anonimo, its image and branding: a moving target?
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  1. #1
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    anonimo, its image and branding: a moving target?

    so, help me think this all through...

    i've owned my first quality timepiece for a few weeks now. it's an anonimo militare automatico 2010 ss (likely manufactured in +/- 2008, see it as the last post, at least to date, here). i'm loving it. my wife and i bought the last anonimo branded watch from the lovely collection of little treasury jewelers [crofton, md]. it's likely to be my only such purchase, if not forever, at least for quite some time.

    when i first took an interest in a luxury watch, i found myself drawn to panerai (likely a pam 176 or 177). i wanted an exclusive watch (in a classic design), but only so to a limited number of true enthusiasts. i wouldn't be caught dead in a rolex, tag, etc. (no offense to those who wear them). if the brand was a household name, i was out. i wanted a watch that would never be seen as pretentious, but would also never be overlooked. with this combination in mind, the watch needed to justify its existence on style, build quality, and functionality alone, rather than brand, cost, logo, or "image."

    after browsing the cases of my local panerai dealer, liljenquist & beckstead jewelers company [annapolis, md], for (truly) years, i decided the panerai brand and image weren't the best fit for me (truth be told, i still love the watches). not only was the brand growing at a greater clip than i was comfortable, the story behind its acquisition by compagnie financičre richemont s.a. and the subsequent relocation of its manufacturing facility to switzerland, robbed the allure of the brand to me.

    it was precisely in this state of mind that i was captivated by steve hammalian (owner of little treasury, along with his lovely wife linda) and his storytelling regarding the anonimo brand about 12 months ago:

    a. anonimo: unknown person, anonymous, nameless, etc.
    b. a watch company so comfortable with the quality of its product that it chose to leave its face brand/logo-less (!).
    c. a watch case that's still "manufactured," never stamped (and in the old panerai factory by many of the same panerai craftsmen/women to boot!)
    d. etc., etc., etc...

    i was in love. not being an impulse buyer, i spent some time considering the brand, his inventory, online reviews, etc.

    then, in a perfect intersection of good fortune and timing, i stumbled through the doors of little treasury during their 10th anniversary sale late last month (9/2011). i found one remaining anonimo in the case: my militare automatico. after a reacquaintance with steve's excellent knowledge and another recounting of the anonimo narrative, i was hooked for good. and, in a necessary development, the remaining timepiece was a 2008 manufacture with a brand/logo-less face. done.

    so... a few questions (and i'd love as many response as we can muster):

    1. why anonimo for you?
    2. why do you think anonimo has abandoned (in part) its founding philosophy regarding the brand/logo-less appearance of the face?
    3. where's the brand heading from here?
    4. what would it take for you to get off the train? is there any particular misstep towards which the brand is headed (or could head)?

    thanks for sharing your thoughts... jk

    p.s. i'd still love to trade militare straps if there's an appropriate fit out there...

    [sidebar: the fact that steve and little treasury have been lost as active anonimo dealers is an unfortunate story for another time.]
    Last edited by jct111; October 10th, 2011 at 20:13.

  2. #2
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    Re: anonimo, its image and branding: a moving target?

    1. I got into anonimo for the same reasons, heritage, manufacturing methods, design etc
    2. They're proud of their brand and I guess they want to show the world who they are.
    3. I see more updates coming up to existing models. Maybe a few more bronze designs. I would like to see a couple more shiny models.
    4. If they get too pricey or too gimmicky/funky (like uboat).
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  3. #3
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    Re: anonimo, its image and branding: a moving target?

    1. why anonimo for you?
    - for the same reason as most, unique brand, beautiful case, great history, high quality

    2. why do you think anonimo has abandoned (in part) its founding philosophy regarding the brand/logo-less appearance of the face?
    - because a logo is easier to embrace than a nameless watch face

    3. where's the brand heading from here?
    - from what i have seen recently, the company appears to be in a transition phase with their design and offerings. there's experimentation with new materials (carbon fiber) and pushing the design envelope (anonimo tricolore).

    4. what would it take for you to get off the train? is there any particular misstep towards which the brand is headed (or could head)?

