(archive) 1st Apr 2023
We will create the number one brand of entry-level mechanical business watches that elevate one's own value! By 2027, we aim to develop three new collections of Japanese-made entry-level mechanical watches that leave a good impression in business settings.
This press release represents the aspirations of the April Dream project, shared by businesses looking to make April 1st a day filled with dreams and eventual accomplishments.
Our I.TARU watch Classic, renowned for the craftsmanship in polishing associated with luxury watches, has received favorable reviews. Additionally, on May 15, we will unveil a collection of entry-level models under the I.TARU Classic series. Furthermore, we set a goal to develop and release products reflecting the feedback from existing I.TARU watch Classic buyers, including a ladies' model, by 2027.
We, at ISHIDA C&T OFFICE, resonate with the notion of April Dream, aiming to be a day of dreams and aspirations. This press release encapsulates the dream of ISHIDA C&T OFFICE.
Background of the Establishment of the "I.TARU Brand" - The Vanishing Accessibility of Automatic Watches
"I.TARU," launched by our ISHIDA C&T OFFICE (https://itaruwatch.com) in 2022, is a Japanese-made automatic wristwatch brand targeting the business sector.
Japan, like other developed countries except the United States, faces a declining birth rate. Unless there is a rapid increase in immigration, Japan's population is expected to continue decreasing, particularly among the younger generation. The global wristwatch market witnessed a significant decrease in sales quantity and revenue in 2020 due to the rapid adoption of smartwatches and continued restrictions on outings due to the pandemic. Consequently, many overseas luxury watchmakers shifted from primarily in-store sales to partial sales through manufacturer-led direct online sales. While it is anticipated that the pandemic will eventually subside, the shift towards online sales by watch manufacturers is expected to continue due to the societal shift in lifestyle, perpetuated by the current narrative.
In the broader wearable device market, there is a substantial investment flowing into the "luxury x ESG" business originating in the United States, shaping a technology-driven wearable wellbeing market. We anticipate that this trend might gradually erode the conventional wristwatch market. Major apparel companies worldwide are increasingly focusing on ESG+ initiatives, posing concerns about their entry into the wristwatch and wearable device market. The sales volume and revenue of quartz wristwatches worldwide have been steadily declining each year. The pressing issue for traditional automatic watch manufacturers and brands is how to appeal to latent demand.
As we pursue ESG initiatives, we anticipate that the cost of producing watches will increase. Consequently, the watch market will no longer be driven by low-cost competition. In the realm of luxury watches that involve technology, material sourcing, and artistic involvement, rising labor costs in Switzerland and the escalating prices of rare metals such as gold suggest that existing clientele might find it increasingly difficult to afford them.
Currently, various countries are in the recovery phase, aiming to return to pre-pandemic demand. Particularly, in several countries in India and Southeast Asia with rapid economic development, the market for automatic watches is expanding. However, the fact remains that the accessibility of automatic watches for traditional consumers is diminishing.
We believe that the value of automatic watches lies in the elegance that cannot be replicated by smartwatches or wearable wellbeing devices. They should adorn you, occasionally instill courage, and ultimately guide towards happiness with those around you. With the collaboration of domestic partner companies in OEM production, we have embarked on providing automatic watches that meet the future needs of everyone, considering the aforementioned aspects.
The precious metals used in I.TARU watches, except for the movement and straps, are, as a principle, entirely recyclable (stainless steel), or we aim for materials that consider environmental reduction, striving for prices within everyone's reach. In terms of design, being a newcomer brand, I.TARU watches might feel slightly conventional due to the lack of accumulated design rights. Given the trend of major watch manufacturers focusing on reissues of their models from around 50 years ago, observed between 2022 and 2023, the market environment seems favorable for I.TARU watches to be accepted by everyone.
