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Thread: What Kern wants to do with Breitling

  1. #81
    Super Member Raza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perseus View Post
    I feel that way about most watches. The biggest culprit is usually a date window that looks like it was added at the last minute rather than being integrated into the design--Longines is really good at this. The other side of the coin is Omega's Planet Ocean. They can't leave well enough alone. They kept making changes and tweaking things and the result is a slow death.
    Date windows are awful. It's a thing that's so incredibly easy to do poorly and extremely difficult to do well. Only two of my watches have date wheels, both at 6 o'clock, and both are two register chronographs.

    It's easy for me. If you'e doing a 3-6-9 or a 3-9 chronograph, put the date at 6 o'clock. Even if it falls within a subdial, which isn't ideal, it's still better than a 4ish date. If you're doing a 6-9-12, don't put a date. Put your logo and name at 3 o'clock, If you do, for whatever reason, decide to put a date (or worse, day and date) at 3 on a 6-9-12, do something with the date window to make it look like you meant for it to be there.
    Read my latest IWL blog entry! An Ode To Rule Breaking

  2. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimman View Post
    The problem, beyond my personal pet peeves, is it pushes the actual watchmaking as the brand's value behind the smoke and mirrors and emperor's new clothes marketing. This can end up with decisions such as VC moving down market with an overpriced Master Control, relying on a hoard of sycophantic 'influencers' to yell about how awesome the naked Emperor's clothes are.

    I think that's actually my major issue. Idiots like Adams and Clymer claiming expert status and never getting burned when they regurgitate bullshit (Bulgari 'In-house' movement with a clear Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier hallmark was visible in the blog photos, ugh...). Kern bugs me because he has communicated an understanding of 'useful idiots' (bloggers and customers) through the Porsche engine location statement
    Yeah, fair enough. It annoys me no end when brands change the dial or bezel color, slap a LE label on it and mark it up by 20-40% - come on, make an effort here, people. One reason I admire Lange is that when they make a smaller or larger case, they change the movement to fit it, and add a bunch of technical awesomeness where they can. No "let's charge $20k for a basic 3-hander in a not-particularly-amazingly-finished case, and then put a closed back on it so no one can see that we are recycling a smaller movement" ala Patek 5196.

    That said, I'm probably more inclined to accept a little revisionist history as long as the product is interesting enough. Emphasis on "a little" (that rules you out, Bremont)

    Side note (I know this isnt relevant to your main point, but just as a matter of discussion): Vacheron i will give a break - they also need to find a way to differentiate their low-end offering in a way that doesnt weaken the higher-end models. The base-model 56 is a little underwhelming but understandable from a positioning point of view - it is designed for someone who just wants the Vacheron name (the Boxster equivalent?). Atleast the models above that are interesting. And their 1942 Historiques is a gorgeous watch and relatively affordable for a high-end annual calendar, too.

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  4. #83

  5. #84
    Quote Originally Posted by vkalia View Post
    Yeah, fair enough. It annoys me no end when brands change the dial or bezel color, slap a LE label on it and mark it up by 20-40% - come on, make an effort here, people. One reason I admire Lange is that when they make a smaller or larger case, they change the movement to fit it, and add a bunch of technical awesomeness where they can. No "let's charge $20k for a basic 3-hander in a not-particularly-amazingly-finished case, and then put a closed back on it so no one can see that we are recycling a smaller movement" ala Patek 5196.

    That said, I'm probably more inclined to accept a little revisionist history as long as the product is interesting enough. Emphasis on "a little" (that rules you out, Bremont)

    Side note (I know this isnt relevant to your main point, but just as a matter of discussion): Vacheron i will give a break - they also need to find a way to differentiate their low-end offering in a way that doesnt weaken the higher-end models. The base-model 56 is a little underwhelming but understandable from a positioning point of view - it is designed for someone who just wants the Vacheron name (the Boxster equivalent?). Atleast the models above that are interesting. And their 1942 Historiques is a gorgeous watch and relatively affordable for a high-end annual calendar, too.
    Boxster came out as real Porsche, flat 6 great handling. The name, disassociated with the heritage and history, was the Cayenne.

    The VC decision irks me because as a group member it should be completely unnecessary. But we're not exactly privy to the financial/strategic details. I would not move VC down market. Ever. I would aim them at slightly one-upping Patek at every model range, while slightly undercutting them in pricing. But that could very well be why I'm not running and historical watch brands. I still think it's a long term mistake though.

    Edit: I believe the 1942 is just a triple calendar, not an annual calendar.
    Last edited by Dimman; Feb 14, 2018 at 12:12 AM.

