It is a smart move, especially with LUM-TEC’s current business model – using its fans to design their next big seller. LUM-TEC is a newer US based watch maker with some impressive technology, and a serious dedication to their fans. The brand has always closely consulted with their customers of features, design, and distribution. The best way to connect has been online, so logically they sell online as well. Personally, I am a fan of LUM-TEC watches having reviewed their M3 watch here.
A new project for LUM-TEC is using their fans to actually design a new watch line that will be released in 2010. Using the watch enthusiast forum, watchandclockforum.com, LUM-TEC has a dedicated forum area where discussions among members are leading to heated discussions on all aspects of the new watch, and the way it will look. Separate discussions will cover elements of the new watch such as color, hands, case shape, strap, dial, etc… Polls will determine what design choices eventually make it in the final stages.
For LUM-TEC it is a great opportunity to design something for which there is already a market. The company can be sure that a hefty percentage of the design participants will actually buy the resulting watch. Why wouldn’t you? Especially after putting in months of time and feedback on what the watch will look like. Further, LUM-TEC will hold drawing for a free watch to those who participated in the process. Fans may also have the option of buying the watches in bulk together, in order get a lower price all around. Based on current LUM-TEC watch prices, the new fan designed watch will likely be between $300 – $500.
An exciting part of the process will be uncovered as designs get closer to something production ready. LUM-TEC will use talented graphic artist Russ Schwenkler to render life-like 3D models of the watches. This will give people an excellent idea of what the watch concept will look like, and allow for fine tuning the designs. I really can’t wait to see what some of the final concepts are, if just to see the artist renderings.
Curious about the LUM-TEC side of the project, I asked LUM-TEC President Chris Wiegand a few questions about the fan-made watch project:
aBlogtoRead: Crowd sourcing has been a proven method for getting consumer input and participation, as well as taking a lot of the uncertainly out of product development. What is it about LUM-TEC customers and fans that makes them specially equipped/talented to design watches?
LUM-TEC: “Most of our fans and customers are very much like myself in that they collect watches and know everything there is to know about them. They know what features to look for, they know quality when they see it, they can see a Rolex Sub on someone’s wrist from 10 feet away and identify it as a 1994 model with a tritium dial, they are what we refer to as the WIS community. Who better to get feedback and ideas from, than the true collectors, who know what they like best about each watch they own and desire? These people are what makes LUM-TEC what we are.”
aBlogtoRead: With groups also come a lot of opinions. Not all of them in agreement. How are you going to take lots of potentially good ideas about aspects of a watch, and synthesize them into making one or more marketable products?
LUM-TEC: “We are going to have several discussion threads going to drum up ideas, then we will make polls based on these ideas and let the people vote. We will go with the popular vote.”
aBlogtoRead: LUM-TEC fans and customers might be die-hard watch enthusiasts, but the majority of them aren’t professional designers. What is your advice to them when presenting ideas to LUM-TEC (or any watch company for that matter) so that their thoughts will be sufficiently visualized?
LUM-TEC: “This part is going to be easy! We will gather all the input and have our official artist “Dangeruss” from http://dangeruss-times.blogspot.com/ draw up the images in life-like detail. We can see exactly how the design will look. I trust people’s judgment. They are the final consumer so their wants and ideas matter most to us. This is going to be a lot of fun! I will love it if every WIS on the net will step up and get involved with the design. We can make a very serious watch here with this much input!”
I can tell that Mr. Weigand and LUM-TEC as a while has a lot figured out, and are just as excited as the fans to see the final result. Remember, this is an enthusiast’s passion, and it is a love for watches and personal involvement that really drives fun campaigns such as this. If you are interested in seeing how the design is progressing, or would like to get involved, you can visit the dedicated LUM-TEC watch design forum on WatchandClockForum.com here.
Image by artist Russ Schwenkler (Dangeruss).