Audemars Piguet, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin… Those are just some of the names of watches that will run you into the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Well, enter into the market ERA Timepieces (eratimepieces.com), a new luxury watch company that is accessible to the common man and the world’s first affordable Tourbillon!
Behind this new redefining brand is creator Michael Galarza who has been enthralled with timepieces since before he could even read and write. With a successful crowdfunding campaign under his belt and countless celebrities and high profile individuals jumping on-board, Michael and ERA are changing the timepiece industry.
The Levity Ball sat down with Michael in New York to learn more about how he is disturbing the watch industry…
1. To start off: When did you first know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur and create your own timepieces?
I’ve always been drawn more to being an entrepreneur because it was more logical to me than studying esoteric subjects that I couldn’t see the point of. I’ve always been fascinated with watches and so the journey of creating my own Tourbillon for myself first was the first step, and then getting a lot of positive feedback from others about the one I had created for myself was the next step needed for me to decide to launch ERA.
2. With people now having phones that “tell the time”, why do you feel watches are still in style and seem to never fade away?
Watches (at least for guys) are the only accessory that we are able to wear in almost any occasion and it’s socially acceptable. It’s the closest equivalent to a “Handbag” that guys get to splurge on for one purchase. Yes, watches tell time but that is not the primary reason to own at least a mechanical timepiece. One buys a mechanical timepiece because it’s a feat of engineering, and stylistically it represents who the person is and their journey through life. So in short – I don’t think people buy mechanical timepieces like ours to tell the time any more than a person buys a Ferrari or Lamborghini to simply get from point A to point B.
3. With creating ERA, what is your company’s overall mission?
ERA Timepiece’s mission is to bring down the cost of haute horological complications and features that you would only see in absurdly expensive timepieces and make them more fairly priced in an industry rife with price gouging.
4. Why the name “ERA Timepieces”? And which of your products is your current personal favorite?
I thought the name ERA had many different connotations relating to our brand that made sense. My personal goal was to usher in a new era of accessibility to high end watch complications to people who would otherwise never want to pay the inflated prices necessary for them. Obviously ERA also denotes a specific measurement of time as well, which makes sense for a timepiece brand. Being that we only have one timepiece out right now, the Prometheus is my current favorite but we have some really unique and rare complications coming out in a timepiece this Spring as well.
5. You just had a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign. How important was this campaign in giving credibility to your brand’s mission?
It was incredibly important because being the most successful mechanical watch campaign ever on Indiegogo gives validity to the fact that my vision and assumptions about people wanting more fairly priced timepieces that had these ultra-high end complications was correct. Achieving product-market fit is the first goal in any startup and is literally the hardest thing to achieve, so from here we can build out the brand properly.
6. How did the time period of the Great Gatsby truly influence your “creative juices” in creating your line of watches?
It was useful because it gave clear design elements that I had to stick to and stay away from to be faithful to the time period. When you start with a blank piece of paper and no product yet, the most difficult thing is to narrow your focus in a purposeful style.
7. Overall, what makes your products different than others?
The most obvious is that we are offering an insane product value by producing these complications that are usually only seen in ultra-expensive timepieces. On top of that, Mechanical masterpieces like our Tourbillons have parts that move tens of thousands of times a day, and over a few years… the lubricating oil inside evaporates and parts wear down… and so servicing a mechanical timepiece every 3 years is absolutely essential. Now if you’re familiar with servicing any Swiss mechanical watch, you’ll know they don’t ever charge less than $450 and that’s not counting shipping or other extra fees for parts etc. For many brands, servicing a Tourbillon starts between $1500 and $4000 USD. We knew total cost of ownership of our timepieces wouldn’t be very attainable for normal people if we kept up this same tactic, and so that’s why have an EXTREMELY lucrative flat-rate $225 servicing fee that covers parts, labor, and EXPRESS global DHL shipping with 100% insurance both TO our service center and back to you for just $225.
8. Where can people here in New York and the rest of America go to purchase?
You can purchase from this special link setup just for all your Levity Ball readers: https://eratimepieces.com/levityball – We are gearing up for getting our timepieces in retail stores this year, but for now we are still online-only in the US.
9. What is your advice to others wanting to create and run their own business?
Always seek to validate your ideas and assumptions about your business as soon as possible, and spending as little money as possible as possible. It’s easy to procrastinate and say you need to do a better job first before getting true unbiased feedback, but many times it’s just a form of fear that you don’t want the market to validate that you were wrong. Being wrong is part of the game and it’s a badge of honor. Expending unnecessary time and resources and being wrong all along is the death of most start-ups.
10. And final question: What would you want yourself and ERA to be remembered for in years down the road when people look back?
That we gave a great number of people the chance to own a true timepiece with integrity at a fair price, and that we gave them a truly avenue to help them tell their stories of how unique they are. That when people see a haute complication that they really like, they know they can come to ERA and that we’ll have found a way to make it at a fair price.
To see more, once again, head over to: https://eratimepieces.com/levityball