Recently an email dropped into my inbox with the header: “Tornek-Rayville: An icon resurfaces”. It detailed the reboot of the semi-mythical watch brand that supplied watches to the US Navy in the early 1960s. This sort of resurrection comes along fairly regularly in which a dormant watch brand with some claims of an illustrious past is suddenly awakened for the here and now. Similar stories include Czapek, Blancpain, Fears, Timor and Ferdinand Berthoud to name but a few. It’s an intriguing phenomenon because, let’s face it, businesses usually become sidelined only after they’ve spluttered into a state of terminal decline. So why is this trend so prevalent in the watch game with brands jolted back to life for a second crack at the market? Clearly, heritage has become a very big deal in watchmaking. This is partly because laying claim to a long history gives a brand a reassuring sense of provenance and authenticity. This deepens the value perception while adding an extra sprinkle of prestige. As a handy bonus, heritage also gives a brand a narrative to tap into that can be retold in exhaustive detail by the marketing team. You can see how prized this sort of cachet…

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