About Timepieces, a relatively new e-commerce platform that is successfully introducing independent watchmakers to their ever-growing clan of like-minded watch lovers (many being self-confessed watch geeks).
With retail and pre-owned prices of sought after watches from brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet shooting through the roof and breaking records at auction, many collectors have been finding their own way into the previously “underground” world of independent watchmaking.
A few previously niche brands have broken out into the mainstream media and are creating waves. Pieces from classical watchmakers and masters of high-end finishes, such as F.P Journe, R.W Smith and Philippe Dufour, are already selling for more than retail price on resale markets, and if you want one made for yourself (if you are lucky enough to get the opportunity), expect to wait for anything from 1 – 3 years to receive it.
Many (often relatively unknown) individual watchmakers, independents or microbrands with small teams of staff produce high-quality timepieces, most of which are either completely handmade with some featuring in-house made bespoke movements and complications, as well as heavily modified Swiss Calibres.
You will not find a wide selection of new watches from independent brands in many physical stores; however, About Timepieces aim to provide this through an online-only platform. If you would like something specially made, or if you are struggling to communicate with a brand that About Timepieces do not stock, there is a good chance that they already know them. About Timepieces offer these services free of charge and as a conduit into their world.
Electing to specialise solely on independent brands and only selling limited editions or unique pieces from these brands is certainly a niche. However, the quality and craft in these timepieces offer both value for money and the opportunity for the wearer to show off their personality by selecting watches that are sometimes a bit off the wall and almost always rare.
About Timepieces are also working on very small batch Exclusive releases with some of these brands; these watches are only available to purchase through their online store.
The company’s story
About Timepieces began as a hobby watch blog site in 2018, specialising in hands-on reviews of limited editions and unique pieces from independent brands. With years of luxury event and product experience, the founders are also owners and collectors of independent watches, and their passion for horology is contagious.
After spending more and more time in the independent watch community, it became apparent that many of these manufacturers did not have outlets to sell their pieces and may not have had any exposure to international markets. So, after the first COVID pandemic lockdown, the decision was made to launch an online store, which went live in October 2020.
The represented brands
The brand’s About Timepieces work with are in the mid to luxury market, ranging from around £4,000 (circa 5,500 USD) with no upper limit.
Many are based in Switzerland and Germany; however, some hail from other locations, such as USA, Russia and other locations across Europe.
The brands currently featured in the online store are as follows, and there are plans to continue to grow this list:
Angelus (above), Arnold & Son, Backes & Strauss (below), Bereve, Charles Simon, Chopin, Christophe Claret, Chronoswiss, Cyrus, D. Dornblueth & Sohn, Devon Works, DiW, Erredibi, FD Hermann, Franck Dubarry, Gvchiani, Hautlence, Lonville, L. Leroy, Mauron Musy, Meccaniche Veloci, Muse, Moritz Grossmann, Perrelet, Strom, Time Keepers and Vault.
Production from any one brand is not usually more than a few hundred pieces a year, and many are only physically able to produce a tiny fraction of that – there really is an element of exclusivity when purchasing a watch from any one of these brands.
What comes Next?
About Timepieces will continue to introduce new brands to their online offerings and introduce horology-based functional and artistic items. They are looking at running local watch events to showcase these brands in person, so it might be an idea to get yourself signed up to their newsletter in case they head to a city near you.
You need to discover new independent watch brands – whether it’s your first watch or if you are a seasoned collector, it might be worth inviting About Timepieces on your journey, as if nothing else, you’ll definitely have something in common.
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