Thank you for taking the time to speak to us today. Would you tell us a little about yourself and your background in this industry?
Thanks for having me, it is a pleasure to be interviewed by not just a great watch review site, but one that I enjoy reading regularly myself. Although it sounds a bit of a cliché, the story of Boston & Stewill started as a discussion in a pub between two friends and how it would be great to design and make your own watch. At that point it seemed like a pipe dream, a profession or hobby for only the wealthiest but when I got home I started doing a little research and discovered some great forum chats on the subject and upon doing further searches found a great manufacturer who wasn’t going to cost me the price of a small house. As you have probably guessed from what I just mentioned, I am not in the industry as standard, I am actually from a finance background and work in London as does my colleague Steve Johnston who was the other man in the pub that day. We both share a common link in that we both love watches, from the design and the mechanics, all the way down to the detailing on something as seemingly unimportant to most such as the stitching on a strap. We also brought another member on board a few months back, Ally Neale. Now Ally isn’t from a finance background but is from a family of high end jewellers and brings to the table a number of elements that Steve and I didn’t have such as contacts, industry knowledge and is also a specialist in the field of social media. As a trio feel as though we work well and although the Tourer I and II have really been my babies, Steve and Ally will have a lot to offer as Boston & Stewill grows.
As the founder of Boston & Stewill, you are the originator of the brand and of the design. Where did you get the idea to create this brand? What inspires you when it comes to design?
The inspiration for the design initially came from a vintage Bugatti speedometer that I saw in a magazine once. I remember thinking how the design was so simple yet elegant and it was something that I was desperate to replicate in a watch. I sat down with just a piece of paper and a pencil and sketched a few wristwatch designs using the speedometer as inspiration and that is why you will find the word Kilometre written above the 12 o’clock marker and why all numbers are in decimals of 10 – to pay homage to this beautiful measurer of speed.
Can you see yourself creating more watches in the future, or will this be more of a one-time, one-design idea.
Without a doubt. We at Boston & Stewill don’t want to be a flash in the pan brand, making one watch and disappearing, we want to be around for years to come. Anything we make in addition to production costs on our Kickstarter project will be ploughed back into the brand in the form of design, advertising and general improvement. Initially we wanted to make the Tourer I (our mechanical version of the watch, slightly different in its appearance as you can see on our website: www.bostonandstewill.com but discovered after some extensive research that it would be just too expensive to launch via Kickstarter. We went back to the drawing board, made some adjustments and came up with the Tourer II, a more affordable but equally beautiful and classic watch that fitted the right price point for crowdfunding. Should we exceed our funding goal, we will certainly be making the Tourer I using a top Swiss automatic movement like the Valjoux 7750, but we have to make funding first!
How is Boston & Stewill received by Watch Enthusiasts? Do you already have enough of an idea of the interest in your brand?
We haven’t rushed the introduction of Boston & Stewill to be honest. The idea came up well over a year ago and probably in the last 6 months we have been trying to promote the brand via social media as best we can. We have over two thousand followers on Instagram and regularly get great feedback on there as we do on the watch forums. We try to direct as many interested parties to our website to sign up for initial interest and so we can contact them as soon as the Kickstarter project goes live so they can ensure securing a favourable early price for the watch, we have close to 300 people signed up already. The word of mouth is probably the greatest tool and once we are live I am hoping people will be spreading the word about this great, affordable watch!
Is there anything you would like to highlight for the GraciousWatch readers related to your current models?
The most obvious thing to mention is the bullhead design. When we designed the Tourer I and II there wasn’t another watch with a crown at 12 o’clock out there but recently a couple of other brands have appeared with the bullhead and done a great job but I feel as though our design is so unique and classic looking that our watch should be the only bull you would want in your collection. It was important for us for the movement to be Swiss as they are simply the best movements in the world and the most reliable. We did contemplate using an automatic Seagull movement for the Tourer II but the design would have been affected and we would have lost the prestige of having the Swiss element to the watch, this is also why we want the Tourer I to house a mechanical movement that has graced the likes of superior brands such as Rolex and Omega in the past. As a price point the RRP will be £399 (roughly $622) but we will be offering 50 early Kickstarter backers the chance to get their hands on the Tourer II for £150 ($234), the next 150 will pay just £175 ($273) and the next 500 £225 ($350). We are also talking about making the Tourer II a limited edition of only 1,000 watches, this is still in discussion but looks likely as it will add to the exclusivity of our first design.
Let’s talk about the future and your various market. You reckon where will be your biggest markets for this launch?
Well the most important thing for us is to successfully get funded on Kickstarter. Our goal is £30,000 which is around $47k and is no mean feat. Kickstarter is saturated with people attempting to raise money for their watches and while there are some fantastic and unique examples on the site, there are also some generic rubbish posted by people just looking to make a quick buck and disappear. As I mentioned before, we don’t want to be like that, we are using Kickstarter not only as a way of funding future development as a brand but also as a publicity tool, to get our name out there, we want to be an editor’s pick or feature on the scrolling bar of most popular projects. With regards to the biggest markets for us, I can see us fitting a number of demographics that will first and foremost include those who have an interest in cars as we are heavily basing our campaign on motorsport in homage to where the design idea came from. Most of those who have signed up initial interest are male, 20-45 and found us via Instagram. I am pleased to say that the interest has been worldwide and not concentrated to just one country, I would put this down to the fact that Boston & Stewill is a British brand and people love the idea of buying early into anything that is classically British.
Where will the watch be available after the launch?
We have our own website as I mentioned before and we will be making watches available there on completion of our crowdfunding, unfortunately if you miss the campaign you will be forced to pay the RRP though. We are also in negotiations with a number of prominent online retailers to supply them with the Tourer II as well as offering a retailer package on Kickstarter for those small/independent stores both on and offline who want to stock our brand.
What are your goals for the company over the next five years?
The next five years could be very exciting for Boston & Stewill as we have some ambitious plans. We have already mapped out a set of goals we aim to achieve which include launching a line of high end jewellery accessories such as cufflinks and a fashion line – in fact the connections are already in place. I can also see us moving into the leather luggage market as we have a great contact in a variety of different exotic leathers. As I touched on before, we want to grow and expand this brand and that is why we pledge to plough any profits back into Boston & Stewill so for anyone who supports us by buying the Tourer II can take pride in knowing that they helped develop the latest great British name.
What do you personally look for in a timepiece?
For me it’s all about the classic look. I personally think you can’t beat a watch like the Rolex Submariner or Omega Speedmaster and the fact that they are still being made 50/60 years on from when they debuted is a testament to how they stand the test of time. They are simple but elegant on the eye, robust and something that you can hand down from generation to generation. When we designed the Tourer and Tourer II, we wanted that sense of being a timeless classic, a watch that doesn’t date and one you would be happy to still be wearing in 10 years time. Hopefully we succeeded.
If anyone would like to get in touch with us at Boston & Stewill then please feel free to email us at [email protected] and will respond to any enquiries. Also please help spread the word by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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