Even though wristwatch brands are infamous for being in bed with marketing, they surprisingly aren’t known for great advertising, so i would to take this moment to commend Omega on this beautifully animated commercial. Well done.
One of the things I noticed about this year’s fair was the amount of classic models. I chalked it up to recession and the demands of buyers for something more discreet, however, a reuters article shed further light:
“But the watch industry is also being pushed into redeveloping classic models, encouraged by Chinese demand.
As a result, many brands are re-fashioning old models such as Tag Heuer which last year launched a new version of its classic Carrera model, endorsed by actor Steve McQueen, which starts at 2,000 euros.
“Chinese prefer classic watches, watches with a heritage,” Guy Semon, Tag Heuer’s (LVMH.PA) vice president for sciences and engineering, told Reuters in an interview. “And as they have become major customers, this has helped drive the brand to return to some of its historical models.”
What happens when you are a luxury wristwatch and jewelry brand and your CEO tries to save money during a recession by not polishing their $10,000 wristwatch product to save a few cents and then is smart enough to show the dull underside to a New York Times reporter?
You end up selling your controlling stake to a larger company hoping that they will turn it around which is what Bulgari ended up giving to French luxury goods maker LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton in a deal worth about 3.7 billion euros.
LVMH had also recently built up a 20.2 per cent stake in Hermes which prompted an internal rebellion by family members within that company. LVMH hoped that this Bulgari deal would show Hermes that it can work well with family controlled business even though I think the only reason Bulgari caved was because they had run out of ideas.
Nicholas Hayek Aka Mr. Swatch, the animated man behind the Swatch Group, the world largest wristwatch company that single handedly saved the Swiss watch industry is no more. He passed away while at work. The Swatch Group brand stable includes such brands as Breguet, Blancpain, Calvin Klein, Certina, Endura, Flik Flak, Jaquet Droz, Glashutte Original and Union Glashutte, Hamilton, Leon Hatot, Longines, Mido, Omega, Pierre Balmain, Rado, Swatch, Tiffany and Co. and Tissot among others.
3 years ago, Pierre Nobs lost his wristwatch brand, Ventura, to a fire sale. (You can read the entire story here) He tried to win it back at the auction but someone else won the bid. What was worse was that Swatch group, the owners of the trademark Ventura in the U.S. (it’s the name of a Hamilton model), filed an injunction against the winner claiming that their contract of co-existance ended with Ventura when Pierre declared bankruptcy. Thus, not only did he loose the company but Ventura was now stuck in limbo hell.
Pierre tried to move on. He launched a luxury belt but he couldn’t shake Ventura from out of his mind and with the help of his partners and friends, he was finally able to re-purchase Ventura’s assets and relaunch the company.
Back in 2008 Scott Wilson, the designer behind the Nike Presto watches gave a presentation at the Hong Kong watch and Clock fair where he showcased his work and also revealed that he was developing his own line of luxury watches under his agency name, MNML. This was before the recession hit.
Cut to late 2009 and he is launching (To be accurate, he’s co-founding) Uncommon, an on-demand fashion brand that allows consumers to print custom graphics (whether its your own design or from another artists from their artist gallery) on to any customizable accessory. This includes ipod cases, iphones and in the future, macbook cases and Yes, WATCHES – Fashion watches that allow consumers to easily upload their own design and order a custom edition for their own personal use or to make their design available for a 5% royalty fee on each design sold.
The process is being branded as 3D TATT (Thermo-active transdermal techonlogy) so I don’t know how exclusive the process is to Uncommon. The brand plans to donate 2% of all profits towards the pursuit of the arts and arts education and its nearest competitor, atleast in the wristwatch segment is France’s Wize & Ope.
The Nike Presto had an innovative packaging that could be reused as a plant pot
Scott had wanted to release a custom in-mold graphic design version of the Nike+ Amp but it never happened though it let to the development of his own brand, Uncommon
Pardon the title of this entry, it’s a reference to a hilarious internet meme. Anyway, Recession has been good for Timex. Marc Ecko, having incurred $170 million in debt, moved out of his $9 million office and sold his brand’s wristwatch license to Timex’s subsidiary, Callanen International.
This move was further encouraged by Callanen’s previous experience with Guess where Fossil tried to snatch the license away from them.
Just a heads up, I’ll be covering this year’s Baselworld fair. However, it’s been predicted that this year that the recession is going to take a toll on the fair in terms of business and visitors. In any case, 1952 exhibitors are exhibiting.
The Gucci Group claims they never thought of Bedat as a strategic asset. The brand never took off for them unlike their other acquisitions – notably Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga and stakes in Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. So, given the financial climate, they decided to cut it loose and unloaded it on to a Malaysian brand management group named Luxury Concept.
Bedat was founded by a Christian Bedat and his mother, Simone in 1996 but they left the company ten years later after disagreement arose between them and executive at the Gucci group. Three years later, they dumped the brand.
Movado Group founder, Geladio “Gerry” Grinberg has passed away at the age of 77. He was born in Cuba and became the exclusive distributor for Piaget and Corum watches for the Americas. Later, after establishing a $30 million business, Grinberg decided to concentrate on building his own portfolio of brands by first purchasing Concord and then Movado in 1983. The company has seven additional brands including Coach, Tommy Hilfiger watches, Ebel, ESQ, Hugo Boss watches, Lacoste watches and Juicy Couture Timepieces.
Gerry was successed by his son, Efraim Grinberg who is now the chairman of the group.
So What do you do when your 125 year old company’s profits drops 44% in the last quarter and your stock isn’t looking so good? If you work in the luxury market, You cut costs without risking harming the brand’s image of opulence as in the case of Bulgari who has been renegotiating existing leases, pressing suppliers for better deals, introducing lower-cost boxes and bottles that may be cheap but customers may not know the difference.
NOT do something stupid like stop polishing the $10,000 wristwatch to save a few cents and then show the dull underside of your expensive product to a New York Times reporter that then uses it for the opening sentence of his article on your company.
Also, something to note in the article – Mr. Bulgari mentions that he would sell a stake in his company if he has to. I wonder if LVMH is interested.