So, if you have not read the latest article by Ablogtowatch on the yay and nay of 2017, you should. http://www.ablogtowatch.com/10-things-watches-want-more-less-2017/
It is a thoughtful and insightful article. I agreed on most of the points shared and glad that we are living in a world today where opinions can be shared and agreed easily in the net. Since today is the first day of the year, I want to have my fair share of opinions written down and it would be great if i can revisit my opinions by the end of the year.
1) More High-Quality Kickstarter Campaigns
I for one believe that there will still be a lot of crap watch. And i do not see how quality things can go from here. Established micro brand, will continue to have new project and will likely gather enough follower for new campaigns, but new micro brand without significant value proposition will not get their way. Pricing is very sensitive in Kickstarter campaign. I am curious on how these brands can further increase the value, maintain a certain level of quality while be sensible on their pricing.
As for me, i have kinda immune to microbrand these days, the only few that touch me is either no nonsense bronze watch or panda dial like the Nezumi. Almost bought a Redux Courg A dial, but in the end persisted.
I bought zero microbrand last year, it also means that they have to do more to win me over and one up over my existing collection. Much like the football team, you can only have 11 players on the field, 5 on the bench and another dozen of 1st team players. But there’s only 1 wrist and many competition for place everyday.
2) More Bright Colors
Ya, bright color definitely helps. Green, Orange, it will freshen things up and hopefully create a new collection craze. Looking forward to see watches in different vibrant combination. Imagine Flieger in green, or oranges. That would be cool. I am usually not a big fan of JeanRichard, but the JR Terrascope in Primary Colors really nailed it when it comes to Bright color. I would definitely buy 1, but its out of my budget range. While it is great for watch company to come out with more bright colors watches, bright colors also usually mean fun and casual, and customers may not willing to pay premium for it.
3) More Original Watch Collections
Ya. Who doesn’t get exited with a new watch deign / release. I see Kickstarter’s microbrand trying to innovate harder than the general watch company. Existing model re-release with different movement? Different Size? Different dial color? Innovation may be risky and may not fare well by the customer, but at least as a customer, we can see the future. And it is great to see the brand you are supporting moving forward. Haha. Stowa Rana comes to my mind instantly.
More Less Functionality & Fewer Complications
Function? Sadly. I dont use any with my watches. Except occasionally using my GMT to do some countdown. I am not a big fan of date function with my watch. Because i am lazy to update the date everything i wear them. I rotate my watch time to time so i see no reason to have a date function on watch except for aesthetic reason. Luckily, no brand charge customer for extra date function. Imagine, where, extra date function will cost another EUR50.
The only function that i see really useful is power reserve indicator on a manual wind watch. That is useful and at least server a real purpose. Other complications such as Chrono or GMT really make little use for normal customers, when you can have all the function in the phone. This will be further obsolete when we, human can have those info display directly to us much like the google glass or have those info update to us via AI / voiceover. Tourbillion? beautiful eye catcher but expensive to maintain. Will it help sell more watches this year? No. It is not for us normal customers.
Fewer More Vintage Re-Releases
Contrary to ABTW opinions, i am actually believe that more vintage re-releases will help the industry overall. Its a less risky move (as compare with having a new line), and easily gauge. Microbrand has been doing this to mild success in the past few years, so why not the big or established players do the same? E.g. Give me a Stowa Panda Chrono.
6) Less Black, Brown, & Gray, More Blue
Agreed with less black, brown and gray dial, but less Blue dial? Who does not like a Blue dial? Look at the IWC Flieger in Blue, Stowa Flieger in Blue, Panerai in Blue, its a Blue world, Blue sky, Blue Sea, and even the earth looks Blue when looking from the space station.
I have no problem for watch company to have more Blue watch, just need to ensure they are refine and properly done. Dont give us “China Blue” Rock band. (Pun Intended)
7) Fewer Brand Ambassadors
Totally agreed, brand ambassadors used to work, but with the way information distribute these days, information about a certain watch brands or models can be easily found on the net. Reviews, pictures and testimonial is aplenty. People are getting smarter too. So having brand ambassadors helps but it is really not useful way of spending the marketing funds.
Money should be spent on establishing good brand value and word of mouth of a brand. If i am a watch brand marketing folks, i would rather sponsor or spend on online influencer such as watch blogs, youtube personalities etc. These are the peoples that will shape the customer’s taste.
8) Fewer Hurdles To Buying
Stowa and some of other watch brands (e.g. Archimede) have been doing this successfully to an extend that i find them as a real differentiation compare with other watch brand. While i may not have the chance to try on the watch, i am at least sure that i can get the watch at the official price and not to worry about buying it expensive or have to opt for the grey market. Reviewes are plenty on the net and with proper customer services, i can buy the watch confidently.
Taking example of Nomos watch, you can buy Nomos directly from Nomos, as well as many of the AD’s around the world, if i am decided to buy a Nomos, i will have to search around for the best possible price. Nothing wrong with that, it have its advantages, but its just troublesome way of buying stuff. With the advance of Virtual Reality Technology (VR), one day maybe customer can even try on the watch on the wrist using VR. Pretty sure this will happen one day.
Agreed totally with ABTW about freeing the market and allow ADs to sell watches online, but i am still skeptical that having different AD’s will resulting in different AD’s in different part of the world selling at different price point. Why not just remove the ADs?
Ok. There’s all i have for today. Thanks for reading.
*Photos credit to the respective watch brands. JeanRichard photo from Abogtowatch. Stowa Panda Chrono picture from GhentWatch
You can check out Nezumi watches here.
You can check out Redux here
You can check out JeanRichard here
You can check out Stowa here
You can check out Archimede here