  6. #85
    You are correct, i did mean triple calendar, not annual.

    Re Patek - well, what they are doing now is perfect for maintaining their current customer base. However, they do face one risk with their strategy and that has to do with the fact that style perceptions are changing and the size of their current customer base may not get replenished down the road.

    Basically, the exclusivity of a luxury brand comes not just from the fact that is desired by those who can afford it, but also by those that cannot. To put it somewhat simplistically, "exclusivity" means that (a) there are a lot of people outside the door wanting to come in AND (b) are unable to do so.

    Now, the risk for Patek and the other high-end brands - as newer generations move to sportier designs and as clothes/style become more casual (the suit is dying - most workplaces are already business casual and in another 10-15 years, the suit will occupy the space now taken by the tuxedo), there is no longer an automatic progression to a dress watch as the symbol of Having Made It.

    Having a couple of unobtainium sports watches, a couple of very mediocre 3-handed dress watches and a core group of very high-priced complicated watches means that there is no watch catering to more modern tastes, nor is there a bridge from, say, a sportier Rolex/IWC/JLC level to their higher-end dressy collection: something to wean the next generation of Patek buyers away from these sportier watches towards Patek's design language.

    In Vacheron's case, they dont have as strong a brand as Patek, so it is going to be harder for them to take on Patek head-on (Lange is doing so by out-Pateking Patek - and i suspect they have a cost advantage compared to Switzerland). What VC is trying to do is attack Patek by going after their *future* customers. And the basic 56 is very clearly an entry into the VC world - they have deliberately not given it an in-house movement, so it sort of preserves the halo of their in-house models to some degree. It is quite a smart way to go about things, I think.

    [To be clear - this is just a semi-educated guess on my part, without actual numbers of changes in demographics of luxury watch purchasers]
    Last edited by vkalia; Feb 15, 2018 at 06:30 PM.

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  8. #86
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
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    Some interesting thoughts @vkalia I can agree with a lot of what your saying

    I do however hope the dress watch isn't dying out completely. There has been a sort of resurgence for vintage Omegas among non watch folk and also the big sellers like DW are mostly simple three handers. I'm still holding out hope.

  9. #87
    Quote Originally Posted by meijlinder View Post
    I do however hope the dress watch isn't dying out completely. There has been a sort of resurgence for vintage Omegas among non watch folk and also the big sellers like DW are mostly simple three handers. I'm still holding out hope.
    True.

    Obviously, there is a difference in mindset between buying something in a dress watch form factor as a fashion accessory (DW and possibly even the vintage Omega and other Mad Men stylistic cues) vs buying it as a luxury purchase - I dont know to what degree the former ends up being a gateway to the latter, though.

    I dont have any specific data - was just basing it on purchasing patterns and responses i see at WUS. Now that i think about it, the fact that Longines, Cartier & Rado (and possibly Baume & Mercia and Raymond Weil as well?) seem to be doing ok selling mostly dressy watches, perhaps my guess is way off.

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  11. #88
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    There's no need for the dress watch to die out with formal dress. You just call them 'watches', which is how I've always thought of them.

    Now, if the term 'dress watch' dies out - hurrah!

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  13. #89
    I can't grab pics from Instagram, but Kern posted a multi-image chronology piece starting from a cockpit chronograph clock and ending with the new Navitimer 8. 2nd pic was a pilot watch, hour, minutes, small seconds, with a coin-edge bezel with rotating marker. It doesn't have a year associated with it (we discussed how they likely weren't first to this), others do.

    And they call it a wrist Chronograph...

    Edit: Pic of the ref 768 watch from different promotion of the 8:



    Apparently it is from the mid 40s, and their watch doesn't look original, or at least match the reference in their old brochure:

    Last edited by Dimman; Feb 16, 2018 at 02:37 AM. Reason: Edit

  14. #90
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimman View Post
    The above image (page 87 of "Breitling: The Book") shows a page from Breitling's 1941 catalogue. The Arabic numerals on the model from Kern's Instagram post seem quite similar to those on the Ref. 734. Who knows? By the time the mid-40's arrived, the Ref. 768 may have morphed a bit.

    I hadn't re-visited Kern's Instagram account for a while, but, I have to admit -- now that I'm seeing some wrist shots of the Navitimer 8, it's growing on me.

    Other comments by Kern on Instagram seem to confirm what has been reported for a while -- namely, that Breitling will be issuing models that draw on its past for inspiration. I'm looking forward to see what models are introduced next month!

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