After five years of making and delivering watches worldwide, we thought our systems were dialed in. SNGLRTY was honored when we had the opportunity to team up with World Archery and become their official timekeeper. We did not want to become just another watch sponsor, handing out a basic watch. Our desire was to do something special. We thought we had it under control, yet what a journey that took us on!
It sounds quaint, looking back on the conversations. I remember the conversation with Daniel when we set the timeline. We started planning the 2023 Archery World Championship watch in January. At that time, we expected it to take three to four months to develop the watch. Just to be on the safe side, I thought we should give ourselves a margin for error. Always best to underpromise and over-deliver it how it goes, is it not?
By February, all the technical details had been agreed upon, and we placed orders for sample production. These should take a couple of weeks. This would give us plenty of time to adjust anything if needed. It all looked good, all was progressing according to plan.
The Waiting Game
Time ticked by, and we followed up with the dial makers. One had been tasked with the hour rings and the other with the center disc. Both should, in the world of watchmaking, be reasonably simple processes. A few emails later, we were reassured that the pieces were scheduled and would be available soon.
One significant change we made was removing the second ring. This would allow us to make the watch face look like an archery target. It appeared to work well on a graphic mock-up, but would it look that good in reality? You never can be too sure. No second disc meant that we needed to make the center disc a little thicker. That was a technical concern. We were not sure how the dial as a whole would look without the second hand.
This was not a worry; the dial maker had assured us everything would be ready to assemble the sample very soon. There was going to be plenty of time to make changes. I wanted to manufacture the center disc so that the dial fixing (the two screws) was not visible. Again, no problem. We had drawings, and we knew how it was going to work. Complete the samples, and verify everything, especially the colors, before final production.
Not A Good Result
The dial maker responsible for producing the hour rings delivered some samples. They were terrible. Even before we received the samples, we had received a message that the quality was unacceptable. They asked us to review the color and make sure that was acceptable. When the hour ring samples arrived, it was a kick to the gut. These were not merely not acceptable; these seemed to have been done by the intern. Regardless, we were reassured by the dial maker the dials would be ready, to quality, and on time.
Another few weeks ticked by. We received continual assurance that everything would be ready “very soon.” Then, our phone calls were not returned. This was a bad scenario because now we had only four weeks until we needed to present our watches at the Archery World Championship winners in Berlin. We needed a plan B.
What Was Plan B?
The trouble was plan B did not exist. Making watch dials requires a lot of tooling. There were lots of blanks too that had been prepared. Printing forms (cliches and tampons in the parlance) were with the dial makers. We did not have the time, the money, nor the desire to recreate all these. The bad news continued to roll in. When we eventually heard from the dial makers there was continual reference to their July holidays. There was no way, in their estimate, that they could complete the samples before the holidays – never mind the production.
Both dial makers were extremely apologetic. Unfortunately, that did not help us with our predicament. Yes, the samples should be complete by now, but they had been so busy with other orders we just kept being pushed back. That did not help us when we needed to present watches on the podium in 4 weeks.
Time For Action
Daniel swung into action. A few days later, he reported to me he had all the cliches, tampons, and blanks delivered to a new dial maker. A dial maker who understood the urgency of the situation and was ready to make things happen. I was not optimistic, given the performance of our previous two dial makers, but I tried to remain positive.
There were plenty of new issues to overcome. The new dial maker was based in Germany. Everything had to cross the border a few times, and those customs people can be tricky. A delay there could be disastrous. Then we had to make sure our trusty watchmaker was not on holiday. If he was away on holiday when (if?) everything was ready, it would have been curtains – no one else could assemble our watches.
Everything In The Balance
With only two weeks left to get the watches made and to Berlin, we received the first piece of good news. It was a photo of the first pieces comping off production. The best news was these looked fantastic. We still had a logistics issue, the dials were in Germany, and the watches had to be assembled and tested in Switzerland.
Train tickets were purchased, and travel was booked. There was no way we could take any chances now. Twenty-four hours later, the dials were in Switzerland and in our watchmaker’s atelier. It was Thursday evening. Four watches needed to be cased up, tested and then transported to Berlin for the World Championships. That was tight.
Is that Hand Luggage Sir?
Our watchmaker assembled all the watches Friday and started the testing over the weekend. He graciously monitored them over the weekend, but adjustment was required. By Tuesday, they were deemed fit to depart for Berlin, but there was no way we could make it work by courier. More travel was booked.
Somehow, by last Friday, 4 August 2023, four 2023 SNGLRTY World Championship Watches arrived in Berlin for the Archery World Championships. By the skin of our teeth, the watches were ready to be presented on the podium. And what a wonderful Archery world championship ensued.
The Incredible Champions
First, the youngest-ever world champion was crowned in the women’s compound event. Aditi Gopichand Swami was awarded the gold at the 2023 Hyundai World Archery Championships. In addition to these amazing achievements, she is also the very first owner of a 2023 SNGLRTY World Championship Watch.
Ojas Pravin Deotale kept the Indian flag flying as he won a historic compound men’s gold. He shot a perfect 150 in the final to beat Poland’s Lukasz Przybylski by a single point and become the first Indian man to win an individual world title as he held his nerve, missing out on just three points across the day.
On Sunday Marie Horackova sealed a stunning world title as she stormed to a 6-0 victory over Alejandra Valencia in the recurve women’s final.
Olympic champion Mete Gazoz, battling torrential rain in the men’s recurve individual competition, claimed the world title.
It was a stunning weekend. A weekend SNGLRTY is proud to have been a part of. Getting there was a journey. Who would ever want to be an entrepreneur? The journey is never easy, but sometimes the destination is worth it.