Every so often as a watch collector of the eclectic variety you get fed up with the same names and more accurately, “styles” of watches that are around. You find yourself looking for something new, something different. Something that when you see it, you say “Oh, I like that. I really like that!”.
Now I don’t mean silly like some of the so called new or “unusual” or indeed interesting watches that can be found. You know the sort of thing – a totally way out odd looking lump on your wrist that for the life of you, you simply can’t figure out how to actually read the time on the darned thing! Instead of hands, it maybe has dots, or bars or flashing lights or any other mad interpretation of time they think of to be different. Mostly in my opinion they manage “silly” at best and “unusually” silly at that.
Forget all that stuff – what I mean are stylish classic looking watches with that “something” about their design, an individuality perhaps that also looks good. But not the same old “that’s obviously a Rolex” or an Omega or a Breitling or Longines etc. because you can tell them a mile away and they are just……too familiar……. and dare I say….boring.
(note I don’t include the Pateks or Vache’s or Breguet’s as they are simply in a class of their own and are always interesting).
Anyway I started searching around for such watches and found myself looking at the smaller manufacturers. Ones that may have limited production runs specialising in a select range of classic looking or stylish watches for the discerning……“sounds like an advert! Ha Ha!”
BUT – there are pitfalls of which to be wary when considering some of these lesser known brands. What is their quality, are they what they say they are and if the dial says Swiss Made or Made in Germany for example – are they?
Now because my search has highlighted a number of different aspects re’ what I call the lesser or Private Brand/Name market, I’ve split the blog into a number of parts.
Part 1 – Buyer take care.
This was the very first name I spotted that wasn’t familiar to me and this is one of the models that first caught my attention. A Bossart multi-function stainless steel automatic mechanical date watch. At 40mm diameter and 13mm depth it is a solid and good looking piece. 3ATM Water Resistant (lower than I thought) and a mineral crystal with a see-through back and the large crown protector adds a certain individuality to this watch.
This particular Bossart model I found on a retailer’s site though I note that currently is not listed on the Bossart web site. It’s called the “London” and has Bossart on the dial and whilst there’s no “Made in Germany” on the dial, it does say on their web site that the watch brand Bossart is a German registered name. Quoting from their site it says –
“In the heart of Europe in the steeped in tradition watchmaking country Germany in one of the oldest and at the same time most beautiful cities – Monschau, was created the watch brand Bossart®”.
I hope you will forgive me for assuming that the German registered brand name Bossart, might actually be a German manufactured watch. But appearances can be deceiving and in my opinion with that advertising blurb is very misleading.
However the blank watch shown here is a model manufactured in China and is obtainable from Million Smart Enterprises of Kowloon. And why am I showing this?
How about – Does it look familiar?
Million Smart are (presently) a highly successful Company with a huge output of Chinese made watches from Standard to multi-function to Chronometers to Tourbillons. Apparently from their 18000sqm Kowloon factory they churn out around 600,000 watches a MONTH. Now that’s what I call mass-production!
Many private watch brands use them and it’s quite easy. You simply check out their web site, choose the model/s you would like, check the minimum order quantity, agree the price, send a jpg of your logo and wait for the order coming in.
And that’s it basically – no overheads, no Quality Control, no after sales – no worries……….If a watch supplied to a customer is DOA you simply send another – problem solved. The profit margin should be enough to keep you well on the right side and any guarantee issues simply get the same treatment.
My concern here is not that a Company sets up to sell it’s own range of watches – that’s absolutely fine. Nor do I have anything against what may be a reasonable watch at an apparent bargain price of around €160.
My real concern is that you may well be completely and utterly mistaken in your assumption that you’re buying a German watch, with it’s associated traditions of quality watchmaking (remember all that hyped and frankly misleading web site blurb about German watchmaking tradition etc)……… and you’re NOT!
Instead you have got yourself a rather smart and “interesting” looking, but low quality mass produced Chinese watch with no vestige of European pedigree or tradition and which may be worth €50 at best.
So when looking for “interesting watches” – buyer take care!
Note – Part 2 – is called “Buyer beware” and for good reason – I hope to blog this soon – So look out for it.