Exploring the Fascinating World of the Best 5 Microbrands

By Montredo in Lifestyle
January 29, 2020
Exploring the Fascinating World of the Best 5 Microbrands

The hipster has craft beer, and the watch fan has microbrands. Similar to a micro-brewery, microbrands often consist of just a few people who, thanks to financing opportunities such as Kickstarter, have realized their dream of owning their own watch brand, and who produce timepieces in rather small quantities. The availability of low cost individual components, such as the case and movement, from manufacturers in the Far East has further strengthened the trend. Just like with craft beer, one can expect extraordinary creations from microbrands, and indeed finds designs well beyond the mainstream. But while craft beer is quickly falling victim to consumerism, microbrand watches must continue to convince through quality and longevity, and cannot demand the prices of the established brands because their name does not (yet) have the same cachet. The following microbrands have already gained a very positive reputation and can be recommended without reservation.


zelos bronze
Zelos offers a wide range of watches crafted out of bronze ©Zelos

The Singapore based Zelos brand has been in existence since 2014 and can be considered one of the pioneers in the microbrand sector. Their excellent reputation has led to the fact that many watches are already sold out during the pre-launch phase. Zelos has always been innovative, and from the beginning has used unusual materials such as bronze and carbon. Dials in meteorite style are among their latest creations.

Zelos Swordfish
The Zelos Swordfish is one of the microbrand’s most popular models ©Zelos

The range consists mainly of Divers, offering real competition and good alternatives to Seiko or Orient Watch, especially in the sub 500 € price range. If you manage to get hold of a Zelos at the pre-launch price, you can expect only a moderate loss in value later on.

4. NTH

nth line-up
The Sub models in particular find many fans © watchdrobe

Somewhat younger is the microbrand NTH, based in Wayne, USA. Since 2016, NTH has known how to draw inspiration from old divers of the 50s and 60s, enhancing them with its own ideas. The results are finely crafted watches for every fan of vintage-style Divers with the latest technology. Especially popular is the SUB series – water resistant to 300 m, only 11.5mm thick and including a high quality 9015 Miyota caliber.

nth scorpene
One of the latest NTH releases (as of January 2020): the Scorpène Nomad ©seriouswatches


neptune collection
The Neptune collection is almost always sold out ©Lorier

Lorier is based in New York City and was founded by the couple Lorenzo & Lauren Ortega. Their goal is to democratize the watch market and make watches with classic designs available to everyone, following the idea that anyone can limit themselves to a single watch as long as it has a classic aesthetic that suits almost any occasion, from an outdoor sporting activity to a celebratory dinner  in a chic restaurant.

To ensure that Lorier watches can be worn regularly by their owners without worries, they are easy to repair or replace at a moderate price.

Lorier timepiece with a white dial.
Their latest creation (as of January 2020) and their first chronograph: the Gemini ©Lorier

The philosophy of the brand can be simply summarized: to make watches that look old, feel old, and function like new. And their success proves them right, especially in the case of the Neptune, which is always sold out after a few days.


undone kickstarter
Like many microbrands, Undone emerged from a kickstarter campaign. © kickstarter

Since 2014, Undone has been focusing on the desire of many customers to own a unique product. When sneakers or handbags are sold as unique items, they often have the disadvantage of being hard to get precisely because of their uniqueness. Undone wants to offer the watch market both individuality and availability.

undone monopoly
The Monopoly collection is the result of one of the brand’s many cooperative efforts © Undone

As a first in the watch world, Undone has set up the possibility of comprehensive individualization for their watches. Customers can configure their watches online to their own taste, choosing from basic designs based on icons from the history of the wristwatch.

If you want to know more about Undone, we recommend our detailed article. Especially worth seeing are the newly released Batman and Monopoly collections.


Baltic timepiece, with a dark blue dial.
Vintage inspired watches, a la Baltic  © Baltic Watches

Friends of vintage watches get their money’s worth at Baltic, which itself believes that timeless and desirable watches embody one characteristic: simplicity.

To this end, Baltic designs vintage-inspired timepieces (cf. here) and has them assembled in France, near Besançon, by experienced professional watchmakers.

In addition to the Aquascaphe already presented, the HMS 01 really stands out. This stylish automatic watch, inspired by watches with stepped cases from the 1940s, cuts a fine figure, particularly with its cream-colored dial.

Baltic HMS 01 timepiece with a cream coloured dial and dark brown leather strap.
Especially with the dial in cream, a real eye-catcher: the Baltic HMS 01 ©Baltic Watches