This week I received an interesting mail from Nicholas Bowman-Scargill of Fears watches.
Nicholas thought I might be interested in speaking to another British watch brand “Freedom to Exist” . On receiving the e-mail I was pretty happy at the idea that a brand was coming to me. I then did a quick search for some information about the brand and my initial thoughts where “another minimalist watch brand”.
Kirsty and Paul have more than 25 years worth of experience between them of bringing ideas and sketches to life. They met while creating products for Habitat before both joining Made.com That knowledge and experience, combined with a love of classic detailing that make vintage watches truly timeless, inspired them to create FTE. They have started their journey with watches, available in two sizes, that simply tell the time.
They wanted a little space away from the overwhelming noise of branding and technology. They believe freedom is the freedom to choose, to fall in love, to wear what you want, how you want to. It is the Freedom To Exist. That is what inspired Kirsty and Paul in 2015 to create their own minimalist watch brand – because we wanted to create products free from fast fashion, gender rules and passing trend.
No logo. No tracking. No beeping or monitoring.
The basic design of the watch remains the same for the two sizes 40mm and 30mm with both using the Swiss Made Ronda 763 Quartz Movement. The cases are made of 316L stainless steel in a steel finish or with a gunmetal, gold or rose gold PVD coating. Priced between £155 to £175. Bravely the watches are sold with a lifetime guarantee.
Now this all sounds very admirable but in practice I thought they faced considerable marketing challenges moving forward. I was interested to see how they hope to sustain/build an unbranded brand. As Nicholas put me on to Paul and Kirsty I thought it worthwhile to pursue these questions with them. After a few days Paul came back with some answers that demonstrated they had seen these issues coming.
He told me:
- Our honest pricing, and selecting the best of every component but still keeping it affordable. Swiss quartz; Italian leather, domed glass etc.
- We are the customers. We’re not a faceless brand that is mass produced and churned out. Kirsty and I have touched every element of the brand. From the what face, to photography to the website. FTE’s brand values are also out life values which gives authenticity, that like mined people want to buy into. Joining our community.
- The brand free design actually helps appeal to a certain target audience. It’s all about the design and appreciating the design and then being ‘in the know’.
Summing up – they will endeavour to remain, Affordable, with minimal & timeless design. Executed in a honest way; and how we would like to be treated as a customer.
Their future I guess depends on if they can find enough of these people “in the know”. Their ethos though is admirable and as always it is great to see people following their own dreams.