Watch industry disruptors. We’ve disrupted from all angles by disruptions in the menswear market from suits and bespoke shirts to comfortable clothes built for the weekend—which makes sense; customers are hip to the crazy high markups associated with middlemen fabric dealers and so on.
But watches? We’re not entirely convinced. However, Filippo Loreti seems to believe otherwise. Let’s take a look at this watch brand, shall we?
What Do They Have Going On?
According to the website, Filippo Loreti watches are inspired by Italy. The watches start at $249--for the Venice series, an entry level watch made from stainless steel, sapphire glass, and an Italian leather strap. The watch comes with a Miyota 6P00 movement and is water resistant to up to 50 meters.
Level up to the Automatic series--you'll get an upgraded Miyota movement, the 9122--which reportedly offers the precision of Swiss movements. The Automatic watches come in the Venice design--just with better hardware--or the Milano, a watch that features the time, day, month, and date with its various dials.
Both styles look attractive on the website, but the web copy is a little odd. The Milano is literally described as "nautical in flavor" and is made for a man with a "seafaring, maritime attitude." In all, the brand reminds us of the suit companies that offer $80 suits with faux designer language; something is just off.
What's the Quality Like?
As far as quality, the Filippo Loreti watch falls into a low to the middle-end product. It does cost less than an iPhone, which we assume is your usual timekeeper. But, the Loreti isn't a smartwatch, just an accessible watch posing as a luxury brand.
When we say low, middle end, though, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a real piece of junk. Instead, the brand has opted to provide users with a reliable, quality watch at affordable prices.
Now, the thing is, watches aren’t necessarily a sector where you can create a luxury product for a bargain rate.
This business model works best with direct to consumer brands. Eliminating the middleman means you’ll reduce costs, and as such, it's become a popular business model for all kinds of wearable products from eyeglasses to suits, tees, and shoes.
But, things are a little different with a watch, cutting costs means skipping out on the expert level craftsmanship you’ll find with watches in the $1000+ range.
That said, Filippo Loreti’s designs are the decently made basics of the watch game. They’re not flashy, and they’re a step up from your Casio digital timepiece.
Disrupting the Watch Industry?
Arguably, did the watch industry ever need to be disrupted? The smartwatch disrupted the watch industry by adding technology into the mix. Apple and Samsung models bring all that self -tracking to the table. Loreti makes a regular watch.
But we get it, some guys like a classic piece. It's one of the more "socially acceptable" pieces of jewelry a man can wear without feeling self-conscious.
They’re not exactly a necessity—and unlike well-made basics or some of the logo-free direct to consumer brands, they can’t really get away with convincing consumers that they’re getting something as good as the old standbys.
The Italian design meets Swiss technology is somewhat disingenuous. Some parts are made in Japan, others in Italy--the founders are from Lithuania--and overall, it feels like they're co-opting these great watch traditions without putting in the craftsmanship the Omegas and Rolexes of the world have. They’re “redefining Italian luxury watches,” by adopting a loose definition of Italian luxury.
Really Terrible Reviews
This company did incredibly well with their marketing efforts. The Kickstarter campaign raised $5M in preorders—which suggests people do indeed want this type of item.
However, across the web from the customer service page to online forums like Reddit, customers have complained about late or no delivery. The company has followed up with those who posted merely by saying “your order is not completed.”
Others have experienced watch failure just minutes after unboxing, cited poor quality, and just an all-around low-grade experience. Additionally, it seems the brand is trying to mitigate reputation damage. For example, some customers mentioned the bad reviews on Kickstarter. If you look there right now, there.
What's worse, there seems to be an active scam going on. Loreti has failed to deliver on multiple orders--while the site features only five-star comments. AND--they keep raising more money on the crowd-funding site. That's three campaigns they've failed to make good on.
In the end, the Filippo Loreti isn’t really a luxury watch, and it's a little deceitful to present it as such. There were some positive reviews here and there—look, some of the watches are cool-looking timepieces that will match with use about anything you decide to throw on. You’re fooling yourself if you think you’ll get Rolex or Patek quality when you buy one of these watches.