Friday, August 3, 2018

Two to Tango

So I have to say that the past four days have been pretty fascinating.  And there is one set of bon mots from Hayek the younger that I find hilarious, and even more so when I consider the, well, earnest tone of some of my more well-heeled colleagues in the fourth and fifth estates as they fall into lock step.

I was halfway through a particularly tasty bowl of cereal on Tuesday when I was re-reading Mr. Hayek, quoted by another outlet, regarding the failures of the BaselWorld team.  Needless to say, I will be forever grateful that the milk had sufficiently softened the intertwined fibers of my shredded wheat biscuits, otherwise it would have doubtless "shredded" the tender portions of my delicate septum as it raced to find egress due to my unplanned fit of manic laughter -

"You must do something now. You don't have to act like you have been acting in the past: a little bit arrogant, a little bit snobby and not able to do something new."

I can only assume that Mr. Hayek has never been blacklisted by a particularly persnickety PR maven in his employ.  I also assume that he has never had to try to get a press appointment at some of the "Elite" SWATCH group brands without calling in about 20 favors?  And don't even get me started about the less than "warm and fuzzy" vibe given off at the Blancpain, Breguet and Jaquet Droz booths.  I'm sorry, but I've been on this beat now for nearly 10 years, and I'm not saying that I'm "the nuts", but I'm not buying Hayek's "man of the people" shtick. 

Do I think he was right to stand up to the fair organizers?  Absolutely!  But let's not kid ourselves.  This was not a decision quickly arrived at.  Surprising news for the rest of us to read about it, but I can't help but suspect that this move was in the offing for some time.

Mr Hayek is a SUPER smart guy, a tough negotiator, and is a truly good steward of his father's legacy.  And I have absolutely no doubt that he is making decisions that are in the best interest of the group's brands and the group's shareholders.

Having said all that?  Let's get real here.  The watch industry is not exactly booming (I know that I will always be viewed as "that guy").  There is a vast difference between exports and actual sales.  I walked around the two biggest watch retailers in downtown Boston the other day and it did not exactly inspire confidence in the resurgence of the watch business.  I'm not saying that the industry is dead, or anywhere near it.  But as we say at Tempus Fugit HQ - you can put a boot in the oven, but that doesn't make it a cake.

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