The Devil’s Advocate
The year has come and gone. It hasn’t been an easy one for the watchmakers, or any other industry for that matter. Marques strive to excite the market with highly customer-friendly designs amid a cloud of economic uncertainty. Word has it that the market is slowing down with fewer purchases, but quarterly sales report from the big groups show a healthy jump from previous years. If economists are spot-on with their forecasts, then 2013 will be an even tougher year. That said, we are urging the brands not to take the safe routes. Be daring, challenge your limits, and you will widen your clientele pool. After all, a larger customer base can only be a boon. Here, Style:MEN draws up a wish list.
Yes, you have done a great job with the women’s high complications over the last two years with the Ref 7000R and Ref 7059R. But things have been quiet on the men’s side. When the market seems intent on creating basic pieces to make a tidy profit, please, show the rest of the world who the real boss is by creating a stunner. It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as the Calibre 89 or the SkyMoon Tourbillon, but one that make the cognoscenti go ooh and ahh!
One more addition to the Heritage collection, we say! Everything about the series has been lauded by insiders. From the price points to the intelligent and stylish modernisation of an archived design, there has been little complaints. If we were the Tudor executives, we’ll continue with the Heritage series. A piece of advice: Stick to one design a year just to maintain the magic.
The Reverso, for all its incarnations, has retained its character, and is definitely a worthy pillar for the brand. Credit has to be given to its high complications team for out-of-the-box creations like the Duometre Spherotourbillon. But the rest in between seems a blur. Not that they are bad creations, but it seems that Jaeger-LeCoultre has its fingers dipped in every pie, resulting in a minor identity crisis. Having something for every segment is always a good business strategy but when you have one too many, it just makes you look greedy and operating without direction. Focus.
The brand has refuted rumours that it is selling its watch business. But such uncertainties in today’s shaky times aren’t any relief for investors, consumers and collectors alike. Sure, it has the annual Opus project that sets pulses racing. But there is always a nagging suspicion that the horology arm is nothing more than a hobby and that it seems to be just a PR vehicle for Harry Winston watches. How many horological breakthroughs outside of the Opus project has it created in recent times? None. How about designing and developing something new and, hopefully, revolutionary as well?
From $15-quartz watches to $15,000-high-precision ones, Seiko has produced the entire gamut of timepieces. And within every sub-line, there are more merits than demerits. Which is where the problem lies. Every series has its fans, but where does the Seiko branding stand? Is it the market leader for affordable, functional watches or does it want to represent Japan and Asia to challenge Switzerland in high-end watchmaking? Our wish is for Seiko to consolidate its lines and ascertain a stronger identity. Diffusion lines, as common as it is in fashion, don’t quite work in horology. Arigato gozaimasu.