Watch brands are a funny thing. Take two watches, identical in almost every way, with a 316L case and sapphire crystal, automatic movement and a similar design style but write Rolex on one dial and Tissell on the other and you increase the value of the former by more than 20 times. That was my first thought when seeing this new Kickstarter brand. The choice of dials and straps is great, the specifications are superb and the price is excellent. But Rob Hayes?

What’s in a name? Rob Hayes Yosemite

Let’s get it out of the way right now: this brand is called “Rob Hayes”. Rob Hayes? Yes, we know, it sounds like the name of a regional sales manager for a photocopier company. For a brand that originates in Sweden and created by a man named Aladin Galjic it is unclear why they chose to go with such an Anglicised name. Perhaps it is to compete with the “Daniel Wellingtons” and “Christopher Wards” of the world, with a best of British back-story, or perhaps they just thought it sounds good. But it is going to divide opinion until people get used to it and could be enough to put people off backing the Rob Hayes Yosemite range on Kickstarter.

Then there’s the marketing blurb. The Kickstarter Campaign for the Rob Hayes Yosemite watch lays it on thick with the cliches about “cutting out the middleman” and “making luxury affordable” that we’ve heard time and time again from brands like Brathwait. They also list lots of quotes from people who have seen the watches. I am sure this works – or brands wouldn’t do it – but Kickstarter campaigns tend to do better with watch collectors when they focus on the product. Such hyperbole a source of much amusement in microbrand watch collecting circles who have heard it all before.

Having said that, to overlook the Rob Hayes Yosemite would be a shame. For your $380 early-bird payment you are getting a heck of a lot of watch. Each model is in a 316L case in steel or plated gold (yellow or rose), a Swiss Sellita SW200 automatic movement, handmade italian full-grain leather straps and C3 Superluminova. We’re talking TAG Heuer levels of specification for a tenth of the price. And the Kickstarter campaign smashed its target in three hours. Maybe they are onto something after all?

Buy a Rob Hayes Yosemite

It’s not too late to jump on the Rob Hayes Yosemite preorder – the campaign still has 18 days to go, so you can click onto Kickstarter and check it out for yourself.

Author: Mike Richmond

Mike spends what little spare time he has writing for WRUK; and what little money he makes building up his collection of timepieces.

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