Joshua Flagg is a UK based watch reviewer and owner/editor of Watches are a big deal on Kickstarter, so he’s seen more than his fair share of campaigns over the years. He’s reviewed a couple of my products, so when I started putting this site together I asked if he’d mind answering a few questions so we can get an insight in to what reviewers are looking for from a crowd funding campaign.

Can you give us a bit of background? How did you get in to reviewing watches? Do you consider yourself a blogger first or a watch lover first?

Definitely a watch lover first. I was a serial “flipper” and as I develop websites for a living, I figured it would be cool to take the opportunity to share my thoughts on the watches that passed through my hands. It wasn’t until a year of hard work that WIAA actually started getting recognised and manufacturers started sending me watches to review. I see a lot of new watch review sites pop up hoping to be given free watches from the start – the one tip I give to everyone who asks is be prepared to put in a whole lot of graft before you get recognised.

Watch bloggers

New bloggers thinking watch manufacturers are like “you get a free watch, and you get a free watch, and you get a free watch!”

You review a lot of crowd funding projects. Are there common themes you spot between the projects that tend to do well, or ones that tend to do badly?

Unfortunately, a lot of the time I see watches that follow this epic guide here seem to do well. Time and again, people just put their logo on a stock “minimalist” watch and seem to succeed, which is a real shame for those who are really trying.
The campaigns that I’m interested in and that perform well are always well thought-out, with decent imagery and information. Obviously real-life reviews are very important for those deciding whether or not to pledge. Most of the time as well, an active social presence of the campaign creator makes a huge difference (such as on Facebook Groups, the campaign comments, and Instagram posts etc).

When reviewing a product, how much weight to you give to price/value when giving a recommendation?

A hell of a lot! The primary goal of WIAA is to find the best value watches out there so this is extremely important to me.

Do you look unfavourably on products launching on Kickstarter (or other crowdfunding platform) rather than via their own website?

When it comes to getting my hands on a decent watch, I’m an inpatient chap, and I appreciate this is most likely the case for most of my readers too. This is the main frustration when it comes to Kickstarter campaigns; the wait. If I review too many watches that aren’t available right now then people will lose interest.
This is why I personally do prefer manufacturers who have done it all by themselves and have the watches available right away. Saying that, it’s very difficult to do and whilst this is my preference I wouldn’t really say I look “unfavourably” upon Kickstarter products.

Do you ever back the projects that you review?

Unfortunately I don’t, not only do I not have the money to back every project going I just don’t really buy many too many watches anymore (apart from bigger brands like Seiko etc). I am extremely fortunate to be in the position that I am in now, but it’s from half a decade of loyal, trustworthy, honest reviewing that has got me here; I never sway a review due to whether I get to keep a watch or not.

You’ve seen a lot of projects that have done well. Have you ever considered having a go launching your own campaign?

Hah, no I haven’t! I love giving my support and guidance to anyone who asks (you’re welcome Ross) but I just wouldn’t have the time to run a blog and also a start up campaign. It would also create a bit of a conflict of interest (obviously it would be the best watch in the world) so I don’t think it would be the best idea!

As a reviewer, is there any advice you’d give to someone looking to run a successful crowd funding campaign?

Make sure the specs are good (sapphire please, and automatics are more desirable), and the price is right. Although it may be difficult, try to keep the design unique or different.
And PLEASE do not say that you’re going to “disrupt the industry”. Because you’re not. Unless you want me to disrupt your face.

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