Thanks for the Invite!

Thanks for the Invite!

Postby The Microbrand Store » September 8th 2018, 10:20am

Hi all,

Just wanted to say hello and thanks for the invitation to join here!

As a bit of a background, The Microbrand Store launched at the end of August 2018 and specializes in microbrand watches. We're trying to carefully cherry pick the brands we're carrying and sometimes buy in "bulk" from Kickstarter campaigns so if folks missed the campaign, or worry about getting their watches or might want to change their mind, they can still sign up with us at a discount compared to retail, and we do give full refunds up until the time we ship. Most of our watches though are not pre-orders but stock we carry. (We never drop ship.) You'll see a few of the usual popular microbrands, but we also carry a number that have never been in a store before, and have some of the last remaining timepieces of some small run limited editions.

If you want the face behind the store, that'll be me, Neil. I run several watch groups on Facebook including the one for Kickstarter watches, (a tad over 7,000 members,) and several smaller private groups such as one for watch microbrands, where I think we have going on for 200 brands in there now. I'm passionate about watches and am an avid collector myself. Unfortunately I'm somewhat of a kid in a candy store here and, don't tell my wife, but I like to keep a lot [most] of the items I stock - one of each.

The store is trying to be a little different so I hope you check it out. This isn't a commercial pitch (although I know it sounds like one.) I've tried to tell the story behind each microbrand, including interviews in some cases when I've gone out to meet the microbrand, and have put somewhat of a mini-review together for each of the timepieces we carry, trying to explain in my own words why I think it's a worthy choice. I guess being the owner I can be somewhat picky and I don't carry items that are of no interest to me so the store somewhat reflects my own tastes. I'd love to share that with folks in the same way that I love seeing others' watch pictures and learning other folks stories. This is very much my passion.

Neil.
http://the.microbrand.store
A carefully curated list of microbrand watches,
with discount pricing and free shipping.
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby foghorn » September 8th 2018, 10:28am

Well......umm.....good luck. Welcome and ...um..good luck.
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby The Microbrand Store » September 8th 2018, 10:33am

Thank you for the welcome and the helping of good luck.
I've a feeling I'll need it here. :p
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A carefully curated list of microbrand watches,
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby codguy » September 8th 2018, 10:39am

The Microbrand Store wrote:Hi all,
I run several watch groups on Facebook
Neil.


Facebook

Ahahahahahahahaha
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby fatman » September 8th 2018, 10:45am

:CSTBRO:


Welcome
HF
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby The Microbrand Store » September 8th 2018, 10:49am

Why yes it is a forum type of thing with training wheels.

I've become so used to it that I looked for the like button here so probably deserve a reall good pasting here.

In my rather dim and very distant past, I used to run a real board for over ten years, (also used to do a fair amount of PHP, although it's not something I care to admit,) but now in my dotage, that is where I tend to hang.
http://the.microbrand.store
A carefully curated list of microbrand watches,
with discount pricing and free shipping.
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby Racer-X » September 8th 2018, 11:36am

The Microbrand Store wrote:In my rather dim and very distant past, I used to run a real board for over ten years, (also used to do a fair amount of PHP, although it's not something I care to admit,) but now in my dotage, that is where I tend to hang.


Welcome. What was the 'real board' you ran?
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby foghorn » September 8th 2018, 11:52am

The Microbrand Store wrote:
I've become so used to it that I looked for the like button here so probably deserve a reall good pasting here.



I'm sure, since so many of us here fart in the general direction of both facebook and kickstarter, that a pasting or two are in your future.
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby codguy » September 8th 2018, 1:22pm

The Microbrand Store wrote: (also used to do a fair amount of PHP PCP).


Fixed it for you.
Typographical errors suck........ you can thank me later.
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby Hawk » September 8th 2018, 2:22pm

Welcome to our little home. It's grand fun.

As the rewster has noted this isn't exactly a happy place when it comes to Facebook or Kickstarter. The idea of curating that mess of begstarter offerings does have a certain appeal as it could remove most of what I find noxious about crowd funding.

We are perhaps one of the more jaded band of skeptics but that's easily bypassed with time and forthrightness. In that vein you'll be asked the inevitable question sooner or later so I might just as well toss it out right now: why are you hiding behind a domain anonymizer? To dyed in the wool skeptics it suggests you're hiding something as the legitimate use of such a service (reduction or elimination of spam) seems counter-intuitive to someone wanting someone else's money. So I'd be interested in learning of another benign use for a commercial smokescreen service.

Are you actually in Seattle - perhaps the guy that turned up in Longview with the enviable watch roll?

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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby TemerityB » September 8th 2018, 3:29pm

I will simply say hello to you, sir.

