For many, horology and understanding the inner-workings of watches remains elusive. But the team at Rotate simplifies the process by offering at-home watch-making kits at an affordable price. Co-founders Rebecca Lee and Jennifer Zhang started the company because of their interest in mechanical watches and DIY projects and it grew into a project that also aims to honor watchmaking, to keep analog alive and to make horology a little more accessible.
“When I built my first watch, it was a complicated, lengthy process. One of the first things I looked for was a kit that included everything I needed to build a watch was shocked to find barely anything,” Zhang tells us. “While the industry is constantly coming out with new watch companies and innovations, the watchmaking industry (and especially the mechanical watchmaking industry) is very old, and very outdated.”
Rather than building a brand or focusing on a finished product, Rotate’s focus is on the process. Zhang explains, “My interest in watchmaking came before my interest in watches, and my goal is to teach people the skill rather than selling the end product.”
Rotate’s kit (which will go for $170 when their Kickstarter goes live on 15 October) will come with quality-checked parts, all necessary tools, a user-friendly guide, and a digital support team to help you through the tricky parts. Customers will have the choice of three styles—the Galileo (blue face, gold case, blue faux leather strap), Edison (white face, silver case, faux black leather strap), or Wright (black face, silver case, faux brown leather strap)—each with a 17-jewel mechanical movement in tow.
These kits also democratize an industry dominated by legacy brands that have top-dollar innovation and production. By giving watch-lovers, newcomers and DIY enthusiasts a place to start, Rotate is certainly creating a space for people to hone new hobbies and skills, and perhaps even further, new brands will emerge.
“We hope these kits serve as an introduction to watchmaking, and that our customers carry on their passion with a range of other watches,” Zhang says. On wearing a watch you built yourself from scratch, she says, “It’s so satisfying! We chose to use strictly mechanical watches because it’s completely analog and there are no batteries doing the work. You’re essentially taking a silent pile of parts, and getting them to start ticking.”
Visit Rotate’s Kickstarter to pre-order your kit.
Images courtesy of Rotate