How it started - My watch stopped in September of 2012. I was angry because it was only a year old, and batteries should last longer. I decided I was done with quartz watches and their batteries, and from then on I would only buy mechanical watches, preferably self-winding automatics. I always liked the sporty looks of chronographs (watches with a stop-watch function) and I thought, "how much does a decent automatic chronograph cost?"
Researching on the internet, I stumbled on a number of online watch forums, where people repeatedly asked, "why aren't there any affordable automatic chronographs?" It turns out most automatic chronographs cost well over $800, and many are more than $1000. What few there are below $800 tend to be of poor quality - cheap materials and low water resistance with ugly designs.
So I decided to make my own attractive, reliable and affordable automatic chronograph. I found a robust and reliable column-wheel movement, an evolution of the legendary Venus 175, which traces its heritage to Switzerland in the 1950's.
I also spent a lot of time on the watch forums learning what made for a good watch that would appeal to enthusiasts as well as the casual collector, and what the market pricing for a watch like this ought to be.
The Riccardo is a watch that makes no apologies, and compares quite well against watches that sell for much more. I paid attention to every little detail of the design...
The dial has a beautiful sunburst pattern with applied indices, not painted. The sub-dials have a concentric ring texture. The steel rings around the dials are brushed to a satin finish.
The hands and the indices are treated with Superluminova so they'll glow in the dark. The short end of the second hand incorporates the wagging tail of the dog in our logo.
The display glass is shatter-resistant and nearly scratch-proof sapphire, with anti-reflective coating applied to the inner surface.The caseback is also sapphire, so you can view the beautiful chronograph movement as it beats away.
The lugs have an appealing twisted shape, with a brushed inner surface and a polished top surface. The chronograph pushers are oblong rather than round, providing more contact area for the fingers. The case is water resistant to 10 ATM, that's 100 meters or 330 feet.
The leather straps have contrasting color stitches, just like classic racing-inspired chronographs. The under-side of the straps have a soft suede texture, and they are fastened via a "set it and forget it" signed deployant clasp.
There are very few, if any automatic chronographs in its price range (regular retail will likely start at $650 when production is complete), and even fewer that can meet its specs. With its racing-inspired design, it takes its styling cues from classic designs like the Rolex Daytona and Tag Heuer Carerra.
316L Stainless Steel Case with 100 meter Water Resistance
Anti-Reflective Sapphire Glass Display
Transparent Sapphire and Stainless Steel Caseback
20mm wide Brown or Black Leather Strap with contrasting color stitches and signed deployant clasp
Case Dimensions of 42mm Diameter x 48.5mm Length x 14.5mm Height
1 Year manufacturer's warranty.
The brand "Lew & Huey" is a phonetic spin on the Chinese Mandarin phrase 'luen huey' (輪迴), which means reincarnation or rebirth. We believe in second chances, and that every dog will have his day (hence, the dog in our logo).
Where we are now - We're right on our previously published schedule:
April 8th - We released design renderings on Watchuseek.com, the largest online forum for watch enthusiasts, and received rave reviews. Several other online watch forums have since picked up the story and published the renders and pics.
April 22nd - We launched www.LewAndHuey.com and began pre-orders for the Riccardo. As of June we've sold almost 60 watches through pre-orders. So far the brand has only been promoted on the watch forums, Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and other social media sites.
June 3rd - We received the two completed prototypes. There are a few little tweaks we want to make before going to full production but overall we're very happy with the quality of the prototypes, and the response from watch enthusiasts and others who've seen the "real life" photos continues to be fantastic.
June 6th - Positive review posted on Worn & Wound, an online watch blog with a very large distribution.
June 17th-21st - We started production of 250 pieces, 150 Blue/Red and 100 Black/Orange.
June 27th - Another positive review, this time on Watchuseek.com, the largest online watch forum.
September 2013 - Targeting delivery to customers.
Pledge $10 - Have your name listed on www.LewAndHuey.com as an official project backer and receive a personal note of thanks!
Pledge $20 - Receive a framed, signed copy of the original design renderings:
Pledge $40 - Receive a Black, Pre-Shrunk Cotton T-Shirt printed with "Official Backer, Lew & Huey Kickstarter Project, Every dog will have his day":
Pledge $240 - Reserve your Riccardo at the pre-production price of $480 including US shipping (International shipping extra). Additional $240 will be due pre-shipment once production is completed.
Pledge $455 - Get a Riccardo Automatic Chronograph in either color with your choice of limited edition serial number (subject to availability) shipped to your door at this unbelievably low pre-order price!
Search for automatic chronographs with these specs on Amazon or ebay and you'll see watches like the Riccardo selling for more than $1000!
Pledge $850 - Get TWO Riccardo Automatic Chronographs with your choice of limited edition serial number (subject to availability) shipped to your door for the insanely low pre-order price of $425 each!
Most of the funds for production will come from the pre-orders we've received. The remainder will come from this project and owner's equity. Once we're done production we will expand distribution to other ecommerce sites, most likely starting with ebay.
What's next - we want to scale up production, and launch new models. The Chronograph will be the "halo" model that helps launch the brand and represents the top of our retail price range. We are planning more models in the $250-$550 price range. We also want to enter the mass market through ecommerce sites like ebay and Amazon, as well as specialty ecommerce sites that cater to watch enthusiasts or focus on watch sales.
Risks and challenges
We're very happy with the finished design and the response it's received. However, the early response has been primarily from watch enthusiasts. It's possible the design will not be as well received by the mass market, but based on the feedback we've received on Facebook and Instagram, it seems like the design is a hit with the mass market as well.
Once we complete production, there's a small risk that the finished product will not be as high-quality as the pre-production prototypes.
As with any complex product, there is the risk of mechanical defect, as well as the normal manufacturing risks of production delays or difficulty sourcing materials and components. So far we've been able to stay on or even slightly ahead of schedule.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)