Sunday, June 14, 2015

Alas Poor JEANRICHARD, I Knew Them...

Life is full of disappointment.  A lot of missed opportunities, a lot of "What If's" and the rapid revival, ascension and now decline of JEANRICHARD should serve as a cautionary tale.

In less than 3 years (think about that pals and gals) THREE YEARS a seemingly dead brand was brought back to life with a very well-thought out and well executed plan, brought to the forefront of the watch buyer's consciousness, then sent crashing down through the squabbles, arguments and disputes within its own walls.

I remember when the new JEANRICHARD was rolled out - it was late 2012.  In early 2013 I was one of the first folks in North America to get my mitts on one at a "semi-private" viewing in Los Angeles.

What had killed JEANRICHARD in the past was too many SKUs, no clear message, and seemingly random (some might say) brain-dead partnerships.  Hundreds of JEANRICHARDs flooded both the grey market and Ebay.  What had always been considered an after-thought of a brand had pretty much run itself into the ground.

But change was about to happen.

And change came in the form of Michele Sofisti and Bruno Grande.  The concept was simple - an essentially modular watch case that could be adapted to three different collections - standard (Terrascope) diver (Aquascope) and chronograph (Aeroscope).  There was also a somewhat stand-alone collection that would house a manufacture movement while the other pieces would use "so-called" industrial movements (i.e. ETA, Sellita, etc.).

The watches were well-received.  That was the good news.  Some of the "notions" that went along with it left many of us scratching our heads -

The tag line for the brand was (and still is) - "Philosophy of Life"
Now I am not going to say that I am the world's best copywriter, but I still have NO IDEA what the f*&k that is supposed to mean.

In addition, what to many of us in the fourth and fifth estates privately voiced concerns over but publicly smiled and nodded were the very, very random and downright odd choices of "celebrity ambassadors" -

Nik Wallenda?  The JEANRICHARD Rugby Team?  And who could forget that world-famous culinary genius Luca Manfe?  Oh yeah, you're right - I never heard of him either.  But he toils away in the kitchen's of Manhattan, a true "Philosopher of Life".  

An Aresenal partnership was heralded as the tipping point that would put JEANRICHARD over the top and into the public consciousness.  The Gunners offered one big boom, and then not much else.

And then when sales stalled because budgets were once again predicated on unrealistic sales numbers which resulted in overproduction... retail partners bailed out.  A new CEO was brought in who clearly viewed JEANRICHARD as a grasping child.  JEANRICHARD staff either left or were "encouraged" to leave, and by the time BaselWorld rolled around again this year, the JEANRICHARD booth had been collapsed into the Girard-Perregaux booth and the viewing rooms looked like the aftermath of a garage sale visited by particularly aggressive bargain shoppers.  It had literally been turned "upside down".

And now, not unlike Wonka's factory - "Nobody ever goes in, and nobody ever comes out" could be applied to the feeling most of us have about JEANRICHARD.

The good news for many bargain hunters out there is that retail stores who have to "cover their nut" are slashing and burning - there are most assuredly bargains to be had - including those limited edition Arsenal watches

It didn't have to be this way.  It didn't have to (possibly) end like this


  1. So what exactly happened? Is JeanRichard folding?

  2. hi sponsorship for the gunners killed jean richard - poison chalice!