What Happens If You Design An Ugly SNGLRTY?

An Ugly SNGLRTY Watch – Is That Possible?

It is not a question either Daniel or I had ever been asked before, “What happens if a customer designs an ugly SNGLRTY watch?” It was Luc from Crystal Clear Watchmaking who came up with this gem!  The answer may be surprising to many. 

We also explore why we decide to assemble each watch to order.  Plus Daniel and I share our most significant challenges during the development of SNGLRTY.

Luc continues the questioning from the last installment, and Daniel and I do our best to explain the journey.    

Luc:

There is something that you guys just have brushed on very lightly, and I was hoping to go into a little bit deeper. You had such an interesting idea, and I can see how you have managed to realize it in a modular way. Your idea allows each watch to be assembled uniquely for each customer, but it does not have to be that way. You could have made a range of standard color variations. Instead, you ask your customers to select the combination they like and then you assemble their watch. Why did you decide to do it this way rather than the more traditional way?

Steve:

It is interesting how that unfolded. Daniel and I were a long way into developing the prototype.  Unusually, Daniel phoned me up on a Friday afternoon and was telling me that we had to redesign the watch face for SNGLRTY. At the time, I was walking up some steps in Hong Kong and was not too focused on the conversation. On the other hand, Daniel was getting quite excited on the other end of the phone, explaining the redesign of the watch face. 

There is No Standard SNGLRTY

We had overcome a number of hurdles throughout the process of creating the prototype for SNGLRTY. As with anything mechanical, you get a few failures along the way when developing something new.  At the time, I was under the impression that we had overcome all the issues. Now Daniel was talking about redesigning the watch face. I immediately assumed that this was another hurdle to overcome, another challenge to be dealt with.

My response to Daniel was just to leave it until Monday and we can address it then. There was no need to ruin the weekend with this.  But Daniel would not let me off the phone. “No. No.  You do not understand. This is great, we get to split the watch face into four completely independent pieces.”

snglrty watch on the wrist of a gentleman driving a classic car
Developing a Mechanical Watch is Just Like Developing a Mechanical Car, There Are Lots oF Bumps In The Road

He just would not let me get off the phone until he had explained it to me. After Daniel took me through the details, I realized that a watch face with four completely independent pieces is remarkable. This change that the one hand indication forced on us was fantastic because there would be thousands of possible permutations and combinations, yet no additional effort on our part. 

We Never Set Out To Design A Customizable Watch

As Daniel and I created SNGLRTY it was very much a journey of discovery for us too. This conversation was another significant milestone in that journey as we realized that our watch had a unique way of presenting time, that singular point. Still, now we also could make an individual, or singular, watch for each of our customers. 

Taking this route was further reinforced when  Daniel and I sat down to try and choose a few color combinations that we would use on our crowdfunding efforts. With so many options there is no way we could pick and be right for each owner. It would be futile. At this point, we committed to assembling each watch for each customer. Initially, there were 64 different combinations for the OHI2 and 128 for the OHI4. Now (July 2021) we have over 20,000 possible combinations, we are very grateful we did not try and choose specific combinations now that we see what our customers order!

A Unique Watch For A Unique Vision Of Time

There seemed to be some duality in this too. SNGLRTY presents time at a singular point and now we were able to make a singular watch for each customer. That meant that each watch had to be assembled exclusively for each SNGLRTY owner.  This unique level of customization means each customer has the opportunity to put their own identity on their watch.  Hopefully, each customer will feel that they were part of the creative process when they are wearing their SNGLRTY watch on their wrist. 

SNGLRTY hour rings, with no date, awaiting assembly
THe Hour Ring Is One OF THe Four COmponents THat Together Create The Watch Face On A SNGLRTY Watch.

We arrived at a point in the journey where we said, we can not decide; it is not up to us to decide. These will not be our watches. The people who own the watches should decide how their watch should look on their wrist.

Is There An Ugly SNGLRTY Watch?

Luc:

That does bring up an interesting question for me though. Daniel said that if you are in Switzerland and want to do something that your colleagues believe is a mistake, they will tell. Right? If that is the case, what if one of your customers wants to configure their SNGLRTY, and it has zero aesthetic sense whatsoever? If someone selects a very ugly combination, will you say that it will not look good? Will you say no? 

Steve:

Aesthetics is in the eye of the beholder, shall we say? So, if that is what our customer wants, then that is what they can have. Ultimately it is their watch, so we do not have any comment on the colors. The point here is that SNGLRTY is about how we display time, how we present time, how people think about their time, and how they use their time. We are trying to bring more focus to time than necessarily the exact aesthetics of the watch. Those aesthetics are under the control of the owner. If they choose wild and garish colors that they love, then God bless them.

Quality Of The Watch Is Our Key Concern

Daniel:

I think we would only say something if a color combination would make it more difficult to read the time. In that situation, we would say something and suggest an improvement For example we may suggest another luminous color; you could improve this or that. So we try to guide, but not to change. Where there is a functional reason the would explain the issue to help guide the customer.

