In our post-industrial era, watchmaking CEO’s have increased profit through intensive distribution, but the decline in sales that started around 2013 might be an indication that this model has spread too thin. Now that brands count more than performance or place of origin, watchmakers are playing against designer watches and pop watches, while having to inflate the price to meet high marketing costs and middlemen commission. We explore an unconventional idea that could be a way out for all parties involved and reap benefits for the consumer.
Over the last 20 years, the traditional watch distribution model has slowly been inflating prices and breaking the customer’s expectation that a watch should not cost more than 2 to 4 days of wages. By retreating to safe but boring designs, established brands have left a void in the creative field and in price segments that watch startups have started to fill in.
Lew Frankfort is credited with coining the term “affordable luxury” in the mid-1980’s while he was repositioning Coach leather goods in lower price segments. Affordable luxury is an oxymoron that has of late been overused by Low Middle End watch companies from the Scandinavian minimalist wave.While their promise is to make luxury accessible to commoners, the reality is less rosy as a close examination […]
Compared to all the watch brands who claim to sell affordable luxury, Ophion actually delivers by selling a High End movement at a High Middle price.After successfully crowdfunding the launch of their model OPH 960 in Summer 2015, Spanish-based brand Ophion is upping the ante with a second act. By the account of independent watchmaking journalist Grégory Pons (www.businessmontres.com), two new watch brands are […]
While visiting the 2017 Basel fair three weeks ago I saw clear indications of what I came to define as Newstalgia. Better described as “the love of old things from the past revived in what designers call ‘the contemorary classic’”, Newstalgia has been present in fashion and interior design for quite some time now. More than vaguely reminisce of vintage products, the trend consists in faithfully emulating the days of […]
This question was posted on Quora, where I try to share my passion and appreciation of watches by answering questions. I can comment first hand on this topic because I am involved in the development of watches for both traditional watchmakers and tech companies.The watch industry survived five economic tsunamis (WWI, the Great Depresion, WWII, the 1970’s Energy Crisis and the Great Recession), so […]
The folks at Blumont Group Limited, who oversee the brands Audaz (positioned in the Low Middle End price segment), have recently relaunched the Le Jour brand, and I must say that the whole set up has been carefully thought through.History of the Le Jour BrandI tried to trace the history of the Le Jour brand, but apart from speculation on bulletin boards about ties to […]
By January 2017, the Swiss industry will likely be heading for a third calendar year of drop in exports, following the stagnation that it underwent throughout 2013 and 2014. One month earlier, Bloomberg was reporting that Swiss exports have bottomed to 1984 figures, a time when the Swiss industry’s structural weakenesses had been laid bare by the impact of the 1970’s energy crisis.Throughout 2015, […]
To successfully build a watch brand and avoid being left broke, you need at least the following three ingredients: passion and sincerity, a novel idea and the right pricing. 1) Passion and sincerity. If you want to jump on the micro-brand bandwagon just to make money, that’s a wrong start. Most successful micro-brand founders started by wanting to create a product that they would enjoy […]