Infusing New Energy into the Automatic Watch Market
We unveiled "I.TARU watch Classic" through crowdfunding in 2022. We engaged the expertise of KYOWA Co., Ltd., well-known for crafting luxury watches, for its OEM production. The theme was "a three-hand wristwatch with a slim profile and a blue sunray dial, utilizing the expertise of watch artisans involved in luxury watchmaking in polishing." Unfortunately, the crowdfunding did not succeed. However, through the cooperation of KYOWA Co., Ltd., we managed to realize the reduction in contact angles of the stainless steel bracelet through changes in polishing, significant price reduction, and adopting anti-reflective coating on the windshield. Following these improvements, we held a pop-up store in Azabu-Juban during the month of January 2023. This garnered attention from the wristwatch web news site "WatchLIFENEWS" , resulting in generally positive feedback from Japan's wristwatch community regarding our cost-effective automatic wristwatch.
During the pop-up period in January 2023, the total views on Twitter reached 90,000. We sincerely appreciate the warm reception from the wristwatch community and acknowledge the expectations for further improvements catering to your needs.
1. We will hold monthly showrooms in Tokyo to increase opportunities for direct viewing.
Our current sales methods primarily revolve around our in-house website's e-commerce platform. Starting from April 30th, we will hold showrooms in Tokyo once every month. Additionally, this year, we plan to organize a pop-up store in Kansai (scheduled for May 14th, 2023). These initiatives aim to provide more opportunities for you to directly view excellent automatic wristwatches and to increase accessibility to entry-level mechanical business watches that elevate your own value. Furthermore, based on your preferences for accessories matching "I.TARU watch Classic," we will incorporate these into our future products.
2. We released "I.TARU Classic gauge" during the pop-up store on March 26th.
On May 15th, we will announce a different model from "I.TARU watch Classic," positioned at a lower tier. With the cooperation of Renotas Co., Ltd., we will unveil a pop-styled casual entry-level mechanical wristwatch based on existing models. It adopts an unprecedented blue-tempered hand as an entry-level mechanical feature. With a case diameter of 38mm and a thickness of 10.6mm in a slim SUS316L case, along with genuine leather straps, it can also be used as a big-size model for women. You can freely choose the color of the leather strap that matches each dial. It's recommended for parents with high school students or new working adults looking for fashionable wristwatch coordination.
3. I.TARU Classic ventures for international recognition.
We plan to exhibit at the international crowdfunding platform "Indiegogo" from May 1st to 31st. The purpose is to gain recognition overseas as a micro-brand by showcasing modest achievements
in test marketing and to receive feedback from international consumers.
Moreover, we aim to develop and announce a different collection reflecting your feedback and the results of this project as "I.TARU watch Classic," within three years. We plan to gradually introduce watches suitable for the respective markets in limited entries, focusing on 1-2 countries in India and Southeast Asia.
4. We will develop a ladies' model by 2027.
A few years ago, a general-purpose movement was announced by MIYOTA to realize a small case diameter necessary for the development of ladies' models. Along with the expansion of the I.TARU brand, we will develop a ladies' model to accommodate diverse needs.
5. We will introduce our cherished automatic watches periodically.
As societal environments change, so do human interactions and societal structures. Consequently, the demand for automatic watches will also evolve. Please anticipate our future collections.
Aiming to become the leading business automatic watch brand in the world by 2050
We anticipate that the erosion of the watch market by wearable wellbeing tech products, including smartwatches, will continue. Major apparel companies are entering the wristwatch market with ESG+ initiatives, and multiple micro-brands like ours will likely flood the wristwatch market, leading to a mixed bag of quality. Amidst this scenario, major wristwatch manufacturers, apart from smartwatch makers, are expected to pivot toward the luxury wristwatch market.
We aim to be the number one brand in the "entry-level mechanical business watch that elevates one's own value" category. By providing genuine automatic watches that earnestly reflect the voices of each watch OEM company and user at affordable prices, we aim to remain a brand that resonates with everyone.
"April Dream" is a project by PR TIMES where April 1st is dedicated to businesses broadcasting their dreams they aim to achieve. We are sincerely dedicated to realizing these dreams.