Swiss watch brand BA111OD celebrated generating sales of over CHF 1 million in the summer of this year.
Not bad for a business that only launched in 2019 and has operated for most of its fledgling life under the shadow of covid-19.
The pandemic has actually accelerated growth for the company, according to its founder Thomas Baillod, because of the unique way the company sells its watches.
The sales strategy is based around ‘afluendors’, a term Mr Baillod coined to describe how BA1110D’s customers are given the power to influence more customers, feed their views back to the company and earn tokens that can be exchanged for gifts and experiences from selling watches.
It works like this: anybody who buys a BA1110D watch is given the opportunity to earn tokens by selling another BA1110D watch to somebody else.
A clever app tracks all of these transactions and interactions, and encourages the afluendors to keep promoting and selling BA1110D timepieces.
The only way to buy a BA1110D watch is directly from its website or through its community app, which strips out the cost of distributors or agents and keeps marketing spending at a minimum.
The brand is looking to work with retailers, which earn proper margins, and has already opened one partner in Switzerland and plans to grow distribution.
Selling through affluendors or direct to retailers helps BA1110D to keep its prices low, allowing it to produce a Swiss-made tourbillon watch it calls Chapter 4, The Veblen Dilemma Tourbillon, for under CHF 4,000.
Veblen, for those outside of economic academic circles, refers to a type of luxury product that becomes more popular as price increases in contradiction to the law of demand and supply.
Swiss watchmakers have turned the Veblen theory into a CHF 20 billion industry that BA111OD thinks is ripe for disruption.
BA111OD Chapter 4
The Chapter 4 watch comes with a movement made by BCP Tourbillons, a business created by Olivier Mory in 2017, who is also founder of Skill Watches in La Chaux-de-Fond.
The hand-wound tourbillon movement, with 105 hour power reserve from a single barrel, was first used in Skill’s Maelström limited edition watch, which was priced at CHF 7,500.
BA1110D has used it in a 43mm, semi-skeletonised 2-hander watch made from grade 5 titanium with black DLC.
Mr Mory tells WATCHPRO that the movement is modular so other complications can be built in.
“It is an industrialized movement; relatively easy to make and service,” Mr Mory says.
“It is also modular so we can make unique movements for watch brands by adding functions like a power reserve, jumping hour, big date or perpetual moon phase,” he adds.
BCP Tourbillon is capable of manufacturing around 700 movements per year, and hopes to increase that to around 1,000 within five years so it can supply larger brands.
BA1110D’s Chapter 4 comes on a smart bracelet with an embedded NFC chip, which is normally used for contactless payments but in the case of the Chapter 4 watch links to a concierge service.
There will be 220 of the Chapter 4 watch made, and BA1110D afluendors are being given the opportunity to jump in first to secure the first 30 that go on sale.
It is priced at CHF 3,920 (ex VAT).