Watchmaker focused on the assembly of the complication plate of a SNGLRTY watch
Our job is the quality of the watchmaking, our customers choose how their watch should look.

Luc:

Previously, Daniel mentioned that if I walked into Switzerland to make a watch like SNGLRTY and did not have any connections, it would be very difficult or costly to make a watch. I have a feeling that even with Daniel’s connections and decades of industry knowledge, this was still a difficult task.  First to develop the complication plate, and second to bring it to market. What was the most difficult or most surprisingly difficult part of your journey so far?

There Are Always Challenges

Steve:

For me, the most challenging piece was going out to sell our idea for the first time. That was a big challenge for me personally. Until then, I had never needed to or wanted to sell anything. Being a salesman has never been in my job description up until that point in time. We planned to use the various crowdfunding platforms and try to use them to get the message out. 

Looking back on it now is rather humbling. It was a little bit of a clown show to be honest. That was our first attempt, and as with most first attempts with anything it was not particularly good. We approached it in the wrong way, did not understand the role of the platforms correctly and so did not achieve what we were hoping to achieve. 

We did manage to get through the whole process a bit battered and bruised. But when we were actually in the thick of it. There were still many moments of doubt. Looking back, it was a very humbling learning experience for me.

Daniel Blunschi and Steve Mansfield, the founders of snglrty watch, in conversation with a potential customer
For Daniel (left), selling was a natural process, but for me (middle) this was a whole new experience. I am still learning!

Daniel:

Having been in the industry for thirty years, you look at things a little bit differently. What was interesting is to really start to work on a brand from scratch, and you have to do everything. There was nothing here, how shall we name it? How should we design the logo? So the whole marketing aspect, and then what are the unique selling points? We knew what they are, but how can we communicate it?  How can we put it in the right words so everybody understands? That was challenging. It still is challenging, of course. And extremely interesting too.

Next Time With Crystal Clear

In the next installment, Luc lets rip and designs his ideal SNGLRTY watch, and to say he goes a little off-piste would be an understatement.  But true to form, Daniel knows how to handle it and we reveal the Crystal Clear Watchmaking SNGLRTY watch.

Don’t forget, you can head over to our configurator and create the watch that is for you.

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Swiss Made

SNGLRTY was only possible because of all the watch innovators that went before us and the accumulation of their skills and knowledge in Switzerland. We celebrate their achievements by being proud that each of our watches is “Made In Switzerland” so you can be confident that it is engineered and assembled with longevity in mind.

30 Day Money Back Guarantee

We are so confident that you will enjoy Seeing Time Differently every single watch comes with our Money Back Guarantee so you can buy with confidence. If you have any concerns after your purchase, just let us know within 30 days of delivery and we will refund your money. After all, Daniel and Steve want everyone to enjoy wearing SNGLRTY on their wrist.

Free International Shipping

UPS will whisk your beautiful new SNGLRTY watch from Bern, Switzerland to your front door – and you will be able to track it every step of the way and reduce your waiting to the minimum.

2 Year International Warranty

Where ever you are, if there is a problem with your watch (and we seriously doubt there will be), we will make sure it is put right so you can buy your SNGLRTY watch without any worries, wherever you live.

Hour Numerals Color

I like to think the color of the hour numerals creates the personality of your SNGLRTY watch. We have the basics, black and white, but if you would like to have your watch glow in the dark we offer a range of colors in Swiss Super-LumiNova. We always use Grade X1 for the best luminous effect but the daytime colors do impact the ultimate performance of the Super-LumiNova. If you want the brightest possible luminous effect choose Swiss Super-Luminova White, and if you want more please contact us.

Color Of The Hour Ring

The hour ring is the largest surface area on the SNGLRTY watch face so sets the tone for the rest of your design.

Date Display

Each of our watches can be configured with a date display, or without. Due to the mechanics this is the first decision you need to make in your journey to create your SNGLRTY watch.

Comparison Ohi2 vs. Ohi4

The OHI movements, or One Hand Indication, are unique to SNGLRTY. During the development phase of the watches Daniel and Steve used this moniker before naming it SNGLRTY. There are two distinctive movements to choose from, OHI-2 and OHI-4.

The OHI-4 movement is built on the Decorated and Fully Adjusted SW-300 tractor movement from Sellita. On top of the tractor movement the SNGLRTY complication plate is assembled and incorporates the “reverse minute gearbox” that is available exclusively from SNGLRTY. Depending on your selection, the complication plate will also relocate the date wheel from the top of the tractor movement to the top of the complication plate. Relocating it in this manner increases the size of the date disc and moves it closer to the top of the watch face improving its readability considerably.
The OHI-2 movement is the same as the OHI-4 movement except that it is built on a standard execution Sellita SW-200 movement.

Finally, depending on the movement you select the watch case will have a different profile as the OHI-4 movement is thinner than the OHI-2 movement. The key differences are that the case for the OHI-4 movement has a double domed crystal and a flat caseback. The OHI-2 case has a flat crystal and a curved caseback. All the details are in the product page.