I've only posted about 100 times here that I have no use for most microbrands or anything to do with Kickstarter. However, I will click the link and reserve judgement until I see what things are all about. Hope you enjoy your reading here.

After peeking around: I've seen Mercer watches in real time, and they're not half bad. However, call me a curmudgeon, but if I want a watch with a Seiko automatic movement ... why not buy a Seiko, and at lower prices, to boot? I see NH35s out there in watches that cost $65. Microbrands continue to be the answer to the question nobody asked in the first place.

But again, this is all just me. If you sell new micros at a discount, and back your products after the sale, I don't have even the slightest quibble with what you are doing.
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby conjurer » September 8th 2018, 8:25pm

Welcome, goddamn it! Anybody who sells micros and has the balls to show up here is OK in my book. Goddamn it.
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby bedlam » September 8th 2018, 8:54pm

The only micro that has impressed me on all fronts (design, execution, follow-up service) is Halios. As such I doubt they need a shopfront run by anyone else.

Given you are trying to make up for the deficits in so many micro offerings it will be interesting to see what happens. Though not if this is a shill post and we don't hear from you again.

Welcome to Watchlords.
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby conjurer » September 8th 2018, 10:38pm

bedlam wrote:The only micro that has impressed me on all fronts (design, execution, follow-up service) is Halios. As such I doubt they need a shopfront run by anyone else.

Given you are trying to make up for the deficits in so many micro offerings it will be interesting to see what happens. Though not if this is a shill post and we don't hear from you again.

Welcome to Watchlords.


You know, Carl, sometimes you really are a Negative Nellie. I'm sure that nothing at all bad can come from this!!
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby The Microbrand Store » September 8th 2018, 11:41pm

Thanks for the welcome. I can tell this is an, um, "interesting" place already. :)
I'll try and answer the various questions and comments here.
Fair warning though, I tend to be verbose.

The OP certainly wasn't a shill post but was one I made myself.
Here's my personal LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/neilcresswell/
It's focused towards my software development business, but that's me.

Re microbrands, yes many, dare I say most, are meh. A few are quite stylish and innovative however and can often offer much better value for money than mainstream brands. Plus a lot of folks like to get something that's a very small production run/limited edition so more exclusive than say the ubiquitous Rolexes of the world. (Ha, yes I did go there because if my turkey is about to be basted, might as well enjoy it and get my shots in too! :p)

Re domain anonymizer, there are several reasons:

First and foremost, email address harvesters are a huge problem for me. I've been on the Internet since the early 1980s, and it's just me handling all email for the store, and I also have email accounts dating back decades and receive a huge amount of spam. My spam filters do a good job but I'll always try and keep my email address at arms length from harvesters.

Second, the store is an online store, not a bricks and mortar, and I want folks to get in touch if we ever have a situation involving a return, not just send off to an address. Our microbrand watches carry both the manufacturer's warranty and our own as a secondary coverage in case the microbrand doesn't step up. We want the customer to try the manufacturer first then if it's on us, we may want the shipping to be direct to a repair center we've contracted with, or to our fulfillment/shipping address, both with a RMA number.

It's really helpful though to feel your underlying concern. I'm going to add an About Us page or FAQ page with some more information about me and the store. FYI I'm a US citizen (also a UK citizen but not lived in the UK since 1994) and have lived in the Seattle area for over 10 years on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle. The Microbrand Store is owned/operated through my corporation, which is a WA state corporation that I 100% own, and I've plenty of clients and friends who I've known for decades if I ever need any references. We fulfill orders from our own stock location in Asia. (Not China or Hong Kong FWIW.) The reasons for this are also several. It's cheaper inbound shipping costs and import duties for us than some other locations, and it's much cheaper for us to ship from there worldwide than it is to say ship from the US, which sometimes costs 3x as much. Shipping is also faster on average for a worldwide customer base. Economies like this are important to us as we offer most of our watches at discounts, and we also provide free shipping to our customers.

Re brands like Halios, sure they can and do sell direct, and will do so to folks looking for them explicitly, who may've come upon them somewhere like Kickstarter or in a forum discussion or on a review site. There is still a place for microbrand stores though I think because someone browsing the store, perhaps there for a different microbrand, or just to browse in general, can learn about a brand like Halios, so it's a way to sell to other customers who hadn't previously heard of you. A number of microbrands all in one place. Stores do spend on ongoing advertising and some of the smaller brands really can't afford to do that too.

Anyhow, I see I'm being my typical verbose self so will end here.
http://the.microbrand.store
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby bedlam » September 9th 2018, 2:08am

conjurer wrote:
bedlam wrote:The only micro that has impressed me on all fronts (design, execution, follow-up service) is Halios. As such I doubt they need a shopfront run by anyone else.

