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Thread: The Rise and Rise of the Micro Brand

  1. #1
    Grand Master
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    The Rise and Rise of the Micro Brand

    This isnít a new phenomenon, Eddieís been in the game since 1996, however I see the future being very bright for the various micro brands out there which is great news for them and us!

    As a consumer I want good design, quality materials, reliability, competitive pricing and the ability to purchase when I want toÖ.that wasnít a dig at Eddie, just a requirement of mine.

    Over the years Iíve owned Timefactors, Newmark, Wolbrook, Scurfa, Benarus, Boschett, Scurfa, MKII and many others and have almost always been impressed. There are also others such as (but not limited to) Helm, Zelos, Ocean-X, NTH, Unimatic, Raven, Lorier, Halios, Formex and Baltic that Iím keen to try.

    What all of these have in common, in my opinion anyway, is a tremendous value proposition; usually NHxx, Miyota or Ronda movements, good (100m) to excellent (500m) water resistance, screw-down crowns, 12 Ė 24 month warranties and quality packages i.e. presentation box, extras straps etc.

    In this world of social media itís now easier than ever to get products out there which is why I think the rise will continue for those offering great watches at great prices.

    Long may it continue!

  2. #2
    Master James_'s Avatar
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    Been through many microbrands but never kept any of them long. Not had one in years apart from a Newmark 52 which is a classic design. Most of them are a mess design wise. Also a lot of them are overpriced, all depending on how much the owner wants to line their pockets. Which is fair enough but I'm not contributing to their BMI for a 4R or 90 powered £500 cookie cutter sub homage with a silly name and a fruit bowl dial. Thankfully for them there are daft people that buy into their shtick who think they are getting exclusively and also a sense of community via brand support.

    Eddie does it mostly right reviving classic designs and occasionally adding a modern twist like the PRS40.
    As mentioned I think Ewan (Newmark) is getting it right too.
    Kemmner was another one.
    Some Chinese based ones are pretty good too like Helson and Armida who already have some modern day classics like the Shark Diver, and are usually available all year round. Then there's Steinhart of course.

    All the ones like Zelos, NTH, Halios etc I don't care for.

  3. #3
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    More choice for relatively small outlay (in the grand scheme of things) is a good thing, but as James_ says there are good and bad.
    I tend not wear the ones (including timefactors) I have and whilst I am not a flipper its the microbrands that tend to be sold. The one Microbrand watch I do wear and it will never be sold on (until I actually buy the original) is the Helson Sharkmaster 600. It punches well above is price and 'lowly' origins, to be honest it better made than the originals I have handled.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by James_ View Post
    Been through many microbrands but never kept any of them long. Not had one in years apart from a Newmark 52 which is a classic design. Most of them are a mess design wise.
    Also a lot of them are overpriced, all depending on how much the owner wants to line their pockets. Which is fair enough but I'm not contributing to their BMI for a 4R or 90 powered £500 cookie cutter sub homage with a silly name and a fruit bowl dial. Thankfully for them there are daft people that buy into their shtick who think they are getting exclusively and also a sense of community via brand support.

    Eddie does it mostly right reviving classic designs and occasionally adding a modern twist like the PRS40.
    As mentioned I think Ewan (Newmark) is getting it right too.
    Kemmner was another one.
    Some Chinese based ones are pretty good too like Helson and Armida who already have some modern day classics like the Shark Diver, and are usually available all year round. Then there's Steinhart of course.

    All the ones like Zelos, NTH, Halios etc I don't care for.
    Horses for courses, and personal preference as always: I've picked up a few microbrands over the years and have almost universally enjoyed what I've purchased. Haven't flipped one yet. Jason @ Halios in particular is an admirable enthusiast with considerable industry pedigree, and I like what he does. I wouldn't agree that 'most' microbrands are expensive - Landeron, Briston, CWC, Squale, Lip, Archimede, Geckota, Gerlach and Wolbrook all make well manufactured and finished watches with proven movements that are good VFM. They're not exclusive but don't, I believe, make any claim to be so. Steinhart is particularly guilty of the sub-Sub derivatives you mention, but there are plenty of other options - decent, smaller companies with interesting stories, run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts. Personally, I'd rather spend my money on one of these versus a rather anodyne and characterless Tag F1 or Aquaracer.

