For those of us that live, breath, and talk watches and microbrands there are some things we do on a daily basis, we look and admire other brands watch creations, and we analyse them, because that is what we do.
You will find no assumptions or acquisitions in this story, only verifiable facts at the time of publishing.
For this story to unfold we need to look at the key players:
- Carlos Carvalho – Owner of the brand ‘Borealis Watches’
- Ellite Sun (sun zhi feng) – Owner of factory ‘A besttime watch & Co’
- Calvin Lee – Owner of the brand ‘Aquatico watch’
Carlos has designed some really nice watches for Borealis, they have proven to be popular in the past ten years, and in this time he has dealt with Ellite at Abesttime for the production of them. The procedure in its simplest terms is this:
- Design watches
- Send designs to factory
- Tune the designs
- Pay for tooling and molds to produce your unique designs
- Get samples
- Refine the designs
- Pay for refined tooling and molds as required
- Get more samples
- Get production run – normally a run of 300 per design
It should be noted, there is a rule in the watch creation industry – if they are your molds you have paid for, your designs, they can not be used elsewhere. It makes sense, and everyone knows it.
Borealis designed and sold the Pilot Diver, a distinctive 300M water resistant watch pictured here, Ellite Sun and ‘ABesttime’ fulfilled the order.
In July of this year Calvin Lee arrived on Facebook with his Aquatico Brand, and his first piece was the ‘Pilot One’
A quick look at the website for Aquatico shows they have used Borealis for their website inspiration, in a copy and paste kind of way.
as can be seen by inspecting the source code:
Between July to September Ellite Sun Contacted Carlos and told him he had to buy 1000 cases, if he did not buy 1000 cases “he had a friend” who liked them?
Carlos had to decline to take the cases, he could not afford an order 3 times the normal, and after ten years of trading as friends Ellite Sun blocked Carlos from communicating with him.
Ellite Sun started to promote Aqautico on Facebook
It also appears that Ellite Sun and Calvin Lee are friends
As a random coincidence – its appears that ‘Aquatico’ and ‘A Besttime’ share the same hosting company and the same name servers
The mysterious Mr Calvin Lee at this time has also been busy creating and growing his brand with some more models. Since we are talking about coincidences, they also bear a striking resemblance to Borealis models, including the same specs, same materials and same depth rating.
Surprisingly both use the same technology for their 3000M depth rating, Viton and Tefzel gaskets.
It does not stop there, Calvin Lee has another model – yes you guessed it, its very similar to a Borealis one also
I really wanted to bring this story to a conclusion of sorts but so far my emails to Ellite Sun have gone unanswered, I did however manage to have a quick chat with the mysterious Mr Calvin Lee. I could not find out anything more about Mr Lee.
I tried again to get a comment from Calvin Lee, but alas he has not come back to me.
That is the facts on this matter, it is up to you how you interpret them, I can only say that when i come to buy services, if I choose to buy any services from China or Hong Kong, I do not think I will use any of the companies associated with Ellite Sun, not because it can be proved he has done anything wrong, but there are enough questions and connections raised here for to cause me concern.
If Ellite Sun or Calvin Lee ever comes back to me via email I will update the story.
It appears that whilst the mysterious Calvin Lee suggests to me these are ‘factory designs’, to other people he says he has a factory to produce cases. (thank you to two ever sent me this conversation)
It does make me wonder about who this young man may be