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  5. #4
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    Re: anonimo, its image and branding: a moving target?

    thanks for your replies. i must admit, i'd hoped to hear from a few more of my fellow anonimists. are there other opinions out there? jk

  6. #5
    Ball Watch, Bremont and Longines moderator samanator's Avatar
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    Re: anonimo, its image and branding: a moving target?

    So for me (you'll find I look more at the business side of things):
    1. The 10 Panerai I had were getting too common. They are somewhat outrageous with some of the things they do like having ten watches of the same model each being slightly different. You would have to appreciate early Ducati or other Italian products to appreciate this. Owning an Anonimo sometimes requires a sense of humor.

    2. Being Anonymous was probably not a great marketing strategy. I personally like the new dials better (except for the green). Note that some of the old models were pretty busy.

    3. Less models, less quantity, higher prices and profitable so it can survive. Not the best news for collectors until the dumping of the earlier models goes away.

    4. Actually all of the above are what is keeping me. Not real clear who is steering the ship given Dino Z has a honorary President title (read into the business implications of this) so this concerns me. The good news is there are quite a few good watch company leaders that could come in and do well. The only thing is they would not be Italian.
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  7. #6
    Member Firenze's Avatar
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    Re: anonimo, its image and branding: a moving target?

    Hi jct111,

    first of all welcome to the Anonimo family. As for your questions and request for more answers, I have been on this forum for quite some time, and I notice that q1 and q2 are posted periodically. So I feel a sense of tiredness at repeating the same story (for what is worht). A search would definetly allow to find many many answers (not just from me but from all those who have been here long enough to face the same situation). Don't mean to be rude at all.

    Now the though part:

    q3: don't know man. I sense the company still needs to do reach a balanced growth path. They are not that helpful in their communication department, thus making it hard to infer (and in line with the old approach). But I feel they are simply targeting a different crowd than the forum lurkers... And if that crowd likes what they get, the company will prosper.

    q4: I am in the "no buy for now" mood since their 10th Anniversary line... At status quo, I'll keep that. True I have already enough models (I prefer to buy one from each brand, I have 2, purchased brand new from AD --- you know how much I lost in terms of value... but that does not matter too much since the plan is to keep them both.). I could potentially change my mind if I see:

    1) Rationalization and simplification of the collection. Too many hybrid models, for example, are confusing.

    2) Improve on designs. Cases are done with great attention to detail and precision, why can't dials follow the same logic? How about hands? Right now I feel Anonimo is sitting on a bick stock of hands and date wheels, so that they use them to any model they design, regardless of the fact these pieces are a good match. To me, most of the times, they are not. Think about the Tricolore. I love the summer dial color, but the rest (hands and date plate) are no match. My opinion of course.

    There are signals that go in the right direction (in my opinion), though, like the Militare vintage, especially with the improvements on the dial paintings and colorings. Same on the strap side, they seem to have improved A LOT, because the original kodiak designs were not that appealing to the eyes. Again they lacked that little attention to details we see in their cases.

    So as I stated many years already, let's wait and see next Basel if the glass is half empty or half full.

    My personal and sincere 2 cents.

  8. #7
    Member TK-421's Avatar
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    Re: anonimo, its image and branding: a moving target?

    samanator nailed it.

    anonimo had to better market itself. even though they were endeared by many collectors, they were literally not getting their name out in the market. they were losing money. the new owners have repositioned them to be a stronger brand. sometimes change is necessary in order to survive.

    also, some of the old models had all kinds of logos and certifications on them and no name. to me the made in firenze is awesome.

  9. #8
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    Re: anonimo, its image and branding: a moving target?

    Interesting post that makes me think. I love the Panerai watches but am also annoyed by Panerai at the same time. I see to many people wearing them that I don't feel related to...it's a very big watch that noone can overlook and everyone knows they are expensive. I don't want to send that message. I buy the watch for me, not for what others will think of it (or me).

    Then I spotted Anonimo. Certainly some design elements match, they are big, robust and tough. Have only met 1 person who knew the brand and i guess I'm the only one that knows how much I paid for it which suits me fine. The fact that you see a few also raises it's value for me beyond Panerai.

