Now here’s some news from JCK I am pleasantly surprised to see! Tag Heuer announced today at the JCK Las Vegas Trade Show it is launching a new and comprehensive online customer service website. Available at www.tagheuer.com/customerservice the new customer care website is intended to offer an improved level of customer service to both Tag Heuer’s retail partners and customers. While some of the new web pages seem to be informational in nature (“advice on your timepiece” “glossary” and “how the service process works”), Tag states that there is a password-protected section of the website devoted to communicating with Tag’s Authorized Dealers and customers as to the status of watch repairs. Users can reportedly see the work flow of a service order from the time the piece arrives at Tag Heuer’s Springfield, NJ service center to the time when it is shipped back. Repair estimates can also be viewed/approved online, and even paid for via PayPal.
This new effort by Tag Heuer appears to be the first of its kind, and I applaud Tag Heuer for not only bringing a greater level of transparency to its customer service efforts, but also for leveraging the power of the Internet. While it is clear to me that many brands are still tip-toeing their way around the Internet these days and not entirely sure what/when/where/how to embrace it, Tag Heuer seems to be on the leading edge. You may recall that in late 2008 Tag Heuer was the first major brand to authorize online sales (as we coverge and opined here), and even though their execution in this area is a bit lacking, it is still nice to see one of the best selling brands in the World taking a leadership position when it comes to embracing the power of the Internet both from a commerce and a customer service angle.
This weekend, I’ll be spending some more time clicking around Tag Heuer’s new online Customer Service website to learn more about it. But for now, two thumbs up to Tag Heuer!
Ateliers deMonaco Makes a Grand Entrance
Now this is a brand with great promise. Not “Swiss Made” but “Made in Monaco”! Let me just tick off a few of the fantastic elements of the brand’s new Carré d’Or watch: A patented tourbillon. Masterfully sculpted sapphire (yes, sapphire) tourbillon bridge. A hand Jochen Benzinger engraved, bi-colored 18K solid gold rotor. Silicum escape wheel and lever. 33 part case with titanium core. Impressed yet? Believe me there’s more!
I’ve been aware of this brand for several weeks now, meaning to write about it but always delaying, and I am actually quite surprised to have seen next to nothing about this new and exciting brand from any of the other blogs or watch sites that I visit. Where’s the love? Anyway, here’s a look at the watch:
Stay tuned for more. Or browse for yourelf at http://ateliers-demonaco.com
Michael Kobold, the Founder and CEO of US-based watch brand Kobold, successfully reached the summit of Mount Everest on May 21st at 5:55am. Mr Kobold’s Expedition to the top had 3 main goals, one of which was to hoist a flag depicting the US Navy SEAL Trident on the summit of Mount Everest (as you can see below). You can read about the other goals of the expedition, and more about the expedition itself (including some great photos) on the special Blog that Michael Kobold created for the mission: http://www.everest-challenge.com/.
As part of our “Post-Baselworld Interview Series”, Perpetuelle.com recently conducted an interview with Mr. Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of Hublot. We are pleased to share this interview with you below in which Mr. Biver shares his insights into Baselworld 2009, Hublot’s new manufacture movement coming in 2010, the future that is online media, and much more.
Hublot at Baselworld 2009
Hublot CEO Jean-Claude Biver
Perpetuelle: How was BASELWORLD 2009 different for Hublot compared to prior years?
Mr. Biver: Compared to the other years, we sold this year 8 watches when the retailer needed to order 10. Last year when needed 10 he ordered between 15 and 20. So this year we have real orders in our books with no inflation.
Perpetuelle: Please tell us about the philosophy behind the new 2009 releases from Hublot.
Mr. Biver: The King Power is an evolution of the Big Bang. A stronger case, less “sophisticated” but more complicated to produce. Inside we have a movement with a double complication: the split second hand and the foudroyante. The case is executed either in full ceramic, or in Zirconium, or in 18 karats Red Gold (we have introduced a new alloy which is a world first indeed).
The second important innovation of this Basel collection is the evolution of the Big Bang with the introduction of the leather/rubber( both material are fused together) strap and a new dial together with the new finish of the bezel.
Hublot’s Big Bang King Power (In Ceramic and Red Gold)
Big Bang King Case Back / Movement
Perpetuelle: Would you please highlight a couple of your favorite new models for us?
Mr. Biver: I love the Big Bang evolution quite a lot. Especially as it makes the Big Bang look like a classic now. I was not expecting to reach this evolution already after such a short period
Perpetuelle: What do you view as the core strengths (and/or defining elements) of Hublot?
Mr. Biver: The strength of Hublot is its concept in itself. The fusion of tradition and future. The permanent research of new colors and new materials. Which at the end make our watches look different and unique
Perpetuelle: What are you wearing now?
Mr. Biver: I am wearing the Bigger Bang All Black. Which incorporates both a great material (the ceramic), a great movement (Tourbillon Chronograph Column Wheel), and a great concept (All Black).
Hublot Bigger Bang All Black
Perpetuelle: Are there any areas in particular that Hublot will be focusing on for 2010 and/or beyond (for example, a focus on certain types of watches / complications / movements)?
Mr. Biver: The focus will be our own movement called UNICO. That will be the highlight of our 2010 collection. And furthermore we will have quite some interesting evolutions of complications.
Perpetuelle: Please tell us about the distribution strategy and geographical availability of Hublot timepieces.
Mr. Biver: We have and insist to keep a very exclusive and selective distribution network. Not more than 300 retailers are selling our watches all over the world. We control our distribution network in the sense that we are monitoring their sell out before we sell in. in other words a retailer cannot get a shipment of watches as long as we are not convinced about the fact that he has sold them and that he is not piling up stock. Furthermore we try never to deliver more than 70% of the demand. This enables the brand to keep its rarity and cleanness.
Perpetuelle: Can you tell us which, if any, geographies you believe will play in important role in the future growth of Hublot?
Mr. Biver: No doubt China. China will play a big and instrumental role in the future of luxury. Therefore we have to conquer China as soon as possible. The future is clearly in China. But we have to keep the other markets also under control.
Grand Opening of the Hublot boutique in Taipei
Perpetuelle: What is Hublot’s approach towards online media? How do you see the role of online media changing/evolving in the future as it pertains to Hublot?
Mr. Biver: Online media is like China. It is the future! Online has played a huge role in the development of Hublot. Especially all the blogs and forum on the net. Hublot will try to reinforce its presence and communication in the online media. We have to adapt our communication tool towards online. The future is online as online is communication.
Perpetuelle: Thank you Mr. Biver for sharing your time and insights with Perpetuelle.com’s audience of luxury watch owners, collectors & enthusiasts. We wish you and everyone at Hublot all the best in 2009 and beyond.