Ever wanted to design your own watch? Well, here’s your chance.
This week, independent Swiss watch brand DWISS launched an exclusive design club that will allow its members to collectively design a Swiss-made watch. The ultimate goal? For DWISS and its members to win the first mutual design prize in watchmaking history. Unlike traditional crowdfunding efforts, subscribers will actively participate in the creation of the finished product they’ll eventually receive.
Called DWISS Club, it’s a unique adventure: over the course of a year, members will get the chance to vote on a vintage-inspired or high-tech case, choose a dial design, select everything from straps and buckles to color variants, and share opinions on what makes their preferred aesthetic tick. As the months progress, subscribers will get the chance to see their watch evolve before their eyes: from the final computer-aided designs to initial prototypes, then ultimately overseeing the assembly and production process. The first prototype is scheduled to be presented in Basel in May 2020, with production starting in March.
It’s a chance for members to become intimately connected with their future dream watch, a process experienced by precious few watch enthusiasts, save maybe those who already work at haute horology manufacturers. How often do you get to experience something truly bespoke, without shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to do so?
Backing up this design experiment is none other than the designer Rafael Simoes Miranda, who has designed hundreds of watches and luxury goods for Versace, CYMA, Bulova… even Sir Richard Branson, and won a dozen international awards for his creations, including Red Dot Design, one of the most prestigious design awards in the world.
Miranda founded DWISS in 2011 in order to build dramatically-styled watches to his exacting standards, but soon embraced the crowdfunding platform as a way to bring his creations to the masses as directly as possible. DWISS’s R1 lineup encompasses automatic, manual, quartz, and even tourbillon movements meant to appeal to the individualist. The RC1 Tourbillon, for example, employs a “mysterious” floating hand that highlights traditional design elements against a stunning Caliber Concepto 8950 Automatic Tourbillon, highlighted with unique colorways.
These are all well and sufficiently dramatic in their own right, but the DWISS Club takes this exclusivity one step further with a chance to collaborate on brag-worthy timepiece. And while design is one thing, the basic watch specs are legit: the Club’s eventual creation will be built using a trusty Swiss-made ETA 2824-2 automatic movement paired with a sapphire crystal, with a 316L stainless steel case, and a water resistance of at least 100 meters.
DWISS’s crowdsourced design club will last one year from sign-up to shipment, with membership limited to 200 subscribers (determined on a first-come, first-serve basis). It’s all part of a world first initiative to bring watch lovers together to create a timepiece that will then participate in international design competitions, according to Miranda.
For those who have already signed up (over 50 slots were filled within the first five hours of registration), voting has begun on one of four case designs: a vintage World War II-style round case with thin wire lugs, a thoroughly Seventies “tank-inspired” design with a hexagonal bezel, a slim and angular design with skeletal side carvings and a bold bezel, and a chunky, dramatic case with interchangeable straps and exposed screws.
Membership fees are $79 USD a month in order to participate in the action — although members can earn a free month for every new Club member they refer. The resulting watch will eventually retail for $1,390 USD for non-members.
Add it all up, and that means members will be able to score a fine DWISS timepiece for much less than retail price, to say nothing of the added value of an entire year’s worth of voting, debate, manufacturing and unveiling. And on the off-chance anyone’s not happy with the final design, members can choose to exchange the Club piece for a different DWISS watch.
Plus — just in case that wasn’t already enough — every month, DWISS will also be giving away one watch from their previous collection to a lucky Club member. Other benefits include a special discount for subscribers.