A couple of weeks ago Kayla and our Member Services team forwarded me a list of questions and threads from our Community about Watch Gang and the watch industry in general. In reading these questions over I decided that I wanted to create a regular blog post where I answer your questions and tell you about all of the exciting things we are working on. Of course, doing this is going to require me to get over my general anxiety of writing something that thousands of people will read, so please bear with me.
First, I want to provide some background on how the watch industry works. Apologies in advance if this part is a bit boring. The watch industry, like many other industries, has multiple layers in the supply chain. There are micro brands, brands owned by single designers, brands owned by suppliers, brands handled by distributors, manufacturers that own brands, and everything in between.
I found this image on reddit: https://tinyurl.com/y3ujahfj and wanted to make one for Watch Gang (this was hard because we work with 100’s of brands). Here is at least a partial visualization of Watch Gang partners:
Our operations team here at Watch Gang scours the globe looking for exceptional partners and products that will provide our members with a diverse collection of quality timepieces. When we find partners and brands that our members love, we order more pieces from them. Sometimes Watch Gang becomes their biggest single purchaser (this is something I’m actually really proud of!). Watch Gang also serves as the U.S. distributor for Fortuna, Laco, The Melbourne Watch Company, and Out of Order (OOO) and has ambitions of distributing more brands in the future.
The growth of our community over the last two years has earned Watch Gang a unique position in the watch industry. We are able to leverage our purchasing power and the learnings from our community with brands to get them to continually improve and develop products our members will love. For instance, with all the feedback from the community, we now know that a brand should avoid delivering a watch with only a nato or rubber strap. Also, alloy is not as good as 316L stainless steel with solid links (not hollow folded) and that our members prefer Japanese movements over Chinese in their dive watches. Our operations team shares this information with our partners whenever possible to help them to develop watches that our membership will love (good examples are the Heritor “Morrison”, and the OOO Ghost that became Watch Gang member favorites). Another important benefit of the size of our community is that we are able to support small, independent watch brands who would typically face an uphill battle against bigger companies and an almost impossible task of reaching manufacturers minimum order quantities (MOQ’s).
I am looking forward to continuing our conversation in future blog posts. I’m also excited about introducing you to some of my favorite craft makers this summer (more to come on that soon). As always, thank you for your participation in our community and for giving us the opportunity to serve you.
With kind regards,
P.S. There were some additional questions I did not get to in my post that I will answer below:
“Are all the watches really the same?”
Not at all! A simple mechanical watch has 130 components and some watches have over a thousand parts. There are a large variety of movements and huge variances in quality of components. Watch Gang prides itself on delivering exceptional quality watches at each tier and every watch shipped to subscribers is backed by a 2 year warranty.
Is Watch Gang buying watches from Alibaba and slapping on different faces on the watches?
Absolutely not. All watches featured by Watch Gang are verified authentic and covered under the 2-year Watch Gang warranty.
Why don’t all of the watches come with printed manuals?
Watch Gang actively encourages the use of digital manuals whenever possible via a link listed on the back of the Warranty Card. This small change saves money on manufacturing and shipping costs and is better for the planet.
Why can’t some of these watches be purchased elsewhere? We don’t see any other sites where you can purchase or read reviews on these watches.
These days it is quite common for watch brands to sell only online (brick and mortar retail is a tough business particularly if you’re small). Many of the brands Watch Gang features choose the internet only, or internet first then physical retail later. Sometimes brands just need time to gain momentum, gain reviews, and spread. This is how it was for Ocean Crawler, Out Of Order, Daniel Wellington, MVMT and many other brands.
Why do some of these brands (Motor-Time, Aquanero, Chronologia, etc) have no physical address or phone number listed on their websites?
Good question. I looked at half a dozen sites from different brands (some featured by Watch Gang and others that are not) and there does not seem to be a “rule of thumb” across the industry. That said, I think they should have this info so we have asked all brands to provide a physical address and phone number.
If these are REAL watch companies, why wouldn’t they sell the same model watch with different bands (leather and ss)? * This was directed at Drift.
We reached out to Mont Richard and they have agreed to explore offering additional straps. Stay tuned!
I noticed on a return shipping label WG provided me that it was the same address that ResultCo uses. In what capacity do you work with ResultCo?
ResultCo (https://resultco.com/) is a global manufacturing, logistics and distribution company focused on watches and everyday carry items (sunglasses, wallets, keychains, etc..). Resultco sometimes processes shipments, returns and repairs for Watch Gang and many other brands.
ResultCo also manufactures and distributes their own brands (see visualization).
How is the MSRP established for new brands?
While we can’t speak to how individual brands set their MSRPs we can tell you how Watch Gang evaluates and determines whether or not a watch is deemed “Watch Gang Worthy”.
We have requirements in place at each Tier to ensure that our members receive high quality watches comprised of a design, movement, materials, and construction that is comparable or superior to other watches on the market at the same MSRP price point. We then use our leverage as a large buyer to purchase at a discount and pass the savings on directly to our members.
We encourage all of our members to geek out! Become an expert on movements and materials and dig into what we have sent you. You will find plenty of other members interested in talking shop in the official Watch Gang Exchange on Facebook.
Is Deep Blue an Alibaba watch rebranded?
Absolutely not! We have seen a number of knock-off/look-a-likes of Deep Blue watches on Alibaba. Do not purchase them thinking you are getting something of comparable quality to a Deep Blue.
Is Out Of Order from Hong Kong?
No! As many of you have seen when we visited them last year, Riccardo and his team are located just outside of Venice, Italy. Their watches carry the “Made in Italy” badge. In order to maintain this designation, a product must meet specific requirements from the Italian government. For more information visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Made_in_Italy
Why do some of these websites use a 3rd party service in Panama to hide their website registration?
After looking into this, Namecheap offers free web privacy and is registered in Panama. GoDaddy has theirs in Arizona. Register.com has theirs in Florida. I believe they are the three largest providers of domain names.
There has been a lot of chatter on the Exchange Page regarding this. Why was there a delay in responding?
Kayla does a great job of surfacing your concerns and honestly, I just dropped the ball on writing a timely response. As the old saying goes, “The buck stops here” and I accept full responsibility for the delay. Moving forward I will use the CEO blog to stay on top of your questions and concerns. Please hold me to that.
Why were comments muted and removed?
Comments are only muted and removed under the following guidelines: Exchange Rules
*** The NUMBER ONE RULE which has been in place since day one...Don't be jerks! Be excellent to each other. No bullying or harassment of any kind. Please just be decent to one another. We're all here in this group because we love watches. If any threads were muted or removed, it is due to breaking these rules (being disrespectful towards other members or foul language).