Let's play a round of "Armchair CEO"
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  1. #1
    Member Agent Sands's Avatar
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    Let's play a round of "Armchair CEO"

    Many of us tend to do a bit of this in various threads, so I thought it might be fun to build an entire thread around this idea.

    The gist is this: what five-year plan would you put in place if you're the CEO of one of the watch brands or watch brand conglomerates to make them more successful? Obviously, this is speculative--we have limited access to statistics--but I think many of us have enough good sense to throw out some interesting ideas. (This recent article about the market share of the Swiss watch industry may be a helpful reference point.)

    Of course, what appeals to watch collectors might not necessarily appeal to the market at large, and, for this thought experiment, we should be thinking about the latter, not the former. This is about longevity and viability, not necessarily about appealing to the interests of collectors and enthusiasts. So whatever ideas you have about brand authenticity or prestige need to be balanced against what might actually succeed in the market and ensure the financial success of the brand over the next five years.

    I'll start with my proposals for one of the biggest fish in the sea, the Swatch Group. If you were to give me Hayek Jr.'s job, I'd seek to do the following:


    • Design and gradually implement a vast "watches are for everyone" ad campaign.
      • This campaign would celebrate the entire Swatch Group brand lineup as a collective, highlighting the history of Swiss watchmaking and its place in culture, from the history of Breguet to the Swatch watch to the Moon Watch to James Bond films, with a message that there's a watch for every person in every stage of their life. This ad campaign would be tailored largely to the North American market to help firm up American interest, but would have regional variations as well.
      • This campaign would be paired with a touring Swatch Group version of Patek Phillippe's recent New York exhibition--celebrating timekeeping with a particular eye toward the legacy of Swatch Group brands--that would hit not just NYC, but cultural hotspots like San Francisco and Seattle.
      • This campaign would serve as a gateway to help establish/reintroduce brands that aren't currently thriving, opening up well-located brand boutiques in cities that currently lack them.

    • Work to clarify/focus brand personalities and product lines, attempting to minimize the great overlap between them.
      • The Swatch will continue to focus its offerings around the Sistem51.
      • The entry-level range (Certina, Hamilton, Mido, Tissot) would undergo a five-year overhaul to clarify branding, attempting to minimize some of the truly substantial overlap that exists here and into the mid-range.
        • Tissot, the major performer here, will largely be restricted to the $500 and under segment, with a renewed focus on mechanical watches. A major attempt will be made to clarify the lineup around the sportier side of the Tissot aesthetic (and we may see some appropriate sporting tie-in pieces). The entry-level Swissmatic (the rebranded Sistem51) line will be expanded with a lot of promotion around mechanical watchmaking, tying in to SG-wide "a watch for everyone" campaign.
        • Hamilton will receive newfound promotion as a competitor to Shinola, offering legitimate watchmaking credentials as one of the most historically valued "American" brands. As with Tissot, there will be a serious attempt to cleanup the lines offered by Hamilton, with emphasis on its history.
        • Certina and Mido will be secondary contenders here, but they'll each move to focus on different parts of the ranges not particularly covered by Tissot and Hamilton. Certina will focus primarily, as its lineup does, on building excellent entry-level dive watches (the sports watches offered by Tissot and Hamilton will generally be 100M WR and under), while Mido will focus on the quality dress watch aesthetic (this will be aided by de-emphasizing the dress lines of the other brands).

      • Longines and Rado are seemingly performing well in their markets and segments, though a push will be made to move both lines away from standard-issue quartz pieces (which overlap greatly with the entry-level brands) and promote their mechanical offerings.
      • The upper range will be dramatically restructured. Blancpain, Breguet, Harry Winston, Glashütte Original, Omega, and Jaquet Droz all butt heads with one another.
        • Omega will follow its current trajectory, largely occupying the market space just below Rolex. It will compete will Rolex through value, rather than through direct price-point battles, and will look to eclipse Tudor as the trendy, youthful luxury brand.
        • Glashütte will move into the slot just above Omega, and will look toward the creation of a defining piece that will establish it as something other than a more affordable ALS.
        • Blancpain will work to develop new, trendy pieces beyond its Fifty Fathoms and Villeret offerings. Blancpain will become the home of high-end Swatch Group R&D with materials, developing and premiering new technologies that will, over time, be shared with GO and Omega.
        • Breguet will start to move past its sense of "legacy" and establish itself as an appropriate competitor to the more boutique watchmaking excellence of watchmakers F.P. Journe and Laurent Ferrier by establishing a connection with a living watchmaker of repute who can help shape the brand's future.
        • Jaquet Droz is kind of a question mark. I'm not sure *where* or *to whom* the brand is directed at this point in time, so perhaps the task would be to truly figure out what place Jaquet Droz holds.

  2. #2
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    Re: Let's play a round of "Armchair CEO"

    I need an executive summary.
    timefleas, taike, McCarthy and 1 others like this.

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    Re: Let's play a round of "Armchair CEO"

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Sands View Post
    The gist is this: what five-year plan would you put in place if you're the CEO of one of the watch brands or watch brand conglomerates to make them more successful?
    Sell everything, pocket the inevitable bonuses and salaries and stuff, move to somewhere warm - maybe around new zealand - and live a happy long life away from all this modern finance nonsense.

