Watch Designs: No Rhyme, No Reason

As a self confessed watch lover and collector, I like most others, each year I await the next new and cool design from my favorite brands. Recently I’ve paused at the introduction of a couple new models/trends and asked myself why?

Like most other consumer categories, one would assume that new products are introduced to the market based on a combination of: being new and innovative, fashionable and stylish or useful and necessary. Furthermore, the way a smart brand might verify that what they were introducing to the market was appropriate might be to talk to their customer base, do market surveys and conduct focus groups. I have a sneaking suspicion that this doesn’t really happen in the world of luxury (at least not very much and certainly in all my years of excessive watch consumption, nobody has asked me).

Food for thought…

  • Why do brands think complications for ladies are a good idea? They certainly haven’t met my wife or any of her friends. Look and style without the hassle is the order of the day. She doesn’t want a tourbillion or perpetual calendar; she wants the new color, bigger case, innovative design or more diamonds on the watch.
  • Why do brands provide a skeleton case back and then forget (or not bother) to finish the rotor and movement?…… pssst, watch brands, that is when you should have a solid case back, FYI.
  • If you’re a brand and you’re still producing the vast majority of your watch models at case sizes under 40mm for men…… are you happy with declining sales? I realize that bigger isn’t always better and many brands have taken the “bigger is better phenonenon” to ridiculous levels.
  • Tourbillons…… hmm, you have $175k tourbillons and now you have them for under $40k. Something seems to be wrong with this spread. Is it just me?
  • If you produce a serious divers’ watch (i.e. water resistant 300m or greater) but don’t offer the watch on a rubber or metal bracelet (only leather). Again, hmmm.
  • Why do watch brands state that their watch is water resistant to 30m and then tell you it wasn’t meant to get wet?
  • One of my favorites…… so many brands have copied Panerai with integrated or protected crowns (sometimes even between the strap lugs). Are many of these brands aware that it is almost impossible to fully wind these watches without bloodshed, blisters or raw skin?

If you want to know what is going to sell luxury brands. All you need to do is ask……. your customers would love to tell you.