Customization Becomes A Watch Brands Calling Card

Customization Becomes A Watch Brands Calling Card

According to the men behind Jurmo Watches, customers often fall into two categories: those who know exactly what they want, and those who have little to no ideas and need guidance.

Since the Finnish brand, founded in 2017 by Martin Kalland and Kim von Gerich, makes custom mechanical watches, that makes for some decisions. (Think about ordering a pizza or getting a tattoo.)

Many watchmakers commission work for service and charge high fees, but the men say their goal is to make watches cheaper, sometimes by thousands of euros. "For those who know what they want, we've reached a point here where we can do almost anything at a reasonable price," Calland said. "For those who don't know, we're trying to narrow it down to a few options."

Most Jurmo customizations involve minor changes—to the shape of the hands or the color of the dial—in one of four models, which cost between 2,000 and 3,000 euros ($2,225 and $3,335). But the brand can also make a bigger difference.

"Our goal is to make watches for the people who matter," Calland said.

Using a combination of high-tech machinery and hand tools, Jurmo manufactures most of its parts in-house, except for the movements, which come from Swiss supplier ETA; sapphire crystals; seals; feathers; rubies and metal bracelets or bangles. Around 120 watches are sold each year, half of which are made to order and the rest from the company's collection.

In addition, revenue from the annual production and sale of 4,000 pieces to more than a dozen watch brands worldwide, approximately 30% of the brand's sales, helps support the line of custom watch interiors. said Mr. Calland.

With two computer numerical control (CNC) machines coming to market this fall, the company hopes to at least triple its part production capacity.

Jurmo also customizes for other brands, and orders the company can't fulfill are passed on to someone who can, Calland said in an interview at the brand's 180-square-meter headquarters in a brick building at Jurmo University. Aalto University, right now. Outside of Helsinki, the capital of Finland.

On a recent afternoon in July, some of Jurmo's six employees were working on lathes and laser cutters, or working at mechanical tables or laptops. Vikenty Gryaznov, who has designed watches for more than 20 brands including Konstantin Chaikin and Gelfman, was half hidden behind a large monitor. Techno music played in the background, adding an upbeat vibe to all the commotion.

"With every project there are new challenges," says Calland, 38. The financial director is Mr. von Gerich, 35 years old.

At the request of the Hungarian collector Tamas Miklos, Jurmo recently customized one of his R0 watches; replaced the self-winding mechanism of the watch's ETA 7750 flying chronograph movement with a manual winding system, and replaced the glass caseback with a flat sapphire. titanium single crystal The result, Miklos wrote in the letter, was a slimmer watch that fit better on the wrist.

To show his support for Ukraine during the Russian invasion, Mr. Miklos also commissioned a bright blue and yellow sundial with an engraved version of Ukraine's coat of arms, a trident shield, engraved on the case back. The finished watch cost about 4,000 euros. — about 1000 euros more than the original price.

"The watch has become the jewel in the crown of my collection," Miklos, 44, wrote. He added that the collaboration is as meaningful to him as the clock. "I realized that I needed to reduce the size of my current collection and focus more on unique pieces."

The watch, following the Jurmo tradition, received the name "Hope for Ukraine". "We named each project," Calland said. “I don't want the project to have numbers. I want them to be personal.

Another customer, who ordered a dial with a red texture to symbolize his Christian faith and his fight against chronic illness, was concerned that coordination problems associated with his illness could damage the watch. But Jurmo's stainless steel casing has undergone what's known as ice hardening; It has been exposed to very low temperatures to increase its useful life.

Mr Calland said the watch, which he and the client named Discovery, was a custom model and not a modification of a Jurmo watch; He said the client paid about 6,000 euros.

However, some requests can significantly increase the price. A client once asked for 56 diamonds to be set in a setting, seeking the advice of a jeweler, and another 11 diamonds to be set in a custom mother-of-pearl watch. The changes have increased the price of a Jurmo model watch from around 2,000 euros to 7,000 euros, Caland said.

Both said they were very careful not to copy other people's work or infringe copyrights. "We're not going to put Nike on a watch face," said Calland, who studied law but didn't graduate because he chose watchmaking. “We don't print logos or do anything that looks like someone else did it. If we are not sure, we will not succeed. So far, we haven't offered anything that customers can't implement."

The company and its name stem from Kalland's failure to find a watchmaker who could make a dial with an image of Jurmo in 2015, which his family visited while sailing off the southwest coast of Finland that summer.

"I thought, 'Hey, why don't I do it myself?'

The staging was a success. Mr. Calland and Mr. von Gerich, who studied together at the Arcade University of Applied Sciences in Helsinki, considered starting a dial changing company, but eventually focused on specialty watches.

As the pandemic has reduced shipments of parts from weeks to months, the men have decided to buy machines, many of which they have used, to make their own.

"It's been tough, but we've had time to figure things out and focus on figuring out what we want to do and what we don't want to do," Calland said. "And we realized that we wanted to do as much as possible ourselves.

Some industry watchers have noted its success. "Honestly, I thought Martin and Kim were a bit disappointed," Mati Airaksinen, editor-in-chief of Finnish watch blog Tyyliniekka, wrote in an email. "But they believed in themselves and worked hard."

"They offer consumers an affordable option to have a watch with a personal touch," he continued, "which is not possible with older people."

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