Target darts have decided to proceed with their spring 2020 launch during the UK’s Corona Virus lockdown. In yet another sign that the darts industry is performing strongly whilst many have more time on their hands.
Launching new products at this time signifies Target’s confidence that their new wares will receive the exposure and sales levels expected and not be lost in lockdown!
First out of the traps today are the Bolide range this looks like a reimagining of the sandblasted grip style, many players like the feel of this finish, and with Target’s usual flair it may prove popular.
Target’s Summary; “Bolide features 5-barrel designs providing a solution for all grips and playing styles. Intricately constructed with precise radial grooved cuts and a hand-sandblasted coating gives the dart added grip and feel. Each barrel is finished with a yellow Pro Grip shaft and eye-catching flight exclusively designed for the range“.
Limited Edition Takoma (Fabric):
Three patterns with 1000 each only. This is a popular product that may benefit from a niche edition that players feel is more exclusive?
The Takoma holds a fully loaded set up and a selection of accessories with ease and is protective due to its shell design. Smaller than some fully loaded set-ups the Takoma has performed well in reviews and tests.
Peter Wright revealed that there was great detail to the seeming madness of changing his darts so close to the World Championships, so we wanted to share Snakebite’s great insight, and his thinking behind the dual coated visual effect of his latest set of darts that ultimately helped deliver the 2020 PDC World Championship Title, and an immortal place in global darting history.
Peter spoke about why the darts were designed with such unique aesthetics and Snakebite explained that there was a technical reason to back-up his demands of hitting so many 180s and 140s.
Peter said “It’s to do with the angle that I get when I throw my darts into the board, especially into the treble 20. When I’m looking at it and the black front section is pinned in the treble 20, it gives sort of an optical illusion where it blends into the black of the board and the treble looks even more open and inviting.”
Although this may be a slight nuance in Peter’s game, we put this to the test at our practice centre and asked the World’s top technical darts coach if he could actually see the benefit that this effect gave.
Steve Feeney said “Everybody’s eyes work together to see one picture but in very unique ways, and having seen Peter up close and personal in practice there is no doubt in my mind that this does give him a visual advantage, that more importantly translates into a mental advantage as he’s clearly proved”.
DW Coach – This is nicely worded by Steve. We have tested this idea and it’s not as clear cut as Peter says indeed the exact opposite can be argued, that a contrasting colour is better for directing the eye where not to put the dart!
Wrighty has himself demonstrated this in his scoring game, smashing his way to the top 180 and 140 charts throughout the PDC World Championships.
Peter said “Without a doubt it was my scoring game that powered me to that World title, I was only a few 180’s off the record number hit at a World Championships and I’m gutted I didn’t get it, but I couldn’t let Michael have another set in the final!”
Peter’s latest darts have been designed for heavy scoring and proven for him on the World’s biggest stage of all – we hope that your power scoring can benefit from this extra visual clarity that Peter’s stunning World Championship edition darts offer.
During the mayhem of two recent World Championships, their players won both, Red Dragon darts can be forgiven for having a relatively low key product launch for their updated 2020 range and catalogue. This does not even include the new Peter Wright, World Championship winning, Special Edition!
The Welsh brand has released a tight collection of classic and innovative models that should appeal to most tastes. The Originals pictured above give a clue as too one side of the collection. They are simple classical style of dart somewhat similar to one Alan Evans might have used.
Representing the polar opposite side of the equation are the Koncept Pro. These are a mix between a stilletto and a scallop barrel. They are 90% tungsten and ringed grip at the higher end of the barrel. near the nose they are a very narrow taper. The scallop just before the taper could provide a comfortable propulsion zone.
Perhaps the most distinctive dart, in the new range, are the Clarion (Black). The black and gold colour scheme disguises quite a technical dart. It is a mix between a ‘Phase 5’ bomb shaped barrel with a slight indent through the middle section of the dart. It has features in common with the excellent, and popular, Red Dragon ‘Fusion’ model. The unusual feature is the more razor like grip in the mid section. This could be a very timely update on a classic barrel.
The third arm of the release are additions to the ranges of the big names in the Red Dragon pantheon. The Lunar 50 editions were released toward the end of 2019 and more have been added. Peter Wright, Johnny Clayton, Jamie Hughes all have a Lunar50 edition, these are basically the players original model but in a simple monochrome style. They appear subtly different to the signature darts but also easily recognisable.
Gerwyn Price had a Lunar Edition released, but this has been taken further for 2020. The Iceman has had a black edition released, although these look like a permanent edition, as well as more cases and shirts. The ‘Black Ice’ range are functional, clean and functional whilst being fuss free and stylish. Price now has a solid three edition range, as well as a special edition, a few shirts and the usual flights and stems. There is something for most to like.
