Crowdfunding has given hope to many companies looking to introduce new products to shake up existing markets and while many have gone on to be inherently successful, some just quite haven’t made the cut. Two and a half years ago, a company called Central Standard Timing launched their own Kickstarter project, looking for $200,000 in funding to create the world’s thinnest ever watch.
Sounds great, right? There’s just one slight problem: almost two years after the company’s Kickstarter campaign was successfully funded, there’s still no watch and the company has pretty much given up any hope of ever delivering these watches. The company has canned the CST-01 watch after running into numerous production problems and pretty much running out of money.[related_videos title=”Watches in video:” align=”right” type=”custom” videos=”608623,613281,520364,575301,591708″]The company has fallen out of favour with its chosen manufacturer (Flextronics) after apparently deciding the company didn’t know how to work with a small startup, although one of the company’s Kickstarter updates suggests the manufacturer wanted them to sign a contract that prevented them from providing any updates on the production process. Either way, the company hasn’t said it’s given up on the project but an update with its financials shows it has pretty much exhausted all of the money raised from Kickstarter and its own website pre-orders.
The CST-01’s unique design offered a flexible watch (not a smartwatch) with an E-Ink display that was less than 1mm thick but ever since meeting its $200,000 target in just 5 hours and going on to raise over $1 million from Kickstarter, the company has faced numerous problems. From a key battery supplier going bust – and being replaced by a supplier who made poor quality batteries – to numerous parts that were DOA, several redesigns and the damning realisation that the actual product would cost double the amount pledged to actually make, the latest update on Kickstarter pretty much confirms they’ve given up.
The company is still trying to find a way to bring the product to market but with over $1 million needing to be raised just to fulfil the pledges and pre-orders and investors seemingly unwilling to provide this, it seems unlikely you’ll ever get your watch. The company is also considering whether to sell all of its assets and inventory to (partially) refund backers or alternatively, make the project open-sourced so you can make the watch yourself (if you have the means and knowledge to do so).
Whatever happens to the company now, it’s an unfortunate lesson for almost 8,000 people who backed the project on Kickstarter and while a few people have actually received their watches, thousands will be left without anything to show. This project was an early indication of the power of crowdfunding but while others have been extremely successful – the Pebble Time and 3Doodler are great examples of this – the CST-01 will forever be a reminder that you’re backing someone’s dream and there’s no guarantee you’ll get your reward.