SevenFriday, Watch Anish, & the Rise of a Microbrand
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  1. #1
    Watchuseek Editor JMunchow's Avatar
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    SevenFriday, Watch Anish, & the Rise of a Microbrand

    It’s been a crazy few weeks and my hiatus didn’t feel like the vacation I had hoped for! But this week I want to jump right into things, no silly intro and no random tie in. I’ll get back to that next week. Also, given the subject matter, I'm posting here in the general forum, instead of my usual High End post. So without further ado, SevenFriday – the brand that is changing the way watches are advertised and how brands rise from obscurity. Oh, and they get by with a little help from their friends!

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    I first heard about SevenFriday the way many other people did, through social media. Looking back on that fateful day, I had no idea I was witnessing the birth of a brand and a revolution to the industry. I was browsing my normal watch blogs at lunch (at this point I already had over twenty I visited every day for the latest watch news) and I clicked on over to Watch-Anish.com. Some of you might already know Watch Anish as the place where watches, fashion, and lifestyle meet. I was reading their latest article, looking at pics by the ever popular Wristi, and clicked over to the Watch Anish Tumblr page when I was smacked in the face by a watch I had never seen before but instantly wanted to know what it was. I read the description and thought… Who is SevenFriday? So ten seconds later I was clicking on their link from a Google search and the rest, as they say, is history!

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    The CEO of SevenFriday, Daniel Niederer, had chosen a strategy that almost every major watch brand up until that point had shunned, as most still do to this day. He chose to go where the people are, a lot of people, and make a splash via social media. Honestly anybody who doesn’t realize that social media is potentially the most powerful marketing space is blind (*ahem… Rol… ah, nevermind). BUT what SevenFriday did that no company yet had done, is that they didn’t really ADVERTISE, they simply made themselves available and got some influential people to wear and show their stuff, but never in a typical marketing sort of way. That is where Watch Anish comes in.

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    Anish Bhatt, the namesake behind the now Instagram powerhouse, had already developed a strategy for Watch-Anish.com. He didn’t try to sell anything; he didn’t try to claim that certain brands were better or focus on any one style of watch. What he did was focus on lifestyle, fashion, and his favorite accessory, watches. And that has made all the difference. He allowed people to see his style, see what he liked and, what social media was intended for, share it with their friends. I don’t know about you, but I care a lot more about what people I know are buying or watching or reading or listening to than any clever ad or celebrity endorsement could ever hope to make me. I trust the people I know, and I know them enough to understand if their opinion is worth listening to. Basically he had stumbled on to the whole idea behind social media, don’t force it; let the people decide. Of course this is a risky strategy and that is why almost every company EVER would never make this their main advertising strategy. Luckily Daniel Niederer took the road less traveled.

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    SevenFriday and Watch Anish are pretty much spoken in the same breath these days and it’s for good reason, they have helped each other explode onto the scene and change the industry forever. Watch Anish had a pretty solid following when Anish bought his SevenFriday, and when he started making shots and posting images in his amazing style wearing the SevenFriday P1, of course his followers did what they always do, they asked “Where did you get that watch?” and “Who makes that watch?” and “I want to buy one, where can I buy one!?” And with those first few pictures, the future was more than a little brighter for SevenFriday. In fact, those first few shots were actually a part of SevenFriday’s newest advertising strategy and were taken as a photo shoot to help promote the fledgling brand. It worked.

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    Since then the rise of SevenFriday and Watch Anish have been shooting towards the sky with more than a little style. Watch Anish shoots photos of every watch he can get his hands on, many worth well over six figures, and yet for every $150K Rose Gold Vachatek Rolemars PeCoultre there is an equally impressive shot of the SevenFriday on his wrist while flying in a helicopter or sitting in the driver’s seat of an old Italian sports car. This is what sets SevenFriday and Watch Anish apart, integrity. I’m not saying that other brands don’t have integrity, but what I’m saying is that the kind of integrity brought to the table by Watch Anish and upheld by SevenFriday is based around honesty, upfront purpose, and a sense that they just want you to enjoy what you enjoy. I think this is the true genius of social media and using it to promote your wares. If SevenFriday had simply tried the same old technique of touting history or technology, they would have been lost in the crowd.

