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Prototypes - The Next Generation


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My tuppence @Angrybear,

I would look at pricing materials +20% and a minimum £20 per hour. As long as you are using ETA/Unitas movements that would work, I think folk would choke if you used sea-gull or nh3x

 

just to make life interesting, there are a few videos on YouTube of folks building diy rose engines.

 

to be nosey, where in the UK are you? I’m in central Scotland 

 

Tom

p.s. Have a look at the Breguet website, I think they are homaging your watches 🤪😂

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Thanks Tom, that's really interesting. Your pricing makes sense. Ive just watched a live presentation of the launch of a new watch by an English watch company. I won't name them as it doesn't seem fair. The owner talked us through the specification and pricing of the new watch. I was staggered and slightly disgusted! 

The watch in question uses a standard case that they have made in bulk. The dial is stamped from brass by machine in a factory (probably in china). The hands are made the same way. It uses a standard off the shelf Swiss movement, and the strap is faux leather and once again factory made. The price?...........£3800

And they are selling out!! I feel annoyed by this for some reason. I feel like it is a major rip off. How on earth have they come up with this price??!! I know how much things cost to be made - ive spent a lot of time getting prices for components that I can't make myself yet. How can they justify these prices? Ive priced up how much I think it would cost to get their watches made from the research ive done, and in the quantities they are supplying I can't see it costing more that £300-£400 a watch maximum. That's a 1000% mark up!!! (please someone check my maths!)

Im sorry for the rant, but it makes me angry when I feel like consumers are being taken advantage of.  

 

PS- im based in Surrey. If you are ever in the area, feel free to pop in and talk watches. I would also be happy to show you how I make hands in person.

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I fully agree with you angybear, I have an ambition much like yours, for the challenge if nothing else. I want to make a Credor level of finishing watch, initially with sea-gull 6497/8 clones and put the real ETA/Unitas movements in after. I think we are much on a wavelength, enjoy and like the traditional watches but want to maybe take something a little bit further.

 

Tom

not been in Surrey for years, would love sometime meeting up for a beer and dissing the watch industry, same invitation to you sir if you’re in Edinburgh

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I agree too!  For those of us who know what we'd get, 3800 pounds seems insane.  
I assembled a fairly basic windup watch a few months back.  I just wanted to use this FHF 96 that I had kicking around; it ran so well and was so accurate for what it was that I just wanted to build something with it.  I sourced a nice, vintage 10k yellow gold case.  I found a vintage mesh bracelet that matched the color and style of the case.  I found an unbranded dial that needed very little alteration (it was only half a millimeter too large in diameter, but the dial feet were perfect).  I even put in a new crystal and chose some hands with gold that matched the case and bracelet.  It looks smashing!
But if I tried to sell it, even with a *new* case, I would never think to ask something like 3800 pounds for it.  Gads, I'd have a guilt complex about gouging the buyer!  If the movements were made in-house from stainless steel and natural rubies, with other such proprietary construction details, then I could see it.  But if they're just assembling them from cheap, common stock, then yes, I'd feel shocked and dismayed along with you.  I can get a decent Orient for that much, and they still make some of their movements in-house.

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They manage to achieve such prices through marketing and a percieved perception by the buying public that this is somthing special "a British made watch" when in reality its just cobbled together from ready made parts, We laugh at the Indian market who do just the same from a pile of Seiko's,  when in reality they are doing the same but not charging exobidant prices. Rolex charge through the nose for  movements assembled in china and the far east. The parts are swiss but the labour is Chinese working for peanuts. A German company has Medical instruments made in India using German steel and is leagally entitled to stamp them made in Germany although the end users Quality people reject up to 40% as being crap. So its not just the watch industry.  How many Fashion watches do you open up for a battery and find a plastic unrepairable movement who's replacement cost is no more the a few pounds, the  client probably paid upwards of £100 depending who's name is on the dial . They dont know whats in the watch only what it looks like. Names like Guuchi,  Emorio Armani etc,  "they must be good" is the perception and to one who is not in the know who's to tell them different.

What I will say is the ones Bear is producing are worth real money as what you get is bespoke, each an individual. They might use High end ETA or Setilla movements but that's QUALITY.  Why do you think SWATCH is restricting every thing, That way they control the build levels ,the parts and the PRICES.  Not daft.

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I just don't know how the owners of these companies sleep at night.....

 

.....actually I do - On silk sheets in the master suites of their mansions.

I just know I couldn't do it. When I was restoring cars for a living the hardest part of my job was billing the customer. We may have had a car for months, spending many hundreds of hours of love, care and hard graft restoring the customers pride and joy to perfection. But I would sit in the office for hours going over the final bill, questioning every item, was it fair? Have I given them the best price? and would still feel guilty when I presented them with the final cost. Maybe there are just 2 types of people in the world? Those that care, and those that don't.

