As an e-commerce only brand, one of the biggest challenge I've had to deal with is to bring the in-person shopping customer experience to the Internet. Answering basic questions on fit and sizing can be done fairly easily. But questions about strap recommendations for a specific watch have always been hard to answer. It depends a lot on the individual's tastes and preferences. The best way to really know what works is to have the strap on hand, fitted to your watch, and put it on your wrist. The second best way, I hope, is the Delugs Strap Finder.
What is it?
At its core, Delugs Strap Finder is a tool that allows you to easily choose a watch and strap combo, and visualise how it looks immediately, right from your fingertips and at your own convenience. There's currently 70+ watches and 60+ straps in the database, but this number will only grow with time. We hope to build up a comprehensive database of all the common watches that people have, and add all the straps we have in stock to the tool.
This tool is meant to give you an idea of how the watch + strap combination will look, but it won't be perfect. Lighting may be different, the gap between the strap and the case might be off. It isn't mean to replicate 100% exactly how it will look and feel in real-life.
How did you get the idea?
A tool like this is not new or original - Apple has their Apple Watch Studio, Hodinkee has their own Strap Finder too. But the former is for Apple Watch only, and the latter is barely even updated anymore. And none of them have all the features that I really wanted - for example, the ability to download the photo and save it to your desktop/mobile is something that I thought was important to include.
How was the development process like?
I've had the idea for a long while, but other areas of the business took priority and I only got to work on it in the past couple of months. I'm no developer, so I had to hire someone to code it up. A lot of back-and-forth was needed with the developer, explaining how it should work, creating mock-ups, going back and forth with many iterations to get the details right, adding on additional features as we went on.
It also required many hours of photo-taking and photo-editing. All our watch and strap photos had to be standardised to allow the tool to work seamlessly. No small effort with so many different watch and straps in the database!
One crucial part of the whole development effort was in the user interface. For a tool like this, it is so crucial that the tool was not frustrating to use, and was actually fun. For the Desktop version, allowing you to switch between watch and straps with the arrow keys made it so much easier to switch. On Mobile, we developed the tool from the ground-up, taking into consideration how most people would use their mobile phones and making it mobile-friendly.
I hope to add more watches to the database over time (feel free to suggest a watch if you don't see it in the database). This would also include Panerai watches.
Eventually, I would like to also develop a Custom Strap builder, that would allow you to visualise how a custom strap would look, and pair it with the Strap Finder. This way, you won't be restricted to just ready stock straps.
This had been a really fun project, and I hope it is something that the watch community will find useful. If you like it and you find the Strap Finder useful, I hope you'll share the tool with your friends and community. Cheers!