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    Instead they realized that people don’t want to be told what to buy or what lifestyle they should have, they want to explore the world and make decisions for themselves. That is why social media has become a driving force for the next generation. Now it is simply up to you to give them another option. SevenFriday believed in their product, they knew that they were a groundbreaking design, a great quality piece, at a very affordable pricepoint. The only thing left to do was let people see it, give them an idea of why it was awesome, and let them decide for themselves. I knew this even before I met the men behind SevenFriday and Watch Anish, and after meeting both at Baselworld this last spring, I greatly respect what they are doing for the industry as a whole.

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    Yes, I know them (otherwise I would really be speaking out of my ass when I say any of this) and I have had lengthy discussions with both about this whole topic. Not saying that any of this is sanctioned by the respective players, it is just my view on things after learning more about them and taking a look at the reality around me. Anish I now consider a good friend and Daniel is a man that, if it weren’t for him living in Switzerland and myself in Atlanta, I would try to have lunch with him as often as possible simply to pick his brain and discuss his ideas on the industry. He has a flair for marketing, according to Anish, and is incredibly humble about his accomplishments. Anish is another man who is extremely personable and humble about his influence through social media. In every respect they both exemplify all the qualities a businessman should hope to strive for.

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    Currently, both Anish and Daniel are on a SevenFriday US Tour stopping at major cities where SevenFriday’s are sold and having events for the fans of this rising star called SevenFriday. I had the opportunity to spend an extended evening with them last Monday for the first stop on their US tour here in Atlanta. Again the brand stood out as a company who cares about the customer not simply as a customer, but as a possible friend who might enjoy the same things and want to shoot the breeze over a whiskey or a local microbrew.

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    Microbrew… yeah that reminds me! SevenFriday is a microbrand, by definition catering to or recognized in a small niche market. The only problem with this term is it is already beginning to change. With the advent of social media, you can now become widely known and recognized and still only cater to a small segment of a market. Many watch guys should now be aware of SevenFriday, and yet many still aren’t for the simple reason they do not partake in social media and frequent the places that companies like Rolex, AP, or Piaget target. There is nothing wrong with that, but there are more people out there than in country clubs or private boxes at the horseraces. Again, nothing wrong with these places, I would love to join them, but I have a lot of other interests as well. Hublot is a famous example in the industry of a company breaking from tradition and going to where the people are, even before social media took hold. Social media allows people from all over the world to share in interests without having to go to a club or event, instead you discuss with people you know. You can have followers on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook and combined Watch Anish and SevenFriday have around 200,000 followers from every corner of the world. That is a lot of reach when you post a picture of a cool guy wearing your product.

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    This is why I love the “marketing” style of Watch Anish and the honesty of SevenFriday, because they are building a worldwide community around the love of cool things. There is no better way to sell yourself than simply to not and let people like you for what you are. No BS, no big claims, and no false promises. There are many other microbrands going this route too. The big thing that is tough for larger brands to swallow is the lack of control and the need for transparency. Daniel talked about this in regards to the fact that there is a SevenFriday Instagram and Twitter account for different cities or countries all over the world that he has no control over, and it allows those people who run them to feel they are a part of the brand. Also with the internet, it can spread pretty quickly that you said “X” about the people at “Y” and now everyone kind of hates you. The same is true about marketing, and a little fib to make your product sound a little better than it is can hurt a lot in the Facebook era.

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    Some people have complained about SevenFriday saying that they claim to be Swiss made and yet they use a Japanese movement and the products are assembled outside of Switzerland. Well I have a news flash for you, not one person involved with SevenFriday ever claimed they were Swiss made. Sorry, you might have heard it, but it wasn’t true. They are conceived and designed in Switzerland (Zurich)with the help of Studio Divine based in Biel, and manufactured using cost effective sources in China, Japan, and elsewhere. What they do claim is that their watch is quality made (which I and almost every person who has actually bought one will defend), it is available at a great price, and it sports a design unlike anything even remotely comparable in the market. All of these things are absolutely true and I applaud them for that.



