Project Restart! How we’re overcoming the unique challenges posed by CV-19 (With projected timeline)

Whilst keeping our Backers informed (as much as possible) as to the developments we’ve been able to make during the Global Pandemic, we’ve reached the point where we realise it’s probably time to pop one’s head above the parapet, and proffer some positive speculation with regards to delivering the project in it’s entirety.

I’d like to caveat this release by stating that there’s still ‘a million unknowns’ and the likelihood that ‘anything can potentially go wrong’ (a ‘second spike’, unforeseen supplier closures etc), but for the first time since the break-out, based on the information we have currently, we feel that we’re in a position to offer a relatively stable projection as to when your watches will arrive.

…In the UK anyway, government plans to relax lockdown measures (specifically regarding the reopening of this country’s commercial infrastructure), appear to be being influenced by ‘the CV-19 mortality rate’, substantiated by what is now being called ‘The R Number’, remaining below ‘1’ (source: FT / Reuters / Accenture)… And based on that hypothesis being correct, that means we can look at our own industry and gain a little insight as to when things might get back to a level of operation, that feels, well, a little more reliable.

For fear of reiterating too much of the same rhetoric you’re already being bombarded with, I’m going to move on quickly.

The first thing I’d like to discuss is the likely date-range that we’ll be at full manufacturing capability (based on our own specific supply chain)… To do this requires a small projection, and some basic analysis of what our government is already planning to do.

…To cut a long story short, after entering this tragic ‘trend data’ into MatLab, I think we’re OK to assume that the week starting 8th June will see a significant increase in ‘returning workforce’. Between ‘now and then’, we’ll see schools reopening (in a limited capacity) and the reopening of non-essential retail operations (this last one is important)… These are official government plans.

You may remember, that our initial timeline was based on a 7 week turn-around, which we were very confident of, based on the amount of prep’ we did before going live with the campaign.

Our projection is still roughly in THAT ballpark… We’ve obviously managed to be ‘getting on with stuff’ during the lockdown, which will offset some of the inevitable backlog that our manufacturers will have to deal with (we’ve already accepted that our relatively low-volume job will have to take a back seat, whilst our suppliers focus on larger paydays, to fill holes in cash flow). To give that some sort of perspective, Sellita have added 6 weeks to their original dispatch date. – The movements will still arrive before we assemble, but that’s a pretty typical example of the kind of delays we’re experiencing.

Anyway, enough of our woes (there’s a lot of micro-businesses in the same boat)…

After a couple of ‘hard talk’ meetings, we would like to formally announce (based on the information we have), that our official production cycle will begin on Monday 15th June. Your watches (finger’s crossed that we avoid any further disruptions) will be dispatched by August 10th. This date includes a 2 week contingency, which we think is fair.

OK, now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about some of the more recent developments and challenges.

CASES/MOVEMENT HOLDER/CASE BACK

As it stands WE COULD be building the cases right now, however, we are currently unable to visit the foundry to get photo’s and film (they just won’t let us)… This might not sound like a big deal, but access to the site is vital for the production of our Picture Book (which is obviously a promised reward) and PR content, so we have decided to wait and let someone else have our slot. The rescheduled ‘smelt’ will not add any time to our projected delivery roadmap.

DIAL

As most of you know, we’ve tried very hard to forge ahead with the development and purchase of ancillary components. Yes! We did try a super-black dial. No! We don’t like it. Having the light play on the dial (even a matt surface) is nicer than not having it.

…We’re sticking with our laser-cut, bead-blasted Acrylonitrile Butadiene, it looks fabulous (think Tudor Pelagos).

MOVEMENTS

We should be fine here… Sure, Sellita are prioritising larger orders; we’re ‘small fish’ we expected this kind of treatment, but communication is good and they are trying to accommodate micro’s as much as they can in this challenging time.

HANDS

This, to be fair (along with the sapphire crystals) has turned into a bit of a nightmare… Our original supplier discontinued our spec’d set – They even sent prototypes. We checked the availability of this before the campaign even started, so you can imagine our disappointment. On a brighter note, we’ve found an exact replacement and are currently waiting for samples.

Standard indices

These have already arrived and look great.

Special Indices

Our local laser CNC operative is now open again. The job is in their workflow, we’re ready to take delivery and expect to have them within 2 weeks.

Crown tubes

Now delivered from or Swiss Supplier

Gaskets

Having decided to persist with our original supplier (who put a 3 month delay on delivery), it looks like it paid off. These have now been dispatched.

Ancillaries that we have now taken delivery of

Lume Compound
Canvas Straps
Custom Clasps
Screws & Clamps
Springs and balls
Some tools and Assembly Equipment (including lume compound)

Ancillaries still waiting to be resolved

Sapphire Crystals
Bracelets / End Links
Leather Straps
Hands
Standard Presentation Rolls
Fancy Boxes
Bezel Inserts
Printed Books
Dog tags