Micro-brands
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How do you all feel about them? Increasingly I see a number of them making attractive offerings at reasonable prices, which is always a winning combination. That coupled with supporting an American venture makes me a believer in some of these.
I actually joined the Kickstarter for this Martenero today to get the discount -
https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/martenero-kerrison-introducing
Not certain which colorway I'll go with but a smartly designed watch with some nice little touches and a solid movement for around $400 is pretty hard to beat. The movement could be more interesting, but at this price point you cannot be super picky about things like that.
So how do you all feel about some of these brands? I personally am a fan, I'd love to add the new Oak & Oscar chrono to my collection, and I've long wanted an Autodromo Stradale of my own.
Oak & Oscar Jackson
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Autodromo Stradale
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thumb_upCryptoB72, Edward Wong, and 16 others
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Skyblue314
14
Sep 18, 2019
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A lot of great designs, but all missing the history, tradition, recognition and prestige that the older brands have earned. I wouldn't mind purchasing one if I was younger, but as I enter my older years with a little more disposable income, I begin to realize that life is too short to bother with unproven commodities.
Sep 18, 2019
roamy360
72
Sep 5, 2019
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I'd say 75% of the micro brands are garbage. Over designed or under designed quartz models that are overpriced. Most of these I think they are trying to re-create MVMT watches, which are bottom feeding watches with no soul. That said there are some great designs in the micro brand watch world. I have been very happy with the quality of the many that I have bought. Like anything you buy, it should have a good design, be made with quality materials and components, and have solid craftsmanship. And I'd like to add: What is the deal with people complaining about micro-brands not having original or (in-house) movements. Most of the major brands don't even have that. Heck, Tudor didn't start making their in-house movement until 5-6 years ago and they still use ETA for a lot of their models. And they had Rolex to back them up for 70 years! OK, rant over...
Sep 5, 2019
Cfrank17
6
Aug 25, 2019
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Micro brands never have originality or in house movements. Often over inflated msrps being offered at massive discounts.
Aug 25, 2019
c0rnelius
1058
Nov 30, 2017
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I went to a watch fair this fall and got to see offerings from Halios, Oak and Oscar, Autodromo, etc.
As with any watch, it helps to handle before buying. Since most of these watches have generic movements, a good chunk of the quality (or lack thereof) can be seen and felt in the finishing and details. But when you can't see the watches in person, I think the second best factor is to trust the humans behind the brand. Look for interviews with founders and watch reviews. If you buy the story, you'll buy the watch.
The best part of seeing the micros in a watch fair setting is getting to meet the folks (or one-man show) behind the brands. There's nothing quite like putting a face to a name and getting the sense of accountability they have for their product design, QC, and service (and even answering their own emails!). If they nail that, then they earn my respect as a consumer.
There are interviews with Dan Henry and Oak & Oscar on the Worn and Wound Podcast that illustrate this well. They both discuss their level of personal involvement with design and manufacturing quality control.
That said--I wouldn't mind a Halios Seaforth and an Autodromo Group B!
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Nov 30, 2017
Cloaca
1883
Dec 1, 2017
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Take plenty of pix if you visit their offices. Represent yourself as a correspondent for Massdrop. Do an interview.
Dec 1, 2017
Vintage1982Benz
7967
Dec 1, 2017
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Look at the most recent video - Chase has the whiskey ready and waiting for me.
https://www.oakandoscar.com/videos
Dec 1, 2017
Vintage1982Benz
7967
Nov 16, 2017
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This is a good get for Autodromo.
http://mailchi.mp/autodromo/new-from-autodromo-black-prototipo-brian-redman-dlc-2402057?e=bba2d8b3dc
As a fan of their watches, and the Ford GT program, I approve. These are all _very_ bold color choices, I don't know that I'd be able to pull it off. I'd just go with the Stradale.
Vroom vroom.