Despite the relatively low-key launch Red Dragon may well have a very successful year. Their three world champions should give them huge attention and this range and catalogue may well ensure that the interested customer will stay!
Darts World have observed the resurgence of Harrows, over recent months and years, with a mixture of nostalgia, curiosity and pleasure. You cannot have documented both of Darts’ golden eras, which Darts World has, without retaining an affection for the brand which backed Bristow so wholeheartedly and was an important figure in the global expansion of our game.
After the departure of Glen Durrant, who had played a big role in the resurgence, we were a little worried that they may slip back again. Not so. They almost immediately snaffled Chizzy and were rewarded when the St Helens man hit an upturn in performance in both majors and the tier Tours.
The immediatele launch of an attractive Chizzy signature dart, flight set and a trademark yellow shirt ensured that they were off and running in a new era. Today sees the expansion of that range in a big way.
Harrows have clearly gone for the, tried and tested, strategy of branding many products with the name, face, colour scheme and logo which Chizzy has made his own. It is not dissimilar to the approach taken with Eric all those years ago. Indeed some products remain almost unchanged!
The Endorsed Dart: There is now an 80% Tungsten Chizzy dart that will come in at the lower cost points, probably in the £25 region. It is a nice simple looking dart that should appeal to Chizzy fans and those looking for a dart that ticks many boxes at a lower cost.
The Family Game:
Reader will be very familiar with this beginner or introductory product. Many will have had one as youngsters and may well think of getting their own children started this way.
The combination of simple basic board that is reversible to play a simpler, bullseye based game, with a couple of sets of basic darts has been repackaged nicely and is sure to do well as always.
The Alloy Dart: In addition to the 80% version of Chizzy’s dart there is an alloy model that will be classed as cheap and cheerful. It carries the Chizzy name, and the branding, while appearing to be a coated brass style barrel.
Taken together with the Chizzy signature dart, and the shirts and accessories available, it is clear that Chizzy is now the brand leader for Harrows and that they hope this backing will lead to continued or expanded success, for their man, over coming years.
In addition, Harrows have begun assembling a small team of up and coming players both here in Europe and across the world in the Australian and Asian markets. Players such as Josh Payne are showing superb progress and may well provide the brand with a a smooth transition in the future.
Together with other, widely praised, recent product launches, that include new point technology and some very distinctive barrels, it seems that Harrows are well and truly back in the top echelon of darting brands. We at Darts World hope that this does as much for the game as it managed in the 1980’s and beyond.
This week Harrows joined the brands to have launched their 2020 collections. The usual email and advertising trailers were followed by a glitzy social media release of each model and their latest accessories.
Following their summer signing of Dave “Chizzy” Chisnall, and their recent success with Glen Durrant, it may well be worth keeping an eye on the brand that was home to both Eric Bristow and Dennis Priestley in their pomp!
Six dart main models of darts were released and seem to follow a pattern of being focused on the innovative looking grip and striking looking colour schemes.
The Avanti sets the pattern for the complex grip with three separate groupings of grips. The combination of the black and vivid green nitride produces a striking look. The barrel is reminiscent of a ‘Wolfram’ shape but with a much more pronounced grip that looks on the aggressive side.
Paragon is another striking model added to the range for 2020. It appears that the Blk and Red version of Wolfram has set a pattern. Paragon is an interesting looking dart with diamond shape indentations cut into the barrel in between the traditional ring cuts. The nose is not dissimilar to a John Part (Hero Edition) style.
Four more models have been launched, Noctis is an interesting duo of blk darts with silver highlights, one Lowe style barrel and one straight model, they are a nice looking but not especially distinctive barrel. It is noticeable that even Harrows have felt the need to improve upon their typical bomb style barrel and innovate in the grip area. Strix, Vice & Vespa make up this year’s new barrels.
Looking past the headlines of the product launch, which are always the main new models and any new player items, those of us sad enough to be interested in technical innovation have noted the point technology launches.
Harrows have seemed to be lagging behind in this area which is a great surprise. The UK based company have been behind some of the most popular, and innovative, accessories over the years. Dimplex flights, Alamo stems and various flight styles have all been championed by this no-nonsense manufacturer.
The various points launched for the 2020 collection, together with an obvious emphasis on promoting them, seem an attempt to both catch-up and surprise their competitors. Firstly the machine points reverse the standard of cutting grooves or patterns into the point and replace it with machining them to produce a raised pattern or grooves.
There are at least three versions in at least two colours of each point style. They are also available in standard and collared points in order to compete with Target’s Storm and Winmau FreeFlow. The first appearance suggests that they will do so. The conversion version is available in fewer options but may well prove popular with those who play both formats.
