This Startup is Successfully Disrupting The $19 Billion Watch Industry
The best businesses are often built from a personal need. This was exactly why Jennifer Chong and Roman Khan started Linjer.
When it came to buying watches and leather goods, they were tired of choosing between disposable fast fashion and overpriced luxury products. They couldn’t find well-made, well-designed products at a fair price point – that didn’t sport an obnoxious logo.
So, they set out to create a new way for people to upgrade their wardrobes without emptying their wallets.
Chong and her partner, Roman Khan, started Linjer in 2014 with $20,000 of their own savings. The concept was simple: create beautiful, well-crafted products with the highest quality materials they could find. The pair decided to name their company “Linjer,” which is the Norwegian word for “lines,” and can be seen in Linjer’s minimalist design aesthetic characteristic of Roman’s native Norway.
Over the years, they’ve developed collections of leather bags and watches. They use the same supply chain as luxury brands, but sell their products for ¼ to ⅓ of the price of traditional luxury brands.
“We’re able to offer such aggressive price points because we sell directly to customers, we don’t pay for fancy real estate, and we choose not to mark up our products,” Chong told us.
Since their initial launch in 2014, Linjer has enjoyed wide acclaim thanks to their clean, minimal design, high-quality products, and surprisingly accessible price points.
The Wirecutter declared the Soft Briefcase the “Best Leather Briefcase” and the brand has grown a cult following on Styleforum. When they launched their inaugural collection of watches, they got $1 million in pre-orders in just one month. Their success won Jennifer a selection on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list earlier this year.
Ok, so Linjer’s story is absolutely inspiring. But how are their products?
Our team got our hands on four watches. Two for women and two for men.
And we have to say these are undoubtedly the best timepieces we’ve seen for under $500 USD.
What the women at The Hustle had to say:
Jackie Mooney, Head of Partnerships – The Classic, Rose Gold/Tan – 34mm
“I never really wore watches until I came across Linjer.
I work in digital media so there are always several screens nearby that display the time. I don’t NEED a watch. But, after wearing The Classic in rose gold and tan over the past several weeks, the watch has officially won me over.
First off, The Classic is beautiful. I’m a fan of the tan leather strap. It’s soft, comfortable, and doesn’t interfere with my wrist as I work. More often than not, I forget I am even wearing it. The face of the watch is gorgeous, and the rose gold trim complements most of my wardrobe. It’s surprising how high-quality a $250 watch can feel.”
Sara Sodine, Product Research – The Classic, Black/Black – 38mm
“Admittedly, I consider myself a watch connoisseur, and Linjer’s watches have become a wardrobe staple. They’re gorgeous, comfortable, and unlike other watch brands, they are free of logos which allows me to wear it them for all kinds of occasions. The fact that I was able to choose from three unique face sizes is an amazing differentiator that allows Linjer’s customers to find their perfect size.”
What the men at The Hustle had to say:
Scott Swanson, Head of Growth – The Minimalist, Silver/Mocha – 38mm
“Simple, well-designed, clean, and versatile. That sums up my take on Linjer’s watches.
I currently own the Minimalist Watch in both silver/mocha and rose gold/navy. When I received my first Linjer watch that I ordered through their Kickstarter campaign, it instantly became my daily go-to accessory. Why? They’re extremely comfortable, simple yet sophisticated, and look fantastic whether I’m suited up in a client meeting or out for a night on the town in casual street wear.
I can literally wear them for any occasion, and I don’t have to be self-conscious about a blaring brand logo plastered across the watch face. I highly recommend Linjer’s watches.”
Sam Parr, CEO – The Classic, Gunmetal/Navy – 41mm
“I like fancy things. I’ve owned a Rolex and love how it feels strong. However, I loved how Linjer’s watch felt with its low price. I’ve yet to come across such a simple, yet well-designed watch that feels fancier than it cost. The face is clean and easy to read, but it also includes the date, which is a must given that I’m always on the go. Even though the band is sturdy, it’s extremely light yet durable.
The design is on point and works in both formal and casual settings. At this price point, the quality simply cannot be beat.”
The 5 things we love most about these watches:
1. Zero branding – There is no branding on the dial face of either of the two designs (The Minimalist and The Classic).
2. Quality – The quality of the components is stellar. The glass is domed sapphire (shatter-resistant) and they use a Swiss Ronda movement – this is the stuff of luxury. It’s an incredible value at $249.
3. Sturdy – They have a really nice weight to them – they don’t feel like cheapie watches, yet they don’t weigh down your wrist.
4. Beautiful straps – The straps are made out of Italian vegetable tanned leather and are interchangeable (no tools required!). You can buy them individually – get an extra strap and it’s like you have two watches in one.
5. Sizing – They come in 3 sizes so you can find the perfect fit for yourself. (Note: for men, the 34mm is too small). They have a printable size guide.
All in all, we were totally won over by Linjer’s watches. There’s a whole host of direct-to-consumer brands out there trying to provide unprecedented value to consumers, with varying levels of success. Linjer has nailed it while creating beautiful, stylish products in the process.