Amid the million dollar kiosks and high profile celebrity appearances and endorsements exists another side to the watch industry. Not for everyone is the need for maximum exposure and global recognition via A-list brand ambassadors or multi million advertising campaigns. Some like to play it cool, and played correctly, that approach can become something of a company statement.
Let’s face it, PR can become a very expensive merry-go-round once you climb on board and in these still straightened times, where ROI is king among metrics for many small companies, some have recognised the value in building a following over time and getting the product to do the talking. It’s a slower process for sure, but the economics are hard to ignore and the end result – if the product and user experience is good enough – will be similar to the pr machine method, but at a fraction of the cost. Oh, and the followers are less likely to be the fickle sort who wil take flight once their favourite celeb moves on to be an ambassador for another brand!
One such company who have taken this ‘organic’ route to market is independently owned Zeitwinkel, which was originally established in 2006 and who set out to create a collection of timepiece models in immaculately appointed but subtle classic cases which combine polished and satin worked finishing, and based around their own manufacture movements. The resulting watches were therefore not designed to be responsive to the tidal changes in trends, and Zeitwinkel have steered well clear of any notion of gimickery in the understanding that their watch designs will remain relevant ongoing.
But why would you buy into this Zeitwinkel zeitgeist? The answer would be that these watches have been thoughtfully designed to tell the time – clearly, and with as little fuss as possible. The uncluttered dials, diamond cut hands and functions are precise, legible and very clean, although I do remain to be convinced by the repeating Zeitwinkel logo lattice effect on some dial options – but hey, if it’s not to your taste then you do always have a choice as the lattice patern is only an option.
The four model ‘classic‘ 42.5mm collection starts with the ‘basic’ two hand 312°, which shares the manufacture ZW0102 automatic self winding movement with the 032° model with three hands and date, and the 181° with date and small seconds. The flagship Zeitwinkel 273° uses the ZW0103 manufacture self winding movement and features grand date and power reserve indicator.
Up to this point, Zeitwinkel watches have always been produced in stainless steel, but Baselworld 2014 sees the company introducing the options of rose gold or white gold alternatives, and this choice is being offered throughout the collections, extending their growing appeal to a yet wider catchment.
The only clue to Zeitwinkel’s wild side is the option of a rubber strap if preferred over the calfskin leather embossed with perfect Louisiana alligator print, in the name of ethics and sustainablity. Both are secured using double folding clasp.
I have observed Zeitwinkel over the past few years, and I think they may well have got their marketing strategy spot on, as valuable financial resources which might otherwise be squandered on pr can be kept in house and used to progress the product and ensure the longevity of the company.