    SGR

  5. #5
    I’ve had a few, a Helson Skindiver and an Ancon Tank which went last year. Both had Miyota 9015s and were excellent time-keepers. The Helson bugged me as there was something about its looks which wasn’t quite right and the Ancon was an impressively huge lump of bronze but with cheap looking hands - if I’d known James Hyman back then I would have had him paint the hands and relume it - would have made a world of difference.

    Wore a Debaufre 47mm B-Uhr daily for years and that was superb - had the case and crown bead-blasted so it really looked the part with its sterile dial.

    Had a Wolbrook briefly but that was a bit Christmas cracker.

    Right now I have an Undone Snoopy Space Heritage bought off SC which is quaint and stops me wanting an expensive Omega but I’d consider it a novelty watch - not in the same league as the Helson or Ancon in terms of quality.

    I’m waiting on a 40mm Hemel Air League which looks too good to be true and just picked up a cheap Benrus Air Chief at 60% off in their sale - plan is to relume that one etc to see what I can make of it.

    Also have a couple of Bulovas and Timexes but I’d count those as just cheap watches rather than microbrands.

    The other one I have my eye on is the Swedish brand called Malm - neat looking chronos with some interesting aircraft-style details which don’t look cheesy for a change.

    Regards

    Jon.
    Last edited by StampeSV4; 8th April 2021 at 18:34.

  6. #6
    Master helidoc's Avatar
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    Iíve have had 3 micro brands in the last decade, a Lum-Tec, the PRS29a, and my current Unimatic. Iíve found the struggle these brands have is trying to balance price, quality, design and originality. It was getting a first Gen Seiko Monster that put these factors into perspective for me.

    Iíve just added my first watches from Sinn and Damasko, and although a lot more expensive than the micro brands, I think they balance the above factors in a more compelling way.

    My Unimatic is my only micro survivor, and Iím conflicted about it, I like the design and bezel action, but then itís expensive for a 4R movement and the crown action isnít great.

    No disrespect intended to their admirers, but Iím not sure I will add another.

    Dave


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  7. #7
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    The A13-A pilot watch is an excellent watch. Itís a shame the automatic version didnít make it off the drawing board but personally I think it was going to be too thick.
    I also like the look/sound of the Sangin Instruments watches too.

  8. #8
    I am not so sure about rise and rise of micro brands if anything they seem to have dipped in popularity of late. I had always thought of micro brands as offering good quality for low prices as you are cutting out the middle man, no advertising etc... To this end there used to be quite a few decent brands to choose from. The downside of micro brands are the many horror stories of customer service (Ignoring customers once money is handed over, refusing returns etc) Or just general poor quality (watch cobbled together falls apart as soon as the less than useful warranty expires) The other problem I have noticed recently is the prices are rising but the problems remain the same. Gone are the days of paying a few hundred for a watch that will be a bit of fun and welcome to paying several hundred instead.

    Still some decent brands out there Stowa is a good example as are Tourby and its nice to see a few small brands in the UK like Mr Jones, Farer etc rather than mess about with all this customs nonsense and Steinhart seem to be still keeping to the basic principles of what a good micro brand should be but for a cheap reliable watch Orient, Seiko and Citizen have far too much to offer and far less risk.

  9. #9
    Craftsman Idontgram's Avatar
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    I really like the variety that new micro brands bring and the fact that they usually offer an alternative to affordable Japanese watches.

    Having said that, most of them have to be bought sight unseen and are subject to import tax, making them an unattractive proposition. They are usually issued in low numbers too, meaning that even if you want one, itís a bit of a challenge getting one.

