Amongst the largest four watchmaking groups, is there a consensus on the best way to announce watches?
You have LVMH (owners TAG Heuer, Zenith, and Bulgari), which both hosted its own physical show in January, and plans to attend Watches and Wonders in March, all while digitally communicating about the releases along the way.
Then you have Rolex (owners of Tudor) and Richemont (owners of Cartier, IWC, and Jaeger-LeCoultre), who make most or all of their releases during the physical Watches and Wonders show, with digital releases being made simultaneously.
Finally, you have the Swatch Group (owners of Omega, Tissot, and Swatch), which does not attend Watches and Wonders, or any large physical trade show at all, and instead makes its primary announcements digitally.
Among the different communications strategies, the one thing that’s consistent across all four watch groups is digital distribution. In a year when workforce and cost reductions are abundant, following a period when digital essentially saved businesses, during the pandemic — the cost-effectiveness of digital communication continues to reign supreme.
Audemars Piguet’s CEO, François-Henry Bennahmias, who’s entering his final year before retirement, reconfirmed the company’s intent on launching a certified pre-owned program, although no start date has been given. This is not particularly surprising after Rolex officially announced a certified pre-owned program in December 2022, and the fact that AP made public its plans for a CPO program as far back as 2019.
Gray market dealer Anthony Farrer of the Timepiece Gentleman recently audio-recorded a discussion with an Arizona authorized dealer representative that misled a customer about the authenticity of a Rolex, which provides a reminder of the importance of carefully authenticating any new luxury watch bought outside of the authorized distribution network.
For those of you looking for solutions to sell your timepiece, this month we explained how the new watch live auction site Grailzee works.
Omega debuted its latest advancement in chronometry, via the Speedmaster Super Racing, which features the high-precision patent pending Spirate balance spring that improves the timekeeping rate to 0/+2 seconds per day.
In what’s more of a model update than an actual new watch release, this week, Vacheron Constantin added a “true Panda” dial to the stainless steel Overseas Chronograph collection, a dial combination we alluded to, hypothetically, in our 2021 review of the Overseas Chronograph of the “reverse Panda” dial.
Photo by Vacheron Constantin.