    That's pretty much it, really.
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    Re: Let's play a round of "Armchair CEO"

    Quote Originally Posted by X2-Elijah View Post
    Sell everything, pocket the inevitable bonuses and salaries and stuff, move to somewhere warm - maybe around new zealand - and live a happy long life away from all this modern finance nonsense.

    That's pretty much it, really.
    Cue the end credit music from BODY HEAT.
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    Re: Let's play a round of "Armchair CEO"

    I like this.
    I am going to select Bulova.

    1. Phase out all watches larger than 44 mm's across and at least 70% of your current model lines. i think both WIS and regular customers have spoken enough about making smaller watches.
    2. Phase all regular quartz watches into either an accutron or a precisionist.
    3. Create 3 design departments; dress, sport, and professional. Hire a new design manager for each department.
    4. Cut model numbers down to 15 max. Each model will have different variants in regards to materials and colors however no more than 15 models should exist at a time.
    5. Using Citizens solar expertise, find a way to make all accutron and precisionist models solar. The short battery life span of current precisionist and accutron models will not work well with ISO certified divers.
    6. Begin a program which will move all precisionist and accutron movements manufacturing to the US. Explain to citizen that this move is what will be best for the company in the long run.
    7. In the year 2025, at an event in NYC, release two all american made accutron and precisionist watches to commemorate Bulova's 150 year anniversary, informing the public that you are also working on an in house automatic movement.

  7. #6
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    Re: Let's play a round of "Armchair CEO"

    1. Collect underpants
    2. ???
    3. Profit!


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    Re: Let's play a round of "Armchair CEO"

    I come here to relax. This is too much like working.
    But I will support whoever comes up with a great watch for nearly no money.

  9. #8
    Member imaCoolRobot's Avatar
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    Re: Let's play a round of "Armchair CEO"

    Seiko
    get them to start regulating their damn watches (for anything above $1,000)
    fire the entire design team and bring in someone who understands layout balance
    threaten the movement gang that you'll start using Miyota movements if they don't improve.
    and FFS make some smaller Divers
    and figure out who keeps misaligning the dials.
    Last edited by imaCoolRobot; May 12th, 2018 at 20:04.
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    I see so many flaws in the OP plan. Swatch group unified marketing campaign? No non-wis wants to hear that their precious Breguet, GO or even Omega is made by the same maker as Swatch - it will drastically cheapen the brand image. Reduce overlapping and internal competition? People always look for alternatives to a given option. I am sure lots of micro brands will be more than happy to fill the gap in the market.

    Personally, as a potential CEO of a watch mass produced conglomerate, one thing I will look into will be to provide more interesting complications beyond the ubiquitous chronograph in the low-mid market - the Powermatic experiment was pretty succesful. But why not re-introduce a micro-rotor to Hamilton? It will make a much prettier movement to look at on the watch back. For an affordable tourbillon the only affordable option comes from China. I am sure people would like to see some cheap tourbilons branded as Swiss or Japanese made.
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  11. #10
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    Re: Let's play a round of "Armchair CEO"

    Quote Originally Posted by MstrDabbles View Post
    2. Phase all regular quartz watches into either an accutron or a precisionist.
    I think this makes sense for Bulova. Their separate product lines have always been confusing, even following Citizen's rebranding. Move all the cheap, quartz-only stuff to the Caravelle logo and really go to town on the UHF/Precisionist movement for the stuff branded Bulova. I think they also need to rethink their logo. They've revived the vintage logo for some reissues and it looks so much sharper and trendier than the current logo, which seems both stuffy and awkwardly dated.

    I've sometimes wondered if there'd be a market if they started to manufacture classic tuning fork movements in limited quantities. Not knowing the costs involved, hard to say, though as a watch fan I'd of course be interested in seeing the tuning fork make a revival.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orex View Post
    I see so many flaws in the OP plan. Swatch group unified marketing campaign? No non-wis wants to hear that their precious Breguet, GO or even Omega is made by the same maker as Swatch - it will drastically cheapen the brand image. Reduce overlapping and internal competition? People always look for alternatives to a given option. I am sure lots of micro brands will be more than happy to fill the gap in the market.
    Valid concerns, though I think it's possible to build a campaign that says "Look at the diversity of Swiss watchmaking!" instead of "These brands are all made by the same people!"

    And, as far as internal competition is concerned, the idea is that you'd make a conscious trade-off in order to build brand equity through giving these brands more distinct brand personalities. A lot of the lower-end brands bleed into one another and don't really register in the minds of consumers. It's not that there wouldn't be *any* overlap, but less so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Orex View Post
    I am sure people would like to see some cheap tourbilons branded as Swiss or Japanese made.
    Perhaps? But I think that's also a dangerous road when you're trying to preserve the upper tier as "true" high horology. It'd be a smarter move for an brand like Raymond Weil or Frederique Constant than it would be for one of the mid-/low-tier SG brands.

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