Think you know Daniel Wellington? No, you don't.
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  1. #1
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    Think you know Daniel Wellington? No, you don't.

    Hey there, dear watch fellas @ WUS. I'm a middle class executive from Singapore - the most expensive city in the world and I've recently decide to combine my passion for writing and watches.

    The below is a post from my 2 weeks old blog. Pardon the strange placement of images as I copied and paste the whole thing here.

    Any feedback is greatly appreciated.





    It is a near global sensation seen on the wrists of hip students to white collared young executives in a rare equal-gender distribution. According to a Bloomberg report, the company raked in $70 million in 2014 with a sale of 1 million watches; Daniel Wellington is an immensely successful watch company.

    I will off start by saying that I don't own a Daniel Wellington and I never will. The purpose of this article is not one of endorsement (obviously) and neither is it meant to be a bashing of the brand and its followers.

    What it is, is an unprejudiced study into the factors which turned a seemingly plain looking watch into the phenomenon it is today, followed by the reasons why true watch guys will never be converts.

    Success contributor 1: it's all about the strap


    Prior to Daniel Wellington, young adults and fresh-in-the-workforce yuppies unacquainted with watches had never seen something like this - a formal looking watch case and dial paired with a colourful NATO strap. In their minds, fabrics straps were meant for chunky sport watches i.e. G-shock; likewise, a formal watch should always come with a leather strap.

    The mix of formal and casual was refreshing and original (or so they thought) and this juxtaposition appealed to a generation that grew up on Facebook and iPhones - one that sees classic as 'boring' fueled by a culture constantly searching for 'the new black'.

    When Daniel Wellington arrived, it checked all the right boxes: affordable, good looking, colourful and 'rad'.

    The combination of these elements paired with a sophisticated sounding brand name took the world by storm.

    Why true watch guys don't buy it

    They've been swapping watch cases onto NATOs (and other straps) vice versa for years; there is nothing new or original about it.

    Supposed that you were a mathematical genius born and trapped in a cave but somehow, managed to come up with the theory of relativity not knowing that Albert Einstein has already done it 5 years ago, would that make the news?

    No. Rediscovery is not discovery.


    Photo: watchuseek forum


    Traditional watch companies have also been launching models featuring NATO straps.

    These are companies with true heritage making top quality products but more on this later.


    TUDOR Heritage 'Chrono Blue'
    Tudor Heritage 'Monte Carlo'


    Success contributor 2: new media


    I'll hazard a guess and boldly claim that if Daniel Wellington had came out 15 years ago, it would be dead within 2.

    Daniel Wellington does no traditional advertising, instead relying on social platforms to spread the word. A #danielwellington hashtag inducts you into a fan club where avid supporters post 'wrist shots' and share them with the world.

    If there's one forte this generation possesses, it is the ability to take marvellous photographs and working magic with camera filters and image editors.

    Take a look at some of the pictures, they all look fantastic. Bear in mind that these are not models in the traditional sense, they're people like you and me.





    Why true watch guys don't buy it


    Traditional watch companies have been slow in adopting to social media - a medium often perceived (and rightly so) as too abrupt, short lasting and attention spans lasting a grand total of 5 seconds.

    The pace of social media does not work well with the messages they would like to send across.




    Take for example, the Omega Co-axial escapement that took close to 15 years of research and development before it was launched - an achievement only made possible by the brightest minds in mechanical watchmaking; this is not a story that can be told in a few paragraphs or 3 minutes and so, they simply don't.

    Traditional brands adopt a semi-passive stance and would much rather you come to them with a genuine interest to discover, as opposed to splashing it all over Facebook.

    True watch guys don't just like their watches for the way they look. The ideas and trials behind its conception are studied with an obsession. When we look at Daniel Wellington, we see a void.

    Success contributor 3: great design



    The dials on Daniel Wellington watches look fantastic. It's clean, simple, sharp and timeless.


    It is an extremely palatable design that works for everybody.

    Why true watch guys don't buy it

    All is well and good. Only, it didn't come from Daniel Wellington.

    I've written on a few occasions about Bauhaus - a philosophy and art form originating from Germany which emphasize on minimalism and balance. Bauhaus is what you see on Daniel Wellington's watches.


