We are honored to have been asked to guest edit this edition. Unlike many of the readers here, we have not come from a family of jewellery retailers who have been working hard for generations to build their business; we came from a father who adored his watches and all things mechanical. We do, however, due to the charm and professionalism of all we have dealt with, now feel part of this wonderful and unique industry since Bremont’s inception 10 years ago.
We think our fresh approach has always helped us, with a clear focus on the fact that it has to always be about the product. We are not in the fashion segment, but as designers you do get influenced by trends and previous successes and failures. As guest editors here the idea is to discuss some of these topics and bring to the publication some of the feedback we get when we travel the world with retailers and suppliers.
The industry will no doubt change as much in the next 10 years as it has in the past decade, as the passion for watches grows. We still feel there is a lot of growth to come in the UK as the average consumer is waking up to luxury watch ownership. In the US they call it watch wardrobing when men and women start to own multiple luxury watches and change the one they wear on an almost daily basis.
Watch brands that ignore the UK consumer as they focus designs on the Asian market could well suffer in the longer term in the more mature markets, and with the manufacturing and commodity costs only going up in the industry, retail prices will inevitably increase. We always tell a client to purchase a new watch because they like it and want to wear it, but in parallel the watch auction markets are fascinating and have shown that even brand new watches can increase in value if bought correctly.
Retailers also need to consider watch consumers’ needs and it requires a different approach to selling jewellery. There are simple rules. Be committed or get out. Do not run stock down, and make sure you have the bestsellers in stock; if you don’t there is no point having the brand in the store as the client will go somewhere where they do have stock. Drag the store and your staff into the 21st century – new media is absolutely crucial. Make sure your staff are kept up to date with training and are following your brands through Twitter/Facebook, etc. Finally, don’t collect brands but commit to them properly, as it will make a considerable difference to stock turn.
Coming from a British company, naturally we want to wave the flag for English watchmaking. The history of what we have achieved as a country in horology is impressive, but travelling around the country, I am proud of the amazing history that sits on the high streets of most major towns – the traditional jeweller, which in many cases have been run in the same family for generations. We are grateful to be part of the industry.
This column originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of WatchPro magazine. To see a digital version of the magazine click here.