Can these brands conquer the hearts of watch lovers?
What if watch lovers are the main target audience? My previous article on rising prices angered some people. Almost all the traditional watch brands seem to be chasing ever higher market segments. And from your comments, Fratelli, we can see that the watch lover community is not wildly appreciative of this. This raises the question for us: what happens if certain brands go off the beaten track and focus only on enthusiasts?
I mentioned the fact that watch enthusiasts are only a minority of the watch-buying public. Earlier this week, I had a conversation with a representative of a mid-range watch brand that confirmed my point. He said, “I would guess that about 10% of our customers are seriously into watches. This was an off-the-record conversation, so I won’t reveal the brand. However, it’s a brand that has a serious fan base among enthusiasts. It is also a brand whose fake watches are not widely perceived as status symbols.
But could some brands be better targeted directly at watch enthusiasts? I wonder, for example, if Panerai is doing better now than it did back when Panerai was hugely popular or if it makes sense for Oris to pursue its own movements. Could Breitling have become a favorite among watch enthusiasts if it had kept things simple?
The truth is, I already answered my question in part one. You and I may be sensitive to this approach. We’d rather see these brands develop rock-solid bracelets and stunning finishes than fancy movements. And I can do without brand ambassadors. It would also be nice to be able to buy these copy watches at home rather than just at select boutiques.
As mentioned in a previous post, today’s micro brands would probably take the spot I suggested. Since their overhead is small, they can afford to cater to a very small target audience. I’m afraid this is no longer manageable for brands of the size mentioned above. The key question is: Is the current strategy sustainable?
There is also an opportunity to leapfrog into a fan-first brand. If you’re known for catering to hardcore purists, that can actually appeal to people out there as well. Then you’ll be speaking to a mass audience without adjusting your behavior to fit that audience.