    The original school of Bauhaus

    There is nothing inherently wrong with drawing inspiration from classic design philosophies. It's just that traditional watch companies have done it and done it better. Moreover, their watches are offered at a greater value. Note that I didn't say price, but value. We'll get to that.


    True Bauhaus. 100% Germany.

    Daniel Wellington states in its website that it is 'constantly striving for perfection, and allowing our Scandinavian identity to shine through.'


    Honestly, try as I may but I just don't see that connection. There is nothing Scandinavian about Bauhaus.

    Success contributor 4: It has a romantic founding story

    First of all, the founder of Daniel Wellington is a Swedish by the name of Filip Tysander.

    So who the hell is Daniel Wellington?

    As the story goes, Filip had a chance encounter with an English stranger named Daniel Wellington during his travels across the British Isle. Mr Wellington had a thing for wearing vintage watches on weathered fabric straps and this so inspired Filip that he decided to create a watch brand and name it after this mysterious gentleman. Hearing a story like this conjures up images like these:




    Sounds sentimental and while it may well have been true, there is a total lack of backing to this story, which feels to me that they created the watch first, and the story second.

    The non-occurrence of a Daniel Wellington coming forth to identify himself as the Daniel Wellington is also rather curious, considering how big the brand is in the UK. Add that to the fact that Filip Tysander not only met him once, but on numerous occasions between Melbourne and Cairns. And remember that Mr. Wellington was a complete stranger.

    How many times have you met your neighbour in a place other than your doorstep and the lift?

    You get my point.

    Why true watch guys don't buy it

    We love stories. And we have a lot of them to tell if you had the time and patience.

    For comparison, here's a favourite story of mine:

    In 1970, the American spaceflight, Apollo 13 was on its way back to earth in deep space. And it was in deep trouble.




    An equipment failure had crippled onboard measuring instruments. Jack Swigert, one of the mission's astronauts used the chronograph on his Omega Speedmaster to time the critical 14 second engine burn to do a mid-course correction at the precise moment and brought the crew safely back to earth.

    How's that for a good story?




    Success contributor 5: It is highly affordable


    Daniel Wellington watches range from SGD 250 to SGD 390.


    Compared to Swiss or German watches coming in at 4 digits, it does seem like a fantastic deal - a perfect entry point for young adults and yuppies just stepping into society.

    Why true watch guys don't buy it

    As emphasized further up, good price does not equate to good value. Value is derived from a careful dissection of various components and drawing a comparison back to the price once you've sorted it out.



    Let us examine the Classic Glasgow, one of their most popular models:



    • Quartz battery powered hence requiring the occasional battery change
    • Uses a Japanese movement - Miyota 1L22 which costs about 10 dollars
    • Watches are assembled and made in China
    • Straps are made in China
    • Sells for SGD 250


    I'll take a similar looking watch from NOMOS Glashutte, a German watchmaker known for its Bauhaus watches.



    • Manual winding. It can last forever.
    • Uses a true in-house movement that was researched and tested by a team of NOMOS mechanical engineers over a period of years and millions of dollars
    • Watch is fully assembled in Germany
    • Leather strap is made from genuine Shell Cordovan which takes up to 6 months to produce a batch
    • Costs SGD 2,340


    Cost is about absolute numbers; value is not. Judging from the comparison, Daniel Wellington is severely overpriced.

    Sure, the NOMOS costs 10 times more but I'll gladly save up my money to get one than to have 10 Daniel Wellingtons in 10 different colours.

    Decision time

    With all that said, the choice is yours. I am a firm believer of liberty and support the idea that we should just buy what we like. This article was an objective 2 cents worth to hopefully make you ponder.

    If you'd still like to pick a Daniel Wellington, be my guest: www.danielwellington.com








    Last edited by Kevin.nbt; April 19th, 2016 at 16:38.

  2. #2
    Member dbje's Avatar
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    Re: Think you know Daniel Wellington? No, you don't.

    I like the story but it's pretty long for something that comes down to this:

    1. People like individuality hence the different nato straps, to get your own "style"

    2. But people also like to be a part of a group hence millions of sales of a product that looks merely the same

    3. People are afraid of being to outgoing so play it safe with a design that's not outspoken, I find it to be boring.

    4. It doesn't cost a whole lot.

    I would never buy a DW, I'd rather get a $10 DW style watch from .........s (which are probably the same manufacturers as DW uses).

