Planning the Watch

Planning the Watch

By the beginning of 2019, we had formed our plan for the very first Helicon Watch. It was now time to draw our attention on bringing that watch to reality. We needed to focus all our knowledge and resources on how we took that watch from concept to reality. As we have discussed in our previous blogs, we have been privileged to sell many watches from a few hundred pounds to many thousands of pounds, to collectors around the world. We had a unique and invaluable insight, we knew who our customer was, and what they desired, nay demanded in a watch.

We set ourselves key targets for performance and quality and broke that down into expectations of each and every component of the watch. We clearly defined the specifications of the watch and it was these challenges which we believe will make a Helicon watch a joy to own and wear.

During our travels around the world we have met not just watchmakers, but engineers, CAD designers and many specialists in every aspect of contemporary watch manufacture, cases, dials, hands, crystals, movements and so much more. With the support of these amazing experts, we were able to draft an exact set of specifications and performance parameters.

Thus we began many discussions with potential partners around the globe. We sent out tender documents to various watchmakers around the World; Switzerland, Germany and, of course, Asia and what a fascinating process that was. 

Some rejected our proposals as too time consuming, some simply altered our spec to what was easy for them. What became abundantly evident was that IF we produced the watch to our specifications in Switzerland, I mean truly Swiss made, then that would make the eventual price of the watch over £2,500. Now of course you say, one can buy Swiss made watches for under £1,000. Of course you can, but many of the components of a Swiss made watch at this price level are in fact made in Asia. We wanted the best watch, not just a label.

In addition there were two further considerations, and major ones at that. The choice of movement. Swiss was available but we would have to buy our movements from a third party supplier, a wholesaler if you like, but we are just not big enough to deal with the likes of ETA or Selita ourselves. Effectively that means we could not guarantee a factory fresh movement. We had no control on how old the movements were we were buying, and no wholesaler would guarantee price or when delivery would be. 

However, we had one trick up our sleeve. During our global travels, we had met a very nice young gentleman from Japan, one who had been educated in England and spoke perfect English. Over the past 10 years on his regular visits to London, we would meet for lunch and he would give us regular updates on watch movement production and we would give him our insight into the watch market. Not only was he happy to supply us directly, but he would guarantee delivery and price. We had a direct source of movements of freshly manufactured mechanical watch movements. Now this manufacturer was the legendary Seiko. Founded in 1881 by Kintaro Hattori, Seiko has over 180 years of horological innovation and prestige. We had personally sold many thousands of watches with Seiko movements and knew their supreme reliability and accuracy. With mechanical movement supply assured, we waited to settle on a manufacturing partner, and then Covid 19 struck the World. TBC