The luxury watches industry becomes more and more digital. After years of rejecting e-commerce, luxury watch manufacturers seem to have prepared themselves for social and digital networking, as demonstrated by the previous Baselworld exhibition. Watchmaking events, Baselworld, which were held from March 22 to 27 in Basel, Switzerland, acknowledged the commitment of luxury producers in the digital era.
Patek Philippe was very concerned with the announcement of opening its first Instagram account. Every 18 months, the prestigious house will offer admirers a promise to discuss the news and knowledge, precisely at 18:39 Geneva time, referring to the year of its manufacture.
Other innovations have been submitted. Vacheron Constantin has taken an unprecedented initiative to join the “Ask Me Anything” forum on the Reddit website to directly answer questions from Internet users about model design, new things or history. It also made chatbots on Facebook Messenger to help customers in their purchases and introduce them to new products. This platform may seem out of tune with the luxury image of the house, but it also brings together enthusiastic audiences, especially those who are committed and curious. Vacheron Constantin has built a strong community on Instagram around its vintage works.
On the model side, Frédérique Constant launched the Hybrid Manufacture model, the first mechanical movement watch that contained personal data recording technology. Hublot presented its first smart watch, a connected watch specifically designed for referees during its partnership with World Cup football.
Recruitment of new buyers also involves retail innovation, which was presented at Baselworld. Thus, Bell & Ross has announced the sale of three unique pieces, each 400,000 euros: one on Mr Porter’s site, the second in its own electronics store and the last in a traditional shop. Their buyers will have the opportunity to come to Switzerland on a private jet to meet watchmakers who make models.
The Swiss brand Oris is preparing to launch its own e-shop in the United States, but also plans to distribute cellphone stores, installed in American Airsteam caravans, at the summer festival to meet the most. young consumers.
In Paris, Omega has opened a mortal boutique dedicated to NATO bracelets. With a digital screen on the door, it allows customers to scroll through various bracelets to adjust their watch and order with a few clicks on the smartphone, to be sent at home.
Tag Heuer said its online sales capability, which currently exists in five countries, will be expanded over the next 18 months. Richemont, the parent company of Cartier and Montblanc, has taken a stake in Net-A-Porter, with the aim of increasing its attack power in e-commerce.
It offers the opportunity to meet customers from all over the world or areas that are not yet affordable, but with technology, it’s easier to connect without seeing yourself. In addition, luxury demonstrations at large costs are not very popular.
What must be remembered?
Watchmakers have long been reluctant to sell online, for fear of counterfeiting and not tarnishing their image of this extraordinary purchase. They maintain the image of luxury and will always be like that. You can’t expect Rolex, for example, to sell Rolex Oyster Perpetualthrough Amazon or Alibaba just to expand sales. For them, the image of luxury is the last thing they want to ignore.
Today, online trading accounts for 3% of watchmaker sales, but its share can rise to around 8 to 12% in 2022, depending on the price range.
While catching up with other markets, the watch industry questioned the opportunity to organize large meetings such as Baselworld.