another article from FT.com

I overlooked this other article from FT.com by Brooke Masters which was published on April 4th. It has some interesting views on brand perception. Let me know if you have problems accessing it.

best,

Jaime

http://search.ft.com/ftArticle?queryText=vacheron&aje=true&id=080404000255&ct=0

I guess high end niche brands like VC have a bright future!
04/11/2008 - 10:09

interesting article.

very interesting comments regarding VC! However after what I saw at
04/11/2008 - 12:13

the fairs the watch industry as a whole has practically eyes only for the Chinese market!!

not surprising...
04/11/2008 - 14:35

the BRIC countries (Brazil Russia, India and China) have a projected GDP growth 3x as high as the mature industrialised countries... Soon China will overtake the US as the biggest market... but I will not bore you with economics

not surprising but ridiculous! Basically
04/11/2008 - 16:15

in the eyes of the industry, well not all but other than the really high end guys (VC, PP, AP, Lange) Europe doesn't exist and China is the new El Dorado! All have Chinese ambassadors (actresses, musicians etc...) make watches limited to 8, 88, 888, 8888 etc... pieces (8 is a lucky number in China). Its just so obvious that I wonder why Basel and SIHH are not held in Shanghai or Beijing instead of Switzerland!!!

why ridiculous?
04/11/2008 - 16:28

We all know the Name of the Game is Profits...

If the economy is slowing down in the West, why not go to the East were business is booming, and millionaires are popping up every minute? It makes commercial sense... And since half the brands are owned by either Richemont or Swatch, they have a duty to their shareholders...

ridiculous in 2 ways
04/11/2008 - 16:58

1- these brands will end up shooting themselves in the foot for totally ignoring the European and US markets (Russian and Indian markets as well)

2- You can't sell such junk at such ridiculous prices thinking that the Chinese consummer will never realize that he/she is being taken for a ride.

I understand the need to make a profit but here these guys want to make a fast buck and I don't see the long term thinking in this

this is turning into an interesting debate...
04/11/2008 - 17:25

On your point 1): true, if the brands solely focus on China, it would be stupid and they would suffer from not focusing on other markets. However, my dear Moderator, on what basis do you claim that they have abondonned the US, European, Russian and Indian markets? Maybe the firms have been spending more time with Chinese distributors, but again to establish new relationships takes more time than dealing with ADs that one has known for 10+ years... 

On your point no2): Am I missing something here? If I didn't see that VC is selling a LE Plastic version of the Malte Tonneau Chronograph at a premium for the Chinese market, than I am sorry... Seriously I do not know at what prices models are being sold in China, and I do not know how many LEs are being done for that market. But my understanding of it is that ultimately, most models being sold there are the exact same ones sold in the US and Europe... So if the Chinese consumer is being taken for a ride, we probably are too...

You need to explain your point a little bit more...

IMHO, the key point is that the models are not been modified to cater for the specific taste of the China market, at the expense of other markets... the products remains Swiss, and they are sold throughout the world. The sales/marketing team of the firms then decide where their efforts have most chance of success, and push in that direction...

well...
04/11/2008 - 17:42

to answer your questions:

1) I can only point out the ambassadors the brands choose and the numbering system of the watches and limited editions but after attending these watch fairs for 8 years you kind of catch the drift of the way things are going

2) I did state in one of my posts that what I was saying was not applicable to the really high end big guys (VC, PP, AP, Lange).

As for us being taken for a ride well that is called collateral damage! Many of the watches will not be seen in US and European stores...

Unfortunately I can't give out names but if you want I'll detail this when we next catch up.

send me an email, I'm interested... (nt)
04/11/2008 - 17:54

.

Alex is right...
04/13/2008 - 00:06

a lot of high end watches will never hit the stores in Europe because they are sent to Asia first.

I find this a complete smash in the face of the European consumers.

You still have watches collectors in Europe but it seems that they're not the target of the brands anymore.

Some brands seem to forget that it was the Italian market which helped for the revival of the mechanical watch.

jérôme

Thanks, very interesting!
04/11/2008 - 14:37

and as Alex said, interesting comments on VC. It is true that their offering is quite unique!

Interesting!
04/11/2008 - 16:05

I have noticed over years, that the auctionmarket for watches,

are not as sensible as the market for traditional art,

when the bad times are outside your door

I personally have followed it back through 1987,

when the first modern chrash on the bourses came, we forget 1929,

not even I was born then .

Traditional art, art which could hang on your walls, placed on pedestals,

that means, perhaps impressing your visitors, fell as the stockmarket fell,

but the estimates for watches weren't changed!

We are collecting our pieces of art, for our own enjoyment,

and nobody generally notice them, so be glad that it's watches you have

put your money in, I never use the word invest, about watches.

You can use it everyday and it wont lose it's value  

Doc

U stole lines from my heart DOC
04/11/2008 - 20:30

"I never use the word invest, about watches"

Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its passion that make us to buy watches, wear them for more than 24 hrs a day .

What price can be more than fullfilled heart??????????????????? 

Re: another article from FT.com
04/11/2008 - 18:56

I sense some passion behind Alex's words!  I'd agree that under conglomerate ownership, profits for shareholders (and equally important, for executives) becomes the dominating philosophy.  This is a key difference between now and the past when family or small ownership allowed a brand to stay closer to it's vision.

However, on the subject of LE's or market-specific watches...it seems to me this has been Vacheron's practice since the beginning?  Recall Turkish and South American-market pocket watches...