My Favorite Micro Brands

Let’s be honest, unless you have real money, the watchmaking industry can be boring. While tradition can be important, we need new ideas. This is where microbrands come in, these modern watch companies don’t necessarily innovate, there’s not much to innovate there anymore, but they certainly bring fresh ideas to the table. So, what defines a microbrand? Typically these brands are smaller independent companies with limited supply, but this is not always the case as you will read. So without further ado, here are my top eight favorite micro brands! As always all photos are from the featured companies.

Number 8: Scurfa Watches

Diver One D1-500

Dive watches are probably the most iconic style of watches, and this segment is slowly becoming more fashion forward. It makes sense, as diving is a very very niche activity, and an even niche-er profession, dive watches aren’t needed. While Citizen and Seiko still make incredible dive watches, it’s nice to see micro brands still interested in making actual dive watches. Scurfa was started by a professional diver, and makes great tool watches. Don’t look for bell’s and whistle’s here.

Number 7: Brew Watch Co.

Retrograph Espresso

Coffee and watches are this weird matchup I have never expected, but still work so well. All of Brew’s designs have been inspired off of coffee, whether it’s a timer for the perfect espresso, or a dial based off of an espresso machine. I feel like I would be a bit of a poser wearing a Brew watch because I don’t drink coffee, but the designs are all so interesting, if not edging on a bit too aggressive nowadays…

Number 6: Traska

Summiteer 36 Sandstone Yellow

Traska has made a name for high quality watches at a relatively affordable price. Mostly looking to recreate vintage tool watches. (aren’t they all?) Nevertheless I love Traska’s execution, as far as press photos go at least. Their watches have great attention to detail, with little details like a pearlage finish on the bridges of the clasp, and heat blued hands on one of the variations of the Summiteer. Their prices have been rising steadily, but I still think the brand offers a great collection.

Number 5: Boldr Supply

Venture Sand Storm

I love the casual wearability of field watches, knowing you don’t have to worry about them, usually looking better with everyday outfits. Boldr makes great tool watches, and usually sticks to titanium, which is really nice at around $300. With moderate sizing, a very specific design style, you can’t go wrong. If I have one problem with Boldr, it’s that they lean into the “Every Day Carry” culture, and I’ve never been a big fan of that community.

Number 4: Sternglas Zeitmesser

Naos Quartz

The Bauhaus movement very much helped shape our lives today. While not the only factor, the Bauhaus aimed to essentially mass produce well designed products. Obviously Minimalism was a big part of the Bauhaus movement. Nomos makes my favorite Bauhaus inspired watches, but if you want something a little more affordable, and dressy, you should turn to Sternglas. These watches are made in Germany and truly feel like the Bauhaus, offering very few colors in very reasonable sizes and price points.

Number 3: Lorier

Falcon SIII

Lorier takes the very straightforward idea of the tool watch and adds a little sprinkle of romance in there. Not literally, but they choose to use an acrylic crystal, not to lower their prices, but to offer that vintage feel, they even include a tube of Polywatch, you can adjust the bracelet with the included screwdriver, and they very proudly show you which vintage watches they took their inspiration from.

Number 2: Buci Paris

Garde-temps Brique

Buci as a brand has only been around for a few years, and they just released their first watch this year, and it is a stunner! the “Garde-temps” merges poetry and watchmaking, with small details like a paper textured dial, or bigger details like the box being shaped like a book, or the leather strap being engraved with french poetry. I am excited to see where the brand goes from here, and hoping for more poetry inspired watches.

Number 1: Farer

Aquamatic Porthleven

Farer is almost not a micro brand and more of a bigger indie brand like Nomos, but most of Farer’s catalog is still consisting of limited editions, they aren’t quite there yet. The designers at Farer truly know how to design a watch with color, something that is all too rare, and offer these colorful hits in vintage sizes that will fit more wrists. Their latest collection is the Moonphase Manuel collection, but my favorite collection has to be the 36mm Three Hand Automatic collection, or the Aquamatic collection. Great quality, great colors, great sizes, I couldn’t ask for more.