Until a few years ago, a watch expressed its concept of luxury almost exclusively through price. The absence of mass media such as those available today helped to place it in a sphere of absolute exclusivity. The picture was completed with the barriers that the brand itself built around it to add more uniqueness to it.
Today the panorama is different: for many brands and watch groups luxury watches belonging to the top of the range are getting excellent sales results, but only – as said Laurent Picciotto (Chronopassion) in this short interview – for those who have refined the shot.
Accessibility – Exclusivity
The dilemma in our days lies in the right balance between accessibility and exclusivity. Where to place yourself in relation to the line shown above, when and where do you know how to move your image?
The economic factors of the crisis and even technology contributed to complicate this decision. Except for the stratospheric prices – which have never really been hit by the crisis by belonging to a microscopic niche – today potential luxury watch customers, thanks to the network, have increased and a lot – see the IC-Agency 2010 data – but in the at the same time they have become much more demanding and competent. How and how do watch houses interpret luxury today? Creating limitations that – not only by price – express exclusivity and belonging.
Here is also explained why so many limited editions , performed in different ways and ways.
In our days there are many more than once the strategies that brands implement to attract the attention of potential buyers, here are some of the classic and innovative:
At the top
Vacheron Constantin with the Repetition Minutes Squelette Maitres Cabinotiers has aimed to express its know-how in a limited edition of fifteen pieces. In this case it is not only the price that creates exclusivity, but its correlation with the characteristics and the truly limited number. Doubling the production would have been easy for the Maison today with the resources available (Richemont) and even sell them, but for the buyer? Today, who spends more than 200,000 Eur for a luxury watch , wants to buy a story, including the final.
Glashütte Original Marine Chronometer set was made for only ten fans who in addition to a platinum Senator Chronometer have received from the past a marine chronometer revised and finished ex-novo. This time – instead of a fairy tale – we take away a symbol of an important period, lasting Secoli for mechanical watchmaking. It is the product itself that tells you a story.
Despite over a century of activity behind it and a soul willing to remain anchored to the classic values of watchmaking, Audemars Piguet has launched a spasmodic research into innovative materials. Just look at the Royal Oak Offshore Jarno Trulli , its forged carbon case is composed of 100 km of pressed fibers, its stiffness is from space capsule. You will say exaggerated features, but who wants to buy a luxury sports watch today and has a good budget available is attracted by these advantages that could make the difference in the final choice: brand, tradition and innovation.
All right, the three examples to create value described above belonged to a high-end band not within everyone’s reach. What happens if we continue to fall in price?
From 5,000 up to under 3,000 euros – for many mechanical luxury watches that we can still call luxury – the heart has become more noble: this price range once “fed” only by reliable but modest Calibri ETA – with some extra finishing leaving space in many cases to manufacturing movements. Examples are the Breitling Calibre 01 and the TAG Heuer 1887 : the two Maisons have kept the price of their models constant, but have endeavored to offer a 100% in-house product. Attentive fans notice these signs.
There would still be many examples to do. As happens in all the revolutions, sometimes there is an abuse of the winning commercial instruments of the moment, such as limited editions : some luxury watches are “limited” but do not propose motivations either technical, historical or innovative compared to the basic collections. Certainly these changes and improvements are the positive effect of the crisis: if today you want to continue to remain open you have to get busy and seriously!