My transition from being merely watch curiousto becoming something of a budding watch nerd happened to coincide with the early days of so-called “microbrands.” While that moniker has become problematic and the game has evolved a lot in the subsequent years, from their creation, these one-man operations leveraged access to less costly global watch manufacturing and a direct-to-consumer internet sales model that undercut the traditional retail world of watch sales.
One thing to note right at the top is that the term “microbrand” is not one that is preferred by many of the brands discussed here. Nearly all of the people I spoke to for this story expressed some distaste at the terminology and how it operates as a blanket term for small watch brands that operate online, which lumps quality producers in with scam artists and get-rich-quick schemes. While I entirely agree with this sentiment (I’ve always hated the term “blogger”), I don’t know of a better term that was born alongside these brands (it’s even in Wikipedia). For the record, all of the key respondents in this piece were selected because of their high-quality products and enthusiast-focused mindset. But I digress.