This Kickstarter sensation is making luxury women's watches for less than $250 — here's what we thought
Aug 9, 2018
Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our
The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase. Filippo Loreti is a Kickstarter-alumn that has set multiple world records for its crowdfunding. The company makes luxury watches that would normally sell for $1,000+ and offers them at an accessible price (from $219) by operating direct-to-consumer. Filippo Loreti takes design inspiration from three of Italy's iconic cities: Venice, Rome, and Milan. The women on our team tested the $249 Rome collection , defined by its Piazza del Campidoglio-inspired watchface, and loved the price, elegance, versatility, and thoughtful design. Luxury watches often come with the sort of price tag that prohibits most of us from owning one — an inaccessibility that has, in the past, been a central part of what made something luxurious a luxury. But thanks to new companies approaching the industry with more robust business models, things are changing, and luxury is becoming increasingly affordable. Now, if you find the right online company, you can own a watch that should theoretically cost 10 to 40 times what it takes to produce for much less. And if you're looking for that, you should know about Filippo Loreti . Filippo Loreti is a watch company that was founded by 20-something Lithuanian brothers Danielius and Matas Jakutis in 2015. Aside from its watches, it's best-known for its record-breaking 2015 Kickstarter in which the company outstripped its $20,000 goal by raising close to a million dollars in a month's time. The company's mission was and is simple: make $1,000+ luxury watches affordable and relatively accessible. In short, the Jakutis brothers wanted to democratize the luxury timepiece industry. By creating the company online and reducing how many external pieces they have to include (middlemen and retailers) the company is able to keep its costs low and pass those savings on to its customers. As a result, you pay from $219 for a minimalist watch to $609 for an artisanal automatic, all well under what luxury watches typically go for. Filippo Loreti 's 2015 Kickstarter campaign made it the most crowdfunded watch company in history, and, in 2016, the company broke its own record by raising over 5.5 million in 30 days from more than 18,000 backers. In total, the company has launched three record-breaking crowdfunding campaigns, raised more than $10,000,000 tot and is one of Kickstarter's 20 most successful initiatives across all categories. Aside from affordable luxury, Filippo Loreti likely draws customers for its ongoing spirit of crowdsourcing. The company maintains the "old ways" that set great watches apart from the rest, but its watches are co-developed with the brand's community — resulting in a luxury watch that still feels aspirational, but with the sort of thoughtful design that brings it decisively into the 'now'. Initially, the company's messaging — like most watch brands — was catered towards men. However, one facet of the elegance and elastic utilitarianism of watches is that they aren't necessarily gendered. While Filippo Loreti's site offers two sections — men's watches and women's watches — the differences are minimal, and the prices identical. Anyone of any gender could comfortably wear the designs. The watches are inspired by three iconic Italian cities — Venice, Rome, and Milan — as well as, less overtly, the long history of Italian luxury and finesse in general — emulating the same meticulous and vocational craftsmanship of industry landmarks like Ferrari, Fendi, Versace, Prada, Armani, and Dolce & Gabbana. For the last few weeks, the women on our team have been wearing watches from the $249 Rome collection to see how they stack up. As a whole, the line is minimalist, versatile, and elegant. Of the four options, the major distinctions are in color of leather and metal: Matte Black , Rose Gold , Gold , or Silver . Filippo Loreti 's interpretation of Rome takes its main inspiration from the famous Piazza del Campidoglio, a "masterwork of urban planning" with a mesmerizing, elliptical design by Michelangelo as its centerpiece. The series' dials are executed in a reminiscent style, using a "guilloche" pattern most notably used by high-end watchmakers. The collection falls in line with the iconic Italian architectural monuments best defined by their sloping lines and carefully crafted details. At the back of the watch face, you'll find a 3D embossed recreation of the Piazza del Campidoglio — an unusually beautiful addition that adds artisan value without interfering with its simplicity. You can swap out leather bands if you value versatility, and you can shop for an automatic ($585 - $609) or quartz ($249) form the series. Though, in a rare distinction for the brand, the Rome automatic watches are only found in the men's section. Financially, it makes sense to get a luxury watch here rather than pay a 4,000% markup — at least until that markup is justified by the sort of iconic name that warrants a lopsided price. Plus, the company offers free shipping worldwide, 90-day returns, and a 10-year international warranty. But, all in all, the watches are really nice — even regardless of price point. Part of the draw to Italian staples like Fendi, Ferrari, and Versace is the knowledge that these items were, in some way, costly either in price, effort, or ingenuity to produce. Filippo Loreti watches are affordable, but they still feel luxurious and aspirational in the sense that they feel distinctly thoughtful and labored-over. The Rome collection is simple enough to be timeless and versatile, but still ultimately feels customized. Connie Chen, Insider Picks reporter:
I've always had a strong preference for gold or light-colored watches, but Filippo Loreti's Rome Matte Black watch might be the first to make me jump ship. Though it's all black, the various textures — the geometric etchings surrounded by a smooth ring of marble, the soft yet sturdy leather — play against each other so the watch is still visually interesting. The reverse engraving is beautifully detailed, and even though no one else can see it, it's a reminder of the brand's elegance, sophistication, and craftsmanship. Mara Leighton, Insider Picks reporter:
I've gotten to check out a lot of watches through my time at Insider Picks, and Filippo Loreti is one of my favorites. The quality of the materials and the considered but understated design make them look and feel luxurious without being over the top. The matte black is sleek and the proportions spot on — not so thin that it appears purely ornamental or the watch face unnaturally large like many women's watches, but also not bulky enough to appear overtly masculine. The contrasting texture and intricate pattering are interesting to look at, and I love the personalization of the 3D embossed Piazza on the back. My favorite aspect, though — aside from price — is that I always think of Michelangelo's geometric centerpiece when I look down at my wrist. It's an oddly nice source for a recurring mix of both humility and inspiration — and I like knowing my watch has a bit more of "deep dive" story to it.