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6 Brands That Think Now Is the Time to Be in the Watch Business

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A Leonard & Church watch. / Leonard & Church/Facebook

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September 7, 2018

Like mail-order for the digital age, direct-to-consumer products are all the rage. Here are six watch companies that are following the new model and deserve a chance to hug your wrist.

Brathwait

Named after Richard Brathwait, a 17th-century poet who championed manners across social classes, this NYC-based label promotes transparency and quality watches, no matter your tax bracket. Launched in 2014, the understated yet sophisticated collection offers a no-brainer way to dust off your attire. The cherry topping? You can buy extra, interchangeable straps to switch up your look.

Leonard & Church

Leonard & Church debuted in 2014, following a mega-successful Kickstarter campaign, and they haven’t looked back. The stylish series ranges from silver mesh to two-tone and suede, capturing an effortless, downtown vibe via Sapphire crystal detailing, handcrafted leather straps and precise movement.

Linjer

Because sometimes you want straightforward. Stripped of bells and whistles, Linjer (which translates to “lines” in Norwegian) offers four unfussy, dapper designs in a variety of colorways. In addition to their elegant aesthetic, co-founder Jennifer Chong, a Forbes 30 Under 30 alumna, owes her success to timing (pun intended). “In the last few years, crowdfunding and Facebook as an advertising platform have both matured. These have been key to the growth of many new brands, but now there's a lot more competition. I would say it was easier to launch a new brand a few years ago (when we did, in 2014) than it is now.” P.S. Linjer also encompasses handsome handbags, for a one-two punch of functional fashion.

Objest

Objest achieves art in timepiece form. Founded in 2016, the London company catches fire for their Swiss-made product, unparalleled sporty aesthetic and customization from start to finish. “As a product design studio we work a lot in other non-watch design sectors. It's some of this work that we wanted to imbue in a timepiece,” shares Founder Jared Mankelow. “We often look at architecture and fashion, such as the folding, scoring and pleating structures of Issey Miyake as sources of inspiration.” Double tap that.

Greyhours

Timelessness meets modernity in this independent collection of watches, which have disrupted the scene since 2014. Built in Hong Kong, every bracelet incorporates top shelf leather, Diamond-Like Carbon coating (You know, that DLC), and a hypoallergenic strap for ultimate, longwear comfort. Founder Emrah Yüceer credits their success to a fresh design approach. “We only work with young graduates or designers who just start in the industry, and we're supporting them by allowing a new designer to work on each new watch rather than a single one doing all of them. We also try to select them with different backgrounds.” The result? Every watch looks dope as eff.

Kapten & Son

Kapten & Son captures buyers with an adventure angle. Inspired by the never-ending horizon, this Brooklyn-based accessory label is built for the guy on the go—or shall we say, the time traveler. A luxury in their own right, their collection features a variety of models, spanning colorful to classic with an unparalleled German design at the core. According to their mission statement, “Our storytelling aims to set industry benchmarks by authentically capturing inspiring experiences around the globe.” Bon voyage.