Vroom at the top: Blacklist Watches
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  1. #1
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    Vroom at the top: Blacklist Watches

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    We see so many watches on Watchuseek each day it’s easy to become blasé and cynically casual about both new watches and new watch brands. There was a lengthy thread recently on Blacklisted Watches, well, here is a new brand actually called Blacklist Watches. The earnest hope of watch brand founder and designer, Justin Eterovich, is that you will like and not blacklist his new collection. Getting to the point where the samples can be Kickstarted has been a long, hard and often frustrating road. Mountaineers will tell you they climbed a mountain because it was there. In the case of Justin, he designed a watch because it wasn’t. Here Justin explains in his own words how, using his own savings as a summer time pool attendant in Northern California, he designed his own Swiss watch brand from the ground up.

    Note: Questions 1 and 6 were answered as one question:
    1. Please tell us about the origins of Blacklist Watches and why you arrived at the name.
    6. You say you would like to share your journey with us, can you explain more about your journey, why you decided to create a new watch brand in the first place, how you arrived at the design, and with whom you are working in Switzerland

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    JE: First, let me introduce myself. My name is Justin Eterovich. I am a senior business marketing student at Sonoma State University in California. I have a passion for business, cars and watches. It was really only a matter of time before I combined all three and started my own watch brand!

    It all started after spending hours upon hours looking for a new watch online. I had a $600 budget and some simple, yet strict parameters. I wanted an oversized black PVD watch with lots of carbon fiber on the dial. As a car lover, I simply cannot resist anything with carbon fiber and have completely fallen in love with the way it looks on watches. After searching for about a month, the closest watch I found was a U-boat Classico Titanium IPB Chrono. Realizing this watch was about $2500+ over budget; I got very frustrated, and settled with something within budget.

    After about a month of being unsatisfied with my watch, I tossed around the idea of designing my own watch. I told my all of my watch loving friends and they laughed at me. Nobody thought that I would be able to do it. They said the required capital to start something like that would simply be too much for a college student to afford. This only made me want it more.

    When I received some realistic numbers from different manufacturers, I figured I would be able to afford getting to the sample stage with the money I saved up from my summer pool cleaning job. I wanted the watches to be Swiss Made, so naturally I went with a Swiss company, at first. It took a grueling 3-4 months just to get the designs finalized. I would make one small change, such as the size of the indexes, and it would take at least a week to get back to me. This was due to the company outsourcing the designing. Having the design changes go through multiple sets of ears before getting to the graphic designer caused countless delays. Not knowing the industry standard of designing, I thought at first that this was normal. I was promised samples in 4 months from the day we started, when in reality, it took 4 months just to design them. After the designs were finalized and a large exchange of money took place, it was finally time to start producing the samples.

    After about 2 months of no progress, I got pictures of the stainless steel band and box. This got me excited; keep in mind it’s taken about 6 months to get here. About another month later, I got pictures of the dials and cases. This time there was less excitement. The cases had defects and the dials were completely wrong. The quality was very poor for both and needed to be redone. This is where I should have walked away. After much bickering back and forth, my manufacturer agreed to remake only 1 case the right way. (No money had been exchanged yet for these samples, thank god!) They said it would take at least another month to redo the case and dials, so I waited patiently.

    Another month and a half passes with nothing but empty promises and excuses. Fed up with all the lies, I finally gave them a 30 day notice. The notice said if you don’t produce watches in 30 days, I am NOT paying you a dime and I am going to find someone who can produce them. They never even replied, so I ended all contact with them. Down thousands of dollars already, I found my current manufacturer. They have a solid reputation and currently produce over 1,000,000 watches a year. Their home office is based in China, with a manufacturing facility in Switzerland giving them the capability to produce Swiss Made watches.

    Before agreeing to anything, I bought some watches that they produced to check quality. The quality was excellent and exceeded expectations so we started getting to work. Around 2 months later, I am finally looking at my wrist with a smile on my face. The quality of the samples is truly amazing. The quality of work, customer service, and haste at which things are done with this new company is completely outstanding. I have finally found the right manufacturing match.

