And what are your goals for the company over the next few years?
World domination would be nice but we know this is not possible…
We aspire to carve out a niche market over the next few years. We know the watch industry is getting more and more competitive with so many new entrants so we will have to be at our best in the quality of the product we produce and continue to be innovative to stay in business. This is no easy challenge but we are fully committed to ensuring we are still around in a few years and producing quality timepieces at an affordable price.
Personally, I feel the watch industry will go through a major consolidation over the course of the next 5-10 years. Driven by the introduction of smart watches I feel our perception of how we perceive the traditional automatic watch will be challenged. This won’t be the first time this happened, remember the emergence of the quartz watches, but it will be an interesting period for traditional makers of automatic watches. Especially as some of the latest smart watches look quite fashionable and the Swiss move into this segment as they are now doing. The challenge for micro brands like ERROYL will be to stay relevant in this consolidation and to identify clearly the niche we target to stay in business.
In terms of strategy, how important is the social media for Erroyl Watches?
I think you underestimate the power of social media at your own peril in this information age. For ERROYL social media is our major springboard for engagement with our customers and many of our first time buyers have seen our watches through social media and followed through with a purchase.
The power of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can’t be underestimated. Personally I feel the growth in Instagram in recent years has brought a whole new level of interest and engagement for businesses like us. We only have to look at the success of some of the big watch Instagram accounts like WatchAnish to know the power of social media and clearly how many watch lovers are scouring social media for the latest innovative designs and products.
I feel effective use of social media helps you stay ahead of the curve and we continue to think of how best to engage with our followers and bring in new interest in our brand. It is a constant case of trial and error in many ways but people are very open to innovation in social media so we can try things a bit more than we would if we did not have this available.
Over the past couple of years, changes in the global economy have had a significant impact on the watch industry. Aside from the changes in the economic climate, what do you see as the most significant challenges for many brands over the next few years? And of course for the young brands in your price range?
As I mentioned previously, I feel the emergence of smart watches will really change the dynamic in the next decade. We are already seeing the Swiss watchmakers move into this space and the latest realises are starting to look much more like traditional watches, this poses significant challenges for watch companies the world over.
How we continue to innovate and market our companies will be the biggest challenge and I personally feel we will see considerable consolidation over the next 5-10 years in the industry. I feel crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are reaching saturation point on watches these days. When I first looked at this option in early 2014 there were relatively few watches being launched but now at any point in time there is often 20-30 or more campaigns running at once, many from first timers. No doubt there have and continue to be huge success stories but sooner or later we will hit the saturation point where these crowdfunding sites will no longer offer the opportunities to budding watch companies like ours.
The key to survival for established and micro brands like us is to have a very clear business strategy and to know your current and future customer base. What they want, expect and anticipate the curve. These are not easy but some of the watch companies have continued to do this for over 100 years, the challenge for all of the micro brands is to learn how to do this most importantly to stay focused during the lean times which we will all have whether big or small. How we ride out these hard times will define our future in the industry.
As we approach the end of this interview, just some questions about you. You told me that you are a watch collector. So, what would one find in your collection today?
I have been an avid collector but rather than concentrate on quantity I focused on quality for many years. It is only the last couple of years that I have embraced some of the lesser known brands and appreciated that quality does not necessarily have to come with an expensive price tag.
Some of my watches include the customary Omega Seamaster, Rolex Submariner, a Brietling Navitimer, the go to dress watch a Rado Jubile, my first automatic the Seiko Kinetic and a range of other watches. I am aspiring to the IWC Portuguese at the moment but suspect this is a while off at the moment.
What do you personally look for in a timepiece?
I love guilloche dials, the level of refinement and exquisite design in some of the guilloche patterns fascinates me. I also like minimalist designs, for me less is often more when it comes to watches.
After I purchased my first Swiss automatic watch in the mid-90s I used to always say I would never buy a watch that did not have ‘Swiss Made’ on it but when I did branch away from this a few years ago I realised that it did not have to be Swiss made on it to make it a fine watch. When you consider the amount you save on buying a non-major Swiss watch you realise that you can get a number of watches for the price of one and they are just as good.
Well, is there anything else you’d like to add to the interview?
Thank you for taking the time to have a chat and I wish all your readers happy watch collecting.
Wes, thank you for taking your time to answer our questions. It was a real pleasure.
For more info, please visit erroyl.com
JONATHAN KOPP – CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Jonathan Kopp has an avid enthusiasm for timepieces of all genre, from vintage timepieces to modern Luxury Haute Horology. His preference goes to small and independent high-end watchmakers. He loves the difference rather than classicism, although if he admits to being in love with several ultra-classics pieces. Jonathan was caught by the passion for watchmaking there are almost 6 years. For about 5 years, he wanders in this industry and was Communication-Marketing-PR Consultant for several brands. He has worked for over 2 years as a freelance for the development of the Swiss brand Arthur Oskar Stampfli (AOSWatches). To keep in touch with Jonathan you can follow him on the various social networks: Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Read his articles here.