Watch Me: How This Indie Outdoor Watch Brand Is Making a Name Abroad for Singapore Watchmakers

BOLDR Venture Jungle Green: A field watch with a solid aerospace-grade titanium case, durable ballistic nylon strap, sapphire glass lens and Swiss quartz movement

BOLDR Supply Co. (BOLDR)is a Singaporean brand that lives up to the daring spirit of its international fan base. BOLDR, founded by Leon Leong, gamely invites customers to explore the great outdoors with their resilient timepieces and gear.

BOLDR is one of the dynamic young labels that make up Singapore’s growing watchmaking scene. According to The New York Times, the city-state is the world’s sixth-largest consumer market for watches,1 and several enthusiasts have become designers in their own right.

Hit the Ground Running

Leon spent his career working in a variety of startups. He adopted a similar grassroots approach when launching his hardy performance timepieces, designed to withstand extreme environments: BOLDR’s first design debuted as a Kickstarter campaign in 2015.

Soon after winning the support of over 300 backers on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, Leon experienced several setbacks that ultimately brought the campaign to an abrupt end. Having refunded his backers in full, the community that was built ultimately appreciated his efforts and transparency, setting him up to bounce back with their first official collection in 2016, the BOLDR Journey.

Strong word-of-mouth helped BOLDR establish a reputation for high-quality, durable outdoor timepieces at great value. For example, the BOLDR Venture series, a range of titanium watches with Japanese automatic movements, is available from US$299.

Connecting with Adventurers Around the Globe

The majority of BOLDR’s sales are direct-to-consumer online sales. Around 70%-80% of its customer base is from the U.S., which Leon attributes to Kickstarter’s mostly American user base. The rest of BOLDR’s clientele is concentrated in the European Union and Asia-Pacific.

According to this founder, PayPal and its Merchant Platform have always been pivotal to the company’s e-commerce strategy. Its easy integration onto Shopify’s platform, the popularity of the PayPal brand among shoppers worldwide, and the secure and convenient user experience are key draws. PayPal’s Buyer and Seller Protection Policies are a bonus according to Leon.

PayPal’s multi-currency feature enabled customers to see “exactly the amount they’ll pay in their local currency while browsing”, which Leon says eliminated exchange-rate surprises at checkout and markedly improved conversion. This offers unparalleled convenience, especially for international customers, making cross-border shopping as transparent and fuss-free as possible.

With a seamless payment system in place, Leon and BOLDR’s growing international team are free to focus on doing what they do best: designing watches that intrigue and inspire their fans.

Finding New Ways to Spark Excitement

BOLDR Safari Vogelkop Superb: Inspired by the smart tapping and rapid dance moves of the Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise

A signature of BOLDR’s watches is their decorated case backs, featuring graphics matched to the theme of the watch. “It really is the perfect canvas,” says Leon.

Hiking watches might bear footprints or topographic outlines, while diving watches could feature whales diving into the surf or mythical creatures from the deep, such as the Kraken.

During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Leon and his team created a line of chronograph watches for easy measurement of pulse rates and respiratory counts, with part of proceeds donated to funds for frontline medical workers. As COVID-19 becomes endemic in many parts of the world, these proceeds are now channeled to other frontline causes including natural-disaster relief.

BOLDR has pursued partnerships with everyone from Pokémon to ornithologist and wildlife photojournalist Tim Laman, who is an ambassador of the brand and a proud wearer of the BOLDR Safari Vogelkop Superb. Laman’s iconic captures of the bird in question is the inspiration for the collection.

There are more exciting collaborations to come as the brand continues to diversify their portfolio with accessory offerings such as pocketknives and pouches.

“We’re always on the lookout for collaborations that complement the ethos of our brand,” says Leon. “That’s how we’ll continue to build our community of fans & friends around the globe.”

1 The New York Times, July 2023

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