The Goldgena Project is a start-up watchmaking venture coming out of Switzerland whose goals are to clarify where watches that are marketed as Swiss truly originate from, as well as to offer affordable mechanical watches with a process that is entirely transparent with regard to origin and costs.
The Lausanne-based company is led by a 40-year-old designer Claudio D’Amore who claims that most watches sold under the ‘‘Swiss-Made’’ label for less than 2,500 francs (approximately $2,500) consist of some bits from Asia because that region makes the production cheaper.
Certifying that a watch is mostly made of components which are manufactured and assembled in Switzerland – ‘Swiss Made’ is an official government designation that is given to watch manufacturers. This label is promoted by watchmaking brands that have the right to label their watches as ‘Swiss Made’ if more than 50% of their movements come from Switzerland. From the next year that percentage will be 60%, including the strap and the case. However, the watches must be assembled in Switzerland.
This start-up project aims to lift the lid on the secrets of Swiss watchmaking. In order to do this, the Goldgena Project team has created the TTO certification label, which stands for Total Transparency on Origin.
“Swiss-made is a joke,” contends D’Amore who spent 13 years designing watches for the brands such as TAG Heuer, Parmigiani Fleurier, and Montblanc.
The Swiss-Italian designer is planning to raise money through crowdfunding and hopes to garner some 10 million francs by the end of September in order to make 5,000 to 10,000 pieces of its first model which will be sold online. In order to achieve this goal and to attract consumers, D’Amore went to the Internet with punchy YouTube videos. The most interesting in my opinion is the one that shows a scene from the Clint Eastwood Western, A Fistful of Dollars, overdubbed with dialogue that reflects the project’s rebel tone.
Furthermore, the young company even proposed to give a 10% commission to consumers that convince others to buy one of their timepieces. The first models are planned for next year.
The retail price of the watch will be between US $700 to US $4,200 according to the Goldgena’s already established multiplier of 3.5 of production costs estimation. By using a Japanese movement, Chinese assembly, and avoiding middlemen, the challenger brand is planning to undercut the industry.
Each potential customer can decide whether the watch will be entirely manufactured and assembled in China to a scenario described as 99% Swiss made by visiting Goldgena’s website where they can vote which scenario they would prefer. There they can also share their comments on the overall design of the Goldgena’s first model.
During the summer, the Goldgena Project will share every detail of the development. As I have already mentioned, a crowdfunding campaign will be launched in September and the first production run of a couple of thousand pieces will be shipped by next year.