Monday, July 28, 2014

The Doldrums

Yes gentle readers, we have entered that annual period in the watch calendar some of us refer to as the doldrums -

Colloquially, the "doldrums" are a state of inactivity, mild depression, listlessness or stagnation.[1]

Courtesy of Wikipedia

So what does that really mean in terms of what interests us, that is, watches?

Well, generally speaking the majority of things move on as they always have.  People go on vacation, come back and go back to work.

BUT - there is a lot of rapid shuffling going on behind the scenes.  Remember BaselWorld?  I mean it seems like a lifetime ago, but in the time that has passed since mid-March, a lot of milestones have come and gone on the horizon of the various brands:

New models announced and promised for delivery, still not delivered.

New doors thought to be opened, have in fact not been.

Very, very late paying accounts promised to be paid… well, I think you know where I am going with this.  Because this is what could also be thought of as the "come to Jesus" time of year.  This is where hard decisions are going to be made.  This is also that "magical time of year" when whether or not a new or "re-booted" brand is going to make it is decided.  Often times not by the market, but by the investors who are now starting to get a little edgy.  Suddenly "Gentlemen Watchmakers" based in that bastion of watch making know-how (Luxembourg) start to realize that while the idea of owning and running a watch brand seemed like "fun", that in fact the Swiss can let you down with goof-ups and delays...just like the former owners you bought the brand from (who hail from an area just south).

Resumes are being punched-up, Linkedin is now on-fire (at least in the watch business).  People you would not bother to say "bless you" to if they sneezed are now on your call list.  Yes, it is a "special" time of year.

Meanwhile, those higher up the food chain are tracking the possible replacements with the same attention as football managers fighting through the dog days of summer to get their signings on board before the season starts.

So as always, there will be winners and losers - and a few brands that will breath their last.  I suppose in all fairness this is the same in any business, but because we are passionate about this stuff it is sometimes hard for us to separate the glamour from the reality.

But the clock is ticking, so I'll sign off for now.

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