The crowd manufacturing manifesto
We started the Watch Angels Crowdmanufacturing platform because the Swiss watch industry is changing. More than a change, it’s an epochal shift brought about by digitalization. Our purpose as an independent manufacture is to accompany this change by going to the very essence of watchmaking: A creator, a watch enthusiast and a manufacturer. That’s all a watch needs.
1. Empower creators and watch enthusiasts
The watch industry is de facto dominated by global, stock exchange, listed corporations which must focus on continuous growth. They are therefore marketing (narrative) driven and rely on mainstream products, traditional retail and a globalized supply chain. This holds back innovation, slows down creativity and creates significant and unnecessary waste. At the end of the day, this causes the loss of competences and jobs by shifting watchmaking crafts to far away countries.
We believe that a strong Swiss watch industry needs a strong presence of independent actors that drive new ideas, maintain competences and create new ones. To make this happen we want to empower creators and watch enthusiasts to shape the future of our industry.
2. Tear down the barriers for creators
The “monopolistic” structure of the watch industry poses very high barriers to entry for new independent entrants and makers. High investments, absence of customer data and a “de facto” monopolistic supply chain, distribution and marketing ecosystem — dominated by a few luxury groups — make it very difficult and risky for creators to get going, and, more importantly, to keep going.
We want to change this by breaking the barriers that prevent talented creators to bring their ideas to the market. We want to make it easy for them produce a watch, ensure they can match it to the right buyer and allow them to earn a correct profit for their intellectual work, within the framework of a viable and long-term business model.
3. Create value and sustainability, not price
The traditional way of producing and selling watches generates enormous costs and waste. Think about the enormous organisational and distribution structures, unsold stocks, components which move around the world and production taking place in countries where social conditions and environmental regulations are questionable. All the costs of this system end up in the price (monetary and environmental) paid by the buyer. The more traditional the approach, the less value ends up in the watch itself.
We want to change this by adopting the Crowdmanufacturing system, the most direct, efficient and transparent way of designing, manufacturing, marketing and selling a watch. It eliminates all unnecessary activities, sources of waste and mark-ups by changing the roles in watchmaking. It involves the only three parties required to make a watch: a creator, a watch enthusiast and a manufacturer. Crowdmanufacturing transfers the entire value only to them. This means:
1) An unprecedented price/value proposition for the buyer
2) An unprecedented and fair profit/risk ratio for the creator that remunerates her/his intellectual work
3) A fair profit for the manufacturer to be able to continue investing in the platform
4) Promote uniqueness and variety, not mainstream
Mainstream watchmaking is bringing along an uniformization in concepts and designs. Watches are made mainly to fulfil corporate policies, not the passion of watch enthusiasts.
We want to ensure that valuable and interesting watch concepts — that would never have seen the light under corporate dogmas — get made. On the Watch Angels Crowdmanufacturing platform, variety is the consistency and listening to watch enthusiasts is the marketing. Every watch has to find its connoisseur.
5. Champion watchmaking culture and entertainment, not marketing narratives
Digitalization has allowed watch enthusiasts to educate themselves very quickly and to stay in touch amongst peers to exchange experiences and opinions. While they have acquired great knowledge and experience, the mainstream watch industry still treats them as passive consumers.
We want to change that by adopting a community-based system for creating and manufacturing watches. A system that is based on direct dialogue and transparency between creator, watch enthusiast and manufacturer. A system in which risks and rewards equally are equally shared and where once passive consumers become active crowdmanufacturers. A system in which watchmaking culture is shared and created between peers.
Mendrisio, Switzerland 10.07.2020