Necessity is the Mother of Invention

On Monday I attended a lecture put on by the Horological Society of New York.  The lecture was delivered by independent watchmakers Richard (formerly of IWC) and Maria Habring who traveled from Austria to share their perspective on creating a fully integrated supply chain to develop an inhouse watch movement. 

Problem:

  • Originally they used movements (the guts/heartbeat of a watch) from Swatch owned ETA.
  • In 2012, ETA cut them off from all movements and even the components to fix their prior models.
  • They had two choices, give up on their business or find a way to make their own movements. If they gave up, they would never be able to service prior customers.

Action:

  • Developed a new movement and all components to not only to service prior models but also build new models.

Result:

  • Intended: Saved business, serviced prior movements and built brand and credibility.
  • Unintended: Created a separate business to sell components to small watchmakers.

Lessons:

  • Back to basics as Richard said with a “keep it simple stupid” approach.
  • They stayed humble and consider themselves lucky that they were in the right place at the right time.
  • This is a four person company, so if you call them you have a 50% chance of speaking with somebody who has the same name as the company (Habring).
  • When asked about Marketing budgets, they said their plan to serve customers which is the best way to develop a strong brand.

This post went a little over 200 words but had to do the Habring’s story justice. 

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