A Step-by-Step Guide to OEM Watch Production

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OEM watch production is a vital part of the global timepiece industry. As an experienced Chinese OEM watch manufacturer, we at Romlicen understand the intricacies of managing such a complex manufacturing process. Our commitment to quality, customization, and customer service has made us a trusted partner for watch brands across the world.

In this blog post, I aim to provide a comprehensive, step-by-step overview of OEM watch manufacturing. For readers unfamiliar with the term, OEM refers to a company that produces parts, components or complete products that are branded and sold by another company. In watchmaking, brands will often outsource production to dedicated OEMs like Romlicen who have the expertise and capabilities to turn their designs into reality.

The advanced equipment and stringent quality control measures utilized by OEMs also allow for more accurate and durable watches compared to mass manufacturing. This guide will take you through the typical OEM workflow – from initial design concepts to final delivery of a customized, high-quality timepiece. We have refined this process over our 15 years in the industry while working with clients ranging from independent startups to established global brands.

I will also showcase Romlicen’s strengths as a customer-focused OEM partner. Our wide range of production services, dedication to innovation, and supply chain transparency gives brands the confidence to trust us with realizing their horological visions. Whether you prioritize cost-efficiency, quality assurance or a high degree of customization, we have delivered many successful projects thanks to our flexible OEM approach.

So if you’re curious to learn what goes on behind-the-scenes of OEM watch manufacturing, read on for an insider’s look!

What are oem watches?

Understanding OEM and ODM

When embarking on a new watch production project, one of the first decisions brands need to make is whether to work with an OEM or ODM. On the surface, the two terms may appear interchangeable. But in the context of watchmaking, they signify distinct approaches.

As explained previously, OEMs manufacture products based on designs provided by their clients. The client handles conceptualizing, engineering, and branding while the OEM focuses on production. On the other hand, ODMs also contribute design expertise in addition to manufacturing capabilities.

At Romlicen, we specialize in OEM watch production. Brands come to us with product ideas and specifications in mind. Our experienced engineering team then reviews these plans to optimize manufacturability and functionality. However, we allow flexibility for brands to fine-tune aspects like materials, dimensions, and features.

The key advantage of working with an OEM like Romlicen is our proven production process. By handling manufacturing exclusively, we have mastered intricate techniques like CNC machining, laser engraving, and hand assembly. This specialized expertise translates into higher precision and quality assurance.

Meanwhile, the appeal for brands of an ODM partnership is having access to additional design input. But the downside is often compromise on production quality or efficiency. Since ODMs divide resources across ideation and manufacturing, they rarely match pure OEMs in manufacturing competence.

So for watch brands prioritizing reliable, specialized manufacturing for their designs, a dedicated OEM like Romlicen is the best strategic choice. We also provide customization options during production to address aesthetic preferences. This gives brands the best of both worlds – manufacturing excellence along with design influence.

OEM ODM Watch Manufacturing Services

Choosing the Right OEM Partner

The OEM partner a watch brand chooses can directly impact everything from product quality and costs to project timelines. This makes conducting due diligence on potential manufacturers an essential step. When vetting an OEM, here are some key factors brands should consider:

  • Expertise and Experience – An established history of watch manufacturing ensures access to skilled technicians and industry knowledge. At Romlicen, our 15 years producing OEM watches cements our credentials. We also invest heavily in advanced equipment and rigorous training to stay ahead.
  • Production Capabilities – The technology and machinery a factory possesses dictate capacity for quality assurance and customization. We house advanced machines like 5-axis CNC, vacuum plasma coaters, ultrasonic cleaners and more for uncompromising production.
  • Quality Control – Stringent inspection at every stage is crucial for complex watch manufacturing. At Romlicen, we perform multi-point QC testing that far exceeds international standards. This allows us to achieve precision tolerances of just +/-10 microns.
  • Customization Expertise – The range of customization offered should match the brand’s goals. Romlicen gives clients access to experts in materials selection, finish options, branding elements and bespoke component fabrication. We also provide support during design fine-tuning.
  • Responsiveness – For effective collaboration, an OEM needs effective communication infrastructure in place. Our clear English-speaking project managers provide prompt feedback and progress updates during every project manufacturing cycle.

