We are perpetually moving forward, for time waits for no man. Yet the most important lessons are often learned when looking back, reminiscing or reflecting on what happened, how we acted and what decisions were made.
This Boxing Day we're realigning the price of the Haskell collection from £745 to £599 - our first ever Swiss Made range, one that truly encapsulates the Marloe brand, has now become even better value for money.
We are just over six years old now and in that time we’ve gone from abject ignorance - how do you go about making a watch? - to what I believe is a place of competence. A place where we’ve experienced obstacles and challenges in bringing watches to market, through tough environments, and arrived on the other side, bruised, but learned - we can competently bring unique, bespoke watches to market. It’s not that simple of course; with each new project comes new challenges, but we can do it. We have sooked up, as we say in Scotland, all the information we could during these difficult times and stored it in our near-capacity brains, ready to be deployed on the next project. We have arrived here through moving forward, and bringing with us the collective knowledge gained together, as a team. But it is in the reflection that we find the good stuff, the important game-changing stuff.
Decisions are made using the myriad information at our disposal at any given time; decisions made having assessed every avenue possible and discussed to the nth degree; you only need ask Steph or Nicola what it’s like when Oliver and I get down to brass tacks - it’s often an open, long, laborious and uncompromising discussion of many hours. We endeavour to discuss everything, every angle and every possibility.
One such decision was made four years ago when we had just finished the Lomond Chronoscope Kickstarter campaign, had the Derwent in production and were discussing what to do next, now that we had a bit of financial reserve built up. Swiss Made was the answer. If we can make a Swiss watch then it will be real - we will have made it.
The problem with time is that it reveals truths, but not when you want, or need them. One such problem was where to pitch the Haskell, from a pricing perspective. We had many indicators to use for guidance and were aware that Swiss manufacture is ultimately, exceedingly expensive. Small batch Swiss manufacture even more so, for economies of scale in Swiss watch land only works if you’re a very, very big player, and therefore can lever it. Otherwise, like us, you simply have to accept the prices. Decisions were made to limit the complexity of the design, in order to minimise costs - tooling that might cost 5 apples in normal manufacture, costs 50 apples in Swiss manufacture - it’s that much more. So the Haskell, as it became known, didn’t have an exhibition caseback. It didn’t have profiled hands or a complex case design, because of two things - I was early in my watch design career, and because the budget at that early stage in our business simply didn’t allow for it. Eventually however, we did make the Haskell and we priced it, originally, at £995. A number of reasons called for it being this price, but mostly it was due to the initial cost of manufacture - to recoup the huge development and prototyping costs.
A year or so later we reduced the price to £745 - by this time we had a number of new ranges, the Coniston being one of them, and were into our second batch of Haskell production - for those not in the know, subsequent batches of any given production are a lot more cost effective, because all the heavy lifting has already been done with the initial production. Pricing is such a subjective thing, of course it can only be - we all have differing opinions on worth. But for us, the Haskell at £745 was sensational value - Swiss watches are expensive, remember, if you don’t have the huge budgets of “the big boys”. And whilst the Haskell has sold very well, and is the perfect performer as a solid, everyday Swiss watch for the everyperson, the value proposition of the Haskell is now starting to adjust, in our eyes.
Our expertise in designing watches is always improving - the Pacific is evidence of the distance we’ve travelled from the Haskell - and so the time has come to reassess what we are doing, why we are doing it and how we can tweak our bearings to point us more in the direction we want to be heading.
For the past year or so we have been working on this - where we are heading - and have a raft of new things to unleash upon you in the new year, all based around what’s fundamentally important to Oliver and I, as people, and as Marloe Watch Company. We want to spend our time well, not just plod along. The first move on the giant chessboard of life will be on Boxing Day - the day when most of us are in a state of repose. It seems the perfect time for us to reassess the Haskell and what it means to us moving forward. From the 26th December, we will realign the price of the Haskell to £599. Yes, that much.
We hope for two things to come of this - that the Haskell will move quicker from our stock-room, and that more people will discover how excellent and what great value for money these watches are. If both of these things occur, and sustain, then the Haskell will continue to be in our line-up for the foreseeable, and might even warrant something like, I dunno, a black-dialled Field Standard… Either way, this is the start of what will be a period of realignment in early 2022. The pandemic has forced us into thinking more deeply about our intentions with Marloe, what our hopes and aspirations are as individuals inside of this wonderful company, and what we want to broadcast to the world. I can tell you now that my happiest moments are when people hold one of our watches and genuinely can’t believe the quality of the thing for the price we are asking. That value proposition, as is becoming common parlance in the industry, is something that we excel at, and this realignment with the Haskell is something that we feel will stand us in great stead for the future, and allow us to bring more accessible watches, both Swiss and Japanese, to market.
I wear my Haskell with pride, as a conduit for memories that encapsulate all of our collective experience in Marloe so far - it’s been the backbone of our business and will continue to evolve as we do. Long live the Haskell.