Direct From Their European Tour
Last month following a European tour including Munich and Zurich the Breitling roadshow visited New York where new CEO Georges Kern addressed his US audience.
The European luxury watch powerhouse was exhibiting 60 vintage timepieces in the company of celebrities and revealed the most talked about Navitimer 8 collection. During his in-depth press briefing, Mr. Kerns gives some pointers to what we can expect in the coming weeks and months, so sit back and take the weight off.
Gender Empowerment At Breitling?
Like the motor industry before it, the watch industry has maintained a long grip on the art of, what you might call outdated, or sexist attitudes, but this seems to be coming to an End. If you can remember as far back as I can, you may recall the old car and cigarette ads on TV where the ladies are always both seductive and subordinate to the macho man smoking his extra strength smokes, or driving his overpowered car.
This has all but disappeared and it’s only really seen in the boating industry these days where scantily clad women are liberally draped over the bow of a superyacht. Far be it from me to take any particular side on this, after all, I admit I like to see scantily clad ladies, but the fact is….this isn’t acceptable anymore.
And so it has been recognized by Breitling who have almost always pushed the macho pilot card at the expense of modern gender equality. So what’s the deal?
Breitling are making changes by the removal of certain pieces of promotional materials such as the figure of a well-proportioned woman atop a torpedo that once graced the flagship New York boutique.
Speaking of previous ad campaigns Mr. Kern has been quoted in Swiss a newspaper “Some customers thought they were funny. But such clips were no longer suitable and do not reflect values of today’s society.”
He went on to compare an upcoming video campaign (watch this space) with the old style below:
Guys, this just isn’t on anymore.
A Broadening Theme
Beleive it or not, Breitling are even taking on their old staple of aviation and giving it a more modern, more diverse approach capturing a wider demographic.
In terms of change, Kern was keen to stress that Breitling has always had a firm connection to the high-flying world of aviation but added a caveat that their products have also encompassed many disciplines such as sailing, diving, and skiing. That being said, the new collections will certainly make a greater effort to include air, sea, and land, with the Heritage Superocean II collection, vintage-inspired dive watch, described as “less loud” by Kern.
The collection will be differentiated into dissimilar families such as pilot watches under Navitime, Dive watches under SuperOcean and so on. The partnership with carmaker Bentley will continue, and their new partnership with Norton Motorcycles revs up this year so expect some interesting Motorcycle influenced models in the near future.
Bright Lights Of Asia
It’s been a difficult time for the luxury watch industry over the last few years due to a number of factors conspiring to create the perfect storm, from terrorisms through Europe to the downturn in the Asia markets.
This being said, it’s been known for some time that the Asia market has been central to kick-starting a recovery, and this is something Breitling are taking notice of.
In the past Breitling have had a demographic that was ignoring certain markets, with their bold and somewhat large masculine designs. The Asia markets that have traditionally favored smaller, more delicate designs can now be attracted to the brand as it introduces its more modestly sized Navitimer 8 collection as well as the upcoming Premier collection.
This all means that Asia market that never had a rich culture of Aviation as the US and UK have, can look the brand to offer top quality luxury branded goods that more accurately reflect their cultural values.
Don’t let this news upset you because the new approach is not going to make the larger cased timepieces we all know and love disappear. Kerns made the all the right noises, saying . “Yes, we need big watches,” he acknowledges, “but there is a way to bridge the two communities.” meaning the larger dimensions and side-rule bezel will continue to make up part of the collection.
Mechanical Movements Are King
The changes being put in place mean Breitling will concentrating on what they do best which is mechanical movements, so their Quartz-powered pieces like the Skyracer will be phased out, although popular models such as Breitling Emergency will remain in the collection.
While Breitling’s dedication to in-house movement production will continue, the introduction of the Navitimer 8 series makes it clear that outsourced movements will be an important too. This is in keeping with their ongoing determination to maintain Brand presence at their chosen price point.
With this strategy comes a definitive way to distinguish between models and their movements, for example, Chronograph watches equipped with Breitling’s in-house B01 caliber or its variant will be distinguishable from other movements like ETA Valjoux 7750.
1.The 3-6-9 tricompax subdial arrangement, with date at 4:30, and a sapphire case back will denote a B01 movement
2.The 12-9-6 arrangement with day-date display at 3 o’clock, and engraved solid case back will denote the ETA movement
A New Logo
The changes just keep coming and at its core, the very identity is coming in for a revamp. The logo itself is having an updated with a vintage style cursive text while keeping the bright color palette.
This all plays into the main theme of a more mature Breitling, losing its playboy image, dropping the pinup girls in favor of a more adult direction of refined luxury. This is translated into a sober decor of its boutiques that have morphed into the luxurious sophistication of a loft type space with wood and dark tones, but still maintaining the masculinity of the brand, offering a pool table and a showpiece Norton Motorcycle.
When Choice is Too Much
Finally, Mr. Kern said of choice “Too much choice is no choice,” mean that the plethora of choice just complicates the process of choosing. To that, he has offered the solution of limited interchangeability of style, materials and colors on straps for example.
This could well be seen as a bold and somewhat dangerous move by those who enjoy making additional selections, but as Mr. Kern’s time at IWC has tough us, only time will tell. Right now we can only go by his successes with this style of management during his time at IWC.
What we can all agree on is the new CEO of Breitling is shaking things up and maybe that’s a good thing, as he is focusing on a new segment of the market where price points are as modest as $3,500, moving up to $9,000
For my money, I’d just say, watch this space, and meanwhile, why not see what kind of deals you can get on a Breitling using my watch buyers guide.
So, if you’re looking for the perfect Watch at the perfect price, from a trusted source, you know it can be a stressful experience, with the right help and advice, you too can find your dream timepiece. As I’m considered an expert in my field and I write for other publications like Wrist Review I know you’ll benefit from my experience and avoid the pitfalls.
If you are considering buying online you may be interested in reading the “How to choose a watch for your wrist size” article here.
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