Zinvo is a success story amongst Internet-native startup watch brands that developed products and marketing for the modern era of digital communication and consumer media consumption habits. Inspired by companies such SevenFriday, Daniel Wellington, and MVMT, Zinvo began with the idea of wanting to deliver something eye-catching and compelling to a generation of people who had probably never worn a serious wristwatch before. Now a more mature brand, Zinvo has successfully pivoted away from its core roots as a strictly direct-to-consumer company and sells watches both online, via its website, and through a growing wholesale network to a new breed of timepiece stores around the world. Over the years, Zinvo has experimented with a few designs while also updating the quality of its core and still most successful product: the Zinvo Blade. That said, Zinvo has also eschewed the common tendency to go radically upmarket and maintains very pedestrian product pricing. Even though Zinvo’s watches are modestly more expensive than their original pricing, the brand has impressively stuck to its guns by focusing heavily on the $200-$300 price point. Today, I’d like to review a version of the brand’s most popular watch collection, the blue “Cyan” version of the Zinvo Blade 44mm.
I am pretty sure the original inspiration for the Zinvo Blade was the Perrelet Turbine timepiece collection that first came out in 2009 (early aBlogtoWatch Perrelet Turbine article without the best pictures). Perrelet, a company that both celebrated its history with automatic rotors as well as modern use of dial-mounted rotors, worked with an external designer to create a wristwatch dial that evoked a jet engine. A free-moving rotor on the dial looked like the blades of a jet engine turbine, and the concept worked rather well for Perrelet for a number of years, though it never really propelled Perrelet into superstardom. While the Zinvo Blade isn’t a 1:1 emulation of the Perrelet Turbine, it is thematically and stylistically similar, for a lot less money — which I believe was the original point.
Zinvo’s founder didn’t just want to develop an affordable watch, he wanted to develop an eye-catching watch. Why? For two reasons. First, younger buyers aren’t looking as much for classic or timeless designs but rather want more expressive, showier watches that aren’t expensive. So, having a noticeable watch when trying to attract many younger buyers is a positive. Second, eye-catching looks are important when trying to attract attention via online marketing. What Zinvo found, especially when it came to early advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, was that having an eye-catching design for the product you are advertising prompts much more attention than lookalike or less interesting designs. Paying for visibility on those platforms was one thing, but you needed to actually inspire customers to purchase from you once you had their attention. I summary, Zinvo’s original success was due both to the product being appealing to younger audiences, and second, because of the available marketing tools at the time (which are either no longer available or vastly more expensive for the same performance) that allowed the products to be readily noticed by consumers. Zinvo easily agrees that in today’s online marketing and commerce environment, it could not pull off the same feat if the brand needed to repeat that same success.
The good news for Zinvo is that it pivoted to more sustainable sales and distribution strategies at the right time and benefited from the years of development and learning that allowed the brand to understand both its customers and how to manufacture watches. That leads me to a look at the Zinvo Blade Cyan, which is evocative of most of the current Blade models even if they come in different colors or have slightly different styles. The core personality element of the Blade watch is the design of the seconds hand. Rather than a hand, the watch uses a titanium turbine blade-style indicator for the seconds. A lightweight and strong solid piece of titanium is formed into the hand, which appears to spin around the dial. This is a very different effect than the Perrelet Turbine’s more free-spinning blade disc, but in a lot of ways just as, if not more, satisfying to watch. While pretty simple overall, this dial animation effect is fun, and it is why the Blade collection has continued to keep Zinvo competitive at this affordable price level.
Under the large seconds turbine blade hand are traditional hour and minute hands. To maintain the turbine effect, Zinvo color-matches most of the hands with the color of the dial (here a cyan blue) so that they blend in. Only the tips of the hour and minute hands are in a contrasting white color. There is a minute scale printed on the periphery of the dial, as well as an hour-marker scale embossed into the rehaut around the face. No matter if there is a confusing extra set of markers between the hours — it does help add to the visuals a bit, so we can forgive this instance of form over function.
This version of the Zinvo Blade is 44mm wide in-matte black PVD-coated steel. The case is also 12mm thick (not too bad) and water-resistant to 50 meters. Over the dial is a sapphire crystal, which is a good thing at this price point. The crystal also has the brand logo printed on its underside, which helps further add depth to the dial. Zinvo doesn’t give too many details about the movement inside the watch, But it’s a Japanese automatic mechanical movement with 42 hours of power reserve (likely a 3Hz caliber) that you can see through the exhibition caseback window. The overall fit and finish are pretty good for a timepiece at this price point.
Attached to the 44m Blade case is a silicone strap (on quick-release spring bars). It is comfortable, but compared to rubber, silicone attracts dust very easily (though it can be washed easily). The strap design is handsome, in mostly black with blue piping along the side and a taper for added comfort and style. If this particular version of the Blade doesn’t appeal to you but you still like the concept, Zinvo has produced at least 30 other variations of this core wristwatch product. A fun and inspired watch, the Zinvo Blade continues to feel fun. It remains a youthful watch with a simple appeal, but it does its job well and probably succeeds in making a lot of people watch enthusiasts (who may not have started as such). Price for the Zinvo Blade Cyan 44mm is $339 USD. Learn more at the Zinvo watches website.