Mimo Great post.
I think what Ben is attempting to do is very impressive and noble. Its definitely a tough road to travel. I think the "Made in China" label will be tough for many to get past particularly if some of the watches end up costing a few thousand dollars. People (particularly those outside of Asia) just don't associate Asia as being a producer of high quality luxury watches.
Even those that academically think the Grand Seikos are great watches, don't often buy them. In the past few people told me how great the Grand Seiko is and that they would buy one...funny thing is that when they have been able to buy a luxury watch they seem to come home with a Rolex, Omega, or other brand more commonly associated with luxury goods, rather than the Grand Seiko they previously spoke about purchasing.
I admire what Ben is doing and I hope that he will have success doing it, or at least a lot of fun.
Both of the above paragraphs are very pertinent, and go back to a discussion that we briefly had in this thread a few months ago.
At that time, I put up a post which pondered why a lot of people on SF (as an example) were very happy to use small, exclusive ateliers for clothing that cost a large amount of money and that was largely unknown outside a small circle of people (so the very antithesis of name-brand, logo clothing) but that, when it comes to watches, those same people very clearly prefer to purchase watches that are very much "name brands", with clearly visible logos and which come from manufacturers that spend large amounts on advertising - Rolex, Panerai, AP, PP and so on.
It seemed like an interesting example of a sort of cognitive dissonance to me - on the one hand, in terms of clothing, some people were clearly searching for something that was unbranded and exclusive, known only to a relatively small number of people, whilst on the other hand, those same people were purchasing watches that were clearly branded and very well-known.
Of course, this isn't an eternal rule - there are plenty of WISs out there who have some watches from the big brands, whilst also having watches from smaller houses or solo manufacturers.
A few knowledgeable members (including Dino, from memory) chimed in with thoughtful responses, and made some very valid points such as the big watch brands being a known quantity in terms of quality, easy availability of parts and servicing, good resale value (as quite a few WISs like to sell watches after a while to acquire more/different watches) and so on.
So, as Dino and others have noted, for various reasons, even though lesser-known brands may make great quality watches, a lot of people prefer to keep on purchasing watches from big brands for the reasons note above and as a result, brands like GS may well have trouble gaining traction outside their home countries.