You are totally correct of course Weasol, to us in the know we understand what quality is, and where the value is added. I would have no problem spending £100k on a Roger Smith watch (in my dreams of course), knowing that every component had been crafted to perfection by a single skilled watchmaker. But spending £200 on a fashion watch, knowing every component was provided by the cheapest possible supplier? No thanks, it would make me sick! 

Thank you everyone for your input. Its very special that we have such a wonderful community of like minded people. I will continue to post photos of my work, and Tom, I haven't forgotten your request for a walkthrough on hand making - im working on it now.

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2 hours ago, watchweasol said:

They manage to achieve such prices through marketing and a percieved perception by the buying public that this is somthing special "a British made watch" when in reality its just cobbled together from ready made parts, We laugh at the Indian market who do just the same from a pile of Seiko's,  when in reality they are doing the same but not charging exobidant prices. Rolex charge through the nose for  movements assembled in china and the far east. The parts are swiss but the labour is Chinese working for peanuts. A German company has Medical instruments made in India using German steel and is leagally entitled to stamp them made in Germany although the end users Quality people reject up to 40% as being crap. So its not just the watch industry.  How many Fashion watches do you open up for a battery and find a plastic unrepairable movement who's replacement cost is no more the a few pounds, the  client probably paid upwards of £100 depending who's name is on the dial . They dont know whats in the watch only what it looks like. Names like Guuchi,  Emorio Armani etc,  "they must be good" is the perception and to one who is not in the know who's to tell them different.

What I will say is the ones Bear is producing are worth real money as what you get is bespoke, each an individual. They might use High end ETA or Setilla movements but that's QUALITY.  Why do you think SWATCH is restricting every thing, That way they control the build levels ,the parts and the PRICES.  Not daft.

Well said WW .A rant worthy of having my Monica on it. 

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Hi Guys  the sad thing its true, as Bear said to some profit is the final line and the bigger the better no matter how you achieve it. Conscience, that's something they just dont have .  Be true to your calling Bear If you start selling them stick to Toms analsys on the pricing and be sure you will sleep like a baby, On that note I rest my case.

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First of all that's some fantastic looking work there Angrybear! I have messed around with different photoetching techniques a bit in the past and never had terrific results- I might have to needle you a bit on your techniques!

 

I think that the general rule of thumb in the watch world is base cost times 10 for the final price. It sounds crazy if you're a one man show working out of a spare room, but things are a little different if there are even just one or two employees, proper premises, modern equipment that meets all the various safety regulations etc. Maybe not 10x more, but it is very different. I also think a lot of small brands end up selling much of their stock at a cut price, even if initially they have " sold out" .

 

And most small brands have a life span in the single digits of years. That is probably a combination of overpricing, and also underestimating how many units will actually move and how much things really cost. From above, a little company with 2 employees, to double production they don't need 4, they need 6 just to deal with admin stuff (and after sales, warranty, etc.), but how do you cover a 150% increase in payroll with a 100% increase in price? Yes, at a certain level things even out, maybe at 20 employees, but then the volume becomes crazy, and if you don't make the volume, you can't pay your people. and boom.

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Hello Angry Bear, I found this forum by accident, but your post has inspired me to join.  I am so filled with admiration for your skill and artistic ability in crafting these dials.  I have made two watch cases and have taught myself to photo-etch pad printing plates for dials, but I am years behind you in terms of ability.  I loved your technical descriptions of how you made the dials, thank you for sharing this.  The point you make about spending 4-5 hours a day on this makes me realise what I have to do to progress.

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On 11/5/2022 at 5:44 PM, watchweasol said:

Hi Guys  the sad thing its true, as Bear said to some profit is the final line and the bigger the better no matter how you achieve it. Conscience, that's something they just dont have .  Be true to your calling Bear If you start selling them stick to Toms analsys on the pricing and be sure you will sleep like a baby, On that note I rest my case.

I totally agree with you, and really appreciate the support.

On 11/5/2022 at 6:32 PM, nickelsilver said:

First of all that's some fantastic looking work there Angrybear! I have messed around with different photoetching techniques a bit in the past and never had terrific results- I might have to needle you a bit on your techniques!

 

I think that the general rule of thumb in the watch world is base cost times 10 for the final price. It sounds crazy if you're a one man show working out of a spare room, but things are a little different if there are even just one or two employees, proper premises, modern equipment that meets all the various safety regulations etc. Maybe not 10x more, but it is very different. I also think a lot of small brands end up selling much of their stock at a cut price, even if initially they have " sold out" .

 

And most small brands have a life span in the single digits of years. That is probably a combination of overpricing, and also underestimating how many units will actually move and how much things really cost. From above, a little company with 2 employees, to double production they don't need 4, they need 6 just to deal with admin stuff (and after sales, warranty, etc.), but how do you cover a 150% increase in payroll with a 100% increase in price? Yes, at a certain level things even out, maybe at 20 employees, but then the volume becomes crazy, and if you don't make the volume, you can't pay your people. and boom.