    That is the other reason they are making such a splash in the industry, quality products at good prices (but not cheap) and complete transparency about where it comes from. Many microbrands do the same thing, because in today’s internet, it is very easy to discover that your movement or case isn’t what the brand claimed. As long as you stand behind your product and tell people what they are buying, most are very happy to pay for a great watch. Swiss made doesn’t even mean what it used to, and with a new law recently passed, Swiss made will now change its meaning once again. A fact some people don’t want to talk about is that some major brands outsource their cases, dials, or hands anyway to China or elsewhere, at least the steel or titanium cases. That is also a reason you can buy decent quality Chinese replicas or Chinese brands, because they are the ones making Swiss quality stuff in a lot of cases (no pun intended). If you want to buy Swiss, or German, that is fine. For me, I want to buy a great product at a great price from great people. And the people couldn’t be better.

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    I urge you to take a look at and follow SevenFriday and Watch Anish if you don’t already. They do great work and stand behind everything they do. I also urge you to look at other microbrands and find out more about them before dismissing them. Many are good people trying to make great products in an era where manufacturing is possible on much smaller scales than ever before and it allows for ever increasing variety. I myself am very happy that the industry is growing in this way. First and foremost it is revitalizing peoples love for machines and style, something that I live my life by. History and heritage are amazing, and many Swiss brands deserve their rightful place at the top, but that doesn’t mean someone should make their own history and create a new heritage. There is always room for the visionaries, and I am glad to know them.

    SEVENFRIDAY
    Sevenfriday Zürich (sevenfriday) on Pinterest
    SEVENFRIDAY on Instagram

    WATCH ANISH
    WATCH ANISH on Instagram


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    The photos are not mine but used with permission of Watch Anish or found freely on the interwebs.

    Come back next week when I get back to my quirky style of reviewing the machines that blow my horological mind!

    Have an awesomely great week & DFTBA!

    Cheers & Happy Watching,

    Joshua
    Alon, Maese, brrrdn and 4 others like this.

  2. #2
    Member WatchObsession's Avatar
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    Re: SevenFriday, Watch Anish, & the Rise of a Microbrand

    Cool write up, looking forward to more about 7F & Anish, met them both in Basel, cool guys !!
    " Started as a hobby.....but is now clearly a WatchObsession !!"


  3. #3
    Member Nathanours's Avatar
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    Re: SevenFriday, Watch Anish, & the Rise of a Microbrand

    Might be an interesting purchase if they used quality build materials. $1k for a miyota and mineral crystal, and assembled in China? I'd be interested for around $150...
    Nokie and starbot like this.
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    Re: SevenFriday, Watch Anish, & the Rise of a Microbrand

    I'm sorry, but what is that post by the OP and what the heck is he talking about!?

    Just a bunch of marketing mumbo-jumbo. Microbrands are fine but don't you understand that this site is for people who actually know watches??

    All those pictures of DJs and pilots wearing the watch does nothing more than to dissuade me from the brand. Spend the money on making watches that are A) either reasonably priced or B) are worth their price. Sorry, but SevenFriday watches are neither of the above, and I'm pretty sick of the spam everywhere.

    BTW... watch anish??? I gave the site a chance and it immediately switches to all Russian. Hmmm... oh yea, and it says "New York/London". Does that mean they simply like the city names? Otherwise there seems to be no connection.

    Get this spam junk off WUS, please.
    R.Palace and Nokie like this.

  5. #5
    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: SevenFriday, Watch Anish, & the Rise of a Microbrand

    I agree with Starbot.

    I am not sure what I just learned from the OP as the writing style and formatting is all over the place.

    And please excuse my harsh comment, but IMO that is an one ugly looking watch......

    It looks like you are wearing a pill box on your wrist. Yikes!
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  6. #6
    Member Nikoloz's Avatar
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    Re: SevenFriday, Watch Anish, & the Rise of a Microbrand

    i sincerely read through the whole story (well almost) and i might say that yes, i'm disappointed, it did sound like an usual ad to me.
    so either i missed the point, OR you never had one, just wanted to throw some pictures with obligatory text, under every single one of them photos.

    there are actually watch companies with no or little marketing campaigns (nomos jumps to mind) but they still do just fine. they have their exceptional product and reputation to back them up though...

  7. #7
    Watchuseek Editor JMunchow's Avatar
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    Re: SevenFriday, Watch Anish, & the Rise of a Microbrand

    Hello everyone and thanks for the comments…I guess. It’s too bad that it incited so much vitriol but I understand that passion is passion for a reason. Everyone is welcome to their opinions and I have my own about brands that are universally loved. Oh well, we can’t all agree.

