Little more than a week ago, BOLDR Watches, based in Malaysia and Singapore, launched a Kickstarter campaign for the first watch of their debut collection, the BOLDR Voyage. Dubbed a ‘clever’ watch, the Voyage looks and functions as a traditional timepiece, but boasts features of a smartwatch.
Thanks to pre-launch publicity, the Voyage is likely something readers are aware of by now. Still, it is something to be noted when the crowdfunding campaign set for 2 months took a mere 35 hours to reach its goal of CAD30,000.
“We definitely weren’t expecting the campaign to be funded within 1-2 days,” said Leon Leong, one of the founders of BOLDR Watches. That’s not to say that the team was not optimistic. “When we began receiving a lot of interest and people signing up for our mailing list prior to the launch—I think our expectations started going up.”
Those expectations can only go up, for the pledges have since more than doubled! If this continues, it could be following the wake of other successfully-funded wearable products, like the Pebble Smartwatch and the recent Travel Jacket.
Now that the goal has been met, the BOLDR team is focusing on stretch goals that offer additional accessories. Leon notes the possibility of more features added to the watch, “to make it even BOLDR.” But what those features are remains a secret for now.
The team has also only just unveiled a giveaway contest that encourages backers to promote the Kickstarter or the Voyage and spread the #BeBOLDR movement, for the chance of winning 2 Voyage watches in their colours of choice.
Currently priced at CAD169, the Voyage watch is a beautiful meld of old and new, its sleek classic design belying the infusion of modern technology. Timekeeping is run by a Miyota 2025 Quartz movement, while the smart functions are managed by a BOLDR Smartmodule. Water resistant and compatible with both iOS and Android, the Voyage features:
- Pedometer – with a 110% progress tracker
- Anti-loss – so you’ll never leave your phone behind again
- Notifications – for calls, messages and app notifications, via embedded LEDs and a vibration motor – all to be customised with the BOLDR app
- Remote shutter for a phone camera
The best part? No daily charging necessary. While the timekeeping part uses a battery that lasts 3 years, the Smartmodule uses a replaceable CR2032 battery that could last up to 6 months.
Leon shared that the idea of the Voyage evolved from personal experience.
“I had one of the popular smartwatches. After using it for a few days, I realised that it didn’t really work. I had to charge it almost every day, and it kept distracting me with all the notifications from Whatsapp, emails, etc.—most of which aren’t that important. I realised that it was too busy for me.
“Soon after, I got another wearable, a fitness band that keeps track of my daily activities, letting me set and achieving daily goals. Most of the time, I had to wear a watch plus the fitness band separately, and to be honest, that doesn’t look great.
“That got me thinking: What if we can have a stylish watch with a built-in pedometer that keeps track of my daily activity, plus notifications for important calls or messages! That would be ideal, and I can turn off the smart functions whenever I don’t need it, leaving me with just a good looking ‘clever watch.’”
A lot of people seem to agree with Leon’s sentiments, seeing as there are already 376 backers on their Kickstarter page as of this writing, bringing the total funds up to CAD74,228 with 50 more days to go. Isa Ghani, head of PR and Marketing, shared that this feat was achieved without any paid advertisements so far. Instead of spending money on paid ads, they put in more effort into marketing and of course, the actual product.
“We did a lot of planning for our marketing and launch, prior to going live. We thought long and hard about how were were going to launch the Voyage (on Kickstarter) from months before—strategising on our branding and PR especially. But a large part of the success of this project was thanks to the media. We just worked really hard to reach out to media as sincerely as possible.”
“We also really put a lot of work into the product itself, the team worked really hard to make sure the technology that went into it and the design that encapsulates the watch was as good as we could get it,” he elaborated.
The social media contest that was launched on Facebook also works in hand to reward winners (and runner-ups) and grow the social media engagement with the brand.
The foray into watchmaking resulted from the simple love for watches. Travis Tan, the other founder of BOLDR Watches, described his journey from watch-lover to watchmaker.
“A watch is both a piece of art and a masterpiece of engineering. A chance conversation with a relative who is a veteran in the watch manufacturing industry sparked the opportunity to venture into watchmaking. What better way to start in watchmaking than making a mechanical timepiece? In doing so, I learnt to fully appreciate the beauty of a true timepiece.”
Leon, who avidly collects G-Shocks, was then roped in. “I was influenced by Travis after he showed me the beauty of mechanical watches. No batteries or electronics, just metal—and it works like a wonder. I got hooked, and that’s how the Travisleon Watch Company started.”
And now BOLDR Watches has paved a way for the duo to pay wonderfully-crafted homage to the past, while intelligently moving forward into the future.
Speaking of which, Leon spoke on the next course of action, “We plan to release at least one collection of BOLDR Watches a year. Perhaps down the road we’ll look to release a collection for each season of the year, but that’s only once we reach a stage where the demand is high enough.”
Watch and tech enthusiasts would be happy to know that the Voyage will not be the sole hybrid model to be made.
“The BOLDR collection will be in the variation of ‘clever watches’,” Leon said. “We are currently working with new technologies and functions that we think matters most to our wearers. These will be incorporated in future collections.”
Isa Ghani added, “For now, we’re focusing on getting the first line onto the market, but the global response has been overwhelmingly positive. Because we’re users of the watch and tech as well, we like to listen very carefully to the feedback we receive from the global community.”