Given you are trying to make up for the deficits in so many micro offerings it will be interesting to see what happens. Though not if this is a shill post and we don't hear from you again.

Welcome to Watchlords.


You know, Carl, sometimes you really are a Negative Nellie. I'm sure that nothing at all bad can come from this!!

Ummm, you've heard of Deep Blue, right?
"If I could put a finger on the moment we genuinely fucked ourselves, it was the moment we decided that data was something you could use words like believe or disbelieve around...

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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby codguy » September 9th 2018, 5:55am

bedlam wrote:Ummm, you've heard of Deep Blue, right?


Is that the watch brand with removeable pips?
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby bedlam » September 9th 2018, 6:22am

codguy wrote:
bedlam wrote:Ummm, you've heard of Deep Blue, right?

Is that the watch brand with removeable pips?

That's the one!
"If I could put a finger on the moment we genuinely fucked ourselves, it was the moment we decided that data was something you could use words like believe or disbelieve around...

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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby Hawk » September 9th 2018, 6:46am

@OP

OK. Domain anonymizer gets a pass so far as I'm concerned. They do a good job with spam elimination but they've also got a history of doing a mediocre job of disguising John House pimping the same old Millionsmart crap under a new European-sounding name. As a consequence I come out of the gate distrustful of anyone using them. Exception made and recorded. Plumping up the "about" page sounds like a good idea.

I've got no problem with Asian product or transshipment. I even have a particular weakness for Thailand and Singapore. In fact my query of a supposed Thai microbrand about local pickup exposed some BS as he simply quoted me the current exchange rate and didn't have an address. One more adolescent working out of his mom's basement that thought spinning a yarn about a Thai microbrand might be worth a few bucks.

Honesty is a rare trait among some of the microbrands so I appreciate when some is evident. Many, perhaps most, Kickstarter watch projects seem positively alergic to the truth. Actually just making it to a second post is remarkable in the context of the typical Kickstarter drive-by load of used oats.


By the way the forum takes some amount of pride in community service. We (actually Conjurer) run auctions to benefit charities. At the risk of greeting verbosity with more verbosity to say nothing of sleeping kittens, I found myself with nothing to offer this year. So I thought I'd try your store for an auction item.

Sir, your website is broken. Or I may have just picked one that isn't available in the US though your site states two remain in stock. The specific product was the Valimor Caliburnus - Black Galaxy Granite. Note the "shipping method" and please forgive the child-like scrawl concealing the specifics of the shipping address.


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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby The Microbrand Store » September 9th 2018, 7:52am

Here's a F.A.Q. page I literally published a minute or two ago, before noticing your reply here:
https://microbrand.store/pages/faq

I am grateful for your train of thought, and seeing it from a "oh is it a pop-up fake store?" perspective was helpful. Hopefully the FAQ which is basically an About Us will alleviate some of that.

You're totally correct re honesty on Kickstarter. I've ripped many, and so has the group in the Place That Shall Not Be Named That Is Not A Forum for things like false claims of luxury, you name it. One brand tried to say mineral glass was scratch proof, another used vague wording about glass with sapphire and AR coating meaning it's mineral glass with a thin microns-thick sapphire coating. Others have tried reselling Alibaba catalog watches, or in one case taken a cheap Vostok, slapped on an aweful 3D printed face mod and tried passing it off as a new retro design for 3x the price. Oh and he claimed it had a better movement than entry level Swiss ETAs. Well you get the idea. That nameless group isn't all ra-ra for every microbrand. We try and get picky.

Re website, it was broken in that it should've said we don't offer shipping to WA. We do to the rest of the US. The logic here is complex. Since we're shipping from Asia, you'll get charged duties/taxes to import. However, we don't want customers to pay state taxes too and WA has some really weird rules about online commerce and we're a WA state corporation. Anyhow, I'm going to switch that one rule off because it's really a grey area that's arguable both ways. We erred on the side of caution when the site was set up. If you were in any other state but WA...

It was nice of you to try using the store, and even nicer of you to pick something out for a charity. If you care to let me know the specs of the watch. e.g. With date, without date, if you went for the bracelet or just the stock strap, rather than ordering again, (assuming you are still interested of course,) I can send you an invoice that includes an extra discount, both as an apology for your inconvenience, a thanks for your help in sharing the screenshot and details, and because it is a charity purchase. Doesn't seem right to me for you to pay close to retail price.

