When does a ‘microbrand’ become a mainstream brand

I hear a lot of chat about microbrands on forums and wondered when one becomes a a fully fledged brand…and whether there are any examples of a break out from the ’plucky upstart’ to genuine industry contender.

I mean, would it be based on unit sale volume? Unit sale price? business value? independence from a larger parent brand (a la LVMH/Swatch/Richemont)?

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Since there is no real definition of a microbrand, there is no way to determine when they become an established brand. 

I can only think of one brand that has definitively move from microbrand to independent brand, Christopher Ward. They started as the first online only brand, and now own a manufacturing facility, have an in-house movement, and multiple in-house movement modules. 

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KristianG

Since there is no real definition of a microbrand, there is no way to determine when they become an established brand. 

I can only think of one brand that has definitively move from microbrand to independent brand, Christopher Ward. They started as the first online only brand, and now own a manufacturing facility, have an in-house movement, and multiple in-house movement modules. 

Yes and the Bel canto is certainly gaining a significant amount of attention within the community.

I can think of other well known or rising brands that might be micro but seem establslished now such as Marathon, Squale and Baltic off the top of my head.

Maybe it comes to the ability to produce their pieces with little/no reliance on another company to play a part in it.

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Volume is one important metric, though I couldn’t tell you what that volume is. The other important distinction is having an actual factory instead of just a design firm and marketing department. As @KristianG  stated, Christopher Ward is a great example. 

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I would say it probably has to do with sales numbers and making your own parts. At some point the micro starts to make enough of its own watch parts and sell enough watches that it becomes a legit watch brand. 
 

Or something. 

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Grunka_Lunka

Yes and the Bel canto is certainly gaining a significant amount of attention within the community.

I can think of other well known or rising brands that might be micro but seem establslished now such as Marathon, Squale and Baltic off the top of my head.

Maybe it comes to the ability to produce their pieces with little/no reliance on another company to play a part in it.

Four more colors for the Bel Canto will release Thursday.

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Jimmer

Four more colors for the Bel Canto will release Thursday.

Same colors as the pre-order. Was hoping for another 4, but the purple and blue were cool.

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This is a tough question. I would say if they own their entire production, assembly, and distribution, and have a significant marketing spend, they are knocking on the door out of the micro realm. 

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AllTheWatches

Same colors as the pre-order. Was hoping for another 4, but the purple and blue were cool.

Ok, I was just going by what they said in the email...that there would be four new colours.  If they are the same then, well, that gives people an opportunity to grab those when they couldn't before.

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Grunka_Lunka

Yes and the Bel canto is certainly gaining a significant amount of attention within the community.

I can think of other well known or rising brands that might be micro but seem establslished now such as Marathon, Squale and Baltic off the top of my head.

Maybe it comes to the ability to produce their pieces with little/no reliance on another company to play a part in it.

What the heck is a Bel Canto???? I have never heard of or seen one..

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Grunka_Lunka

Yes and the Bel canto is certainly gaining a significant amount of attention within the community.

I can think of other well known or rising brands that might be micro but seem establslished now such as Marathon, Squale and Baltic off the top of my head.

Maybe it comes to the ability to produce their pieces with little/no reliance on another company to play a part in it.

Marathon has been around since the early 1900s, and made watches for the allies in WWII, they are definitely not a microbrand. 

This links back to the definition problem, I can tell you when a brand isn't a microbrand, but I can't define what makes a brand a microbrand.

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Ls9009

What the heck is a Bel Canto???? I have never heard of or seen one..

It’s a watch from Christopher Ward (a smaller brand) which encompasses a chime complication… usually the domain of the ‘big boys’ and at a higher price point… making it worthy of note from an ‘upstart brand’ like CW.

https://www.christopherward.com/c1-bel-canto-blue.html

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KristianG

Marathon has been around since the early 1900s, and made watches for the allies in WWII, they are definitely not a microbrand. 

This links back to the definition problem, I can tell you when a brand isn't a microbrand, but I can't define what makes a brand a microbrand.

Indeed :) I wasn’t dismissing the history of Marathon but included it to illustrate the grey line of smaller brand/microband.

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I think there needs to be a sufficient catalogue of models available (but don't ask me to put a number on that), a certain longevity (say more than a decade?) and some tipping point level of acceptance by the global watch community. Nomos are a good example for me - I feel like they were a microbrand when I first got interested in this stuff but somewhere along the way they started scoring too high on the above criteria. Tough to say when though...

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Grunka_Lunka

It’s a watch from Christopher Ward (a smaller brand) which encompasses a chime complication… usually the domain of the ‘big boys’ and at a higher price point… making it worthy of note from an ‘upstart brand’ like CW.

https://www.christopherward.com/c1-bel-canto-blue.html

I'll have to check them out. I had a Christopher Ward but my son wanted it soooo, anyway thanks for the info

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Jimmer

Ok, I was just going by what they said in the email...that there would be four new colours.  If they are the same then, well, that gives people an opportunity to grab those when they couldn't before.

I thought the same thing until I saw the four colors in the logo in the email.