Can Emerging Watch Brands Succeed? The Vieren OG Automatic White Diamond
It’s amazing how many requests we get in our mailbox from emerging watch brands. PETA-approved watches, microbrands producing this, that, or the other, the latest emerging independent brand producing just a couple of examples of who knows what. You can imagine my excitement when I saw a nicely done website, a woman running a business, and a star of Project Runway Canada taking care of the creative side. As a luxury fashion consumer and a watch lover, I felt it might be quite an interesting mixture to check out. And so the Vieren OG Automatic steps into the ring. Will it emerge unscathed?
Don’t be fooled by the oh-so-Hollywood-Boulevard design, this isn’t some cheap, Chinese-made fashion accessory. Vieren watches are produced in La-Chaux-de-Fonds. And while the brand buys the ETA-2671 automatic movement from ETA, Vieren claims to make several bespoke components in-house. The production of one timepiece reputedly takes over six months. Once completed, everything is fully tested to ensure quality and accuracy. But for those of us familiar with the industry, this kind of spiel is nothing new. The question, perhaps, is the value of these tried-and-tested marketing tropes in 2021.
Swiss-made or well-played?
Does a Swiss-made label mean anything, these days? Yes, the threshold for Swiss-made status is ever-increasing, but so too are brands’ sophisticated strategies to get around it. Simply put, not all “Swiss-made” timepieces are created equal. In some instances, it is a really valuable indicator of a watch’s origins. In other cases it just a cool sale pitch for brands who are not capable of creating movements themselves, but find a way to add the requisite amount of “value” to the piece within Swiss borders. Maybe it doesn’t matter to the majority of customers that place the Swiss-made label above actual provenance, but I would hope that everyone cares that the boundaries of watchmaking are being pushed. While the Vieren satisfies the former, it falls short in the latter concern.
The Vieren OG Automatic White Diamond
I must admit the design of Vieren OG Automatic White Diamond is difficult to put in the words. The concept of the case seems quite simple. It is a rectangular, stainless steel case measuring 27×41.5mm with a matching octagonal faceted crown. Nevertheless, there are some details which aren’t easy to follow. First of all the dial is a bit too cluttered.
Initially, I had high expectations. A matte white dial with some little diamonds sounds so promising. However polished hands, applied diamond indexes, the geometric pattern at the edge, a date window at 5 o’clock, and, finally, a matte seconds hand make this design too noisy and distracting. Perhaps it wouldn’t seem so overwhelming were it not for the case finish…
The Vieren OG Automatic is a highly-polished timepiece without any doubt. To be honest, pairing this type of finishing with a seven-row single-link bracelet and such a decorative dial is something that has the potential to overawe. I’m curious to know whether Vieren’s Matte White model leaves the same impression. For the purpose of this review, I had the bling-bling version, but there is a more demure alternative. The Matte White version has no pattern around the edge of the dial and the diamond indexes are replaced by matte stick indexes. In my opinion, this is a better match for this shiny bracelet.
At the heart of the OG Automatic White Diamond, you will find the ETA automatic movement — 2671. The 2671 generates a 44-hour power reserve. Speaking of water-resistance, the watch is waterproof down to 3 bars (30 meters). Vieren will release only 100 timepieces, available for a price of $2,500 each.
Can Emerging Watch Brands Succeed?
While being an emerging, luxury fashion/beauty brand has never been cooler than it is right now, becoming a prominent emerging watchmaker requires much more effort. The watchmaking industry is always evolving but on a different level than fashion. The strategic concept of innovation associated with technological advances and exceptional in-house craftsmanship is what people want to see. Taking a half-baked or dismissive view of these aspects of brand-building is a risky strategy that rarely pays dividends.
Yes, the brand has the female-led story, but is that enough? Is it enough to separate female customers from a significant pile of cash when this kind of “overly feminine” design, devoid of any mechanical interest, is otherwise on the way out? If this is a “safe” first step on the watchmaking journey for a brand that intends to up its game when it comes to the complexity of its timepieces, perhaps there is hope for Vieren. For any brand to reach that stage, however, initial success is essential. Will the Vieren OG Automatic establish the necessary foothold in the market? Or will it see the brand stumble out of the blocks?
One thing we simply cannot overlook is the price. For $2,500 (around €2,000) we could have an automatic, unisex watch with an in-house movement from a well-known brand like Longines or Oris. So why should we invest in Vieren? In my opinion, backing this brand now would either be a statement of aesthetic admiration (possible), or an investment in the brand’s future. The latter seems more likely to me personally. However, it is certainly a stretch to imagine that many customers would part with this amount of money with so many fine, established options on the market already.
If you are interested in adding a Vieren OG Automatic to your collection, you can rest assured the servicing side of things is in good hands. In addition to offering a 2-year warranty, Vieren customers can have their watches serviced through the company’s Authorized Service Centre. To do so, customers simply email [email protected] to schedule and facilitate the servicing. VIEREN recommends its customers have their watches serviced every 3-5 years to ensure they last a lifetime. Discover more about this model and the entire collection on the Vieren website. Meanwhile, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Do you like this model? Would you buy it for yourself or as a gift? We can’t wait to hear.