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Nov 16, 2017
Cloaca
1883
Oct 26, 2017
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I think the Aquafin, a super-compressor automatic sapphire dive watch from Rebel in really nice. This is a couple of Ukrainian brothers in Brooklyn who hire Swiss watch guys and manufacture in Switzerland. They're selling via crowdfunding and on their website.
https://rebeltime.com
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Here's an interview with one of the brothers that reveals a lot about how you'd go about starting a microbrand watch companay, if you had a little capital, at least, which I think these guys did:
https://www.wristwatchreview.com/2016/07/23/interview-with-a-watch-maker-reuven-lakein-of-rebeltime-watches/
He's aiming at eventually going the Weiss Watch route and doing assembly in the United States.

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Oct 26, 2017
Cloaca
1883
Oct 27, 2017
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Yeah, I like the silver aviator. I gravitated towards the diver because I'm on an automatic-only, no-chronograph kick right now. But the design is great, the numeral font, the hand design.
Oct 27, 2017
AvionNDVR
344
Oct 27, 2017
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I just got into watches within the past few weeks. I'm on a I want everything phase right now 😂. I've been eyeing a lot of momentum watches' offerings as well
Oct 27, 2017
Cloaca
1883
Oct 24, 2017
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I spent a half an hour looking at screwball watches on Kickstarter. I'm not sure I could pull off this 46 mm Playskoolesque watch from Hal Robb:
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Oct 24, 2017
Vintage1982Benz
7967
Oct 24, 2017
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I dig the design, all the colors on the black reminds of the Chromocron.
https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/chromachron-a-radically-new-approach-to-time
Oct 24, 2017
Cloaca
1883
Oct 25, 2017
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I like the design too, but stylistically I don't think I can personally sell it: I would look silly on me, but the execution of the design is excellent, down to the number font with the flat-sided zero and 9 and the only-slightly-eccentric 4.
Re the Chromachron, there are a bunch of other "radically new" approaches to watch time on Kickstarter.
Oct 25, 2017
WatchDoctor
839
Oct 24, 2017
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I love the novel designs and the idea of micro brands in general and think supporting them is a great idea.
An observation that I have had is that the quality of the work is not on par with that of comparably priced watches from established manufactures such as Seiko, Tissot, etc
I think those bigger manufactures have perfected their process and also leverage economy of scale so they can deliver a higher quality (build and cleanness/perfection) at the comparable (or even better) price point.
So bottomline if you are not picky (i.e. little details and skirmishes don't bother you) and you don't drive your watches hard (i.e. take them off before playing tennis, or swimming, or action sports, etc) then these micro-brands are excellent. They are unique and different from everything else.
However if you are picky and you look at your watch dial closely, then you usually (per my experience) find little and minor defects here or there with them which will drive you nuts. Also if you like playing rough with your watches then they will break down rather easy (i.e. hands fall off, sometimes hour markers fall off, etc). So they are also not as sturdy as big-name watches either.
Oct 24, 2017
Vintage1982Benz
7967
Oct 25, 2017
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I think many of them look to a Miyota movement already - reasonably priced and with a proven track record. The ones I'm most interested in are doing a lot of this on their own, design wise, and then you are correct - outsourcing the movement and much of the assembly. Some are even working with people to design their own movements - see Oak & Oscar for example. As a result, their watches are priced as if you were buying a Swiss piece with hand made components.
http://www.oakandoscar.com/#best-craftsman
Martenero is one that collaborates more and uses the Miyota movement for the guts, but all design and assembly is done in New York City. I cannot recall where I had read it but they work with a family that is three generations of watchmakers.
A more comprehensive collaboration would be very interesting, but I don't know how open the Micros would be to it. I think a lot of these people left the larger corporate environment for a reason, so they can have complete control over the product and not have to compromise for the sake of marketing, cost cutting or whatever the case may be.
Oct 25, 2017
RayF
17082
Aug 26, 2019
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Gone but not forgotten, @Vintage1982Benz!
Aug 26, 2019