I became aware of the watch brand Swiss Watch Company® through a comment in a post from me at Instagram. There I saw the first photos – WOW. And then there was a link to Kickstarter. I found the design of the watches and the information I saw there very exciting. So I wrote them both to ask if I could do an interview with the watch designers. Said, done. And here we go:
1) Stephen, on Kickstarter I saw a profile picture of you. You already have grey hair. Just like me. There we are probably almost the same age (laugh). Please tell me a little about yourself. Where do you come from, where do you live, what do you do the whole day, your hobbies, …?
I grew up in the watch capitol of Switzerland and decided at a young age to make watches part of my professional life. I always had a fascination for time pieces and how they personify a person as well as the technical aspects of a watch. I had the chance to learn the profession within the Swatch group. I worked there for a total of 15 years of my life in various responsibilities and sectors.
I was excited about the Swatch watch just as much as I was excited about the conventional stainless steel watches. My responsibilities in the Swatch group allowed me to be involved in the manufacturing process of cases as well as dial and movement manufacturing and assembly. I parted ways with the Swatch group after 15 years and moved to the States where my wife’s roots are and where we could raise our 5 children. We live in the desert off the beaten path of the hustle and bustle of the city.
It is a far cry from the beautiful Swiss scenery I grew up with but I have come to find beauty in the desert as well. We enjoy the peace and tranquility the desert has to offer through all four seasons of the year. The constant sunshine makes it possible for us to hike out our back door virtually year round. We also enjoy kayaking on a nearby lake.
1a) Josh, as a marketing expert you are responsible for the whole marketing. Please also tell us something about you…
I enjoy spending time with my wife and 3 children. I have 4 year degree in Business Administration, but have always had a passion for marketing. I love talking with people and really enjoy interacting with our followers on Instagram and Facebook. I will play just about any if given the opportunity (though not always well) and love competing with my 3 younger brothers.
Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have quite a few chickens and a some turkeys in my backyard. I also like working with my hands and run a local trash pick-up service with my wife.
2) Stephen, let’s go back in time. What was your very first watch and how did it start the enthusiasm for watches? Or did it come later? If so, which watch did it start with?
The first watch I purchased was a square shaped Rado Diastar. I was 18 years old and it took me six weeks of saving from my apprentice salary to buy it. I was fascinated by the scratch proof crystal and case.
What about you, Josh?
Whatever watch I could get off my dad! He always had so many watches laying around I would just wear or inherit his. I remember my dad telling me about how a watch movement worked as a child and how powerful it was in comparison to its size.
I also loved playing with his watch tools growing up!
3) When did the idea for your own watch brand come up? Having a beer after tennis? Before going to bed? What was the trigger?!
4) How was the name and the logo created and what exactly does it mean?
3 & 4: After I parted ways with the Swatch group and moved to the States I started my own business and filed for trademark in Switzerland for Swiss Watch Company, thinking it wouldn’t be accepted or approved.
I was surprised when the approval from the government came accepting the use of that name. The focus of the business was to provide watches to the US armed forces for the first 15 years. After that we focused on providing OEM services for other name brand companies that wanted to sell watches.
5) Why diving watches? I think it’s great because I’m going for it too, but what was the trigger for you?
We chose to manufacture our own divers watch because they represent durability and are a daily wear timepiece.
6) When I look at the specifications you think you buy an A-brand watch. How is it possible that such precise technology can be created so cheaply by a watch startup to be able to offer it at a really attractive price?
Our watch is considered a B+ quality with certain criteria that are in the A quality segment. We consider our dial and luminesce to be among the best on the market. Luminescence on a divers watch is paramount and therefore we focused extensively how to provide a watch with superior glowing characteristics.
The standard in the industry is to have a thickness of 0.1-0.15mm super luminova. With controlling manufacturing processes we achieved a thickness around 0.35 mm, which provides fantastic glowing characteristics which are above the standard norm of an A class watch. Also the ceramic bezel insert provides an overall scratch proof environment with the sapphire crystal.