    Not sure I would count Stowa / squale in this camp as others have, but I understand why one might think of them as microbrands

  10. #10
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    This is the key question...
    What is a microbrand?
    I donít see Squale, Stowa, CWC as microbrands, more niche, small volume makers. That might just be me though.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    This is the key question...
    What is a microbrand?
    I donít see Squale, Stowa, CWC as microbrands, more niche, small volume makers. That might just be me though.
    True, wasnt the term "Boutique brands" another one thats been used?

  12. #12
    Master
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    All watchmakers were originally what we call micro brands. One master watchmaker and a few apprentices. I find so called micro brands much more interesting than the macro brand same old same old.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiny View Post
    All watchmakers were originally what we call micro brands. One master watchmaker and a few apprentices. I find so called micro brands much more interesting than the macro brand same old same old.
    I am not sure getting a watch outsource made for you in bulk is the same as a master watchmaker building a bespoke watch by hand.

  14. #14
    Master helidoc's Avatar
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    If your manufacturer is made by someone else , eg in China, and the only function of the company is marketing and, then you are a micro brand, or small internet based vendor. There is a level beyond this with local watch assembly from parts usually sourced overseas. Beyond that you get into local production of components and local assembly. Itís really hard to hard to know, and the reality if often obfuscated by the seller,

    Kiki Picasso had a famous boutique diver definition that had a lot of truth to it


    https://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.p...outique-divers


    D


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  15. #15
    Master helidoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    I am not sure getting a watch outsource made for you in bulk is the same as a master watchmaker building a bespoke watch by hand.
    And as Iím lining up Habring as my next (final?) addition, I couldnít agree more

    D


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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by helidoc View Post

    Kiki Picasso

    That the bloke with the multiple ebay accounts that uses the forum as his own private business to buy goods low and sell on ebay for a huge profit?
    Last edited by robert75; 8th April 2021 at 21:58.

  17. #17
    Master helidoc's Avatar
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    Sorry
    More the quote than the individual.


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  18. #18

    The Rise and Rise of the Micro Brand

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    Last edited by Quality Man; 9th April 2021 at 09:12.

  19. #19
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sinnlover View Post
    More choice for relatively small outlay (in the grand scheme of things) is a good thing, but as James_ says there are good and bad.
    I tend not wear the ones (including timefactors) I have and whilst I am not a flipper its the microbrands that tend to be sold. The one Microbrand watch I do wear and it will never be sold on (until I actually buy the original) is the Helson Sharkmaster 600. It punches well above is price and 'lowly' origins, to be honest it better made than the originals I have handled.
    I owned at least 3 sharky 600s but the last re-issue and its problems with water ingress while showering has put me off the brand...

  20. #20
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redmonaco View Post
    I owned at least 3 sharky 600s but the last re-issue and its problems with water ingress while showering has put me off the brand...
    I have read about the issues, I am lucky that mine is the first version and it has been faultless.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by StampeSV4 View Post
    [. . . .] Swedish brand called Malm - neat looking chronos with some interesting aircraft-style details which don’t look cheesy for a change.

    Regards

    Jon.
    Thanks, I wasn't aware of them. If you like Scandi stuff there's also JS in Iceland and Radium Instruments in Norway.

    Interesting how CW have tried to up their market position in the last few years: adverts in the press etc. And I increasingly see Bremont and Nomos in good High St jewellers. (Although maybe they aren't microbrands; nor are they "megabrands" though, so just "brands", perhaps?)

    My main issue with mircros are the cases. Time was Fricker and Kemmner made for many of them but now I suspect a lot of them look to China. Personally, I'm not convinced that the quality is the same as the European ones but I also have an increasing aversion to buying Chinese. Yes, I know they make *everything*, often very very cheaply and are capable of reasonable quality but I'd rather buy from a country who no longer runs concentration camps (Germany) than one that currently does (PRC).

