Watch Microbrands by Country
We are an authorized dealer for 30 watch microbrands, which you can see here listed by the country in which they're based. Many watch microbrands are small startups that use a third party factory to manufacture their watches for them, typically in either Switzerland or China. Some, such as Ballast, Celeste, Melbourne, Mr. Jones, Ocean Crawler, Spinnaker, Swiss Watch Company, Valimor, and Waldhoff, handle assembly in-house. Viqueria uses a local Italian watchmaker but produce their own straps.
Decima is the only watch microbrand we know of hailing from Albana, no small feat considering Albanian businesses can't list on Kickstarter or many other crowdfunding platforms. The Microbrand Store™ was instrumental in helping Decima to launch the production of their first watch, the Decima Scylla.
As you can probably guess from the name of this watch microbrand, they're based in Melbourne, Australia, where they have a showroom and do all of their assembly and servicing in-house. Melbourne Watch Company have developed quite a reputation for producing stylish microbrand dress watches.
Viribus Unitis are situated deep in the Vienna Forest and this microbrand's dive watches are inspired by the history of the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Ballast, along with it's many sibling brands such as Spinnaker, is not actually a microbrand but one of many brands owned by a Chinese-based international conglomerate with it's own factory. As is becoming more common with Chinese factories, the brand is marketed to microbrand watch collectors, so we've often been asked to carry their watches. Moving forwards, The Microbrand Store will probably not be purchasing additional stock for this brand as we prefer to support true microbrands.
Emily and Ethan are the young couple behind Phoibos, a watch microbrand from China. Sadly we had to pull our support of this microbrand when they stopped honoring their warranty agreement when they switched factories, with a noticeably corresponding drop in quality. Situations like this is one of the reasons why The Microbrand Store includes it's own watch warranty as a supplement alongside any warranty a microbrand offers, just in case a microbrand doesn't step up as they should.
Spinnaker, along with it's many sibling brands such as Ballast, is not actually a microbrand but one of many brands owned by a Chinese-based international conglomerate with it's own factory. As is becoming more common with Chinese factories, the brand is marketed to microbrand watch collectors, so we've often been asked to carry their watches. Moving forwards, The Microbrand Store will probably not be purchasing additional stock for this brand as we prefer to support true microbrands.
TACS are probably most famous for their Lens series of watches, designed to look like and be a homage to vintage cameras, with an absolutely amazing attention to detail. This brand was founded by Yoshiaki Motegi, ("Yoshi",) a Japanese gentleman with an eye for detailed design that we think has helped set the TACS brand apart from many others. The brand is rightly proud of TACS' Japanese heritage, and state Made in Japan on their watch case backs, but it should be noted that although the movements on their watches that we sell are made in Japan, the TACS watch brand is run by Creative Choice Limited, a company based in China, with its own assembly factory and bricks and mortar retail store. We loved this brand's Vintage Lens II offerings so much that we've made an exception and decided to stock their best watch models. Please check them out. You won't be disappointed!
This watch microbrand is owned and operated by Starck-Uhren, which is a business run by Manfred Starck, out of Pforzheim, Germany, the capital of German watchmaking, where he has his own atelier workshop. Manfred has a decades of experience in the watch industry, and has worked on a number of luxury Swiss and German brands after getting his start at Stowa, one of the most famous German watch brands. We've found the quality of these watches to be generally excellent.
One of the main selling points of Manufaktur Waldhoff is their claim that they assemble all of their watches in Starck-Uhren's own workshop in Germany. We do note however that this brand seems to be managed exclusively by Nicolas Lehotzky, who is now based in Hong Kong, and all of our shipments (20 orders over several years, probably around $250k USD worth of goods) plus all warranty work is completely from Hong Kong. Nicolas also recently launched a Hong Kong/China microbrand too. When Nicolas offered in September 2020 to have their Made in Germany (as shown on the dial) Imperial tourbillon model assembled in Hong Kong to "save time", we decided for that and other reasons, to end our relationship with Waldhoff. We've notified Waldhoff that once we've sold out of our existing Waldhoff stock, we will not be restocking, and we will then cease being an authorized dealer for this microbrand.
Initially this seemed like a great Italian watch microbrand to partner with, the two brothers running the brand hailing from the Venice region of Italy, the straps handcrafted in Tuscany, and the solid walnut presentation boxes being hand made in Italy too. With several successful Kickstarter campaigns behind them, and a recent GMT watch campaign having over 800 backers on Kickstarter, it seemed Meccaniche Veneziane were poised for success. Instead we've found that we've had to drop this brand like a hot potato, and refund most of our customers who pre-ordered the GMT model.
