Thursday, August 5, 2021
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SPECIAL REPORT: How the world’s biggest watch brands have handled the...

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Nobody in the global watch industry has escaped the clutches of the Covid-19 pandemic unscathed but, seen from Rob Corder's vantage point, some have nudged ahead of others.

GOOD CRISIS: Breitling

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Despite a line-up of brand ambassadors that includes the likes of Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron, CEO Georges Kern is the front man who has been popping up all over the internet since lock down began.

CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS? Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet

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Watchmakers will have lost up to one quarter of their 2020 production capacity before factories are fully up to speed again, but will sail serenely through this crisis thanks to the soar-away demand for their blockbuster watches.

BAD CRISIS: IWC

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IWC's 2020 watches are undeniably gorgeous, but picking the brand’s most expensive and opulent range may not work out well in a post-Covid era when ostentatious displays of wealth may not be welcome.

GOOD CRISIS: Grand Seiko

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The world could not come to its planned 60th birthday party in Tokyo, so Grand Seiko decided it would take the party to the world.

GOOD CRISIS: Zenith

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With sales of around $69 million in 2019 (up 11% YoY), Zenith is more nimble and has more license to innovate than LVMH stablemates Bulgari, TAG Heuer and Hublot.

BAD CRISIS: Omega

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Omega just could not catch a break this year as Coronavirus wreaked havoc on its launch programme built around the 25th James Bond movie and the Tokyo Olympics.

GOOD CRISIS: Cartier

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Cartier has pressed on with a full spectrum of watch launches including the revival of the Pasha family that first appeared in 1985.

BAD CRISIS: Longines

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The challenge for Longines over the summer is to unveil and distribute fresh collections in time for the holiday season.

BAD CRISIS: TAG Heuer

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This will not be the year that TAG Heuer breaks into the $1 billion watch brand club, but a new chief executive could change that fast.