By evaluating OEMs based on criteria like this, brands can determine the right manufacturing partner for their specific watch production needs. At Romlicen, we tick all boxes when it comes to capabilities, quality, and professionalism.

Initial Planning and Design

Once a watch brand selects an OEM partner, the first phase in the manufacturing process involves in-depth planning and design work. At Romlicen, our engineers collaborate closely with clients during this critical stage to transform ideas into realistic products.

Everything begins with understanding the client’s vision based on provided concept sketches, rendered CAD models or existing reference products. Our team will then analyze technical specifications, intended functionality, target costs and other key requirements. We provide feedback if certain aspects may be unrealistic or difficult to produce at scale.

With feasibility ascertained and expectations aligned on both sides, we shift focus to design refinement. Clients review and approve 2D technical drawings and 3D CAD models prepared by our experienced engineering department. This allows fine-tuning of dial layouts, material choices, case dimensions plus hand, index and decoration styling.

We also study relevant industry standards and regulations during the planning process. This ensures the watch design meets guidelines for water resistance, mechanical robustness and product safety. Practical considerations like optimal wrist ergonomics and strap/bracelet sizing add to the complexity.

Later, with the finalized design approved, we produce pre-production samples. These test pieces validate fit, finish and visual appeal while allowing minor modifications if required. Both parties will sign-off on this prototype before mass production commences. With Romlicen’s structured approach, brands gain confidence at each step that their product vision will soon become reality.

OEM watch service

Material Selection

The materials used in constructing a watch play a defining role in its durability, aesthetics and value. At Romlicen, we provide clients access to a wide range of material options for key watch components like cases, bezels, straps and crystals. Our experts also advise brands on ideal material pairings during design sessions.

For watch cases and bezels, stainless steel remains the most popular choice. Variants like 316L steel offer corrosion resistance for everyday wear. We also produce cases in materials like titanium, ceramics and precious metals for premium appeal. Lightweighting alloy cases cater to sports watches targeting active lifestyles.

Our state-of-the-art machinery gives clients the flexibility to incorporate exotic case materials like carbon fiber and tungsten carbide. Or brands can choose metal mixes like two-tone gold and stainless steel for upmarket looks. Dial materials further expand customization avenues with choices like enamel, lacquer, carbon fiber and natural pearls.

Next, watch crystal material impacts scratch resistance and optical clarity. Our factory produces crystals ranging from affordable acrylic to ultra-clear sapphire. The options for watch straps and bracelets also span ballistic nylon, leather, stainless steel mesh, ceramics and more.

With each material, we follow stringent sourcing processes to ensure premium grade inputs. Years of experience also let our technicians expertly manufacture components from these materials for maximum longevity and performance. This gives brands the assurances for use of any material type in their OEM watch designs.

Production Process Overview

Once design and materials are finalized, we shift gears to high-volume manufacturing at our state-of-the-art facility. Our structured OEM watch production process consists of hundreds of meticulously executed steps to translate creative visions into reality.

It all starts with procuring verified raw materials for different components based on the watch design. Our CNC machines first create case and bezel blanks which then undergo intricate finishing steps like polishing, brushing and engraving. Other parts like crowns, clasps and watch hands take shape in our specialized workshops.

We assemble the inner mechanism with precise calibration to ensure flawless interlocking of gears, springs and modules. This “movement” serves as the engine providing timekeeping functions. It gets integrated into the case along with the dial and hands during subsequent assembly procedures.

Each watch now passes through multiple quality checks verifying water resistance, accuracy and functionality. We also conduct appraisal of cosmetic details like applied indices, decorative elements and finish uniformity which requires human craftsmanship. The final watch gets packaged carefully to prevent damage before shipment.

