How to make money by starting a Minimalist watch brand
Editor’s note: The Minimalist watch brand is an unrelenting feature in the Sponsored section of your Instagram feed, and isn’t going away anytime soon. So if you were thinking of capitalising on some horological high-street chic without wasting any time in learning about the history of watchmaking, please enjoy this step-by-step guide to starting your own minimalist watch brand. It’s not as hard as you think.
We all have friends who wear watches made by brands like Daniel Wellington and The Horse. We also all know that these watches are, essentially, identical. Yet somehow these simple quartz dress watch lookalikes seem to net their savvy owners massive piles of dosh. Some of us may have even wondered about starting our own minimalist brand like this (I know I have). Well, wonder no more as someone (who has chosen to remain anonymous) has uploaded a helpful guide to Imgur.
Here’s the original, but we’ve reposted it in full below. Bravo, mystery writer. Enjoy.
With the rise of popular ‘minimalist’ watch brands of the likes of Daniel Wellington, The Fifth, and Larsson & Jennings, I have created a guide for budding watch designers who want to compete in such a saturated market. To achieve such a goal requires being able to stand out from the crown; to be unique; to offer a product that truly no other brand has offered before; and all at a price of $199 (or more/less depending on how much you’re spending on marketing)
NAME: Let’s start with the name. You’ll want to use a combination of two Anglo sounding names. A good place to find such names if you’re not very familiar with the English language (don’t worry if you’re not actually English, your history and heritage should have nothing to do with the name of your brand) Google ‘Popular English names’. Here’s a name I made myself, I got ‘George’ off the back of an old statistics textbook, and ‘Evans’ from the name of the distributor I saw on the label for the fish oil I’m using.
If Anglo sounding names aren’t your thing, feel free to use more mainland European sounding names. French and German surnames together are the best. The great thing about these names is that it creates this idea that your watch has more heritage and history than it actually does.
Obviously I don’t want to limit you to using just these sort of words, so I’ll suggest the use of random Latin words if you so wish. This makes your watch sound exotic and fancy, yet still grounded in Europe. I don’t know what any of these words mean, but it doesn’t matter because neither will your customers.
MARKETING: This is very important as this is a great way of showing off how unique your brand is. One of the best ways of doing this is talking about your ‘Story’. It’s all about finding the nicest looking picture of a European location and landmark and overlaying it with ‘Our Story’ or…
Other locations you could use are Monaco, Rome, the Swiss Alps, the French Riviera, or the Norwegian Fjords. It doesn’t really matter if your history or heritage is not in the least related to those locations, it’s important because your brand will look the coolest when you used a washed out picture of those locations with those words overlayed on it. Don’t actually use pictures of your real heritage, or where your actual watch is designed, produced, and distributed though, because it would most probably look something like this…
Now that you have your history sorted, let’s get you some social media presence.
Get an Instagram page. Make sure you fill it with images of your watch in weird unnatural settings and with people doing weird stuff to it. This way you can show off how really unique and one of a kind your watch is. Include: – Your watch being randomly thrown in the air – Your watch being worn oddly with the hand pointing up or reaching out for something – Your watch next to expensive items that are in no way related to your watch at all ALWAYS ensure there’s plenty of bokeh. No one is going to take you seriously if 90% of the photo isn’t bokeh. You don’t have to take these photos yourself too. You can recruit social media influencers (or really anyone with 1,000+ followers) to take and upload photos for you as well as post on their pages. Give them a 10% discount code that they can post with the photo. The most successful minimalist watch brand will always give discounts on Instagram.
Oh and don’t forget to throw in random photos of luxury houses, yachts, cars, and clothing too.
Include a diagram of how revolutionary your business model is, this is absolutely vital in order to stand out from the crowd. Ensure your future customers know how much of a rip off all other watch brands are because they make consumers bear pointless costs like rent and wages. Use words like: – CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLE MAN – UNIQUE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM All of this is to show that you really offer …
AFFORDABLE LUXURY AFFORDABLE LUXURY AFFORDABLE LUXURY AFFORDABLE LUXURY AFFORDABLE LUXURY AFFORDABLE LUXURY AFFORDABLE LUXURY AFFORDABLE LUXURY AFFORDABLE LUXURY oh and also how you’re…
D I S R U P T I N G T H E I N D U S T R Y
WATCH: Now that we have the important things like name, history, and marketing sorted, we can focus on the less important things in making a successful watch brand – the watch. You’ll want to mention how high quality your materials are like 316L steel. By the pure fact that this type of steel is designated with both numbers AND letters will prove to everyone how ultra high quality and luxury this watch truly is. Same with sapphire crystal if you use it. Sapphire is a gemstone, gemstones are jewels, jewels are expensive, expensive is luxury (Don’t tell your customers that a sapphire crystal is about $10 even when purchased in individual quantities).
This is what the case should look like. Small crown and straight lugs. Don’t fall into the trap of making something that deviates from this. To be really unique and ultimately successful, you will need to use this case shape. Don’t forget a rose gold and black PVD option too!
As for the hands, after long and hard research, I have found the two types of hands that will make your watch stand out from the rest. Don’t use any other hands because no other hands are as unique and one-of-a-kind as those above are. Don’t forget a rose gold and black PVD option too!
Just a reminder.
Now to pick the colour of the dial. You want to give your consumers an enormous array of options. So make sure you maximise the entire colour gamut that is available to you – white A N D black!
Now this is important. Make sure you use the best ‘genuine leather’ available, and make sure it’s from Italy, because the best leather is made in Italy, and there is only one type of leather, and the leather is identical across all the tanneries in Italy. Also dedicate a large portion of your website to describing the leather strap. You should talk more about the leather strap than any other features on the watch because after all, it’s the most important thing of a watch since it’s what keeps it on the wrist.
This is the movement you will likely be using. A Miyota quartz movement. Affordable, reliable, low-maintenance. However you’ll need to include on your website an unrelated picture of a mechanical movement, and a picture of screwdrivers and tools lying around haphazardly on a watchmakers desk like so:
Add the word ‘Craftsmanship’ over the top of it for that extra oomph
Now I saved the best till last. What you see here is the pinnacle of watchmaking. A Ronda 505 Quartz movement. A SWISS movement. That’s right, Swiss. You’re going to be paying big bucks should you dare put this in your watch. At a staggering $10.95 a piece (individual quantity), you can justify changing your pricing from $99 to $199+. Rightfully so, because with a Swiss movement, you are now part of the horological elites, the likes of Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Audemars Piguet (But since you CUT OUT THE MIDDLE MAN with your REVOLUTIONARY DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM you are stll able to charge a fraction of what those brands charge, after all, you are AFFORDABLE LUXURY). And there you have it. After reading this I hope that you can go out there and really disrupt the industry. Stand out from the crowd. Be truly unique. Below are some examples of equally unique and successful brands that have followed this formula I have created. Feel free to take some inspiration from them. Good luck!