    2. What does Blacklist represent?

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    JE: Blacklist represents all the times you’ve been pushed down and gotten back up. All the times you were told you couldn’t do something, but you proved them wrong. All the times you’ve wanted to give up, but you were bigger than that. Blacklist is the reminder that the obstacles life throws your way are conquerable when your will to succeed is strong. Blacklist is a symbol to remind you that anything is possible, and the underdog will always have his turn to rise.

    3. On Watchuseek, we see a lot of new watches come to market, both from established brands and from start-ups. What is the point of difference with Blacklist?

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    JE: Well, we are entering the market with a couple of differentiating factors. Our brand is a car inspired brand. This is represented through the colors of our seconds’ hands. The colors we use are almost exact matches to, BMW Laguna Seca blue, Lamborghini Verde Ithaca green, Ferrari Rosso Corsa red and more to come! We are producing watches that use colors to match our target markets favorite cars. If you have the car, the watch will go great with it, if you can’t afford the car; you can have a piece of it on your wrist. We are entering the market with a bold yet simple, attractive, limited edition, Swiss made carbon fiber watch for about the same price as some non-Swiss made Nixon’s. These watches will also be limited in production. I have not yet decided how many to produce, but it won’t exceed 1000per color. Part of the attraction of these watches comes from the fact that you will most likely never run into anyone with the same watch as you, which cannot be said about a brand such as Nixon or Diesel.

    4. Where are you based, and are your watches 100% Swiss made?

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    JE: I am located in California, about an hour north of San Francisco. According to the Swiss Made laws, yes these watches will be Swiss Made. Some of the components will be manufactured in China, such as the case and band, however they use Swiss movements, are cased up in Switzerland and the final inspection takes place in Switzerland, rendering them Swiss Made. It seems this is pretty much the industry standard when it comes to manufacturing a watch that retails for under $1000.

    5. Please explain more about the dial design, for example, one watch is 50% plain and 50% patterned

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    JE: I have always been a fan of simple watches. I like the simplicity of carbon fiber with only indexes, but when rendered up, it looked too plain and slightly unbalanced. I added a little inspiration from one of my favorite brands, added a half black face, and the Phantom was born. This dial design was done wrong by the first company, so I made sure that my new manufacturer used the same technique that the higher end brands do to achieve this look. What they use is a copper cut out IP plated in Matte black to cover half of the face. This is a higher quality and more expensive option and I think it came out looking pretty darn cool.

    The other version, the Renegade, was designed to be extremely versatile, having easy to read numerals and super bright luminescence. This watch shows off the most carbon fiber along with some bold numbers to give it a sleek and strong presence on your wrist.

    6. Please see top of page

    7. You are currently using Ronda quartz, do you have any plans to produce an automatic?

    JE: I am glad you asked this question. Absolutely YES! I plan on using some of the Kickstarter money to design an automatic line of watches using ETA movements.

    8. Who do you see as the target audience for your watches? What kind of watch buyer are you trying to reach?

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    JE: If I had to pinpoint my target audience, I would say I am trying to target the watch loving car guy. I have found through my brand’s Facebook page (Which has over 12000 likes) that the people who like my brand come from all walks of life with varying interests. We have had so much support from people all around the world; it’s hard to target a small portion of them. The watches are designed to be bold statement watches for the car lover, but I am not going to limit our audience there. I would have to say that I am trying to reach anyone who likes a bold, carbon fiber, Swiss Made, high quality watch.

    9. You say you had to make some tough business decisions along the way, can you tell us about some of those decisions?

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    JE: As discussed before, some of the hardest decisions came with switching manufacturers. I am not the type of person who wants to up and leave a manufacturer without seeing things through. That is primarily the reason I stuck around so long even after the signs pointed to them failing. After making the change, every part of the process has been almost seamless. I’ve sacrificed quite a few opportunities to be able to start this watch company. It’s become my life for the past year, along with going to school full time and maintaining my position on the Dean’s list. I’ve even had investors approach me with some favorable amounts of cash to become involved in the brand, but I’ve respectably declined. Regardless of whether this brand takes off or fails, the most important part for me is that I did it myself, with my own money, own hard work, and didn’t have to give away a piece of the pie to make it happen.

