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What is OEM and ODM Watches Manufacturing

Many watches startups have no idea of what is OEM and ODM when they look for watch manufacturers to make their own brand watches. And most of these manufacturers will send over a catalog with many watch designs which you probably see on the internet, such as Daniel Wellington watches, Fossil watches, MVMT watches, etc.

The definition of OEM is original equipment manufacturer, and ODM means original design manufacturer. Well it is still hard to get an idea of what they are. Let’s explain it in an easy way.

OEM Watches

You have the watch designs in hand and need a watch manufacturer to produce the watches exactly based on your designs. However, your design should not be a simple picture or hand drawn sketch, but a vector editable 2D drawings. Now many Chinese watches manufacturers have their own design team to assist their customers to make 2D watch designs according to your design idea details and they produce the prototypes for you once you agree the designs. By these two ways we call it OEM watches.


ODM Watches

You don’t have any designs but just require the watches manufacturer to design the watches with your own logo for you, or you choose the exiting watch designs from the watch suppliers and add your logo on them. What you need to do is provide your logo and approve the designs from the watch manufacturer. They proceed the watch manufacturing work when you confirm the designs.

You must have some idea on this two different work, but which way will be better for you? You will have the answer with below the pros and cons of OEM and ODM watches service.

OEM Watches Pros

  • You can create your watch brand absolutely exclusive.
  • Your watches would be easier to access the market and set a higher retail price as no similar designs out there.
  • You can apply for patent or sign Non-disclosure agreement with the watch factory, thus your designs will not spread in the market.

OEM Watches Cons

  • You have to spend much more budget on the watch development process.
  • You may be asked for higher MOQ as some materials require big MOQ, such as rubber watch band.
  • The cost of prototypes is higher as the watch manufacturer probably need to open mold.

ODM Watches Pros

  • Very less or no cost on the watch development, including the time and money.
  • Lower cost on the prototypes with their existing designs.
  • Lower MOQ.
  • Shorter lead time on samples and mass production.

ODM Watches Cons

  • Your watches may be similar to other brands.
  • Less room for you for customize the watches.
  • There is a risk that the supplier will display your watches on other places, especially the suppliers on Alibaba.


  1. OEM watch manufacturing is suitable for you if you have a great or creative idea.
  2. If you have tight budget or the time frame is tight, then ODM watch manufacturing is a better choice.

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