Thanks Nickelsilver. I do understand the economics involved, although as a consumer it can be hard to swallow. Ive had a couple of businesses and really do understand just how expensive they are to keep going, and how the cost is passed onto the customer. When I had the car workshop which I consider to be a very small business, it cost me many thousands each week just to open the doors. Customers sometimes struggled to understand why an hourly rate could possibly be so high, but it was very carefully calculated so we could keep the doors open.

What I don't like is the disingenuous nature of some of these brands. Trying to tell you, you are getting something special when you aren't. The aforementioned brand made a big deal of their special stamped brass dials! it felt like they were taking advantage of their chosen market. I really can't stand that.

On 11/5/2022 at 10:03 PM, Claypipe said:

Hello Angry Bear, I found this forum by accident, but your post has inspired me to join.  I am so filled with admiration for your skill and artistic ability in crafting these dials.  I have made two watch cases and have taught myself to photo-etch pad printing plates for dials, but I am years behind you in terms of ability.  I loved your technical descriptions of how you made the dials, thank you for sharing this.  The point you make about spending 4-5 hours a day on this makes me realise what I have to do to progress.

Wow. Im not sure what to say! Thank you Claypipe. Im not sure I can take the credit for this. This is a very special forum that brings out the best in people from my point of view. But I am very pleased you like the watches, and would love to see your work. Welcome to the forum.

Today is my 45th birthday and I’m very happy to have completed the watch I will be wearing for the rest of the year. I’ve finally got the brushing on the chapter ring exactly where I want it, the bleached silver just the right shade of white, and an even blue on the hands. Definitely making progress. B8C409B9-1C45-4F1E-A9D0-6582665EFA08.thumb.jpeg.1882b9727d50e0db98a36636f6af5e9e.jpeg

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@Angrybear

i don’t know how I forgot this company https://anordain.com . Based in Glasgow creating there own dials and hands. Sellita movements, prices are £2000-2500 +vat. For the level of effort they put into their dials I think that is fair and would think on a par with the level you are currently producing.

Have a look and see if you think the prices would fit what your ambition’s are.

Tom

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On 11/11/2022 at 12:46 PM, Angrybear said:

B8C409B9-1C45-4F1E-A9D0-6582665EFA08.thumb.jpeg.1882b9727d50e0db98a36636f6af5e9e.jpeg

All I can think of is "Wow"!  I can't think of enough words that haven't already been used.  Angrybear, your design is just beautiful!  I've always said that when form closely follows function, it'll bring its own beauty; that watch is about as good an example as anyone will find.

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  • 1 month later...
10 hours ago, Angrybear said:

I’ve made some changes to one of the watches.

This is a similar design to the one you posted on your 45th. birthday, with a different colour scheme, right? The more I look, the more subtle changes I (think I) see. I like it a lot. I would even accept the loss of the blued hands and the bleached silver to have that dial colour. Of course, no photo tells the whole story. I'd really need to compare them live.

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4 hours ago, Klassiker said:

This is a similar design to the one you posted on your 45th. birthday, with a different colour scheme, right? The more I look, the more subtle changes I (think I) see. I like it a lot. I would even accept the loss of the blued hands and the bleached silver to have that dial colour. Of course, no photo tells the whole story. I'd really need to compare them live.

Thanks Klassiker. It is a variation of the one you mentioned and the black version posted on the first page of this thread. The subdial is bigger and has the Arabic numerals now. The outside ring with the minute markers is slightly larger, with a cutout for the subdial. The nameplate has a different radius and is placed higher on the dial. The hardest part was getting the tight join between the subdial ring and the chapter ring. It’s now imperceptible to the naked eye. It was a big deal to me getting that precise join, so I’m happy with it. 
 

I miss Munich greatly, so I’ll pack a couple of watches and bring them over to you! 

2 hours ago, tomh207 said:

I like it, you have inspired me to think about case finishing to go with a few designs I have bouncing around my head and notebooks.

 

Tom

Thanks Tom, I appreciate it. 

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Hi Bear  the ever so slight changes  do not detract from the overall quality of the watch but as Klassiker said to appreciate the difference one needs to see them side by side even then I would put them on the top class range. You are doing quality work Bear more power to your elbow    I love them, the style is ageless.

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On 12/14/2022 at 8:57 PM, Angrybear said:

Just a quick update. I’ve made some changes to one of the watches. I’d be interested to know whether it’s an improvement or not? My partner doesn’t like it at all! 

E711591D-D06E-48A4-9D9C-1B4557372A9E.jpeg

Eyup angrybear. Up and down the screen 20 times now to compare the 2 lol. Confirmed my intial gut feeling, the black dial to me is more 40's 50's classic and has a military feel about it. But then i am a sucker for the Dirty Dozen's. The extra addition of the 10 second numerals on the sub just gives it a bit more going on. The white dial is lovely but the black one is gorgeous, quality work 👌 

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