Now in its fifth year, I see Cvstos as a brand that is full of potential. With great suppliers, and an interesting aesthetic, as well as access to designers, they could be a powerhouse brand. However, much of was I see is indication that they feel hell-bent on offering timepieces that are simple regurgitated versions of what the competitors they look up to are offerings. Take this model that I believe is in their CTR-S collection. It is a direct example of what would happen if a Richard Mille RM 011 Limited Edition for Singapore and Franck Muller Grand Prix collided on the race track and some how chemically bonded. For people who don't know any better, they might see Cvstos as having something original, but to the trained watch lover's eye, this Cvstos watch is an almost shameless integration of elements from these two other pieces.
This is not to say that other brands (even Franck Muller and Richard Mille) don't engage in their own "style borrowing" practices, but they are known for mostly doing it with more grace. Part of being a luxury watch maker is extending a bit of originality into the market. This is not only expected, but almost required if you wish to have a long life in the market. At least when it comes to respect from opinion leaders. If you look at the above watch from Cvstos, and then at the bottom watches from Franck Muller and Richard Mille, you can literally pick off elements that Cvstos derived from each. The Cvstos watch even has fonts styled from ones on from both the other watches! You can eye the three pieces and see the things they have in common. Plus, at least in this watch writer's opinion, the original pieces are better looking than the "combo" watch.
It would be good advice for Cvstos to take their apparently large set of resources and focus on original designs and more subtle borrowing from brands they admire. Copying is the best form of flattery yes, but do it well, and do it selectively. If Cvstos plays their cards right, people may be borrowing from them in the future.
By Ariel Adams