While this summarizes the essential stages, our exact production workflow differs based on watch complexity. We have mastered coordinating hundreds of parallel manufacturing processes to output thousands of unique watches daily with Hublot like quality. Such rigorous optimization over decades of OEM experience gives brands the assurance of scale production capabilities.

Customization Options

A key advantage of collaborating with an OEM like Romlicen is the high degree of customization we offer brands during manufacturing. While most factories simply replicate client designs, we have unrivaled expertise in facilitating bespoke enhancements.

Every custom project begins with an in-depth consultation to understand the client’s vision. We then provide guidance on feasible ways to achieve differentiation through production tweaks. For watch cases and bezels, we offer unique CNC machining, engraving, enamelling and specialty coatings like DLC in black, rose gold, etc.

Dials also hold immense potential for exclusivity. Our decorating capabilities range from intricate guilloche patterns to 3D printing sculptural elements. We can source rare stones or materials to create one-of-a-kind dials boosted by jeweler-level finishing. Matching the watch crystal, hands and indices to the dial theme further elevates cohesion.

Even the watch movement, which most customers rarely see, gets opportunities for bespoke detailing. We can customize rotor designs and apply exclusive branding elements through engraving or electroplating. For clients seeking complete differentiation, our engineers can develop customized module functions too.

In essence, almost every watch component undergoes modification potentials – right down to etched caseback insignias and engraved buckle logos on straps. We realize such multi-factorial customization without compromising on manufacturing quality or order scale. This flexibility makes Romlicen the ideal OEM collaborator for exclusive product lines.

OEM and ODM watch services

Quality Assurance and Testing

In the intricately detailed world of watchmaking, the margin for error is almost non-existent. This heightens the importance of rigorous quality testing during OEM production. At Romlicen, we perform multi-level inspections far exceeding industry norms to actualize perfection.

Our QA infrastructure blends advanced automation with specialized craftsmanship. Electronic testing devices conduct fine calibrations on movement accuracy over positions and temperatures. Robotic cameras perform repeatability checks on defined aesthetic criteria like logo alignment, bezel action and luminous index consistency across batches.

Experienced technicians manually validate more subjective metrics related to visual harmonization, finish uniformity and perceived value at different workstations. Such human appraisal through magnified visual examinations spot defects impossible for machines to detect. We also employ technologies like 3D tomography for accuracy of thousandths of a millimeter in critical components.

Later, finished samples undergo demanding durability tests through exposure to thermal shock, intense vibrations and water pressure extremes. Cased watches also get strapped to robotic arms mimicking years of wearing for real-world robustness. Only products passing these validating trials get cleared for delivery after reconfirmation.

While exhausting, this pursuit of perfection across people, processes and technology ensures every watch consistently achieves a highest-tier standard worldwide. For customers, it reflects the pinnacle of quality manufacturing possible with an OEM like Romlicen.

Packaging and Branding

For luxury products like watches, packaging design plays an integral role in creating initial consumer impressions. At Romlicen, we offer custom printed packaging that helps reinforce brand identity along with safeguarding delicate timepieces.

Clients typically provide basic packaging requirements like preferred materials, dimensions and quantities. Our experienced graphic design team then creates 3D models and renderings of packaging concepts aligning with the watch aesthetics. We also ensure optimal utilization ofprovided dimensions and cost considerations.

Besides functionally protecting and presenting the watch, the packaging offers ample branding real estate through foiling, debossing and other embellishments. The watch cushion, instruction manual and other inclusions also receive custom printing for consistency. For clients ordering in bulk, we design and produce exquisite display boxes providing secure storage for multiple watches.

Our printing workshop houses advanced color label printers and die stamping machines allowing short lead times. Brands also get support in selecting premium materials like leatherette, faux wood, velvet, acrylic and engraved metal plates to construct gift boxes. With end-to-end packaging personalization, we help elevate perceived value while reinforcing luxury branding.

