I know I have been delinquent folks. Trying to savor the last moments of freedom before I started work full-time made me put the blog on hold for about two weeks, please forgive. Now that I have started up and have a rough idea about how my schedule will go things will return to normal. All that aside, there has been some serious movement no pun intended, in the entry-level watch space that deserves our attention. Watch brands and blogs alike are taking notice and putting resources towards this market in an unprecedented manner- it’s about time.
In what I hope will be of value to my audience, I have decided to create a new series “News From Around the Bezel.” This series will be a roundup of the latest news stories related to the entry-level luxury watch market. The plan is to give my audience a true look at what is being said in this very unique space. For those of us who love craftsmanship and quality that doesn’t break the bank, we can all huddle around the great news coming from around the industry. Without any further delay, lets dive straight in.
“Affordable Doesn’t Mean Poorly Made”
For seasoned watch collectors this adage seems pretty trite but for the masses this may not be the case, affordable doesn’t mean poorly made. Affordable timepieces have long been heralded as subpar offerings in an industry where luxury is king, but that is changing. Brands like Seiko, Nomos, Sinn, Autodromo and most of the Swatch Group (just to name a few), have distinguished themselves as brands positioned in the entry-level market with affordable prices. The ‘you pay for what you get” argument couldn’t be further from the truth with these brands. From using the same movements, to materials and other elements in the watchmaking process, some firms have managed to keep costs down and pass those savings onto the consumer. I don’t know if the industry started listening to consumers or someone showed them the business trends behind the watch industry as a whole, but there has been a growing shift in coverage to give the entry-level market its deserved stage time. A few big names such as aBlogtoWatch and Hodinkee have participated in this trend as well. Through their own admission the majority of their coverage falls outside of the $250-$2500 USD range but that doesn’t mean this market is lacking in innovative or quality. Hodinkee recently brought back its “Value Proposition” series which covers great watches that have all the makings of a quality/luxury market timepiece but for less. The Tissot Visodate, and the Seiko 5 are just two examples of watches that have been covered by the dink. My goal has always been to share my love of watches with people and that includes general education. I highly encourage people to check out the “Value Proposition” series from Hodinkee as well as the frequent entry-level coverage from aBlogtoWatch.
In addition to the coverage from blogs around the industry, brands have lowered prices to be competitive. From Tag Heuer to Montblanc, traditional luxury brands are introducing new collections to court younger and more price sensitive customers. Within the next two weeks, I plan to give some coverage to Baselworld 2015 releases that have finally hit the shelves. Lots to be excited for!
Hodinkee- “Value Proposition: Seiko 5”- http://www.hodinkee.com/blog/a-seventy-five-dollar-watch-that-looks-like-a-million-bucks
“Made in America”
American watchmaking is making a comeback or is it? In watch circles, the rise of American watch brands has come with both acclaim and deep criticism. I have covered a number of stories from Shinola which is one of the biggest players in this ongoing conversation about what constitutes being “Made in America.” I won’t go into depth about what constitutes being “Made in America” versus “Built in America,” you can head over to Hodinkee again for an in-depth analysis of the problem. Needless to say, this conversation is an interesting one that explicitly names a few companies I have covered in the past. This conversation may not tickle your fancy but for those that are fascinated by Shinola and other American brands, understanding this ongoing conversation and the context are critical. Thank you Hodinkee for yet another great read. Give it a look and lend your voice if you have feelings on the topic.
Hodinkee’s Analysis of "Made in America" -
“The Fashion Watch Craze”
Recently I wrote about the Kickstarter craze that has diluted the watch market. My criticism of unoriginal watch projects was noted and I still stand by that. I truly believe that people can make successful, original and affordable designs but the recent trend in crowdfunding projects challenged that faith. As most of you know, fashion watches are big right now, really big. Michael Kors is killing the market with fashion watches for both men and women not to mention the fact that this brand is carried in nearly every U.S. retailer. These watches fall into the mid-range quartz watch category and have nearly 50% market share of total watch sales worldwide. The success of these watches can’t be overlooked but Michael Kors, one of the largest and most successful players in this space is doing something different. Wait for it, they released an automatic watch offering. Before you jump to conclusions, let me just say that this announcement came as a complete surprise to me until I saw the story on ablogtoWatch. The watch in question is the Michael Kors Jetmaster Automatic - a star at Baselworld 2015. This automatic beast is Michael Kors first attempt at an automatic offering for men as far as I know, pretty exciting news. Coming in at 45mm, and MSRP from $325-$425 USD, the Jetmaster soars into unchartered airspace for Michael Kors. Taking cues from Omega in the style department, the Jetmaster is a handsome watch with modern appeal. I applaud Michael Kors for taking this step and trying to switch it up a bit. While I still have issues with the pricing of most fashion watches (there are much better alternatives out there for less) I do want to acknowledge this pretty cool step in the right direction. For full coverage of the Jetmaster check out the aBlogtoWatch link below.
aBlogtoWatch Michael Kors Jetmaster Review- http://www.ablogtowatch.com/michael-kors-jetmaster-automatic-watch-review/