Watch Angels is a new 100% Swiss Made solution for getting enthusiast-grade crowd manufacturing watch projects from the idea phase to final, wearable wristwatches. Traditionally, wristwatch manufacturing projects require expensive middlemen or unreliable relationships with suppliers. Effective operations and logistics are also crucial in getting any wristwatch project done on time, on budget, and with the expected quality and guarantees.
Then, above all, in the traditional space, price is set by using “the factor,” which is a multiplier of all costs — and all the margins — in the supply chain. This pricing style leads to many of the inflated margins consumers complain about today. Watch Angels does not incur these costs because it produces in-house — and because the community itself provides the marketing. The model works by setting a fair price for all.
Importantly, Watch Angels also provides that extra layer of what is often missing in the relationships many entrepreneurs typically have with the factories that make watches, and with their customers.
Angel Backers Pre-Order Watches At Cost
Unlike Kickstarter, Watch Angels is hyper-focused on quality projects and has a community and collaborative aspect. Watch Angels introduces one new vetted project per month and then begins a three-phase process.
First, there is the “Angel” pre-sale phase whereby backers (the Angels) can purchase a watch at cost by supporting the vision and the design intention of the creator from the start, while also receiving a series of little extras. They are the de facto “angel investors” for the project, which is why they get rewarded with the cost price.
Design Brief Phase With Creative Feedback
After the Angel pre-sale phase, there’s a “feedback” phase in which the community gives the creator structured commentary — based on a design brief by the latter — on how to fine-tune the design intention, steering it to its desired final execution.
Public Pre-Sale At Wholesale Prices
Once the watch design is final, the Public Pre-Sale opens and the backers will receive watches at wholesale price (the price at which a brand would sell a watch to a distributor, who then sells it to a retailer, who then sells it to a buyer). These backers end up paying a bit more than Angel backers but also get to see what the precise final product is like before ordering, and they make the system economically viable with their purchase.
This system represents the “M2C” (manufacturer to consumer) economy that Watch Angels has activated in the watch industry. Watch Angels not only introduces a powerful player to the watch project economy, but it also offers a fresh way to enjoy the collecting hobby for many enthusiasts. Consumers who back watches on this platform save up to 4.5 times the value and 1/4 of the price compared to purchasing timepieces via traditional retail channels.
The Watch Angels factory-direct platform represents solid value to the wristwatch business space because it offers a valuable tool for wristwatch-creator entrepreneurs, as well as consumers seeking value prices for original products.
The First Project: Cedric Bellon Sustainable Tool Watches. The first 100% Swiss Made, 100% Recycled Stainless Steel, Circularly Produced Watch
The debut Watch Angels project is Cedric Bellon’s Sustainable Tool Watches, the first watch with a 100% recycled and certified stainless steel case, dial, and buckle, and is both 100% Swiss-made and has an 87% sustainability score (2.07 times the sustainability of a similar series Swiss-made watch). A full sustainability report can be downloaded here.
The Sustainable Tool Watch (as the name implies) is a tool watch in style, meaning it is functional and sporty, with a slightly vintage aesthetic to give it character. The recycled stainless-steel case is water-resistant to 200 meters and 40mm in diameter with a sapphire crystal. It features a second time-zone rotating bezel and two movement options with their own respective dial layouts.
The CB01-024 model has a traditional three-hand with date dial design and uses a Swiss Made Soprod P024 automatic mechanical movement. Its Angel backer price was just 495 Swiss Francs (all sold out), which goes up to 695 Swiss Francs during the public pre-order phase (retail price would be 2,348 Swiss Francs).
The CB01-14060, on the other hand, has a more distinctive dial with a subsidiary seconds indicator at 12 o’clock. It uses a special Dubois Depraz module over a base Sellita SW300 automatic movement. It had an Angel backer price of 750 Swiss Francs (all sold out) and will sell for 995 Swiss Francs during the public pre-sale (retail price would be 3,802 Swiss Francs). Both movements come from unused stocks of movements and therefore have not been specially produced for the watches to respect their sustainability principles. The public pre-sale starts on December 15th, 2020.