Viqueria Italian Watch Company are based near Milan in the Italian city of Voghera, whose name in ancient Roman times was Viqueria. As well as using a local watchmaker to assemble and regulate their watches, the two Italian friends who both reside in Voghera and run this microbrand, have also been running 2DStraps for a number of years, quite a well known Italian leather watch straps startup. Apart from the rich colors that authentic Italian watch microbrands seem to do best, Viqueria customers have been spoiled even further with high quality Italian leather straps from 2DStraps.
Draken Watches are very much inspired by the landscape of South Africa, such as the Draken Kalahari, a field watch taking its name from the Kalahari desert. This is because the creator behind the brand hails from that region. He now however lives in New Zealand, which is where this watch microbrand operates from. We still think that's really cool as Draken Watches are our only New Zealand based microbrand, and we can't wait to see some dive watches inspired by the likes of Milford Sound!
It should be no surprise that we have more watch microbrands in Singapore than any other city, or indeed any other country for that matter! Singapore is the Mecca of microbrands, and some of the top names here like BOLDR, Gruppo Gamma, and Zelos will be very familiar to microbrand watch aficionados.
Advisor Watch Company were one of the lesser known Singaporean watch microbrands when the microbrand launched its the first two Advisor Astrohelm models, large California dial timepieces with very high sapphire crystal domes. That seems to be changing now, and deservedly so, when the brand launched their Advisor Ascent series. Who knew skull-themed watches would be so popular?!
Arcturus' first watch, a large art deco dress watch was an instant hit and an immediate sell out. Our pre-order quantity went in a flash and we couldn't get any more except second hand, which also sold as fast as we could get them. To this day the mother-of-pearl LC1 (Lion City model #1, named after Singapura, which means Lion City) is sought after and can carry a premium on the second hand market. Sadly the founder of the brand was unable to successfully bring his next model to market as he'd just passed his bar exams and was starting a career as a lawyer. So for now this brand is dormant but we really hope to see it erupt again on the Singapore microbrand watch scene in future.
BOLDR are very well known for their deliciously chunky Odyssey series of large 45½mm tool watches, but there are plenty of other models that have been hits in a variety of styles including their Expedition field watches, for example. This watch microbrand gives the other top Singaporean microbrands some stiff competition and is a brand worth watching.
Out of all of our microbrands, this is the pack leader, the one to beat, with exceptional quality that can't easily be explained. You have to handle a Gruppo Gamma timepiece to feel how butter smooth the crown is when winding, or how everything feels just right. Many movements have been regulated to an average accuracy of 0 seconds per day, and the watches themselves are gorgeous, especially the large California dial watches that this watch microbrand is famous for.
We've included Neminus here as the brand likes to promote itself as Singaporean, and indeed the brand owner does come from Singapore. However, he now resides in Taiwan, which is where Neminus ship from so we classify this watch microbrand as Taiwanese.
Venturo is a new spin off microbrand from the grand master of them all, Gruppo Gamma. A new microbrand and a slightly new direction, Venturo launched with an affordable but elegant field watch while still retaining the highest level of quality that Gruppo Gamma are renowned for.
Probably the most successful of all of the Singaporean watch microbrands in terms of number of watches sold, Zelos often sell out quickly and can seemingly never produce enough watches, despite the steady stream of new models coming out all the time. Zelos spin-off microbrands include Axios, Ventus, and Vilhelm. Despite the high volume, we still have them pegged as a microbrand since they don't produce their watches in house and it's pretty much just the creator or creator and a couple of associates for the spin offs. Amazingly, given the scale and outsourcing, quality has been consistently very high.
Direnzo Watches has a special claim to fame, the Direnzo DRZ_02 having been chosen as our microbrand watch of the year for 2019. We weren't the only ones to pick out this amazing timepiece as the watch of the year, so little wonder it sold out so quickly. As well as being Swiss Made, the founder and creator behind this brand lives in Switzerland, and is able to visit the production factory as needed.
Since launching in 2015, Straton Watch Company has built a solid reputation as the number one go-to choice for those looking to get a 1970s inspired vintage-style automotive racing chronograph. Straton Watch Company have defined their niche in the microbrand watch world, and with every release, they seem to raise the bar higher and higher. It's not uncommon for these timepieces to sell out fairly quickly.
