Here at WatchPro, it feels like we receive news of a brand new watch launching on Kickstarter every day of the week.
Occasionally, we bring the most interesting to your attention, but the vast majority look like retreads of old ideas.
Anecdotally, we feel most fail to get investment or even pre-orders for the watches they are promoting.
And there is no doubt Kickstarter is more than just a place to pitch for investors, it is often used simply as a marketplace to sell watches, and the watchmakers even get paid up front for a product that won’t need to be delivered for months.
Mercury Project, a Swiss-based data-driven consulting company focusing on the watch & jewelry retail industry, is aiming to quantify the success-rate for watchmakers launching on Kickstarter, and provide insight into the factors that improve the chances of success.
Every month, its Kickvalue Tracks & Facts report measures the valuation and the health of watch projects on Kickstarter including numbers of watch projects, funding, pledge and percentage of success.
The first report makes interesting reading. In the first six months of this year there have been 183 watch projects launched on Kickstarter, that’s one per day. This figure has barely changed over the past few years.
More than half fail (52% in 2019), again a hit rate that has been consistent for years.
There has been a change in the type of watches projects that work this year, compared to the past, according to the report’s author Thierry Huron.
“Overall, the number of projects is flat since 2017, but the number of backers is drastically down. To reach their financial goals, creators have now to become more professional in term of product proposal, but also in term of marketing, in order to attract backers,” he tells WatchPro.
Results can be spectacular. Looking at the top 10 successful projects in 2019, the report finds well over CHF 2 million pledged, with a watch from Yema, a French brand that can trace its history back to the 1960s, attracting over CHF 1 million in funding — or advance sales — for a reissue of its Superman Heritage dive watch that was first made in 1963.
Geographically, the United States starts more projects on the crowdfunding platform, with one in five originating here. The Swiss account for only 6% of watch projects.