    Edit: also ETA restricting supply of movements hasn't helped. A mircobrand was often a entirely European watch; now it's likely to have a Chinese case and a Japanese (or even Chinese) movement.
    Last edited by Rev-O; 9th April 2021 at 11:42.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    Thanks, I wasn't aware of them. If you like Scandi stuff there's also JS in Iceland and Radium Instruments in Norway.

    Interesting how CW have tried to up their market position in the last few years: adverts in the press etc. And I increasingly see Bremont and Nomos in good High St jewellers. (Although maybe they aren't microbrands; nor are they "megabrands" though, so just "brands", perhaps?)

    My main issue with mircros are the cases. Time was Fricker and Kemmner made for many of them but now I suspect a lot of them look to China. Personally, I'm not convinced that the quality is the same as the European ones but I also have an increasing aversion to buying Chinese. Yes, I know they make *everything*, often very very cheaply and are capable of reasonable quality but I'd rather buy from a country who no longer runs concentration camps (Germany) than one that currently does (PRC).
    It doesn't even have to be ethical - I'd rather not empower a country who very clearly do not have my best interests at heart and do not remotely share my values. Every purchase does that and if we are taking capitalism seriously, then every purchase counts. 'Better to buy a single Bremont than curse the darkness' as they say.

  23. #23
    Regardless of my financial means and the price point, I personally like to find some semblance of value in what I purchase (and yes, I appreciate that 'value' and 'luxury' are rarely very compatible bedfellows).

    Microbrands can be a minefield of ill-judged design and manufacture, but can also offer some terrific value plus a personal connection often missing with the big brands.

    The Zelos I recently purchased isn't overly good-looking - it's fine for a sports/casual watch - but for less than £600 it's one of just 150, made from titanium, with a meteorite sandwich dial & bezel insert, has a quick-release bracelet & 'no tools' adjustable clasp, exhibits fantastic lume and came beautifully packaged with a watch roll and extra horween leather strap. Plus screw down crown, sapphire crystal, 300m water resistance & decent Seiko movement. There's a heck of a lot of interesting things going on there.

    Whilst not a microbrand, Stowa are also great - superb customer service and focus. My Marine original cost circa £600 a few years back yet offers a classic design with heritage, ETA 2824-2, sapphire crystals front & rear, a solid silver dial, heat-blued hands & personal engraving.

    There was a Grand Seiko 9F HAQ that recently sat on Sales Corner for ages, but it offers a sensational level of finishing, heritage & performance for not much beyond £1k.

    I bought a Newmark 6BB Chronograph from here this week for £150 and it's a delightful little watch, very practical and rewarding (the classic design helps, of course).

    In short, the 'big boys' can often seem a bit too comfortable trading on their branding & advertising spend.

    That said, to the appreciative eye, there is still value and worth to be found with the big-name brands, if bought smartly. It is also true though, what they say about diminishing returns and the Pareto Rule. Lastly, I don't discount the value of intangible factors such as heritage, innovation & good design.

    I try to buy with the head as much as the heart.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringer View Post
    Regardless of my financial means and the price point, I personally like to find some semblance of value in what I purchase (and yes, I appreciate that 'value' and 'luxury' are rarely very compatible bedfellows).

    Microbrands can be a minefield of ill-judged design and manufacture, but can also offer some terrific value plus a personal connection often missing with the big brands.
    Yes. A certain large Swiss maker seems to spend all the money where it can be seen (white gold, etc) rather than where it can't (i.e. on the inside). Of course, that's what their customers want. But you end up with a tractor engines in a sports car body. To be fair their movements are reliable workhorses but that’s partly a function of being so simple and mass produced in-house. Seiko do that just as well for a tenth of the price. Give me a tool watch or give me complicated, high-end horology. Better still, give me an innovative movement in a simple, stylish case with a classic, legible dial (hello, Omega).
    Last edited by Rev-O; 9th April 2021 at 12:32.

