Monday, August 20, 2018

One of a Kind


This is a quick look back, the 3thirty3 mechanical version.  Realized through the selfless help of Filip Blazevic of Filip and Co Watches.

Sometimes things will not go your way, but if you're lucky, you'll have something positive to hang on to ; )

 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Two New Models from Ming

The Blue and the Ultra Blue -

Courtesy of Ming
To celebrate their anniversary, the team at Ming are offering two limited edition pieces. 

For those of you hoping to lay hands to the Ultra Blue, my understanding is that it was sold out (or at least pre-ordered out) well before the official announcement of either of these pieces.  Which sort of begs the question, why have a press embargo?  But in fairness to Ming, they seem to know what their customers want, and by doing a slow reveal/teaser more than 25 people who frequent their home page and social media channels were persuaded to part with CHF2,500, so there you have it.

The Blue, limited to 125 pieces -
Courtesy of Ming
 

Functions: hours, minutes, independently adjustable 24h timezone

Case, dial & hands:
o Grade 2 titanium case with solid case back
o 38mm diameter, 9.8mm thickness, 43.9mm lug to lug
o Sapphire crystal with anti reflective coating on both sides
o Rigid case without spacer rings
o 100m water resistance with triple crown gaskets and nitrogen filling
o Sunburst metallic blue dial
o Composite, multi-layer, three-part sapphire dial with Super-LumiNova C1 o Beadblasted hands filled with Super-LumiNova C1


• Straps
o 20x18mm, quick release with curved fitting
o 1x dark chocolate nubuck with white stitching o 1x anthracite nubuck with white stitching
o 2x signed pin buckle in grade 2 titanium

• Optional bracelet
o Grade 2 titanium, 5-link type, screwed
o 20mm lug width with quick release mechanism for easy fitting o Concealed double folding clasp in stainless steel

• Movement:
o Automatic mechanical movement Sellita SW330-1 top grade
o 42-hour power reserve
o 28,800 bph (4Hz)
o 25 jewels
o Hacking function
o Movement adjusted to five positions with a 250-hour test program

1-year warranty against defects
Made in Switzerland
Limited to 125 pieces

Retail price
o CHF1,525 including two straps
o CHF1,825 with two straps and matching bracelet 
 
 
And the Ultra Blue, gone but not forgotten -
 
Functions: hours, minutes, independently adjustable 24h timezone

Case, dial & hands:
o Heat-blued grade 2 titanium case with solid case back
o 38mm diameter, 9.8mm thickness, 43.9mm lug to lug
o Sapphire crystal with anti reflective coating on both sides
o Rigid case without spacer rings
o 100m water resistance with triple crown gaskets and nitrogen filling
o Sunburst metallic blue dial
o Composite, multi-layer, three-part sapphire dial with Super-LumiNova C1 o Bead blasted hands filled with Super-LumiNova C1

Straps
o 20x18mm, quick release with curved fitting
o 1x dark blue alcantara by Jean Rousseau Paris
o 1x dark chocolate nubuck with white stitching
o 1x anthracite nubuck with white stitching
o 1x signed pin buckle in heat-blued grade 2 titanium o 2x signed pin buckle in grade 2 titanium

Movement:
o Automatic mechanical movement Sellita SW330-1 top grade
o 42-hour power reserve
o 28,800 bph (4Hz)
o 25 jewels
o Hacking function
o Movement adjusted to five positions with a 250-hour test program

  • 1-year warranty against defects
  • Made in Switzerland
  • Limited to 25 pieces
  • Retail price of CHF2,500
 
 


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Himalaya Chronograph

From lip -


Courtesy of lip

Well, technically the full name is the Himalaya 40 mm Chronograph Sapphire ; )

Courtesy of lip
 This is a LOT of watch for a very little bit of money - 249,00 €!





The case is stainless steel (not coated brass) and measures 40 mm in diameter.  Bi-compax chronograph, date at 6 o'clock.  Miyota quartz movement, sapphire crystal.  A lot of bang for your buck... or Euro!

 
 

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Vektor Inkognito

From Defakto -


In case you missed it, you should go check it out!

Ref-Nr.: 4.V-0101-R-INK
  • Three-hand watch
  • Can be mounted as right- or lefthand-watch
  • Two-piece 39 mm stainless steel watchcase (316L), 6.8 mm high, brushed and polished
  • Height including sphered plexiglas dome 9.8mm
  • 39 mm x 44 mm x 9,8 mm, weight 52g
  • Automatic movement Miyota 9015, made in Japan
  • Engraved see-through case back, stainless steel (316L), brushed and polished
  • Matt black dial, convex, no logo
  • Light, matt red/black rounded hands, manually shaped
  • Flowing, sweeping second hand
  • Ergonomic clasp with engraved Defakto logo
  • German-made cowhide strap
  • Water resistant to 3 atm
  • Made in Pforzheim, Germany


700,00 EUR (incl. VAT)
588,24 EUR (excl. VAT)



Friday, August 10, 2018

The Trouble With Being All-In

As was reported by a few of us a few months back, Niall watches threw in the towel, shuttering their doors on pretty short notice-

http://www.tempusfugit.watch/2018/05/stick-fork-in-it.html


I have been queried by several people - fans, retailers and other micro brand owners as to what went wrong.  In the spirit of full-disclosure, I have to be clear that I honestly didn't know anything beyond the what was at first whispered about, then spoken about more bluntly (and loudly) as the realities of the closure of Niall began to be more known.  Although I have met the face of Niall on a few occasions and spoken on the phone with him once or twice, I was never left with any real understanding as to just how good or bad the business was.  And in the interest of fairness, I think it is best to keep any personal impressions about Mr. Wilson that I gleaned from those encounters to myself.  In terms of visibility, I can say that apart from what he was wearing at the time, I have never seen a Niall watch "in the wild".

