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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a few thoughts on my mind. First one is:

Are brands like Christopher Ward, Steinhart, Squale, NTH, Zelos and others still considered Microbrands? I feel like these brands have been out there for years now and they sell a ton of pieces (in the thousands as opposed to the hundreds). Based on this thread: Hottest Microbrands for 2022?? some of them are mentioned there as micro still. I mean not everyone has a name from the 20th century with some history, heritage or achievements, some will start somewhere and evolve from being "micro" right?

This next thought is way out there but hear me out. If a micro brand surpassed other established brands in the $1-9k range in build, quality, craftmanship, fit, finish, etc. Would it still not be able to command a higher price range because it does not have the history? The general watch buyer will never accept that? Nomos comes to mind as a brand that started in 1990 with no history and today they are very well regarded and can charge what they charge. That's 30+ years but they were good and well regarded during the last decade already. If there was one micro 20 years from now that everyone accepts as a household name, which one would it be?
 

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Christopher Ward definitely isn't

Note "micro" brand refers to the size of the business (number of employees and revenue), not how new or old it is. Not all new companies are micro. An older, more established company can still be a micro.
 

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You could ask @Chronofactum. His store is only micros, and I asked him if he would then remove a brand if they ever "graduated" from a micro and he probably would. So he probably has a concrete idea of a definition from a business standpoint.

I think of micro is more of a style of business than anything else. For example, neither Undone or Deep Blue are micros in terms of volume, but they are in terms of how they do things. They are essentially designers who make a request from a fabrication company to make the watch for them, or take a fab's catalog and order part 1 and part 2 and etc to lego together a watch. Minase is micro in volume and what they sell (many variations of a few basic types) but they make everything but the movement in house, even straps. And HH brands like Thomas Prescher and Roger W Smith also are micro in volume, but definitely not in business practices (basically individuals order a bespoke watch) and depth of ability, though shallow in terms of production capacity.
 

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If a brand is only available for purchase online it’s a micro
This is incorrect. Christopher Ward.


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Thanks for thinking NTH is doing enough volume to no longer consider us micro. I cant wait to tell the groupies we've made the big time.

But the truth is, we're still micro.

If a business can't rationalize having more than 10 employees, it's pretty small. Depending on the industry, even 50 or 100 employees would still qualify as a small biz.

NTH has one full time employee and five part time.



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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The industry has classified Christopher Ward, Steinhart, Squale, NTH, and Zelos as microbrands as opposed to mainstream brands — accept it for what it is.
I don't have a horse in the race, I accept whatever consensus but define "the industry"
 

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If a micro brand surpassed other established brands in the $1-9k range in build, quality, craftmanship, fit, finish, etc. Would it still not be able to command a higher price range because it does not have the history? The general watch buyer will never accept that? Nomos comes to mind as a brand that started in 1990 with no history and today they are very well regarded and can charge what they charge. That's 30+ years but they were good and well regarded during the last decade already. If there was one micro 20 years from now that everyone accepts as a household name, which one would it be?
Grand Seiko

Fit and finish...check
Innovation....check check
Value retention...NOPE

They didn't start as a microbrand and they still don't get to sit at the adult table. They set their prices but when you get ready to sell, plan on taking a 30% hit. Rolex on the other hand will earn you a tidy profit. I don't know what it takes to break into the rarified air Rolex resides in. It's not history, fit and finish or innovation, if it was...Grand Seiko.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Grand Seiko

Fit and finish...check
Innovation....check check
Value retention...NOPE

They didn't start as a microbrand and they still don't get to sit at the adult table. They set their prices but when you get ready to sell, plan on taking a 30% hit. Rolex on the other hand will earn you a tidy profit. I don't know what it takes to break into the rarified air Rolex resides in. It's not history, fit and finish or innovation, if it was...Grand Seiko.
Great point, I always thought they were there but I hear the resale value part.
 

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I’m not sure which brands should be micro and which should not, but did anyone see the YouTube vid where Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful) was introduced to a number of micros and asked to comment. But apparently the only way they could get him to sit down was to market his wine at the same time.

Are his wines any good?


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I’m not sure which brands should be micro and which should not, but did anyone see the YouTube vid where Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful) was introduced to a number of micros and asked to comment. But apparently the only way they could get him to sit down was to market his wine at the same time.

Are his wines any good?


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I noticed that too. Never had any of his wine. Not a person I really feel like contributing to anyway.
 

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I’m not sure which brands should be micro and which should not, but did anyone see the YouTube vid where Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful) was introduced to a number of micros and asked to comment. But apparently the only way they could get him to sit down was to market his wine at the same time.

Are his wines any good?


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I watched that too. Kevin O'Leary clearly has a lot of expertise to share re: watches, but when he was so abruptly taken aback at a Brew watch because it "looked like a Patek" I had to do a double take. I think the Brew watches are great (another great microbrand), but wouldn't confuse it for a Patek unless it was at least 50 yards away!

I think microbrand often has a negative connotation when used to describe a company. I don't agree with it every time, but I think people sometimes use that label to describe cheaply constructed watches with off-the-shelf cases and dials that don't offer anything unique - or watch companies that are unfunded or on kickstarter. It's unfortunate because I agree with others here that it is referencing the size of the company and/or sales volume, but often time the term is used as a derogatory term.
 

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I'd argue that if the brand at least has the manufacturing capability to make their own cases, bezels, dials, etc., then they are starting to move away from micro territory.
I agree - I would also say that the number of watches they keep in stock factors into whether they are micro or not. Often times micro companies release a watch, it's available for a few hours to a few days, then it's gone until they can produce more - in like 6 months. Christopher Ward seems large enough to have a lot of stock on-hand, so I think they've moved away from micro.
 

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The industry has classified Christopher Ward, Steinhart, Squale, NTH, and Zelos as microbrands as opposed to mainstream brands — accept it for what it is.
I'd be interested in seeing this industry classification. 10 min on Google found nothing.


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The industry has classified Christopher Ward, Steinhart, Squale, NTH, and Zelos as microbrands as opposed to mainstream brands — accept it for what it is.
I hear this term "the industry" being used for some apparently authoritative person or group who makes determinations like this, but I've never gotten a clear answer on who they are exactly. Who decides whether a company should be called a "micro brand" or not?
 
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If a brand only ensembles different parts produced in other factories, mainly from Asia, it's a good indicative of microbrand.

If a brand only sells watches in their website, it's another indicative.

If a brand pays youtubers with free samples or money to give good reviews, it's another indicative.

IMO, CW is clearly a microbrand.

But the only way to differentiate this would be by comparing the total sales divided by the number of watches.
 
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