  25. #25
    Grand Master
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    Well I seem to have spectacularly misjudged the feeling around micro-brands.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    I am not sure getting a watch outsource made for you in bulk is the same as a master watchmaker building a bespoke watch by hand.
    Good point. I guess globalisation has bred a new kind of small business which is mainly based on design and marketing. Production is outsourced.

  27. #27
    Master
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    As I mentioned above, I find so called micro brands much more interesting than the macro brand same old same old. The other point is that I can afford to buy them!

  28. #28
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    Maybe just me but I feel as if Timefactors has really nailed it recently. Maybe it's the consistent Smiths branding and losing the sterile dial watch models but the Navigator and Everest range feel like a proper brand and that appeals to me.

    Having said that, I never find I settle with a microbrand watch. I always end up flipping and start looking at Longines or Hamilton....then usually end up with an Omega!

    I would recommend something like a Navigator or Everest to anyone though...great quality that punches well above it's retail price.

  29. #29
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    I've no interest in most so called micro brands.

    Style wise a lot look like a dog's dinner unless deliberately copying someone else's current designs e.g Steeldive.

    Not a fan of those cheapo NH movements either, would rather have a quartz.
    Cheers,
    Neil.

    My Speedmaster website:

    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C View Post
    I've no interest in most so called micro brands.

    Style wise a lot look like a dog's dinner unless deliberately copying someone else's current designs e.g Steeldive.

    Not a fan of those cheapo NH movements either, would rather have a quartz.
    What I find annoying about the increase of such movements is they are charging ETA prices with a peanuts movement and if they do put an ETA movement (Or other Swiss equivalent) in a watch they want to start charging prices close to a grand. Compare the prices of many of these micro brands to Timefactors or Steinhart and its embarrassing.

  31. #31
    Craftsman Idontgram's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    Well I seem to have spectacularly misjudged the feeling around micro-brands.
    Well, if I could get hold of one, try it on, form an opinion on it and make a purchase, Iíd probably pick up a few more (eg Nodus, Lorier, Halios, Baltic). But as it stands, I canít be bothered with importing something over and then taking a bath on selling it / postage / claiming back import tax if itís not a keeper.

    I appreciate small brands canít have a global physical presence but the above barriers are a step too far for me.

    Unlike others, I donít mind if the watch is made in China. I accept that most things are anyway and even German and Swiss watches will have a substantial proportion of their parts / materials sourced from outside Europe.

  32. #32
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    Well I seem to have spectacularly misjudged the feeling around micro-brands.
    I don't think you have, most people see them as a good thing but like all watches there are good and bad examples, just the same as everything else.

  33. #33
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redmonaco View Post
    I owned at least 3 sharky 600s but the last re-issue and its problems with water ingress while showering has put me off the brand...
    To be fair, they were quick to resolve the issue - While it was a faux pas on their part, their response was exemplary (unlike some micro-brands).

    I bought a watch from that batch and had it tested to 20 BAR without the changes, so it wasn't every example.

    I've never actually dived in it though! I suspect I'd not need a lot of weight if I did!

    I think the market is rather saturated with micro-brands - Some are excellent, but it's hard to really know which of the more recent crop will last - Fine if you're spending £200-300 on a watch with a cheap, easily replaced movement, less so if you're looking at higher-end microbrands.

    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    What I find annoying about the increase of such movements is they are charging ETA prices with a peanuts movement and if they do put an ETA movement (Or other Swiss equivalent) in a watch they want to start charging prices close to a grand. Compare the prices of many of these micro brands to Timefactors or Steinhart and its embarrassing.
    Are they though? Maybe some are pushing their luck, but look at the price of watches with ETA movements (all from the Swatch group now, really, you're probably getting a Selitta otherwise) these days, they're mostly (unless you have some examples to prove me wrong) far more than a similar spec watch with an NH35 or a Miyota movement.

    For example, find me something similarly well made to a Helm, with a certified depth rating with an ETA movement for $350... The new Steinhart is $600 with a SW200.

