Cutthroat competition in Scandi-design watches causes Dezeen to close store

Marcus Fairs, co-owner of Dezeen.Marcus Fairs, co-owner of Dezeen.

Dezeen Watch Store has closed after eight years pushing design-led watches via its website.

Dezeen is primarily a digital publisher specialising in design and architecture, but launched a watch store in 2009 to promote affordable, stylish timepieces and played a key role in the launch of many new boutique watch brands.

It quickly became a launch pad for a host of watch brands, often in their infancy, including innovators like Eone, which created a watch for blind people.

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The closure will allow Dezeen Limited founders Marcus Fairs and Rupinder Bhogal to focus on their core digital publishing business, the company said ahead of a closing down sale that began in June.

“The past eight years have seen an explosion of new watch brands, as entrepreneurial designers started companies to produce their own products, rather than designing for others. A combination of crowd-funding platforms such as Kickstarter, low-cost manufacturing – particularly in China – and digital media lowered the barriers to entry,” a blog announcing the closure says.

The blog continues: “Previously customers looking for a stylish watch had to choose between the expensive, luxury end of the market and the affordable end, which was dominated by Swatch. Now suddenly they had a wide range of choices in between these two extremes. Dezeen Watch Store played a key role in this movement. It helped introduce watches to a new generation of younger customers who had grown up with smartphones and therefore previously saw no need to wear the time on their wrist.”

The formula worked for almost a decade, but Dezeen says that the sub-luxury watch market has now become crowded. Shoppers are increasingly price sensitive and the smarter watch brands now sell directly to their customers, rather than relying on retailers such as Dezeen Watch Store.

Me Fairs said: “We are immensely proud of what we achieved with Dezeen Watch Store and we’d like to thank all our suppliers, customers and everyone who’s worked with us over the past eight years.”

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