    Or do it only right Bauhaus way, Nomos or Junghans Max Bill.
    Time is on my side. On my wrist actually. My right wrist to be precise..

    "Once something is a passion, the motivation is there." - Michael Schumacher | Seven-time F1 world champion

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  3. #3
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    Re: Think you know Daniel Wellington? No, you don't.

    Well you had me until you sited Apollo 11 as the mission in question. It was Apollo 13, 11 was the first to land on the moon in 1969. The picture you show is of "Buzz" Aldrin not Jack Swigert, Aldrin was the LEM pilot on Apollo 11. Other than that you have an interesting write up of a not too interesting watch company.
    BarracksSi and diegohwang like this.

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    Re: Think you know Daniel Wellington? No, you don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by dbje View Post
    I like the story but it's pretty long for something that comes down to this:

    1. People like individuality hence the different nato straps, to get your own "style"

    2. But people also like to be a part of a group hence millions of sales of a product that looks merely the same

    3. People are afraid of being to outgoing so play it safe with a design that's not outspoken, I find it to be boring.

    4. It doesn't cost a whole lot.

    I would never buy a DW, I'd rather get a $10 DW style watch from .........s (which are probably the same manufacturers as DW uses).

    Or do it only right Bauhaus way, Nomos or Junghans Max Bill.
    Hey there, thank you for your feedback. You're absolutely right that this story can be told in a much shorter way but I was planning to write it in a more narrative manner and hence, the length.
    dbje likes this.

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    Re: Think you know Daniel Wellington? No, you don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by swissgmt View Post
    Well you had me until you sited Apollo 11 as the mission in question. It was Apollo 13, 11 was the first to land on the moon in 1969. The picture you show is of "Buzz" Aldrin not Jack Swigert, Aldrin was the LEM pilot on Apollo 11. Other than that you have an interesting write up of a not too interesting watch company.
    Oh yes, thanks for pointing out the wrong mission number. Shall amend that.

    As for the picture, I was actually aware but I was just looking for a photo showing the Speedmaster on the wrist of an astronaut as opposed to it being strapped outside their suit.

    Appreciate your comments!
    swissgmt likes this.

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    Re: Think you know Daniel Wellington? No, you don't.

    I actually thought it was insightful, or at least it made what I think is a boring topic interesting. Aside from the space flight errors (I know all us white guys look alike) it was a good read.
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    Re: Think you know Daniel Wellington? No, you don't.

    That was a good read. Not your average watch article and written in a much different style than many of today's bloggers who seem to be on the payroll. To me the article was easy to understand, your comparisons are logical and I felt the purpose of the article was to educate rather than endorse.

  9. #8
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    Re: Think you know Daniel Wellington? No, you don't.

    No worries man! It was a good story and I found the figures interesting to read! I guess I'm more of a bulletpoint kind of guy!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin.nbt View Post
    Hey there, thank you for your feedback. You're absolutely right that this story can be told in a much shorter way but I was planning to write it in a more narrative manner and hence, the length.
    Time is on my side. On my wrist actually. My right wrist to be precise..

    "Once something is a passion, the motivation is there." - Michael Schumacher | Seven-time F1 world champion

    Instagram:
    http://www.instagram.com/wristytimes


  10. #9
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    Re: Think you know Daniel Wellington? No, you don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin.nbt View Post
    Oh yes, thanks for pointing out the wrong mission number. Shall amend that.

    As for the picture, I was actually aware but I was just looking for a photo showing the Speedmaster on the wrist of an astronaut as opposed to it being strapped outside their suit.

    Appreciate your comments!
    I grew up during our space program and remember watching Neil Armstrong make the first footprint on the moon, sitting in front of the TV in my diaper. So I'm a space head, not a critique just as a writer I thought you might appreciate having it correct. It is a good picture of Buzz wearing the Speedmaster where it was meant to be worn.

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    Re: Think you know Daniel Wellington? No, you don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by ilitig8 View Post
    I actually thought it was insightful, or at least it made what I think is a boring topic interesting. Aside from the space flight errors (I know all us white guys look alike) it was a good read.
    Thank you for your kind words. But no, whites don't look all the same to us. Common misconception.

    But I know that Asians all look alike to you guys, hahaha.
    AmberLeaf likes this.

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