    I've read this complaint a few places recently, but, aside from the Alsta brand, I don't see anyone selling NH35 movement watches with a similar spec at anywhere near ETA movement watch prices.

    M
    Last edited by snowman; 9th April 2021 at 16:09.
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  34. #34
    Micro brands are a source of great pleasure. Snobbery and ignorance aside, they offer a great opportunity to a lot of enthusiasts to experience diversity. Not all of them use NH35. Plenty have used ETA movements or Sellita or Miyota.
    Crepas, Helson, Halios, ZIXEN, Timefactors etc have made some great watches. I own and wear quite a few of them and are always fun to wear. Except for once there hasn’t been a water ingress or quality/reliability issue and even that was fixed promptly.
    I do feel recently there has been an explosion in options and there could be some bad eggs. But by and large, they are a positive force and I wish they continue to flourish.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post




    Are they though? Maybe some are pushing their luck, but look at the price of watches with ETA movements (all from the Swatch group now, really, you're probably getting a Selitta otherwise) these days, they're mostly (unless you have some examples to prove me wrong) far more than a similar spec watch with an NH35 or a Miyota movement.

    For example, find me something similarly well made to a Helm, with a certified depth rating with an ETA movement for $350... The new Steinhart is $600 with a SW200.

    I've read this complaint a few places recently, but, aside from the Alsta brand, I don't see anyone selling NH35 movement watches with a similar spec at anywhere near ETA movement watch prices.

    M
    In my opinion yes, a lot of watches were selling at Timefactors prices with ETA or Selitta movements now you have the throw in cheaper end Seiko movement thrown in for the same if not more and Swiss movements for a whole lot more. Tissot, Hamilton especially Tissot are now coming in cheaper than a lot of the micro brands out there and most Swatch group companies can be had at a steep discount.

  36. #36
    Master mycroft's Avatar
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    I think it's wrong to tar all microbrands with the same brush - whether that's the one that says they're all overpriced poorly designed tat or the opposing view that suggests they're all wonderful. Clearly there is a complete spectrum between those two extremes. I completely agree with Rajen that it's great to have that diversity available - after that it's up to individuals as to what they choose to buy.

    A quick glance at my own collection reveals that 6(!) of my 13 most worn watches are in fact what I would suggest are microbrands, and all are excellent watches at their varying price points. At the top end they include a PRS-2 Dreadnought and my Offshore Professional Field Engineer, while the cheaper end of the microbrand market is represented by one each from OceanX, Borealis, Sharkey and Maranez.

    I also personally rather reject the snobbery around NHxx movements, which seem to me to be solid workhorse performers. My Borealis Scout Sniper (NH35) loses a consistent 9 seconds per day, as does my Sharkey Tuna. Meanwhile the OceanX Sharkmaster 1000 I own (also fitted with an NH35) loses 1.2 seconds per day and hasn't varied from that at all since I bought it.

    Simon

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by mycroft View Post

    I also personally rather reject the snobbery around NHxx movements, which seem to me to be solid workhorse performers. My Borealis Scout Sniper (NH35) loses a consistent 9 seconds per day, as does my Sharkey Tuna. Meanwhile the OceanX Sharkmaster 1000 I own (also fitted with an NH35) loses 1.2 seconds per day and hasn't varied from that at all since I bought it.

    Simon
    Just to clarify I have nothing against the movement its more what is frequently charged for it for what is often a very mundane watch. Paulin watches for example use the same movement but offer a bespoke hand made dial.

  38. #38
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    In my opinion yes, a lot of watches were selling at Timefactors prices with ETA or Selitta movements now you have the throw in cheaper end Seiko movement thrown in for the same if not more and Swiss movements for a whole lot more. Tissot, Hamilton especially Tissot are now coming in cheaper than a lot of the micro brands out there and most Swatch group companies can be had at a steep discount.
    Do you have any examples?

