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.
The watch industry is one of the most fascinating industries out there. Many people assume a watch is a watch — it tells time. That is a fact. This is why in 2017, I plan to explore industry topics that fascinate me. I will explain why the industry is a fascinating one, and why any business school or economics course could write a whole curriculum about the watch industry and cover just about every topic. Finally, I let you know what you can count on from Watch Ponder this coming year.
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.
I discuss the current problems in the luxury watch industry and make company-level recommendations for improvements in 2017. It is a business analysis of the industry.
Will you always prefer Swiss Made? In 2017, Switzerland implements a new law that will change what it takes to be considered “Swiss Made”. I will walk you through my thoughts on what it means to be “Swiss Made”, the brand equity that has, but also explore successful companies such as A. Lange & Sohne who are not Swiss. Swiss Made is the ultimate signature of quality. It is important to know the history behind it and what it means.
Swiss watch companies are facing a tough market with sales down 11% in 2016. RAYMOND WEIL is an affordable Swiss luxury watch company that is continuing to innovate themselves through this period, harkening back to the company’s DNA to look for new inspiration. RAYMOND WEIL and CEO Elie Bernheim have choices to make as they navigate this difficult slump in the Swiss watch market.
Episode 2 How the Swiss ended up as the predominant watchmakers has been the result of a series of choices and fate throughout history. However, contrary to common belief, the Swiss have not always been the dominant force in the watch industry. It has only been post-1877 that the Swiss transformed their methods and were able to compete with the rising American watch producing titans Waltham, Elgin, Hamilton, and others.
The luxury watch industry is in one of its biggest slumps in recent history after experiencing years of unprecedented wealth and growth. Is it a result of the economy? Is the industry dying overall? Will the industry fade away forever? How will companies make it through the slump? Who will emerge on the other side? Over the next two months, we will release a 15-article, three-part series devoted to the following topic:
Disruption? The future of the luxury watch industry
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.
How does a startup watch company get noticed? Have you ever wondered how social media marketing works? We take a look at both topics as we look at three startup watch companies and their efforts to break into the watch industry through marketing. We look at what works, why it works, and what doesn’t work when it comes to establishing and communicating a brand.
The story of a watch entrepreneur. How do you make a watch that isn’t like every other watch out there? There are tons of watches available on the market. There are even a lot of affordable start-up companies offering excellent watches such as TiMe22, BM&Y, and Shinola. My first question when talking to Nick was how he thought he could make something special that people don’t already have access to?
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.
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to pilot watches and every producer claims an aviation heritage and the better pilot watch. We dissect the truth behind their claims.