Because our watch is only sold through direct marketing we are allowed to provide unrealistic pricing. The SW200 movement represents the backbone of mechanical watches within the Swiss Watch Industry.
7) What exactly is the striped square on the dial all about?
The square design was placed on the dial to soften the overall size of the watch. This allowed many who would otherwise not purchase a 44 mm watch because of the size to see that it would work on their wrist.
8) I particularly like the back. How did you come up with this design, also the waves etc.?!
The case back was designed with waves to reflect the ruggedness and durability of a divers watch not to mention the obvious nautical link, and at the same time to show the overall craftsmanship and details of the watch.
9) Currently the S.W.C. Diver is available in 5 colours. What’s it all about? Why 5 colours?
We originally only had 2 model colors, the black dial and the white dial. We knew we wanted to do at least 5 models and drew up designs for 12 different color options.
We then presented the options to our Instagram followers and had them choose which ones they liked best.
10) And then you have a S.W.C. CHRONO, class. How did it come to that? I mean a diver’s watch is one thing, but to bring a CHRONO to the start is already very cool….
We have created the chronograph to give overall more credence to the introduction of the divers watch family. We also had a number of ETA7753 movements available and wanted to create something with the movement.
11) And in what versions is the S.W.C: CHRONO available?
We have two models for the chronograph; a black/green and a blue.
12) And what is the history of the creation of the back here?
All of our divers have the same case back. (See question 8)
13) On Kickstarter you were very successful. You earned almost 45.000 USD. WOW. That’s over 200% of what you wanted. Again WOW. Did you expect it?
We hoped that we would receive the success we did, but with it being our very first watch and us being an unknown brand, we definitely didn’t expect it. There were many moments before our launch where we were worried we wouldn’t reach our goal because it is almost impossible to predict what will happen when it is your first campaign.
We were blown away by the support we received and humbled by the amount of people who were excited about what we were trying to achieve. It was definitely an exciting time for us!
14) How did you even come to collect the money from Kickstarter? Does it feel like everyone is doing it?
Kickstarter has become quite a robust watch market. With this being our first model, we knew that we had to do everything we could to give our watches as much exposure as possible, without spending an enormous amount of money on marketing.
Kickstarter was able to do this for us. We honestly wouldn’t be where we are now without kickstarter.
15) Now the campaign is closed and the first watches will be delivered in February 2019. Is everything going according to plan?
Yes it is. We have a very unique advantage in the sense I have been facilitating manufacturing watches for other brands for many years. Most delays come from the manufacturing process, whether it be mistakes being made, or certain things taking much longer than projected.
This is something we have a lot of experience in so we were able to confidently provide a delivery date we knew we would reach.
16) And what do I or my readers have to do to get a watch from you as soon as possible? At best also at a good price?
We will list our watches the moment we are ready to ship our pre-order units. Our backers will come first, so you can expect to see our watches listed on our website www.swcusa.com as soon as we begin shipping our pre-order units out to our customers.
17) Now you have a lot to do. But are there already further plans for the future?
Yes, we are working on a second model with an introduction date of somewhere around the end of April. More information will be coming sometime in March that will include sketches of the watch.
18) Was there also one or more lows where you were about to throw everything away? What was it exactly? Story?
The only thing that would have caused us to quit would have been to not receive funding. Once we achieved funding, we never had doubts in our product or the delivery of the watch or how the watch would be received.
19) And what do you want for the future? For you privately, your company, …??!!
We have a goal to not only grow and continue to provide high quality watches, but also to keep the feel of a small family brand. We are looking forward to a long-term venture and are confident that we will have a satisfied clientele that will enjoy our upcoming products. We want to continue to push our designs further and create more unique pieces that will really set our brand apart from the others.
You find Swiss Watch Company® here:
Thank you very much and your time for answering the questions. I am very happy that you two made this possible. And if you are in Germany or Switzerland, please let me know. Then we also like to meet live for a piece of meat! Or on the west coast of the USA! But then sleep with you… 🙂