Can Microbrands be collectable?

By WatchChris


There are 2 different camps when it comes to Microbrands. Some collectors are 100% on-board with microbrands, they can see the value offered for the their dollar spent… Most Micros offer a spec sheet a mile long for what seems like a very low sum of money, however others disagree and don’t see the value in these small brands.

Many complain about subpar quality and brand image or lack there of. A major complaint is also lack of history.

I admit I am a fan of Microbrands and over my years of collecting watches I have seen the over all quality improve dramatically when it comes to finishing and final product. 

Two of the biggest complaints that I often hear about Microbrands are their lack of movement choices and  the fact they are made in just a hand full of factories in Asia

- Japanese made Miyota 8 Series  and 9000 Series

- Japanese Seiko NH35, and NH36

- Swiss Made Selita SW200

Considering this if you rewind just 20 or 30 years ago the swiss industry wasn’t much different. Many of the major brands we know out of Switzerland ALL used ETA movements. They might be off the shelf or slightly/heavily modified they all came from just a hand full of sources. Even Rolex used ETA based Movements – The holy trinity Used Lemania Based Movements there is and was a lot of cross over in the Swiss luxury watch industry. 

Fast forward to today with large watch groups, conglomerates like Swatch, LVMH, and Richemont most of the swiss watch market is under 3 large umbrellas…

Microbrands are more agile. They are able to change their production based on customer feedback quickly. Implement and update designs on the fly.  We often see Version 2, 3, 4, and  5 of Microbrand watch models. They evolve with customer feedback. They are in tune with social media, reading comments and engaging with current and potential customers. This makes the difference and its the reason many small brands are able to improve so quickly.... 

Last but not least they are exclusive most only create small batches of watches, limited runs which often sell out. What is one of the greatest aspects of owning Microbrands? You will often never see another one out in the wild. So with that low price tag comes exclusivity. Working in a major city I often see brands like Seiko omega and Rolex. HOWEVER I have yet to see another person wearing a Zelos or a Nodus.

So that brings up the question can a Microbrand actually become a collectable?

And in my opinion the answer is yes - 

In the future as hand full of these smaller Microbrands up their quality and produce better and better watches they will eventually become Major brands. Some great examples of brands who have made this move are brands like Monta, Christopher Ward, Formex and Ming  just to name a few.

Brands like Lorier, Baltic, Zelos and Nodus who are much smaller however I believe are on their way in the same direction AND one day these very limited watches could enter the realm of collectability as they become more and more popular…


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