When asked, most people can list the biggest watch brands in the world. The typical answer you’ll hear will include brands like Rolex, Tissot, Tudor, and similar. The big players are often associated with tradition and class.
These brands aren’t going anywhere. Their tradition and legacy are what’s keeping them on the list of most wanted watches in the world. But, these traditional brands have a new kind of player that they have to compete with on the market. We’re talking about microbrand watches.
Microbrand watches are watches made and sold by independent privately owned companies that produce limited quantities of watches each year and sell directly to the consumer, hence, the traditional overhead and high margins that get added into the price of the watch by traditional retailers are not there.
Moreover, if you choose a good microbrand watch you will be getting a wholly unique timepiece. They are often created in limited batches which has led watch collectors to add high-quality micro brand watches to their collection.
Microbrand watches got a head start in the mid-2000s. The rise of eCommerce and the internet enabled watch companies to distribute their goods directly to consumers. This meant they could eliminate some of the costs associated with traditional retail channels. Microbrands don’t have to worry about retail locations, physical stores, and they can operate on lower marketing budgets.
Let’s take a closer look at all the differences and similarities between microbrand watches and highly branded watches. Is one better than the other? Let’s find out.
More Value for the Price
Price is the main competitive advantage microbrands have over traditional watch brands. We already mentioned that most microbrand watches operate 100% on the internet. They don’t have to deal with physical locations and retailer cuts. They can operate with fewer people on the team, and they can get by with smaller marketing budgets.
But the lower price of the microbrand watches doesn’t necessarily mean they are of lesser quality. While it is true that some microbrand watches started as copycats of big brand watches, we now have savvy entrepreneurs with a passion for watches that are creating amazing watch pieces.
As you see, not all microbrand watches are made equal. You have cheap brands that do everything they can to bring the production costs down and don’t really care about the quality of the product. You also have microbrand watches that can rival traditional watch brands when it comes to quality. And they can deliver that at a fraction of the costs.
At Ferro & Company watches, we’re proud to be a part of the second group. We firmly believe that our watches can compete with wristwatches selling for ten times more than the watches in our store. We never compromise on quality, and we only use the best materials and watch movements.
You, the consumer, have to make the research when buying microbrand watches. Make sure you pay attention to the materials and movements used. Good microbrand watch sellers are happy to share what they use in their products.
Many of our happy clients also collect big brands such as Breitlings and Omegas and are very satisfied with our watches quality.
Quicker to Design and Produce
Another important advantage microbrands have compared to traditional watches is customer-centric design. The reality of business is this - the more you scale your operations, the harder it is to make changes. And that’s what traditional watch brands must deal with.
Brands like Tissot and Rolex are built on decades and centuries of tradition. They have very rigid manufacturing processes to ensure every piece they produce is worthy of their name.
On the other hand, Microbrands can create new designs and produce new lines a lot quicker. The number of watches they produce is a lot smaller, and they can make changes in the production line a lot easier. Every line they create is expected to run for a limited time. Once this period ends, the microbrand can decide if they want to continue with the same model or create something new.
It’s also a lot easier for microbrands to try new models. You can imagine how many people have to agree on a watch design in a traditional watch brand like Longines or Cartier. Microbrands often operate like startups, and only a few people have to agree on a new design.
This flexibility enables microbrands to act on their customers' needs. They can design and produce pieces that their target audience wants a lot quicker. This makes microbrand watches very popular in the online world, where shoppers have very specific wants and desires.
You can be assured that traditional watch brands will never go out of style. Wearing a Rolex that’s a couple of decades old is more than fine. That’s the appeal of traditional watch brands. Microbrands offer the opposite. If you want to have the latest style and interesting designs, go for microbrands.
They are Daring
We mentioned that microbrands can afford to try new models and produce new designs quicker than traditional brands. This puts them at a distinctive advantage since they are capable of acting on customers’ needs faster.
The customer-centric approach enables microbrands to carve a niche for themselves. They can listen to the feedback they get from their customers and create wristwatches they know will resonate with shoppers. That’s exactly what we’re doing at Ferro & Company watches. We know what our customers want, and we listen to what you have to say. All our watch models are a direct response to your desires.
The ability to create new designs and produce new watches, paired with the customer-centric approach, enables microbrands to try bold things. You’ll never see Tissot and Rolex try daring designs and use striking colours. But you will easily find this in microbrands.
Microbrands aren’t afraid to be different. That’s how they compete in the market. If they want to attract the attention of watch shoppers, they have to offer something that’s different than what traditional brands are offering. And the lower price alone often isn’t enough.
Branded watches thrive on their traditional designs. They’ve been producing the same models for decades, and they will continue to do so for decades to come. Microbrands are here to fill the void that branded watches can’t.
Bold colours and innovative designs are synonymous with microbrand watches. You can find your favourite daring watch in our online shop.
So, now that we’ve gone through some of the differences between microbrands and branded watches, which are better?
Honestly, there’s no simple answer here. Traditional watch brands aren’t going anywhere. People still love the elegance and the tradition of Rolex, Tissot, and Cartier watches. They are high-quality, reliable, and often used as a symbol of success.
Microbrands differentiate themselves by providing daring designs and lower-priced models that rival the quality of branded watches. It’s up to you to decide which of these characteristics is more important to you.
But remember, you can get a lot of microbrand watches for the price of a single Rolex. And that’s definitely something to keep in mind, especially if you’re buying premium microbrands like Ferro & Company watches, which are made from the same quality materials and movements as branded watches.
We are a Canadian micro brand watch company and started our love and passion for watches right here in Vancouver, Canada. The city where Lulu Lemon, Aritzia, and Acrtytx started as micro brands and now are global brands.
i’ll start out saying your watches look impeccable, myself never having purchased one however.
further, i’ve been a huge supporter of microbrands, having purchased more than a dozen different ones over the last 4 years. while i have some stellar purchases, sadly a good 50% of them had quality control issues, most of those returned. not major issues, but something justifiable to get a refund. several, surprisingly, gave me a hassle returning the pieces for such things as a 3mm blob of unfinished metal protruding from the bronze bezel, or backplaying/misaligned bezels. others i was so disgusted i didn’t even bother to try and return, just took a loss (one a very well known microbrand with a badly brushed polished half of the case).
i’ll still buy one now and then, but give them a full on exam prior to taking off any labels or tags, or putting them on. full bezel revolution/alignment test, etc, etc. to be honest, this is something i also have learned to do with any purchase, major brand or not.
while i love the concept, excitement and energy of these watches, each microbrand is different from another and may have very different standards of quality control (just as Seiko states that a certain amount of misalignment is acceptable under their standards, which i disagree with). enjoy these often affordable and often excellent value pieces, but as an American president once said: Trust but verify.