    But I would like to make some corrections or addendums if I can. Firstly I want to respond to the statement that it was all marketing mumbo jumbo and that the article was spam or disguised advertising. I’m just a guy writing about stuff I like; I have been posting articles about many other watches as well over the last few months. There was no push by either party for me to write this article and I didn’t consult with them before publishing. These are just my thoughts from my head and my opinions after having spent larger amounts of time with the people I discussed. If my article sucks, don’t blame them, it’s my style of writing that obviously made you all angry.

    Moving on to the claim that Watch Anish isn’t connected to London or New York and must just be a fake Russian site or something; well that’s just ill informed. Anish Bhatt is based in London, he has a partner based in New York, and a recently joined associate from Russia where they now have a sister site in Russian. If the site went entirely to Russian then it’s possible you may have clicked over to that site, because Watch-Anish.com is an English site. They have a posting of a Russian article or two so you can click over to the sister site, but that’s all. So please don’t dump on him when it seems clear that more investigation was due on your part.

    Finally when discussing quality one must realize that a Miyota movement IS a good movement and is not far behind a basic ETA base calibre in a lot of respects. I think the thing that people might not know is exactly how much money it takes to make a watch from scratch, or even designing one from the ground up minus the movement. One thing that many other microbrands still do is to buy ready-made cases, dials, hands, and movements and then simply print their info on them or engrave their details into a rotor and call it their own (Nomos does stand out as one of the very few exceptions and they have reasons behind that as well). There is nothing wrong with that and it allows for many to enter watch collecting in a much more affordable manner. SevenFriday and Studio Divine designed the multi-part case, dial, and hands absolutely from scratch and those costs, in addition to the increased cost for part production (we are still talking low volumes here, in the couple thousand) the price invariably goes up. I work as a prototype developer for a design firm and I know first-hand how expensive (even from, and especially from China nowdays) things can get until you hit the 50k to 100k units mark. $150 for this watch is not even possible. I know with what other’s cost it seems like it should be, but until they make 100,000 units, the price will never be able to come down. They aren’t buying cases that will be produced whether they buy them or not, each one is specially made only for SevenFriday. It might make you angry or make you want to shop elsewhere, but the truth is the truth.

    I won’t try to argue whether this site is indeed “for people who actually know watches,” but try to do more research before being a negative Nancy. If you need some advice on how to conduct yourself online, just follow Wheaton’s Law. We are all here because we love watches, if you don’t agree, say so and move on. Nobody is forcing anyone to read my “all over the place” formatting, and I will try to work on that in future posts. I hope that any further comments will be directed at me and not at a company that is simply trying to make a good product in a way that works for them. I like what I like, you like what you like, and that is why the world is an amazing and variety filled place. Have a great day and DFTBA!

    Cheers and Happy Watching,

    Joshua

  8. #8
    Member BusyTimmy's Avatar
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    Re: SevenFriday, Watch Anish, & the Rise of a Microbrand

    Nice write-up. I still think the watch is hideous though.
    Current Collection: Sinn U1; Rolex 'Smurf' Submariner 116619LB; Omega Speedmaster 3570.50; Casio PRW-3000-1A, G-5600A-7DR; Swatch Sistem51, and some others...

  9. #9
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    Re: SevenFriday, Watch Anish, & the Rise of a Microbrand

    Quote Originally Posted by Nathanours View Post
    Might be an interesting purchase if they used quality build materials. $1k for a miyota and mineral crystal, and assembled in China? I'd be interested for around $150...
    I agree. The specs are highly questionable for the price.
    Last edited by mpalmer; October 16th, 2013 at 03:55.
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  10. #10
    Member iam7head's Avatar
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    Re: SevenFriday, Watch Anish, & the Rise of a Microbrand

    Are they charging a premium? yes!

    But are they over-priced? that's totally debatable.

    I usually not a fans of Micro brand but SevenFriday manage to really push the design to create a niche, it's unique and fresh and that exactly why people are draw to micro in the first place.

    sure it's stylized, it's design driven more than value/function driven and there's nothing wrong with that.

    It's the same reason people love panerai will not mind the Unita, it's just part of the charm. There's plenty of in-house purist's watch out there, for me I like it for what it is.(Don't own one but wouldn't mind :))

    But that's just me :)
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