As well as being as Swiss as can be, with a Swiss founder, a Swiss company/corporation in situ, Swiss mechanical movements, and manufacture in Switzerland, the Swiss Watch Company can also be said to be an American brand. The founder of this watch microbrand moved to the United States and launched the Swiss Watch Company there in 1995, which he now operates with his two sons. The history behind SWC, the Swiss Watch Company, is rather different to typical watch microbrands too, since the founder behind this microbrand got his start in the watchmaking industry working in Quality Assurance for the Swatch group, which owns a number of famous watch brands such as Blancpain, Breguet, ETA, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, Longines, Omega, Tissot, and RADO. He has been able to focus his luxury watch expertise on SWC's own line of watches, which often average around zero seconds per day accuracy.
Founded in 1999, Elegantsis has been around a lot longer than most watch microbrands, and have built a solid reputation in their home market, where among other things, they've focused on producing military timepieces. 2016 was their breakout year when they began selling in other countries through various third party retailers, but they still remain a smaller-sized business.
The hallmark of any Neminus Labs watch is the imaginative design and great attention to detail on the theme being portrayed on the watch, (space exploration for example,) combined with going above and beyond quality-wise. As such, Neminus have produced some very distinctive Swiss Made deep dive watches that have become quite collectible, and we can't wait to see each new release.
If you enjoy the romance of the legend of King Arthur and his knights of the round table then Valimor is probably for you. The brand name itself stands for "VALIant" and "arMOR", and the arms and armor theme is very much picked up in Valimor's timepieces, which feature intricate scale armor carvings/engravings around the bezels, sword-shaped hands, and a scratch resistant patented custom antiquing process for the watch cases unique to this microbrand. Many Valimor dials are made from unusual gemstones and other materials you don't commonly find on a watch.
Mr. Jones Watches are a small, artisinal, London-based microbrand that have been producing their own line of watches for over ten years now. Fun, quirky, and with very unique complications, Mr. Jones watches are deliberately designed to be conversation starters that make folks smile, where sometimes even telling the time can be secondary to wearing an entertaining work of art. Unlike most microbrands, Mr. Jones Watches print many of their own dials in-house, and assemble their own watches, almost all of which have unique and clever custom complications.
Situated in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, Celeste Watch Company is not your typical watch microbrand. Founded by Celeste Wong, a passionate watch addict and respected engineer, educator and author, (with 22 books to her name, including a best seller,) Celeste Watch Company is an all-female owned and operated business. All of the watches are assembled in-house, and the meticulous work of laser cutting and inlaying each dial with natural materials such as abalone and mother-of-pearl to make up each dial illustration can take twelve hours or more per watch. The hand-made locally sourced goatskin watch straps add another three hours to the time necessary to produce each timepiece.
Heitis Watch Company is a New York based watch microbrand founded in 2015. The microbrand's first Kickstarter offering was an affordable but very stylish pilot watch. Since then, Heitis has continued with an unbroken string of successful Kickstarter campaigns, with the more recent campaigns offering dive watches on stainless steel bracelets and bronze dive watches.
Iconic Timepieces LLC is a watch microbrand based in Florida and founded by Ivan Hampton Ennis, who is well known to many microbrand watch afficionados through his YouTube watch review channel: WatchMe Unboxing. This microbrand's first offering was the Iconic Halocline, formerly known as the Iconic Hampton Bay, an innovative dive watch that has really set the standard for Iconic's future.
Headquartered in New Jersey, USA, Mercer's offices are just a few miles from where Hugh Mercer, a doctor and Brigadier General in the Continental Army and namesake for the company, met his demise in the Battle of Princeton. This is subtly picked up on by the star motif signature on Mercer's crowns, denoting the one star rank of a brigadier general.
The PolAm Watch Company are particularly distinguished by their proud Polish-American heritage. Although a US-based business operating out of Michigan, PolAm watches prominently feature the red and white color scheme found on Polish national symbols such as the Polish flag and coat of arms, with some models also prominently displaying the Polish eagle.
Ocean Crawler LLC is a US-based watch microbrand, currently operating in the New York area. Launched only in 2017, Ocean Crawler's rise to prominence among microbrand watch collectors has been nothing short of meteoric. This watch microbrand has gained a strong reputation for an ever changing array of colorful microbrand dive watches produced in very small limited editions (typically just 100 timepieces) every 75 days or so. Both collectors and retailers alike have learnt to move quickly in order not to miss out on Ocean Crawler's very popular limited editions.
As well as being as Swiss as can be, with a Swiss founder and manufacture in Switzerland, the Swiss Watch Company (SWC) can also be said to be an American brand. The founder moved to the United States and formed the Swiss Watch Company there in 1995, initially producing watches for the armed forces and first responders before recently launching his own line of microbrand watches in more recent times, which we're proud to now carry in The Microbrand Store as Swiss Watch Company's first retailer.