Today was announced the bankruptcy of Romain Jerome, a prolific independent brand which released every year a significant amount of new models.
While the watches were nowhere near mainstream in their appeal, I think this is kind of sad for the industry as there aren't many small independent brands who offer products that are different than your usual stainless steel sports watch or 300m diver.
Was it well known that the brand was doing poorly financially? Do you think there are currently too many "small" independents and that there's not enough space for them?
I am mostly thinking about the "entry" high end level, like Linde Werdelin, Ochs Und Junior, DeWitt, Sarpaneva, Hautlence, Konstantin Chaykin, Alexander Shorokoff or even Moser. They all offer great watches that I see heavily discounted on grey market or used. I do believe that Hautlence is not in a great financial situation either currently.
I understand that FP Journe, Laurent Ferrier, Akrivia, Romain Gauthier, MB&F, RM and such have a different clientèle, and are probably safer by relying on a different consumer target/base.
I'm curious to know what other people think. For me, the smaller independents are part of what makes the watchmaking industry so fun and exciting, and they offer fantastic value. They also have a vision for their products and they often convey it in an unorthodox way, and I give them a lot of credit for that very reason. I am tired of seeing brands releasing reeditions and copying what worked for another brand.
With the cancellation of the 2020 SIHH (Watches and Wonders Geneva), this is a sad day for any watch enthusiast.
Just my thoughts!