Monday, January 16, 2017

Millennialitis - Or Why It's Okay To Be Just Right

Baume & Mercier announced their new sports watch - the Clifton Club.

Courtesy of Rod Hess
I was not there to see it in person, but the ever-intrepid Rod Hess was there on the scene and was kind enough to share some his images with me. 

So I was struck by a few things - first the name: Club.  This is meant to be a designation for the entry level to Baume & Mercier.  Curious to relate that this was the same naming convention used by a certain watch brand in Germany a few years ago...
Secondly, the very clear indication that once again Baume & Mercier are not understanding who they are, and more importantly who their customers are.

Because, let's be honest, haven't you been searching endlessly for the ideal watch to wear while skateboarding to your important business meeting?
Courtesy of Baume & Mercier
It would seem that the brain trust at Baume & Mercier have a bad case of Millenialitis.  Essentially the unshakable belief that the so-called millennial generation is a completely new and unique group that speaks Klingon, only drinks Pabst Blue Ribbon (or some other ironic varietal), and apparently would have NO desire for the classic watches that they had previously made. 

And this is, to me, hilarious.  Because it fails to take into consideration that yes, styles and tastes will change and shift and EVOLVE.  But that is evolution, not revolution.  And when you've built a brand that is based on a certain thing, and you've been successful with it... well maybe you should not abandon it so readily. 

Baume & Mercier is not hip.  And guess what?  That is okay!  For better or worse, Baume & Mericier is invariably the watch that is purchased by someone who is not entirely sure of what they want or are looking for.  They are the unofficial watch of Goldilocks - not too expensive, not too cheap, not too "sporty".  They are just right. 

And they are also firmly in the sweet spot for upper middle-class moms and dads who live in the suburbs.  Guess what?  They have money and the SPEND it!  They don't require a lot of marketing.  When I was working at Tourneau I would invariably have customers like this:
"I want a watch for my wife/husband.  It is our fifth anniversary."  This would lead us to Cartier, Rolex and invariably end at Baume & Mercier.  It was not the most expensive, it was not the cheapest, it was just right 

There is a retail store in Santa Barbara who at one time had:
Breitling, Patek, Cartier and Baume & Mercier.  Guess what their best seller was?  Baume & Mercier!

Because when you flail and flap about, changing your m.o. every few months, well you run the risk of losing the customers you already have. 

Because let's face it, the Shelby Cobra is a strange partnership choice.

Courtesy of Rod Hess
Because nothing says Baume & Mercier like this...

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