The final chapter of the launch was accessories focused, including an addition to the case range. It is a bulk 12 set holder and probably only useful to collectors or mini stallholders! The flights added were mainly specific to the new darts models and coordinated accordingly. Nice colour combinations were added and the Velos range was extended and promoted further.
The Avanti Range looked to most noticeable as it looked to combine the styling of the new range with the recent embossing tech being used on many new flights.
Overall this was a good tight launch. Keeping the numbers down to half a dozen, or so, on the new darts ranges, seems sensible and the focus on points and other improvements may well reassert Harrows in this area.
In, what has become, an industry tradition Winmau launched their new range of darting good with a social media fanfare over much oflast Friday.
The launch featured three main themes. There were a select number of new models with complex grip arrangements and highly distinctive cosmetics. Then came a group of special editions from Winmau’s stable of world-class current professionals and living legends! Finally, there were additions to existing ranges. Extra weight for darts and forthcoming accessory items.
New Model Highlights:
Sicario: These are an excellent looking dart with what appears to be a highly innovative grip/surface. The barrel shape was chosen, to debut this grip pattern, in order that a variety of throw styles might try it. Our resident coach is quite excited by the barrel surface. Currently, 23 and 25g weight editions are offered.
Majestic: A bullet-style dart with a number of grip and cosmetic features that make it stand out from the norm. The middle, sawtooth type, grip section may appeal to those looking for a shallow but noticeable grip style.
Other new ranges include Overdrive, Sabotage Black and Vanquish. Additional weights have been added to Aspria.
Simon Whitlock SE: This is an extraordinary looking dart. More different angles, grooves, milling and colour than we have seen before! The basic design is similar to the current Whitlock dart but the changing of grip surfaces etc alters the perception of this and turns it into a much sleeker looking piece of design. First impressions are that this is the highlight of the launch.
Dennis Priestley SE: The menace is highly regarded by fans, players and darts business people. It is excellent to see his years of experience and reputation being utilised for modern-day players. The SE retains his red and black iconic colour scheme but refines the grip style on his classic design. DW has yet to see what weights are available but we are hoping for a model that’s 15g or less!
Other special edition sets have been made in celebration of Andy Fordham and new weights added to the soon to be reviewed Daryl Gurney SE
Although these are the highlights, there were plenty of other products, tweaks or additions shown off today. It was a very solid launch which combined some new techniques, using Paul Nicholson to discuss the models for example, and some tried and tested social media work.
For decades darts manufacture has been dominated industry titans such as Unicorn, Target, Harrows and Winmau. The last few months have witnessed the launch of Mission Darts and the upscaling of Quantum darts. Are we witnessing the rise of new titans or the start of a plethora of niche brands vying for a slice of the current market?
Although darts manufacture is still dominated by a handful of brands it should be noted that more and more manufacturers, or darting hardware brands, are beginning to pop up.
In the case of Mission Darts, it seems a full-blooded effort to establish a new name in the mainstream the darting space. Backed by one of the biggest names in darts retail, Darts Corner, Mission has launched with a wide range of Steel and Soft Tip darts as well as a range of all the essential accessories associated with name recognition. A close look at the range indicates that Mission is having products made by more than one manufacturer. Much of the steel tip range looks Target influenced and is possibly made by the same Chinese suppliers. Other items and the packaging has the look of closer to home sources.
Mission appears to have decided to launch as a complete brand, with over thirty steel tip darts and a full range of accessories. It is apparent that they will start strongly in the retail sales market, and online, via their various partners. However to be a frontline brad they are going to need to be associated with the elite events and or players. Getting their boards used in major events or sponsoring players who generate exposure, and credibility, for Mission’s products seems an early omission from their efforts.
Quantum Darts, on the other hand, are an example of a new breed of online and social media-driven entities that seem to be bubbling up. Initially, Quantum seemed to be just a couple of people interested in designing pretty darts. Every now and then a new design would pop up and people would comment or ask if they were available to buy etc.
This seems to have lead to sample sets and then a website featuring their designs. During the last year, or so, Quantum has managed to get a small, but distinctive, range to market and are launching more models on a regular basis. It’s simple, no-frills marketing/packaging, approach seems to have gotten off to a decent start. It will be interesting to see how the apparent expansion progresses.
It has been a mixed few years for dart manufacturers and related companies. One or two have struggled and may soon disappear, or be taken over, whilst other names have grown steadily and appear to be on solid ground.
One80 darts, for example, have successfully gone the full brand version, whereas DPC/PerformanceDarts have gone for the slow burn, model by model approach, both seem to be progressing well. It may well be that in a few years time Mission and Quantum have joined them.
As players ourselves we wish both new brands all the very best! We hope to bring you further details as well as product reviews, ratings and competitions as soon as possible.
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