But a few months on, the dust has finally begun to settle, and through another outlet we can gain some better understanding about what might have gone wrong.  Please feel free to check this news link from the Kansas City Business Journal -
https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2018/07/13/niall-luxury-goods-bankruptcy-filing.html

And per that article here are some pertinents:

1.  Around mid-July, Niall filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  For those of you unfamiliar (and I am one), Chapter 7 is in many ways the business equivalent of a "walk away".  Per Diffen.com:

The main difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, the debtor's assets are sold off to pay the lenders (creditors) whereas in Chapter 11, the debtor negotiates with creditors to alter the terms of the loan without having to liquidate (sell off) assets. 

Essentially, Mr. Wilson clearly opted to do a 180 from his previous credo of being "all in".  In fairness, Mr. Wilson had brought in a lot of investment, and they had probably seen (and had enough).  And this also then begs the question of cost vs profitability.  While the old adage goes that you need to speculate to accumulate, we also know that when you keep going to an expensive restaurant and having them put it on your tab, sooner or later you will have to pay the bill.


2.  In the Chapter 7 filing, Niall Luxury Goods LLC reported $58,922 in sales during the first part of 2018, down from $554,608 in 2017 and $208,537 in 2016.  Those are some pretty wildly fluctuating numbers.  Let's just think about this for a moment - that is more than DOUBLE the amount of sales in 2017 vs. 2016.  And after that magical year, sales returned to (we will assume) approximately the same level as the year before (presuming the $58,922 was based on the first quarter as opposed to the first six months).  If it was the first six months, then that is even stranger.  It also bears mentioning that sales numbers are not exactly always indicative of profitability.  But it does beg the question, where did all the money go?  Better than half a million dollars, in retrospect, is not so much money.  And it is important to bear in mind that these are SALES numbers, NOT profits.  If we presume that Niall had a 70% margin, that number is now $388,225.  Factor in operating expenses, salaries, rent, etc.?  My suspicion is that Nial was mostly dependent on investment.  More importantly, we need to take that number in to context in terms of how many watches were actually sold.  Simply put, we don't know.  My understanding is that Niall sold a few things, including watches.  Again, consider that Niall had more than a few employees, that puts things into sharper focus.  Add to that the rent for a retail location, and all of the equipment that (I suspect, but do not know) had probably not amortized yet, that is a pretty big nut to cover.

3.  Back in 2017, the company replaced Mr. Wilson with a new CEO, Mark Mazzarese -
https://www.nationaljeweler.com/watches/brand-profiles/5349-mark-mazzarese-named-ceo-of-niall
And if I understand it correctly, Mr. Mazzarese's tenure as CEO lasted from April of that year until sometime in September.  A bit longer than that Pope that got poisoned, but even some of Switzerland's noted serial CEOs have longer tenures (about four to five months because we obviously don't know the real specifics).  Now I don't have an MBA and I am not a habitual reader of the Harvard Business Review, but what I do know about the watch business is that it tends to attract people with egos.  And once you get two strong egos competing, they can clash.  There is, I suspect, more to this story.

Mr. Wilson did a mini publicity tour explaining why it was best for the company that he make way for someone with experience while focusing on what his talents were.

Needless to say, we were all caught a bit off guard when we were informed that Mr. Wilson was back at the helm of the good ship Niall in such short order.

And that almost brings us up to date.  But a few opinions -
While Niall did not bear his name, it was deeply intertwined with Mr. Wilson.  And this came through for better (and sometimes worse) in interviews, publicity pieces and the way that he presented the brand and himself.  There was clearly ego involved.   And in fairness?  You need to have some ego to succeed in this, or pretty much any endeavor.  But you also have to be able to step outside of yourself, and consider the overall impression you are giving, show some humility, and listen to people who are trying to help you.

Contrary to what certain Swiss brand managers and CEOs (and a few more well-heeled colleagues in the 4th and 5th Estates) might think or even say about me, I do not like to see anyone fail.  Generally speaking, I am happy to see people succeed.  And Mr. Wilson and Niall certainly had more than a few opportunities to do so.  We may never know exactly what went wrong, but the fate that befell Niall is no different than the one experienced by several Swiss brands, and even myself when I just couldn't turn the corner with 3thirty3.  It sucks to fail.  It sucks even harder when other people lose their money, and their jobs, and customers are left with watches that will no longer have a valid warranty (if the Niall home page's announcement was to be taken at face value).  

So we come back to that other great commentator on the watch business - General Patton, as played by George C. Scott -

For over a thousand years, Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph - a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children, robed in white, stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror, holding a golden crown, and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.