter.
The same watch case concept is available with two variations of the Seiko/TMI VK series mecha-quartz movement. These offer a central chrono hand which runs almost smoothly at 5 bps and a three pointed hammer to give the mechanical feel to the pusher action.
We think these movements are amazing, and they help us to reach a price level that attracts both new collectors and experienced ones that want to add a bullhead chrono to their collection.
If you are interested, please check out our kickstarter campaign here.
And, obviously, you can check out our web site: stuckx.comSponsored Posts are a form of advertising that allows sponsors to share useful news, messages, and offers to aBlogtoWatch readers in a way traditional display advertising is often not best suited to. All Sponsored Posts are subject to editorial guidelines with the intent that they offer readers useful news, promotions, or stories. The viewpoints and opinions expressed in Sponsored Posts are those of the advertiser and not necessarily those of aBlogtoWatch or its writers.