A minimalist watch from Sweden (and it's not the brand you think)
There's an elephant in the room
Let's address the Scandinavian elephant in the room from the get-go. Daniel Wellington is a brand that watch enthusiasts love to hate because they sell overpriced watches with questionable quality. And I absolutely agree with that but it doesn't change the fact that they're extremely successful at what they do. The turnover is immense and that proves two things. First, the average Joe couldn't care less about the intrinsic value or technical properties of a watch and two, this is the most important part, people still want to wear a timepiece.
I had a DW once. It was a birthday gift. I didn't like it very much - the strap was poorly made, the dial was flat and completely featureless, the crystal wasn't scratch resistant at all - so I gave it away and forgot all about it.
A few weeks ago I came across a brand that ticks a lot of boxes that DW also ticks. Swedish, powered by a cheap 'Japanese movement', 100 % devoted to style-over-substance (even though they'll never admit it) and even sharing some of the irritating claims that MVMT, DW and all these brand constantly post across their social media channels. I'm talking about marketing catchphrases like "we challenge norms" or "cut the middle man". Whatever.
No matter, I took a breath, had a coffee and looked into the watches and immediately noticed a couple of things that could redeem Söner by Sweden, the brand we're talking about today.
First of all, whenever a company that's not part of the established industry talks about "Japanese movement", they always almost always mean Miyota and it must be said that there's nothing inherently wrong with Miyota. They're part of the Citizen group and they make and sell a variety of automatic and quartz movements to a huge number of third-party companies.
The only thing to bear in mind is Miyota movements are usually very cheap. You and I could go online, any day of the week, and buy one of their movements for 15-20 bucks. And we're talking about one movement sold to a private individual so you can imagine what type of discount you can get if you go straight to the company and buy them in bulk for your watch brand. Just something to factor in while considering buying a watch from a non-established brand with a hefty price tag.
One of the key things with Söner is most of their watches come with scratchproof sapphire crystal, something that fashion brands almost never use, and things like branded leather strap, which means they care about showing you that the money you're paying is actually spent somewhere other than marketing. Which is nice.
Then there's the flagship rectangular case, they use on all of their models, measuring 47x37 mm (lug-to-lug x case size). When all is said and done, it's the dial that really makes the watch stand out. Minimalism is an art form and you don't just do it by removing stuff. I think I kinda like this watch because I see some character in the dial. Some patterns, some shades. It looks like somebody actually spent time designing it rather than just cutting a piece of plastic or metal and slamming a logo on it. I can respect that.
Do I like it? Kind of. Would I buy it? Why not.