I'm new to the forum and I registered to share a project of mine with you guys and maybe get some help and/or feedback.
Watches have been a passion of mine for some time now. I've also been doing design and creative work for many years, and I have an engineering background. When you put all this together, you can guess what the result is. I've decided to design and build my own watch.
I'm still in the early stages of the project. I've touched base with a few OEM manufacturers and the project seems totally feasible. I believe, since I'm still learning a lot about watchmaking, that it would be much easier to go with one single OEM manufacturer than source all the different parts from different specialists and have someone assemble the watches. Much less room for problems when dealing with one single company.
Right now I'm finalizing the design. I've been looking at a lot of watches, reading a lot about the history and the different styles. I have decided to design a pilot style watch, simply because it is a style that I like a lot. So I'm also learning a lot about airplanes of all kinds, flight instruments, the military, etc...
I have decided to do 1 design with 2 different finishes: brushed stainless steel, and black PVD finish. The style is highly influenced by flight instruments, and the original B-uhr and will therefore have similarities with brands such as Laco, Steinhart, IWC etc...
As for the strap, I have a thing for suede and its rich texture. Dark brown suede, and tan suede is a must. I will see what shade exactly will go nicely with the dial and case once the design is done. Is there a reason why so few brands offer suede bracelets? Is it because suede requires more care and maintenance?
As for the movement, ETA was my #1 choice, but apparently the movements are hard to find now and are insanely expensive. One OEM manufacturer has suggested using a Seagull movement, the ST19. After reading a lot about this movement and its history, I have come to appreciate it and I'm actually excited about using this movement in my watch.
Now you may be wondering how I plan on tackling this project without putting myself into too much debt. My plan is to design the watch, have a prototype made, and put the project on Kickstarter to collect the funds prior to ordering a batch of 300 watches. I've already had a successful campaign on Kickstarter (with a totally unrelated project), and I'm confident this watch project will be even more successful! I want to keep everything open so that if someone else wants to do the same thing, they will have a lot of information already on hand.
Here are a few mock-ups of a few variations of the design as it sits right now. I'm still tweaking it and I'm still not decided on a few aspects as you can see the differences in the 4 mockups below.
What do you guys think about it so far? Looking forward to hearing your feedback!