Recently I had the chance to sit down with the owner of Crownarch Watches and discuss the state of the market for non-smartwatches, go inside their target audience and speak about the future. Crownarch also proved I could use a watch after a few hiccups getting the interview published.
What is your history with wrist watches?
I’ve always been a fan of watches, ever since I bought my first watch at 13, it was a Swatch watch purchased in Italy, I remember how it made me feel at the time. I think that’s where my love developed.
Why is now the right time to become a watchmaker?
I identify myself as a member of the target market, and I wanted to build a brand that speaks to my generation and gives them true bang for their buck. Watches are a real personal feeling, and it goes deeper than just telling the time. It gives men a sense of confidence in different aspects, in the office, in a club, etc.
Before you got into watches, what was your intended career path in life? How did you come to watch making?
I was always interested in becoming an entrepreneur, before this I already set up online businesses, but this is the first business I am truly passionate about, it doesn’t feel like working. In the back of my mind, I’ve always thought it would be cool to start my own watch brand and just wear them myself. But the idea just grew bigger and bigger, then I did a ton of research and took courses because I wanted to respect the craft and it would be easier to communicate with manufacturers.
Why did you choose this design?
The end goal was to create a watch that has the tri-factor of mass appeal, value, and quality and I believe I’ve got the perfect mixture. I knew I wanted a chronograph because it’s just that bit more sophisticated in my opinion, but I didn’t want to go with a completely safe design, chronographs 8/10 are usually paired with a leather strap. “Does it look nice?” “Would my customers like this, does this design fit in with the Crownarch brand?” Then I also consider the design element is functional and also the cost implications. But we are a design focused brand, we know it would be a lot cheaper to package our watches in standard flat-pack cardboard boxes, but it doesn’t fit within our brand, that is why we chose the much more heavy and expensive glossy wooden boxes.
Where do you think the industry is moving?
I very much think the consumer still appreciates watches, I know some people fear the smart watch, but I don’t think traditional watches are going anywhere, anytime soon. However, I think the consumer is definitely more interested in the brand behind the watch and what value does it provide besides a great design.
Where do you fit within that future?
Crownarch fits within this future because we strive to continuously bring those things I mentioned to our customers.
How do online communities play a part in that?
Probably the biggest role. Social media impacts every aspect of our lives. It’s where we give a lot of our attention. I don’t think you can launch a watch brand today and not be on social media, especially if you bootstrap it but I welcome anyone to prove me wrong. If the majority of your target market spends a lot of their time on social media, you’d be shooting yourself in the foot if you’re not on there, competing for their attention.
How has social media helped grow Crownarch? Specifically Instagram. Do you see positive ROI off influencer campaigns or do you look to organic growth?
Social media has been great for us, we’ve already got 2k followers on our Instagram, and this is growing organically on a daily basis. We’ve tried influencer marketing before, and it yielded okay results. I feel where everyone is now doing it; it seems inauthentic to the viewers. So we’ve gone back to the drawing board to see how we can change and get better results. Namely, we want to build strong and better relationships with all our influences so they can better display our watches.
How do you define your ideal consumer? Who is it, in your mind, that wears a Crownarch watch?
Our customers are male and aged between 18-34, they are getting established in their careers and are looking to succeed and aspire to have the finer things in life. Which is why we have specific photography, we define our most important marketing principle as being “the ideal reflection of our target market.”
What about a line of watches for women? Are there plans to target that segment of the market?
Further down the line, there are plans to make a women’s line; we are even in the designing stage. But at the moment we are focused on building our male community of customers and successfully marketing our brand.
What is it that defines your watch? What characteristics are identifiably “Crownarch?”
As a brand, we set out to create an unforgettable brand experience. We wanted to send our customer on a journey; from the moment they are introduced to Crownarch, through to the moment they unwrap their timepiece. An obsession with detail was key and is depicted through our visual storytelling, where you see our watches sitting comfortably in the surroundings of yachts, supercars, and private jets.
Along that line of questioning, what are your guiding principles when making design choices?
I ask myself a series of questions like: “Does it look nice?” “Would my customers like this, does this design fit in with the Crownarch brand?” Then I also consider the design element is functional and also the cost implications. But we are a design focused brand, we know it would be a lot cheaper to package our watches in standard flat-pack cardboard boxes, but it doesn’t fit within our brand, that is why we chose the much more heavy and expensive glossy wooden boxes.