So whether an understated sleeve packaging or intricate collector’s box, our OEM capabilities facilitate matching client packaging visions alongside the bespoke wristwear housed inside. The final packaged product looks, feels and functions at a truly premium level.

Watch Packaging

Logistics and Delivery

For overseas clients, the final step in the OEM watch production process involves safe warehousing and global shipping. At Romlicen, we ensure securely wrapped palletized finished goods reach brand destinations via optimal transport modes.

Our large onsite warehouse spaces finished watch stocks and packaging material inventories separately with climate control and round-the-clock monitoring. We process outbound shipments through leading international 3PL partners integrating trusted freight carriers.

Factors like delivery destinations, order size, cost and speed preferences determine ideal shipping mechanisms. We facilitate seamless movement of cargo through air or ocean freight across 200+ countries. Our global experience with watch distribution chains also helps navigate through often complex import regulations worldwide.

Upon receiving the products, clients gain access to a dedicated customer service team for any inventory or packaging issues. We also offer guidance related to minimizing import taxes and re-export logistics support. By providing end-to-end support spanning order completion to items reaching retail shelves, we give peace of mind throughout.

The capabilities built over years as an export-oriented OEM make Romlicen an ideal partner for international brands. Our combination of warehousing scale, global logistics infrastructure and supply chain mastery delivers products safely to clients everywhere.

Customer Support and After-Sales Service

The hallmark of a truly professional OEM partner is providing ongoing customer support spanning beyond just order delivery. At Romlicen, we uphold the highest service standards through prompt responsiveness, lifetime watch repairs and amicable warranty policies.

Our Shanghai-based customer service team works around the clock processing post-delivery support queries in multiple languages. We tackle inventory discrepancies, provide replacement components for damaged products and field productivity improvement feedback. Years of collaboration with global clients contribute to our cultural fluency easing communication barriers.

We also run an extensive after-sales service network offering comprehensive watch repair solutions. Our Swiss-trained technicians troubleshoot issues, replace worn-out parts and overhaul mechanisms for restoring functionality. Clients can dispatch servicing requests worldwide leveraging our network of authorized repair centers maintaining original-level quality.

Additionally, we back all OEM watches with a 1 year international warranty covering defects in manufacturing or material construction. The policies assure free replacements or rectifications through simple claim procedures. Defective products get shipped to the nearest service hub and replaced units delivered safely once repairs complete.

Through these all-encompassing customer support resources supplemented by our 100% positive seller rating on platforms like Alibaba, brands can rest easy knowing their customers stay delighted. This blend of manufacturing excellence with after-order assurance makes Romlicen China’s leading OEM partner.


I hope this guide has provided insightful perspective into the intricacies of professional OEM watch manufacturing. By summarizing the step-by-step production process along with Romlicen’s customization strengths, quality infrastructure and customer service capabilities, brands can make informed choices when seeking manufacturing partners.

Outsourcing production to a specialist OEM unlocks immense benefits for watch brands through quality maximization, cost efficiency and swift scale production of unique designs. At over two decades strong serving global clients, Romlicen provides seasoned expertise transforming product ideas to high-performing timepieces delighting end consumers.

As highlighted across various production dimensions earlier, our obsession for precision, customizability and service puts Romlicen in a league of its own among Chinese manufacturing contractors. We invite interested brands seeking an authentic OEM collaborator providing true value beyond just producing watches to start discussions with our team today.

For business inquiries related to OEM watch production solutions from Romlicen, contact us at sales@romlicenwatch.com

Our sales representatives will schedule detailed consultations to devise customized production plans matching your brand’s requirements.

As we continue expanding production capacity, now is the best time to partner with us for assured order deliveries even during peak seasons. We look forward to helping your brand enter its next growth phase backed by the manufacture of unique, high-quality OEM watches.

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