    I know you say you don't have anything against the NH35 per se, but this is a criticism many aim at these watches, somehow thinking a Swiss movement (or even a 4R15) is somehow superior, even if in terms of timekeeping and affordability, the spec is rather moot.

    I'm a big fan of the NH3* movements - They seem to be excellent at timekeeping (I've yet to see one exhibit the dreadful accuracy some attribute to them) and are so cheap you can throw them away and replace it if need be!

    I've said elsewhere, I doubt anybody is making a better movement for the same kind of money and many are selling worse ones for more!

    M
    Last edited by snowman; 9th April 2021 at 18:08.
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  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    Do you have any examples?

    I know you say you don't have anything against the NH35 per se, but this is a criticism many aim at these watches, somehow thinking a Swiss movement (or even a 4R15) is somehow superior, even if in terms of timekeeping and affordability, the spec is rather moot.

    I'm a big fan of the NH3* movements - They seem to be excellent at timekeeping (I've yet to see one exhibit the dreadful accuracy some attribute to them) and are so cheap you can throw them away and replace it if need be!

    I've said elsewhere, I doubt anybody is making a better movement for the same kind of money and many are selling worse ones for more!

    M
    Examples straight off the bat? No and I dont plan trawling the internet to prove a point. Genuinely I base my opinion on personal experience as I have owned lots of micro brand watches not any kind of snobbery with regards to a particular movement. Prices have moved upwards and parts used (Such as movement) downwards. This doesnt mean that the movement is bad rather what you were getting a few years back is not comparable with what you are often getting today.

    When micro brands are upping their prices they are entering Tissot, Hamilton, Seiko territory so they need to offer something that can tempt a buyer and a lot of them I just dont see doing this. Years ago I used to buy into the whole micro brand thing quite a lot and coming back to it I was quite surprised at the shift in focus of these brands. A company like Timefactors is in all honesty one of the few out there that are still remaining true to the meaning of micro brand.

  40. #40
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Each to their own.

    Timefactors do make some nice watches, I have or have had a few and may well have some others in the future (although the current ordering farrago does rather discourage me), but I've been mightily impressed by many of the other microbrand watches I've picked up over the last couple of years and think they offer far more for the money than the bigger brands.

    I can't say I was overly impressed by the Hamilton I once owned, Seiko is in a different realm pricewise now (or shoddily put together, or maybe both!) and Tissots that are on a par with most of the microbrand watches I've bought recently are far more expensive.

    In the absence of examples, I'll accept that's your impression, but mine is substantially different.

    M
    Last edited by snowman; 9th April 2021 at 20:48.
    Breitling Cosmonaute 809 - What's not to like?

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post
    Each to their own.

    Timefactors do make some nice watches, I have or have had a few and may well have some others in the future (although the current ordering farrago does rather discourage me), but I've been mightily impressed by many of the other microbrand watches I've picked up over the last couple of years and think they offer far more for the money than the bigger brands.

    I can't say I was overly impressed by the Hamiltion I once owned, Seiko is in a different realm pricewise now (or shoddily put together, or maybe both!) and Tissots that are on a par with most of the microbrand watches I've bought recently are far more expensive.

    In the absence of examples, I'll accept that's your impression, but mine is substantially different.

    M
    If you can point me in the direction of micro brands you have been impressed with I genuinely want to know. I have considered an Aevig recently and may go with a MKii at some point. The new Timefactors ordering process seems a bit odd but having owned a few in the past and impressed with how he is still keeping the prices down I am willing to give it a go and see how I get along with ordering. I have never owned a Steinhart (Always thought of getting an ocean one vintage but the whole homage thing just stops me short of buying) Still got an old Aristo and RLT watch both with Swiss movements in them probably cost me about £150 at the time. I owned a Tissot watch years ago and have to say for the money found it to be a very good watch certainly above many micro brands. I do think Seiko are over hyped Orient are a far better watch for comparable money.

