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The Different Kinds of Watch Buyers. Which Are You? A Critique of the Micro Brand Watch Market

I have had the privilege of speaking with many micro brand founders in all price ranges and varying degrees of success. They are inspiring and many of them I look to for their thoughts and analyses on the micro brand industry. One question I like to ask founders is “who buys your watch?” or “who is your target customer?” I have heard very detailed responses all the way down to “I, for one, would definitely buy my watch” . . .”people that like watches” . . .”we won’t know until we start selling them!”…..

While these are a range of possible answers, they can also signal some pitfalls that can come with launching a watch brand. There are many types of watch buyers out there and every brand should be targeting one type and designing their watch in look, feel, and price to appeal to that customer. Some micro brands know their customer very well and do a great job, while others miss the mark. Below is my summary of the types of watch customers out there. Which type of watch buyer are you? 

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Swatch Group’s Dreaded Two Words: Growth and Inventories

Swatch Group is suffering from decreased sales and profits while accruing massive inventory levels over the past few years. The company has recently identified non-specific opportunities for growth in 2017 that seem to have little chance of loosening the quickly tightening belt. While Swatch Group’s self-projected sales growth would be nice, growing inventory levels are something that cannot be ignored. This should leave all of us wondering Is Swatch Group being realistic? Here is my op-ed analysis.

Jean Claude Biver

Iconic Watch Designers That Changed History

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.

Watermark Art by G.A. Parker; Modifications by Watch Ponder. innovation in the watch industry is like tilting at windmills

Tilting at Windmills: the Swiss Watch Industry & Innovation

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. 

Montana Watch Company's Officer's Watch

Where the Watch Ponder is Headed in 2017

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.

Elie Bernheim the CEO of Raymond Weil with the Beatles watch in the background

Choices: RAYMOND WEIL & what it means to be Swiss (feat. CEO Elie Bernheim)

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. 

The luxury Swiss watch industry has been struggling in 2016

Tempting Choices or Tempting Fate? Current State of the Swiss Watch Industry

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.

Selection of luxury watches at the European Watch Co

Disruption? The future of the luxury watch industry

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

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How to Survive Kickstarter as a Watch Micro Brand

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. 

orion-watch-and-tools

Watch Entrepreneur: The Orion Project

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?

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The Tale of a Micro Brand Watch 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.