For first time watch designers and watchmakers, crowdfunding, and more specifically Kickstarter, is like a match made in heaven. Now these aspiring watchmakers can showcase their creativity and explore the market without the burden of massive production and distribution costs. This means that watch enthusiasts can participate and own rather unique timepieces that otherwise would either not be available at all at a local watch shop or would be limited to microbrand boutique stores with very high price tags.
Then for independent brands, crowdfunding provides a lowered risk environment to bring new products to market enabling them to expand their catalogues and gain more market share through funded first production runs via pre-orders. Here, once again, backers get to participate in the project and obtain watches at much lower retail prices.
Here is our month by month list of the top Kickstarter watch projects of 2017. These are not selected based only on the amount raised or number of backers, but rather represents watches that contribute creatively to the watch enthusiast eco-system.
January - The Evergraph by Xeric
Launched on the last day of January 2017, The Xeric Evergraph Automatic is inspired by the past while being designed for the future. Nothing withstands the test of time better than great design. Ideas come and go, and trends fade, but something well-crafted will leave its mark forever. The Evergraph features the workhorse Japanese Miyota 82S0 automatic movement, American Horween leather (or solid stainless steel straps), a sapphire-coated K1 crystal, and Xeric's signature time display. Production will be limited to only 999 pieces per color.
903 backers pledged US$295 720 to help bring this project to life. For more information visit the project page on Kickstarter HERE
February - Syncro by Straton Watch Co.
The Straton Syncro watch is a culmination of two styles working in unity, the reason for the chosen model name Syncro. The two watch styles consist of Automotive (general appeal, chronograph, checkered racing bezel) and Diving (20ATM water resistance, block minute dive bezel). The Syncro stays true to Straton's previous styling cues of 70's Chronographs which have produced some of the most iconic Chronograph watches.
496 backers pledged CHF258 843 to help bring this project to life. For more information visit the project page on Kickstarter HERE
March - ZeTime by MyKronoz
ZeTime: the world’s first hybrid smartwatch combining mechanical hands with a full round color touchscreen. Using groundbreaking technology to mount watch hands through the center of the high-resolution TFT colour display, ZeTime blends the classic design of a traditional timepiece with the most advanced features of a smartwatch. With its classic mechanical watch hands, powered by patented* Smart Movement technology, ZeTime will automatically update the time according to your location and will work up to 30 days on a single charge.
26,828 backers pledged US$5 333 792 to help bring this project to life. For more information visit the project page on Kickstarter HERE
April - Trans-Siberian by Pramzius Watches
The Trans-Siberian by Pramzius is an automatic railroad pocket watch for your wrist inspired by vintage Trans-Siberian railway pocket watches. This stainless steel timepiece is unapologeticly large at a whopping 48 mm in diameter; the reason is that Pramzius wanted to keep it as close to the original pocket watch as possible. The case back features three-dimensional embossing of the train that appeared on the original pocket watch as well.
57 backers pledged US$17 797 to help bring this project to life. For more information visit the project page on Kickstarter HERE
May - UWear by UWear
UWear is an affordable smart sports watch featuring integrated navigation system, powerful battery life, real-time body condition monitor, location and trail sharing, and various sports modes that makes your outdoor activities safe and fun. With built-in GPS, UWear marks your starting point and tracks the distance, speed and pace when you are hiking, even when your smart phone is not around. UWear will guide you back to where you set off, so you will never need to worry about getting lost.
609 backers pledged HK$543 563 to help bring this project to life. For more information visit the project page on Kickstarter HERE
June - Soloscope Quartz - Xeric
This is the second entry on this list for Xeric After the success of their Soloscope Automatic, Xeric went back to Kickstarter to expand the Soloscope range to include a Quartz collection. The Soloscope separates display from mechanics. It has a single hand, fusing hours and minutes in a distinctive but simple display balancing function and style. This hand encircles the hour and points to the minutes. The other half of the face exposes twin balance wheels, and the mechanics that powers the watch in reaction to motion of your wrist. With two different case shapes and multiple strap options, you can find the Soloscope Quartz that is perfect for you. The Kickstarter campaign had over 30 different options to choose from.
681 backers pledged US$167,018 to help bring this project to life. For more information visit the project page on Kickstarter HERE
July - Carbon Renegade by Rival
The Carbon Renegade by Rival is a racing inspired watch that utilises high tech composite materials to combine it’s ultra lightweight qualities with sleek modern design. Carbon Renegade watches are made from 100% aircraft grade carbon fiber composite with our signature twill weave, providing maximum strength at minimalist weight, offering high durability and striking visual appearances deemed one of a kind.
365 backers pledged $63 044 to help bring this project to life. For more information visit the project page on Kickstarter HERE
August - The Masonic by Aggregate Watches
From the laser-etched case back to the asymmetrical logo etch on the buckle, every detail of The Masonic by Aggregate Watches has been designed with an obsessive focus to ensure the highest possible quality. Designed to stand out from the crowd. The Masonic features a real concrete dial and bezel that gives an appealing industrial look, in contrast to the precise machining of it's stainless steel case.
365 backers pledged US$63 044 to help bring this project to life. For more information visit the project page on Kickstarter HERE
September - Gnomon by Solar Lab Co.
The Gnomon by Solar Lab Co. has a design that is based on the appearance of ancient sundials and strives to integrate a well-known idea into contemporary style. The Gnomon timepiece features an authentic outlook recreating Roman classic sundials and a single handed time telling system, referring to an actual gnomon which is reflected in the name of the watch.
337 backers pledged CA$104 964 to help bring this project to life. For more information visit the project page on Kickstarter HERE
October - 4th Dimention Concrete by 22 Studio
Two years ago, 22 Studio launched the 4th Dimension Wristwatch on Kickstarter and the crowdfunding campaign was a huge success. It had a Quartz movement and urged on by their community of watch enthusiasts, 22 Studio set out to reissue the watch, but this time with a mechanical movement and more refined. The expanding 4th Dimension family of timepieces now including; a Wall clock, 42mm quartz watch, 30mm quartz watch and 4D Concrete Watch Automatic.
126 backers pledged $91 249 to help bring this project to life. For more information visit the project page on Kickstarter HERE
November - NYSW by New York Standard Watch Company
This sophisticated classic looking hybrid smartwatch by New York Standard Watch Company allows you to have a direct read of steps taken and calories burned on detailed face. Hidden under the face of a casual sports watch is an activity tracker, perpetual calendar, reminders and countdown timer.
At the time of publishing this post, 703 backers had already pledged US$142 103 to help bring this project to life. For more information or to back this project, visit the project page on Kickstarter HERE
December - New York by Emerson and Michael
Most of the watches in this list are either 'first' of their kind or push design and technology into new territory, this is however not the case with the Emerson and Michael New York- and that's why it is on this list. This is the first collection for this independent watch company takes inspiration from New York and pulls much of its design elements from early 20th century pocket and trench watches. This collection features nine modestly sized watches with some having ombre dials that give that classic aged vintage look.
At the time of publishing this post, 23 backers had already pledged US$7 294 to help bring this project to life. For more information or to back this project, visit the project page on Kickstarter HERE
Did you back any watches on Kickstarter in 2017? If so, let us know in the comments below which project you backed and if you have received your watch, please feel free to share a photo of it on your wrist.