We at WWR love crowdfunded watches. We really, honestly do. We think the future of watchmaking will come from the little guys, not the big brands, and as watch collecting becomes a bit more popular we can expect more and more folks to try their hand at creating a watch brand.

Here are our 12 Commandments of Watch Kickstarters, an important cheat sheet to use if you want anyone to pay attention to your campaign.



  • Thou shalt not make a Daniel Wellington clone and tell us about it. Look, I know a few people made a lot of money by slapping a NATO strap on a cheap watch. I’m very happy for them. But if it is your intention to make the world pay attention to your brand, maybe try to do something different? We know how much it costs to make a DW – not much – and we know you’ve found a great supplier in Asia. We want to support creativity, though, not copy-cats.
  • Thou shalt not claim to cut out the middleman. You are not “changing the game by cutting out jewelry stores.” This is an old, boring story at this point. In fact, jewelry stores are your friends. The watchmaker there will be servicing your brand long after you’ve abandoned it, and the sales folks there are the first points of contact for most watch buyers. I’m not saying “keystone pricing” is the way to go – it isn’t – but can’t we all just get along.
  • Thou shalt trend towards automatic movements. Watch lovers want automatic movements. You want quartz. I’d tend to listen to watch lovers more than your accountant. Know thy target market.
  • Thou shalt attempt complicated watches. It’s a bigger risk with a bigger reward, at least in terms of having made the bigger dare. But it will truly put you on the map when it comes to watchmaking. I know a lot of big brands phone it in – Rolex makes most of its money from dentists who buy the Submariner – but let’s see if we can push the state of the art forward.
  • Thou shalt try to make women’s watches. They represent 50% of the market and are accustomed to watches as jewelry. They’re an amazing market. Don’t ignore them.
  • Thou shalt have a story. Why you? Why now? Why this watch?  Don’t just tell us you couldn’t find the watch you wanted, and decided to make it. That rug is worn out.
  • Thou shalt not think quick-release spring bar bands are unique. They’re cool. Use them. But they are not your unique value proposition. They shouldn’t be the cornerstone of your brand.
  • Thou shalt not base your entire brand on the straps. If this is the story, you should sell just the straps.
  • Thou shalt not cater to fashion. Watch lovers don’t buy watches because they are fashionable. They buy them because they tell a story, offer a unique design perspective, or feature a great story. I don’t buy a Broad Arrow Omega Speedmaster with a blue face because I like to wear jeans.
  • Thou shalt be able to articulate who your audience is, and shalt respect them. Single mothers, ages 25-40, who enjoy scrapbooking. If you can’t define your audience that clearly, you won’t know how to find them as customers.
  • Thou shalt give advance notice. Telling us the day after you launch does not have us a lot of time to write. You should prepare a mailing a week before, outreach three days before, and a reminder just before.
  • Thou shalt provide good photographs. High resolution, minimum of 1024×1024, and not just of a model wearing it, please. Take a picture of the guts. We love the guts.



By John Biggs

John lives in Brooklyn and has loved watches since he got his first Swatch Irony automatic in 1998. He is the editor of WristWatchReview.

2 thoughts on “The 12 Commandments of watch crowdfunding”
  1. Disagree with the fashionable part. Established watchmakers are stale. Nomos is the only stylish watchmaker, and in the world of horology they are an upstart (never mind the fact that their design language is still retro). It didn’t used to be that way. In the 60s and 70s, watches could be both mechanical, practical and fashionable. Good design has value.

    Watch lovers like me trawl Kickstarter for decent quality mechanical watches that are visually pleasing, well designed and maybe even, god forbid, “fashionable”. That was never a dirty word until the watch world became a reservation for boring middle-aged horology snobs on the one hand, and the tasteless bling-bling crowd on the other.

    Watches are a luxury. Watches are jewellery. If I want a retro look, I’ll buy vintage (which I also do), but those were fashionable back when they were designed. Why can’t we do the same today without having to resort to throwaway quartz?

Leave a Reply