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    In my opinion yes, a lot of watches were selling at Timefactors prices with ETA or Selitta movements now you have the throw in cheaper end Seiko movement thrown in for the same if not more and Swiss movements for a whole lot more. Tissot, Hamilton especially Tissot are now coming in cheaper than a lot of the micro brands out there and most Swatch group companies can be had at a steep discount.
    I would take most of Crepas watches over most of Hamilton/Tissot in a similar price range.
    Am wearing a Crepas Engelsfisch today with an ETA 2824 which I find far more interesting than the Tissots and Hamilton’s you refer to. I am also somewhat fed up of NH35 monotony in a lot of recent entrants. I would buy them if the design interests me but have far too many with NH35 though I should say they have been performing quite well. I am ok with a micro brand watch with an NH35 as long as price is below $400. The only exception is Unimatic which is a lot more but they make up otherwise and seem to hold their price or even fetch a premium.

    Last edited by RAJEN; 9th April 2021 at 21:23.

  43. #43
    Grand Master Wallasey Runner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    I have never owned a Steinhart (Always thought of getting an ocean one vintage but the whole homage thing just stops me short of buying).
    I get that, but I tend to split their watches into two camps. I wouldn't buy one which was a 'Rolex-a-like' of an existing model, but the historical homages to the milsub and double red etc are another thing. Most people would never get the chance to own or be able to afford the real thing and these models are in the main homages to watches that went out of production over 40 years ago. Reduces the rip off factor in my opinion, but others might see it differently.

    Interestingly, a lot of people focus on the Rolex connection, but there are plenty of watches available that take their influences from elsewhere.

    I'm more than happy wearing this:

    Last edited by Wallasey Runner; 9th April 2021 at 21:41.

  44. #44
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    If you can point me in the direction of micro brands you have been impressed with I genuinely want to know.
    Most impressive recently have been my Helm and the recently acquired Nodus.

    Both use NH35 movements, but have build quality and design far in excess of the price expectation and are properly regulated.

    Although I had some problems with the (Sellita!) movement, I'd also say I was (and still am) extremely impressed with the Schaffen S65, especially the finish of the case and bracelet - One of the most comfortable watches I've tried at any price.

    M

    Sent from my ASUS_X00PD using Tapatalk
    Last edited by snowman; 10th April 2021 at 13:11.
    Breitling Cosmonaute 809 - What's not to like?

  45. #45
    Journeyman
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wallasey Runner View Post
    I get that, but I tend to split their watches into two camps. I wouldn't buy one which was a 'Rolex-a-like' of an existing model, but the historical homages to the milsub and double red etc are another thing. Most people would never get the chance to own or be able to afford the real thing and these models are in the main homages to watches that went out of production over 40 years ago. Reduces the rip off factor in my opinion, but others might see it differently.

    Interestingly, a lot of people focus on the Rolex connection, but there are plenty of watches available that take their influences from elsewhere.

    I'm more than happy wearing this:

    I have that model, is good value imo. First non seiko I'd owned and got me heavily into watches from that point on

    Sent from my SM-N976B using Tapatalk

  46. #46
    Master roondog's Avatar
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    I personally think that the micro brand scene peaked a few years ago. I've had more than my fair share of them & yes some designs are a bit 'out there' but if you can find the right one for you they can represent terrific VFM.

    I've recently bought & sold 2 popular design Seikos & while they were nice enough watches & decently finished I just found them a bit well...meh. I prefer the bold, extravagant & over engineered design of some micros which admittedly don't always work but when they do I think they're great fun for not a ( relatively ) massive outlay.

    I currently own 1 x Raven which I've had for years & a Benarus which never sold on SC & I'm glad now it didn't. Just today I bought another Raven with an eta movement so I'm excited waiting for it. My tastes have changed over the years & through buying & flipping loads of micro brands I now have a much better sense of what I like & what does & doesn't work for me. I have gotten to this place in my watch journey because of the vast array of designs of micro brands & the opportunity to experience different features which were normally reserved for expensive watches beyond my means.

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