WATCH MANUFACTURING IN CHINA
The oldest means of determining time is by observing the location of the sun in the sky. Today, a far more elegant solution – both functional and fashionable – sits on your wrist. From grandfather clocks and pocket watches to the latest in adventure-wear timepieces, home décor and smartwatches – we’ve come a long way baby!
The Watch Industry in 2019
There’s been talk of a decline in the watch industry ever since smart phones came into existence. But even in the one market this might hold true for, Gen Z, it’s simply translated into more buzz for smartwatches with added features and a lot more attention on the wrist – which is great news for watch brands of every type.
The real truth? Gen Z is barely 20 years old and aren’t buyers of middle-to-high end watches just yet. Outside of that, low-end and digital watches are still booming (see: Apple)! Meanwhile, after a small slump in 2016-17, the Swiss watch industry (which is a good indicator for global industry health) is now going through a full recovery and exports have been steadily on the rise.
The Changing Face of Watches: Technology, Function, Fashion & People
Today’s watches are so accurate that it’s no longer an objective, it’s an expectation – so accuracy is no longer the only goal for a watch manufacturer. Watchmakers are now taking advantage of technologies from other fields by integrating features like step-counters, heat-rate monitoring, multi-media features and voice assistants, or special use cases like in the addition of a radio-transmitter that can send out a traceable signal for emergencies.
Meanwhile, the watch continues to be perceived as a statement accessory or status symbol in consumers’ minds. From a marketing perspective, your choice of watch is less about time-keeping and more a reflection of you and the values you subscribe to. If the brand is trustworthy, the product is well-built and it represents value for money, then the watch is here to stay.
Watch Manufacturing: What is a Watch Made of?
Contemporary watches, especially electronic watches, make use of versatile modern materials including plastics and alloy metals. The cases themselves can be constructed from plastics or metal (which typically include a stainless-steel support). Microchips are usually made of silicon, while LEDs are can be made of gallium arsenide/phosphide/arsenide-phosphide. LCDs consist of liquid crystals sandwiched between glass pieces.
In short, there’s different strokes for different folks, but you need something to make the pieces fit.
There are far too many types of watches to get into detail in this post, but we have some words of advice for you.
When you make the firm decision to design the watch, you’ve crossed the biggest hurdle – simply getting started. One you identify your desired feature list, a vision of the finished product look-and-feel, etc. you can get in touch with an expert to speed up the process. Our team has extensive experience in watch design, material selection, process expertise for efficiency, quality and cost control across a host of styles. Let our design team drive your car or let us serve as a ‘shotgun’ co-pilot that never sleeps – the choice is yours.
Note: This is a good time to get an in-depth understanding of materials and sourcing to support your design process. You want components that if you break up a design and only give sections of an entire project to each factory, it is truly impossible for them to have a leg up in piracy. Divide and conquer. Find out more about how we can help in protecting your IP.
From sketches to production, MorphoMFG has a team of watch experts who can provide the creative spark for production innovation, efficient prototyping, actionable insights into the market and suggestions on improving the product further. Some brands want to do unique things with their timepieces (wooden links, stainless-steel backing, etc.) and we’re always happy to entertain these specifications.
We have partners and local vendors that can produce just about everything you can imagine going into a watch! So whether you’re sourcing straps and buckles or planning tooling and mass production, we can produce a prototype in almost no time (no pun intended).
Note: It is advisable to make sure that your prototype is perfect before moving on to mass production. This will be the reference point for every watch manufactured, so it I vital that every detail is exactly right. If you cut corners or expect iron out the shortcomings in production, you will end up with costly defects in the mass-produced products. Remember, perfection on prototypes IS the deadline.
Quality Control: Who Watches the Watchmen?
Every single watch component is manufactured under a strict system of quality control. Quartz crystals, for example, have their frequencies tested, Microchips are made in “clean room” environments and tested against benchmarks for accuracy. With a full QC lab, 2D & 3D design services, rapid-prototyping facilities, packing system expertise and more, we make sure that you get what you pay for and every eventuality is covered.
Just for good measure, after a watch is manufactured, it is tested once again before being shipped to its final destination. In addition to its accuracy, it is also subjected to drop-tests, temperature tests, water resistance testing and many more. Quality control in the watch industry is a requirement and it’s also in the MorphoMFG DNA. We stand by our work and it’s our job (and joy!) to manufacture quality watches that live up to your marketing claims and performance expectations.
Note: To see how we add value to every project, specifically watch manufacturing, have a look at our case study on Bakewell, Huckleberry & Co.’s second generation automatic timepiece driven by a mutual love for precision, design and a belief in affordable luxury.
Manufacturing in China: Watch Your Vision Come to Life
Have you been collecting and researching watches for a while and finally decided to get into the business? Were you seduced by a great concept and a vision to get funded on Kickstarter or Indiegogo and become a timepiece mogul via ecommerce? It’s not as unreasonable as it might sound. Independent watch manufacturing has never been more doable than it is today, even if you’re not a ‘Master of Manufacturing’ or precision watch production. But you do need help. MorphoMFG isn’t just a vendor. It’s your consultant, support system, vendor and partner all rolled into one.
The Myth: Chinese manufacturers cannot produce quality.
The Fact: It is true that a lot of Chinese factories produce cheap junk, but that is true everywhere. In China, it’s all about connections. If you know the right people (and we know a lot of them), you are likely to find a factory that manufacture components for the biggest Swiss brands.
We were certainly not a watch manufacturing company when we began, but having said that, about 4-5 years ago our Founder, Joshua Fairbairn, fell in love with watches and we have never looked back. Having manufactured or prototyped for over 20 watch brands, we’ve expanded our knowledge year after year for half a decade, Helping us become one of the best watch manufacturers in China.
We started with a focus on helping new customers make sure their designs are DFM (Design For Manufacturability) ready. Today, we’ll take you from the proverbial ‘napkin sketch’ all the way to specs/plans/concepts/renderings/etc., prototypes, mass production, logistics, and even fulfilment.
“Execution is the new patent. It is all about delivery of the idea.”