This is an open letter to all (micro/major) watch producers about watch prices. Too many watches are overpriced for the value they provide. Some deserve and can command the asking price, while many other “me too” watches are overpriced. Please consider these perspectives.
It’s that time of year where the Richemont-hosted Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) is over and onto Baselworld (primarily a Swatch-oriented event). SIHH featured some pretty neat watches, especially tourbillons, and a lot of watches made with non-traditional materials. Yet, what was offered seemed unattainable; a celebration of the unattainable in a year that consumers are spending less on watches and sales are cratering.
This is Article 3 of a 4-part series on Design & Innovation. Rolex Submariner. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Patek Philippe Nautilus. Heuer Monaco. Hublot Big Bang. Hamilton Ventura. Gerald Genta. Jean Claude Biver. These names all share a special bond that few others deserve to be associated with. These people or companies/designs took risks to make something new, something bold. Yet, despite great examples, very few watches or designers today introduce bold new watch designs that are a risk to any watch company.
This is Article 2 of a 4-part series on Design & Innovation. Design is the last meaningful frontier for watch innovation. The rest of the moves towards in-house movements, new materials, and new movements are all tilting at windmills and are being propped up by marketing. In this article, I will explain why most of the luxury watch industry is ’tilting at windmills’ with in-house movements or new material research and surviving off a marketing machine that isn’t sustainable. In the follow-up article I will cover some of the iconic and bold watch designs of history, and explain why design is literally the last frontier. You can read the first article of this series here where I introduced the concept of bold design being a chance to shift consumer preferences.
This is Article 1 of a 4-part series on Design & Innovation. What does it take to shift consumer preferences? A lot. My marketing professor used to always say “never underestimate the customer’s reluctance to change.” In today’s watch industry, many classic watches designed 50+ years ago continue to fascinate consumers and define expectations in watches. Yet, many of these companies are not exactly innovative either. While some see classic design, critics see lack of innovation. People naturally look to innovation in the mechanics of the watch, but this is hard to do and consumers can’t notice the changes. I will present a case for why design is the next revolution in the watch industry, and has a chance to shift consumer preferences back to the mechanical art.
This is my review of the most inspiring micro brand watches (producing <300 watches annually) that I’ve had a chance to take a look at in 2016. These are not endorsements, rather a nod to things these companies have done. This is not an exhaustive list — there are quite a few out there and this list is a small sampling of those I have been most impressed with this year. I can’t speak for pricing or value, just for the fact that they have done something unique or “cool” from an entrepreneurial perspective.
In September, we wrote two posts on TiMe22, a Dutch startup company currently on kickstarter with a new titanium wristwatch they have designed. This article looks back at their experience including how they survived on Kickstarter, the bumps in the road, and some of the kickstarter lessons learned. These are generalizable lessons for any micro brand watch company looking to take on kickstarter.
There are a lot of watch entrepreneurs and startups out there; this post is the story of one of those companies. This post will cover how these entrepreneurs design and produce watches, looking at their design processes, making prototypes, and finding producers. I will do my best to tell their story so that those interested in going into the watch business know the process, the difficulties, and the rewards of the industry. This is the story of TiMe22.
Can a new watch company really break into the market? Can a new company with no name and no reputation survive? Even if you have no interest in their watches, you have to be curious. Going head-to-head with the marketing power of some of these companies seems insane. Not to mention, their quality is second-to-none; does a micro brand watch company really think they can match this?
There has been much debate whether smartwatches could spell the end of the Swiss watch industry. Even Tag Heuer has started producing their own smartwatch. Is it possible that smart watches will win the day? I don’t think so.