    Every detail of this watch was the result of a decision made by me. To use carbon fiber dials, to go with colored seconds hands. Everything from how the box opened down to the positioning of the text details on the case back. Seeing as this was my first time going through this, I had no idea I would be faced with so many difficult decisions like this. Every aspect of this watch was customized by yours truly. I’ve logged hundreds of hours on Skype, just talking to my manufacturer about these minute details that make the watch what it is. I’ve spend over a year getting these watches ready to bring to market. Most people don’t even realize the amount of time and headache that really is. I went through it all, but not to produce these watches just for myself; I want to share them with the world.

    10. How much are you hoping to raise with your Kickstarter campaign?

    JE: I will need to raise at least $60,000 to be able to place the production order.

    11. What is the price point for Blacklist Watches?

    JE: I will be accepting pre-orders through my website for the next couple of weeks at a super discounted price of $399 with a special gift. After the production order is placed, the pre-order price will go up to $449. Kickstarter prices will be around $449-499 Retail is between $749-799 depending on model.

    The Blacklist Watches Kickstarter campaign will go live in around one week’s time. Watchuseek readers can either pre-order through the website for a free leather strap or wait for Kickstarter!

    Visit the Blacklist Watches website
    Last edited by Ernie Romers; June 9th, 2014 at 13:10.

  2. #2
    Member sduford's Avatar
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    Re: Vroom at the top: Blacklist Watches

    Really cool watches. I like the look of the P2 but looks like it has very poor legibility so it would have to be an R1 for me. That's OK as I love 3-6-9-12 dials.

    I think at $399 for a Swiss quartz watch with a nice bracelet and a carbon fiber dial it's not bad. At $750 though that's getting VERY pricey...

    EDIT: just noticed that on the P1, we can't even see the hands! Not very useful.
    Last edited by sduford; June 9th, 2014 at 17:24.
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    Re: Vroom at the top: Blacklist Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by sduford View Post
    EDIT: just noticed that on the P1, we can't even see the hands! Not very useful.
    Thank you for the kind words in your post!

    In response about the legibility of the hands on the P1: On the wrist, the hands are legible with even minimal lighting. In the picture, they almost seem to blend in, but i can assure you they are very readable. Here is another shot of the P1 in a natural setting.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Vroom at the top: Blacklist Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by BLACKLIST View Post
    Thank you for the kind words in your post!

    In response about the legibility of the hands on the P1: On the wrist, the hands are legible with even minimal lighting. In the picture, they almost seem to blend in, but i can assure you they are very readable. Here is another shot of the P1 in a natural setting.

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    That's in bright sunshine though. Do you have a picture in dim indoor lighting? Like in a restaurant?
    Have: Archimede Pilot 42H, Chr.Ward C60 Trident, Melbourne Flinders, Melbourne Portsea, Orient Bambino, PerpetuaL R-01, Szanto 1204, Traser H3 Classic Automatic Master, Vostok Amphibia, WUS F71 GMT 2014 Project
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  5. #5
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    Re: Vroom at the top: Blacklist Watches

    Isn't the movement too small for the case? Or the case is too big for this movement? The sub-dials look too much close to each other in the middle of the dial with too much case around. But, anyway, it's always nice to see new brands raising up.

  6. #6
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    Re: Vroom at the top: Blacklist Watches

    they look nice but recall my memory on Ritmo Mundo - Quantum inspired?

  7. #7
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    Re: Vroom at the top: Blacklist Watches

    Quote Originally Posted by dsmcastro View Post
    Isn't the movement too small for the case? Or the case is too big for this movement? The sub-dials look too much close to each other in the middle of the dial with too much case around. But, anyway, it's always nice to see new brands raising up.
    I think it's the case that's too large for the movement. 48mm, Darn, that's huge. I can't sport anything over 44.
    Last edited by sduford; June 11th, 2014 at 14:16.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Vroom at the top: Blacklist Watches

    Just ordered the Renegade R1, I think it looks awesome. Can't wait til October when it will arrive.

  9. #9
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    Re: Vroom at the top: Blacklist Watches

    good job! i hate the fact someone out there just cant help to say something absurd , as if even if you make one they'll even buy it. LMAO
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  10. #10
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    Re: Vroom at the top: Blacklist Watches

    Thank you for the kind words!

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