How can the posh watch business survive?

How can the luxury watch industry survive?

The Swiss watch business has dominated ever because the 1800s when farmers started assembling handcrafted mechanical watches throughout harsh winter months. Right this moment Swiss watches are synonymous with luxurious and status. However can the Swiss watchmaking business survive?


Hundreds of thousands of shoppers are investing within the comfort of getting a mini-computer strapped to  their wrist, in any case why would you put on a watch that may solely inform the time when a smartwatch can reply your calls, textual content your pals and monitor your health objectives? The discharge of the Apple watch, and the various different designs which adopted swimsuit, revolutionised watchmaking for the primary time in centuries.

Nonetheless, for conventional and new watch accumulating aficionados, a sensible watch is the equal of a manufacturing unit van to an unique automobile collector – it misses the purpose solely. Even watches that combine conventional craftsmanship with the performance of digital expertise will fail to seize the eye of true collectors.

Classical watchmakers have a possibility to capitalise on and attraction to an rising market of watch collectors: a technology that grew up with expertise and rejects its omnipresence. As the recognition of mindfulness actions comparable to yoga and meditation peak, so too do the low-tech, sluggish tech, neo-luddite and tech-free actions. A rising swathe of individuals reject wearables that ‘ping’ us away from the current second.

Though collectors might persist with classical fashions, shoppers have come to anticipate a curated, technology-driven discovery and shopping for expertise. For instance, a magazine advert can now embody augmented actuality (AR) hyperlinks, which imply when you put your cellphone over a photograph, an immersive video in regards to the watch can start to play. This will result in elevated gross sales and assist a conventional model attain a tech-savvy viewers.

Creativity and innovation

Season after season, classical watchmakers launch a brand new version of a classic watch – “best-selling classic watches reimagined.” Nonetheless, mature manufacturers can now not afford to play it protected as impartial watchmakers like Akrivia and Singer Reimagined problem the likes of Rolex and Omega.

Whereas the Swiss watchmaking business is stuffed with staggeringly artistic and proficient individuals, they usually work for organisations pushed by the underside line and counting on their fame and heritage – not their innovation. I consider that an overreliance on income interprets into misplaced creativity and a drained routine of re-releasing best-selling fashions.

Watch manufacturers that seize the chance to make the concepts of the previous related within the 21st century usually tend to cement their place within the business and its future. For example, I labored with veteran designer Damien Ummel to problem and evolve the design requirements of a normal GMT journey watch. CuleM’s inaugural GMT World Timers clear up the historic inaccuracy of journey watches for the primary time, and show the right time in 24 time zones – an important characteristic for the globetrotters of our technology.  By seeking to the long run, fairly than to the previous, the watch business has a possibility each to stay related and to succeed in new shoppers. By continuously trying backwards at design, it can fail to attain both.

Synthetic intelligence (AI)

The ability of AI to drive clever advertising has begun to evolve the watch business as we all know it. Emotional Analytics (EMO), a start-up primarily based in Singapore for example, makes use of AI to group knowledge from billions of social content material updates into subjects of curiosity by mapping out the emotional engagement with every matter.

This perception may also help guarantee data-driven progress for business gamers. For instance, EMO just lately studied new watch manufacturers with a worth level beneath $500. This revealed some very fascinating insights that watch manufacturers can capitalise on to make sure they’re creating watches that folks really need. For instance; individuals have a powerful desire for Swiss automated watches, like diving, pilot, and costume watches; they like 42mm watches or small 38mm watches and have a impartial opinion about 40mm watches; nato and rubber straps are the preferred; and the preferred colors are blue and black. This type of perception may also help cut back the dangers when launching a brand new watch, and permits a model to mix innovation with design features that buyers need.


Baselworld has lengthy been an important occasion of the business’s calendar, nonetheless sadly it isn’t the one business participant which might supply behind-the-scenes entry to new watch improvements and releases. Social media influencers, for example, can goal hundreds of thousands of individuals in a method that may be tracked and analyzed for impressions, engagement, and effectivity. Subsequently, Baselworld should now reconcile its iconic existence connecting passionate collectors and watchmakers with novel types of advertising and expertise.

For example, Baselworld would possibly contemplate dwell streaming extra of its classes, or enabling exhibiting watch manufacturers to host sponsored webinars for world audiences. Increasingly conferences are promoting to a web based viewers in addition to the offline guests. Problems with time, the impression of journey on the surroundings, and the price of visiting are all eroding customer numbers, however an occasion can nonetheless be an enormous success if it embraces the web world; opening as much as digital guests from throughout the globe. Leveraging AI and new improvements in communications expertise, Baselworld can guarantee its offline occasion generates a wealth of digital knowledge. In so doing,  Baselworld could possibly supply impartial manufacturers actionable insights from probably the most helpful microcosms of the watch business.

An funding inside attain

Luxurious watches mix high-end Swiss craftsmanship and timeless design right into a fascinating object that may stick with collectors for many years to return. While worth factors for Swiss-made automated watches can exceed 100,000 euros, watch accumulating is now not an funding past attain. Developments in manufacturing and factory-direct retail enterprise fashions have opened up luxurious watch accumulating to new markets.

These enterprise mannequin improvements should not about chopping prices or high quality – it’s about discovering new, revolutionary methods to promote direct to the client, eliminating conventional stores with giant mark-ups, and delivering the financial savings to the client.

By revolutionary methods to attach with prospects, and cut back prices with out compromising on design and high quality, there is a chance for start-up manufacturers to create one other tier within the watch collector market, attracting new patrons with a barely decrease price-point.

There’ll all the time be a spot for the very high-end watches like Vacheron Constantin or Laurent Ferrier, however micro-brands within the 2,000 to five,000 Euro retail worth level shall be fierce rivals as shoppers search worth, relevance, and a substitute for the established order.


Matthew Cule is a passionate collector of watches and founding father of CuleM Watches, an impartial luxurious journey watch model. Culem’s World GMT assortment of Swiss made twin time, automated watches are designed for individuals who like to journey.  Culem believes there’s nothing extra significant and wonderful than journey – and no object extra particular than a watch, so every watch is a masterpiece, a murals and the right journey companion.

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