Watchmaking and youth – How watch brands are reclaiming youth – Trends & style

In 2014, we noted with regret that watch brands were gradually disengaging from the segmentation of the 15-25 year old market, a generation that buys (or receives) its first mechanical watch as a gift for 18 years, to pass exams or for diplomas. , their (first) marriage or the birth of their first child.

Frédérique Constant, withdrawal symptoms

At that time, only two brands were still investing in this segment: Frédérique Constant and Baume & Mercier. The former had a small classic watch in his wallet that retailed for around CHF 500 which was discontinued when founder and then CEO Peter Stas realized that adults were buying this more affordable watch rather than spend on the brand’s more expensive “adults”. ” models.

Baume & Mercier, never give up

Baume & Mercier, meanwhile, positions itself with its “graduation watches”. This original idea was launched by Alain Zimmermann, then CEO. Zimmermann entered into partnerships with various universities, but the concept failed to materialize. The brand followed with the Clifton Club, targeting the same audience. Again, that was not the case and the Clifton Club is no more.

blame the apple

Why? Because in 2015, the Californian brand released its Apple Watch, sold by the container. And still does. AboveAvalon estimates that Apple has already moved more than 100 million. Swiss manufacturers, including Montblanc, Louis Vuitton and TAG Heuer, have fought back… by challenging Apple on its own turf and offering their own smartwatches.

The TAG Heuer Connected is one of the most successful, but the majority of models are offered between €1,700 and €2,500. While you can buy an Apple Watch from €219. Plus it’s Apple, so that’s cool. Game over. Apple wins. Fingers in the nose.

TAG Heuer connected © TAG Heuer

Three ideas to entice young people to buy watches again

The first attempts failed. So what else can Swiss brands do to attract the attention of 15-25 year olds?

1) A brand dedicated to young watch buyers. Enter Baume, a subsidiary of Baume & Mercier. Although the two are linked – the Baume collections are accessible via the Baume & Mercier website – their positioning differs. Baume presents itself as innovative, durable and with quartz calibers. The entry level is €590 rising to €920. Above €1,000, big sister Baume & Mercier takes over. Baume’s idea took shape in 18 months. The brand was launched in 2018 at Venice Beach and then at Vivatech, and only sells online. An assembly plant in the Netherlands cuts costs. A rare example of a spin-off turned towards youth, after the madness of Daniel Wellington.

Young people and watchmaking: after the tunnel, light

TAG Heuer Connected – Naomi Osaka © TAG Heuer

2) Forget the classic, forget the smart and focus on the lifestyle. Or the redux of the 80s. That’s what Tissot does. Its neatly designed new PRX is equipped with the excellent Powermatic 80 movement and is offered at just €695 (€375 with a quartz caliber). Looking for something a little more vintage? Hamilton’s Khaki Field Quartz is for you. It also starts at €375.

Young people and watchmaking: after the tunnel, light

PRX-Collection Tissot

3) Collaborations. Formerly reserved for a certain elite (Harry Winston for the Opus series, MB&F and more recently Louis Erard and Schwarz Etienne), we are now witnessing encounters at all levels of the market. Omega and Swatch recently launched a series of Moonswatches priced at €250, resulting in something you never thought you’d see: young people queuing outside stores! Third time lucky?

Young people and watchmaking: after the tunnel, light

Roma Synergy © Schwarz Etienne

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