About Leitners Watch
- Founders: Rostislav Slovák
- Founded in: Brno, 2020
- Employees: 15
- Money raised: €220,000 via Kickstarter
- Ultimate goal: Enhancing the future watch industry with smart mechanical watches
With the advent of the smartwatch, the classic watch design is being superseded by futuristic variants. Czech start-up Leitners Watch wants to combine the best of both worlds. Leitners’ marketer Qiao and founder Rostislav Slovak tell us more about it.
Wat does Leitners Watch do?
We are developing a luxury hybrid watch. We believe that a watch should be both elegant and practical. Our ambition is to merge the craftsmanship of the traditional watch with the modern functions of the smartwatch. By doing this, we are solving several problems. Firstly, traditional luxury watches are unable to meet the growing need for functionality. Smart watches, on the other hand, can not be worn as a fine piece of jewellery. Lastly, smart watches don’t guarantee that you can always see what time it is, as they do need to be charged.
Other brands also often lack craftsmanship, which means they are of low quality, or the watches may not have all the sensors people want. For example, they might have a heart rate monitor, or a GPS, but they do not have the full set. Also, other manufacturers often use cheaper quartz timepieces and equip watches with a smaller display.
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Where did the idea for the hybrid smartwatch come from?
I came up with the idea when I saw a successful manager wearing a mechanical watch on one wrist, and a smartwatch on the other. That’s when I immediately pictured it: a handmade traditional watch with smart functions. The next step was to ask customers what kind of watch they wanted and how they envisioned it. We had a Facebook group where people offered suggestions. They even posted sample photos and so on. The result was the Ad Maiora, which we are currently in the process of developing.
Where were the challenges you faced?
Like many other start-ups, we had lots of problems due to the corona pandemic. It wasn’t too bad in the beginning, because our crowdfunding campaign ran through a digital platform (Kickstarter). Once the actual production of the watch started, which we are in the middle of now, it became more difficult. That’s not something that can be done online. There was also a dramatic increase in the price of the raw materials that we needed to make the parts of the watch. And there was the global crisis in logistics and chip production. As a result, the production and development stages had to be postponed.
How is the production going now?
At the moment we have everything in place. The site is ready, all the components are ready, and all the testing has been done. We are working with a partner to design the display for our Ad Maiora. Once these displays are ready and delivered, we will start to produce our first series of watches. We expect to ship our first series of watches to customers (Kickstarter and pre-orders) in February 2022. After that, we will officially launch our product.
We showcased the prototype of our watch at the Salon Exceptional Watches 2021 in Prague, where major brands such as Citizen, Omega and IWC were also present. This was the first time our prototype and the team came in contact with potential buyers. We are satisfied with the amount of people who expressed interest in our product and on how they provided us with valuable feedback.