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What is a microbrand?

April 15, 2019 5 min read

What is a microbrand?

What is a microbrand watch?

With the rise of the Internet some of the ways we shop, and even produce products, has changed. Watch microbrands are a prime example of this. Today we’ll cover those microbrands. We’ll talk about what they are. And we’ll cover how choosing this type of watch may not only save you money, but also provide a better timepiece.

Hopefully by going through what is and what isn’t a watch microbrand we’ll help you choose the timepieces that add to your collection.

DWISS quartz models using Ronda 714

What is a Microbrand

To begin our foray into the world of microbrands, let’s first define what it is. Traditionally a microbrand was a small-scale brand. Usually their products were only produced in one area, or in one niche market, and only those in that area were aware of the brand. With the rise of the Internet the term microbrand has come to mean something else. Today microbrand typically refers to watches.

In the past a watchmaker had to design a watch, produce it, and then market it. High end Swiss watches were generally only found in Jewelry stores. By the time the consumer purchased them, included in the price was the cost of overhead, marketing and the watchmakers (and jewelry stores) profits. With a microbrand watch things are different.

A microbrand watch company is usually privately-owned. Microbrand watches can be made by the same manufacturers as traditional jewelry-store brands, or at least the components that create the watch are. But there is a difference that should matter to collectors and those just looking for a high-quality watch.

Since they are marketed directly to the consumer, the traditional overhead that gets added into the price of a high-end watch is not there.

More than that, if you choose a good microbrand watch you may be getting a wholly-unique timepiece. They are often created in limited batches. This has led many “traditional” watch collectors to look closer at the high end microbrands on the market.

Swiss Made Watches – Not All Microbrands are Equal

With a basic understanding of watch microbrands, let’s take our journey into these markets a little further and talk about Swiss-made microbrands.

Anyone who has spent any time looking at watches knows that Swiss watches, in general, speak of quality. Everything from the movement to the case and the sapphire crystal that protect that movement are made to last and made to precise standards that high-end collectors look for. This is not true with all microbrands.

Some makers in the microbrand world have turned to cheaper components to try and make a quick dollar. Let’s use an example to clarify this idea.

In this case we aren’t referring to much cheaper watches that apply to the masses (there are brands that do this to). Instead we are referring to watch makers that use cheaper components to try to “copy” what the high-end watchmakers do or even pass those timepieces off as comparable.

For example: The ETA 2824-2 is produced by ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse (generally referred to as ETA) and has become known as one of the best mechanical Swiss watch movements you can buy. Many consider this movement to be a better than those created in-house by some of the major brands. In recent years, cheaper knock-off versions of this movement have been created.

An example is the TC 2824 movement. This product is made in China. Without getting into the varying grades of Swiss movements yet, this Chinese-manufactured movement is about half the price of the lowest grade Swiss ETA 2824-2. Although designed to mimic one, the TC 2824 is not a Swiss-made movement.

Another example of automatic movements used in some other microbrands with lower quality is the Miyota 8215, one of the Japanese calibers most diffused in the world, it’s not a copy of the ETA 2824-2 like the one mentioned above, and while having a greater quality as the Chinese copy of the ETA 2824-2 the Miyota have a with an accuracy of -20 to +40 seconds per day, and a power reserve of over 40 hours, while a topgrade ETA 2824-2 have an accuracy of -4 to +4 seconds per day, and a power reserve of over 42 hours.

Those looking at microbrand watches need to take the time to understand what they are getting. A TC 2824 or a Miyota 8215 movement will not offer the same quality, or durability, as even the lowest-grade ETA 2824-2, who have an accuracy of -12 to +12 seconds per day, and a power reserve of over 42 hours.

DWISS design awarded Swiss made timepiece

High End Swiss Watch Microbrand

With an understanding of microbrands, and an idea of what to look for when choosing one, let’s talk about what a high end swiss watch is in terms of microbrand watches. In this case, we’ll use one of our own collection to showcase as an example.

For our purposes here, we’re not selling the watch, just using it as an example to showcase the quality of what a high-end Swiss microbrand should be. We could speak of our award-winning signature time display. Instead, let’s just cover what makes a quality Swiss watch.

DWISS automatic watches uses the ETA 2824-2 movement, and the mechanical hand-wound watches uses a ETA 7001 (more about this movement in our next posts). They are a top-grade movement, as opposed to a standard grades or cheap knock-off. The ETA 2824-2 movement contains 25 jewels, and it also contains Incabloc® shockproof protection to protect those jewels.

The movement in this watch is considered to be the workhorse of mechanical movements by high-end collectors. It is reliable, long-lasting, and with a top-grade movement is generally accurate to within a few seconds a day.

The case of the RS1 is made from high-grade 316L stainless. It includes a 7-part multilayer structure and a see-through back. This choice of material is intended to create a watch that will last. 316L stainless is one of the most durable stainless materials on the market.

To finish the watch off a sapphire crystal (the glass) encloses the movement in its case. Sapphire scores 9 out of 10 on the mineral hardness scale (just below diamonds) which makes it the right choice for a high-end, durable, wearable timepiece. Every aspect of its design

This particular watch (and the whole R1 Collection) is produced as a limited-edition. Those who choose the RS1 – Automatic will own a timepiece that is 1 out of 199 produced. We could take our journey into collectable high-end Swiss watches further and start talking about our Tourbillon watches, but then we’d miss the point.

DWISS RC1-SW tourbillon - design awarded timepiece

What Really is a Watch Microbrand?

What needs to be understood is that, with watch microbrands, quality can and usually does speak for itself. A swiss microbrand that uses high-end components will supply you with a watch that will last for many years to come. A brand that produces their timepieces in limited editions will also make that timepiece more collectable.

For those of us who love watches, quality matters. High-end components, swiss-made watches, limited-editions, and attention to every aspect of design is what really makes a watch microbrand watch. There are dozens of off-shoot watchmakers in the world, but only a few that we would consider a true microbrand. A true microbrand watch is a timepiece created by watch-lovers for watch-lovers.