One caveat on that specific item though. It is a pre-order. The Draken Kalahari and the Valimor Caliburnus are are two current pre-order watches. I spoke with the creator behind the Caliburnus a couple of days ago and production is still on schedule for October. Mentioning in case there is some charity event you need this by. I don't know the particulars. We also make this information very clear in the description of the watch.
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with discount pricing and free shipping.
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby The Microbrand Store » September 9th 2018, 8:04am

I also threw in a discount code for you for Valimor that you can use instead if you prefer:
hawk
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby conjurer » September 9th 2018, 8:10am

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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby Hawk » September 9th 2018, 10:13am

The Microbrand Store wrote:I also threw in a discount code for you for Valimor that you can use instead if you prefer:
hawk


Your prompt and efficient attention to the issues speaks well of the differences between what you're trying to do and the steaming mess that inflicts most of Kickstarter and some portion of microbrands. Nonetheless, in this particular case, time and the fact that the auctions are administered in the state of Washington by someone who volunteers his time and effort suggest we'll perhaps try it the next time. The auctions are a regular thing. Stuff routinely sells for hot prices so it benefits the buyer, the forum and St. Jude's or the Shriners or something similar. Feel free to take part.

Your site does show that granite thing as having two in stock - perhaps this is intentional; I do business with another firm whose software requires a stock quantity - (I've come to accept that his "99 in stock" translates into "we got none"). The Kalahari series is plainly marked as pre-order which I assumed would be indicated on anything that was a pre-order.

On a minor incidental matter I don't believe "sapphire coating" is a real thing. Sapphire gains its properties from its crystalline structure which cannot be applied like wax or paint even in nanometer thicknesses. Since full sapphire got cheaper to produce than Seiko's old laminated product there's no motive to do something like "coating". I don't know what Flame Fusion is but I'm guessing it's glass fused under heat and pressure with an equal weight of wishful thinking. I don't believe there's a point in applying powdered aluminum oxide to glass nor is it likely to be applied molten or in suspension - it would be more expensive than actual sapphire and not work worth a shit.

My personal surmise is that "sapphire coated" is either 100% bullshit or perhaps some form of mineral glass given a quick ass-wipe with Future floor polish - except that the product is renamed "sapphire" by the perpetrator. I will retract, of course, in the presence of proof to the contrary.

I have a fair stable of pet peeves not including peeve breeding stock. They include "surgical grade stainless steel", anything suggesting magical non-full sapphire sapphire wannabe and "crocodile embossed genuine leather" (which the granite product suffers from a version of). As Conjurer has noted to my considerable mirth the embossing often results in a strap "stiffer than Peter North" though some is not too bad.


Given your skepticism of brand claims there's a chance you'll fit right in.
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby The Microbrand Store » September 9th 2018, 11:30am

Thanks for letting me know.

Yes, that was intentional re quantity. The description on the Valimors state:

Pre-Order Details

This watch is being retailed as a pre-order, with an estimated delivery from the manufacturer in October 2018. Unlike Kickstarter and similar systems, you may cancel your pre-order of this watch at any time, up until the day before we ship the watch to you, and obtain a full refund.

To learn more about pre-orders, please visit our pre-orders page.


We've pre-paid for particular quantities, which we're pre-selling. Currently the only watches in the store on pre-order are the Valimor Caliburnus, and Draken Kalahari. We'll be adding the Decima Scylla to that list on the 19th. (Don't want to offer it while the creator is trying to run his campaign.) Everything else is stock rather than pre-order.

Re sapphire glass, another gotcha is there are actually two standards according to some in China (but not others!) The Chinese market "sapphire glass" isn't nearly as hard as the international market sapphire and IMHO shouldn't be called that because it's not even similar to artificial sapphire in hardness.

I test all the watches I review with a cheap but effective diamond tester which'll always light up 3-4 bars for sapphire glass. It doesn't light up at all for mineral glass or acrylic or for the fake sapphire glass. So far all the watches I've reviewed have passed fine but sooner or later I'll get one off of KS where some cheap arse wanted to save a few cents and used this crap. I'll be sure to give them both barrels when I do.

I can see this going over time to where leather is now. If you just hear just "leather" then it's likely not leather at all but PU leather rather than real leather. Oh that's another thing... I see crap in campaigns like "genuine top grain leather" often. Creators have no clue and get duped by factories or they're trying to be tricksy. Genuine leather is the lowest grade of real leather and top grain is something better. The two do not overlap.

Sorry am getting grumbly. Nice to meet someone else who keeps a pitchfork in their online armory. :)
http://the.microbrand.store
A carefully curated list of microbrand watches,
with discount pricing and free shipping.
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Re: Thanks for the Invite!

Postby 3Flushes » September 9th 2018, 11:54am

Welcome to Watchlords. The joint's more fun than a human being should be allowed to have.

Not big on micro / crowd sourced merch but I had a look around your joint and agree with Hawk et al that your model is a cut above the usual fare. Have to see about the watches.
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