Dear Kickstarter Watch Makers,
Hi. We have to talk. We love you a lot and we’re happy to write about you all day long. But you’ve got a problem: there are a lot of crowdfunded watches out there and you’re about to embark on an adventure in a crowded world. We’re going to fix this for you, but let’s go through some basics.
Before you launch your campaign you have to answer three questions. These questions are as much for us as they are for yourself:
- Why wristwatches?
- Why you?
- Why now?
I know, I know – you’re all making super-minimalist wristwatches that have been designed within in inch of their lives, and you’ve given weeks of thought to each detail, right down to the week and a half that you spent staying up until 3:35am each night, sweating over the length of the minute hand down to the hundredth millimeter and the proportional relationship to the hour markers. Great stuff.
You’re making wristwatches in order to make the world a better place. You’re making them because you cherish the memories of your grandfathers, who took you watch-shopping for classic timepieces. And, more genius, you’ll take to crowdfunding sites to get them made!
I love you and your small team, ready to dive in and become a watch brand. I do. But you must have a reason for existing that makes sense, and you must have answers to the three questions I led off with.
If you say you’re making the world a better place and wristwatches are your vehicle to do that you need to explain how exactly you’re making the world better, and what on earth watches have to do with it. If you’re just selling mediocre watches to fund your charitable goals, that’s fine, but say so, and don’t expect to get a boost to your campaign on the basis of the quality or lack thereof of the timepiece.
If you say that you’ve chosen only the very best details, and speak with glowing praise about your mineral glass, I’m going to be disappointed. Tell me why you made the choices you did, especially if they’re compromises you made on the way to making a product. I’m fine with mineral glass (well, maybe.) but please discuss it openly, so we know why you made the choice you make. Otherwise, I have to wonder why buying your watch is a better decision than buying a Timex Weekender.
If you say that design is what drives you then talk about what you value, what are the design hallmarks that make your watch identifiably, uniquely yours – and not the same as every other
snowflake watch on a crowdfunding campaign.
I see you there, with your campaign to make watches, and you’ve got four designs, two vintage, and two modern, with no explanation of which one really ignited your passion – or which one is closest to your heart. It makes me sad. In absence of any explanation, it shows me that you’re making one of everything to please everybody, because you don’t know what the right answer is, and above all, want to raise money.
And it’s okay to make different styles of watches. One small watch brand exists to make watches in the 39-40mm size, because they feel that sensibly sized watches have been neglected in the recent years’ rush to 43, 45, 46 and larger case sizes. But you have to tell us why. Give us something we can use to identify ourselves. We’re just as likely to be your consumer as your curmudgeonly old watch reviewer. (I say old, because the site is the oldest, most established watch site on the web, and one of our writers is 48. The rest of us are very young and hip, I swear.)
Here, then, are the rules of engagement.
- Come prepared with high resolution photographs that are at least 1024 wide.
- Come with clear statements about why you were compelled to make a wristwatch,
- Explain why only you can make it,
- Explain why it’s distinctly yours, and
- Explain why now – why the world is overdue for having your watch in it.
If you haven’t answered these things, if you make me request the photographs, and then fail to respond to the request for photographs, I don’t know how I can help you. And it’s more than one of you crowdfunding projects that have done this to me in the past week alone.
I know you read this (or maybe you don’t) and think I have no love for you at all. You couldn’t be more wrong. I want to see you succeed. I want to see you thrive. But I want to see you make something you truly believe in. You musn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger than to place an order at a factory in China and sell them on as pre-orders. Challenge the factory: ask them to make it thinner, lighter, a shape they don’t currently have in their stock, something that doesn’t get asked for everyday. Work with their engineers, pushing for something that speaks to you, that resonates with you.
And if you can do that, and then tell us what it is that really causes it to crank your flivver. We’ll respond with all the love and attention you deserve.