    The design though, still love the Panerai...but this one suits me better and I fully enjoy it.

    What it would take to get me off the train? I already said that in a different thread but I can't follow what the brand is doing. Camouflage dials with swords on them, maybe for on a GI Joe but not for me. A Basel model that had the incorrect time on the dial (I think it had 20 in the 21 position...come on!). Some models also have lot's of overlapping elements on the dial (like the chrono) which I dislike. The new Militare vintage has the text "vintage" on the dial which defeats the purpose. I know I'm a very critical guy, but then I look at my wrist and spot the Black dial Millemetri and that model captures for me what Anonimo is: clean, great design, nothing that could have been left out (minimalist design) and I know I already have the perfect Anonimo despite what else they bring out. Just hoping for a bronze one someday if the right deal comes along and also hoping their "line" becomes more stable to keep the brand-fit.
    geekster and iim7v7im7 like this.

  10. #9
    Member iim7v7im7's Avatar
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    Re: anonimo, its image and branding: a moving target?

    Well said....

    Quote Originally Posted by glengoyne17 View Post
    Interesting post that makes me think. I love the Panerai watches but am also annoyed by Panerai at the same time. I see to many people wearing them that I don't feel related to...it's a very big watch that noone can overlook and everyone knows they are expensive. I don't want to send that message. I buy the watch for me, not for what others will think of it (or me).

    Then I spotted Anonimo. Certainly some design elements match, they are big, robust and tough. Have only met 1 person who knew the brand and i guess I'm the only one that knows how much I paid for it which suits me fine. The fact that you see a few also raises it's value for me beyond Panerai.

    The design though, still love the Panerai...but this one suits me better and I fully enjoy it.

    What it would take to get me off the train? I already said that in a different thread but I can't follow what the brand is doing. Camouflage dials with swords on them, maybe for on a GI Joe but not for me. A Basel model that had the incorrect time on the dial (I think it had 20 in the 21 position...come on!). Some models also have lot's of overlapping elements on the dial (like the chrono) which I dislike. The new Militare vintage has the text "vintage" on the dial which defeats the purpose. I know I'm a very critical guy, but then I look at my wrist and spot the Black dial Millemetri and that model captures for me what Anonimo is: clean, great design, nothing that could have been left out (minimalist design) and I know I already have the perfect Anonimo despite what else they bring out. Just hoping for a bronze one someday if the right deal comes along and also hoping their "line" becomes more stable to keep the brand-fit.
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  11. #10
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    Re: anonimo, its image and branding: a moving target?

    Quote Originally Posted by glengoyne17 View Post
    Interesting post that makes me think. I love the Panerai watches but am also annoyed by Panerai at the same time. I see to many people wearing them that I don't feel related to...it's a very big watch that noone can overlook and everyone knows they are expensive. I don't want to send that message. I buy the watch for me, not for what others will think of it (or me).

    Then I spotted Anonimo. Certainly some design elements match, they are big, robust and tough. Have only met 1 person who knew the brand and i guess I'm the only one that knows how much I paid for it which suits me fine. The fact that you see a few also raises it's value for me beyond Panerai.

    The design though, still love the Panerai...but this one suits me better and I fully enjoy it.

    What it would take to get me off the train? I already said that in a different thread but I can't follow what the brand is doing. Camouflage dials with swords on them, maybe for on a GI Joe but not for me. A Basel model that had the incorrect time on the dial (I think it had 20 in the 21 position...come on!). Some models also have lot's of overlapping elements on the dial (like the chrono) which I dislike. The new Militare vintage has the text "vintage" on the dial which defeats the purpose. I know I'm a very critical guy, but then I look at my wrist and spot the Black dial Millemetri and that model captures for me what Anonimo is: clean, great design, nothing that could have been left out (minimalist design) and I know I already have the perfect Anonimo despite what else they bring out. Just hoping for a bronze one someday if the right deal comes along and also hoping their "line" becomes more stable to keep the brand-fit.
    +2 . Some of the original minimalist designs were very good. It seems the farther along they come the worse its getting. I love my militare... a lot. But these new models are REALLY missing me.

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