Breitling Opens Online Sales Boutique, and It Sucks. Bad.


Half Star Rating

Breitling is one of the last Swiss watch brands I would expect to open up an e-commerce store.  I recall a time no too long ago when a visit to the Breitling website was prefaced with a cautionary note of the risks of buying Breitling watches online.  But now they’ve done it themselves — Breiting has opened an “online boutique.”  Yay, right?  Wrong.  You know what?  The Breitling online boutique sucks.  Bad.  Really — it’s not good.  Actually — it’s horrible.  

Or maybe I should say that the online store that Breitling has put together isn’t really that impressive — but that would given them too much credit:  it’s not impressive in the least.  I’m almost embarrassed for Breitling its so bad.  It’s something I might have expected from an underfunded e-commerce venture, oh, maybe a decade ago.  For brand that spends many tens of millions of dollars a year marketing its watches, it’s an abyssmal effort.   One can almost sense the reluctance behind Breitling’s decision to even go down this road.  But they have.

Where to begin.  Seriously, where to begin.  When I started out writing this article it was going to be positive, with lots of plaudits and kudos headed Breitling’s way.  But it took frighteningly little time on the Breitling online boutique to become frustrated and in a state of disbelief.  And so now I’m headed down a path that most definitely is going to make a lot of folks very unhappy.  But to those disappointed I say:  the truth sometimes hurts, and this is probably one of those times.  Let me just take you through what I experienced in about fifteen or so minutes of clicking around the new Breitling online boutique, trying it out.

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Screening Soon: The Watchmaker’s Apprentice, a documentary of George Daniels and Roger Smith (trailer)

The Watchmaker's Apprentice Movie Poster

Perpetuelle readers are among the first to know:  it’s almost here!  The Watchmaker’s Apprentice is a documentary about two very special men, men whose skills are unparalleled in the world today – the late George Daniels, and Roger W. Smith.  Made by independent production company DAM Productions on the Isle of Man, The Watchmaker’s Apprentice contains the last interview George Daniels gave, just months before his death in October 2011.

After lengthy discussions over the past 18 months or so, distribution for the film has been secured and two U.S. screenings were just announced: WorldFest (Houston, TX), a Q&A screening with Director Dave Armstrong, and a special one-off screening at Tribeca Cinemas on April 28, 2015 at 7pm, featuring none other than the ‘Apprentice’ himself Mr. Roger W. Smith.

A ticket purchase link to the NY screening is here — it was only just announced, but I am told that tickets are selling swiftly!

Here is an extended trailer:

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LVMH’s Biver: Expensive Watches Are for Eternity, Smartwatches Lack Emotion

CNN’s Richard Quest recently spoke to Jean-Claude Biver, head of LVMH’s watch division and Hublot Chairman, about the emergence of smartwatches, the challenges Swiss watchmakers face due to the rise in the value of the Swiss Franc, and more.  It is a dynamic conversation in which Biver lauds the longevity and emotion of a Swiss mechanical watch, reveals which LVMH watch brand will get on the “smartwatch train” and why, and the reason for all those mono-brand boutiques.  The interview is also full of Biver’s usual candor and ebullience, which I really admire and appreciate.

Click here, or the image below, to watch the full 5 minute discussion (sorry CNN wouldn’t let me embed it here):

Biver on CNN

Patek Philippe Lowers Watch Prices in USA

EUR CHF Graph courtesy xe-com

As you may be aware, the Swiss Central Bank recently abandoned its caps on the CHF/EUR exchange rate.  This led to an immediate and rather significant ~15% move in the currency, to the detriment of Swiss watchmakers and other Swiss exporters.  The immediate reaction from the industry was one of shock and awe from those impacted. And of course, watch collectors everywhere wondered what all this would mean for prices (though some savvy buyers managed to snap up pieces in advance of anticipated price increases).  And now we are starting to get a clearer picture of new price dynamics in the luxury watch market, with recent announcements from two of the world’s most influential watchmakers.  Immediately after the exchange rate move, Rolex, the world’s largest watch brand, announced it would implement a high single-digit price increase in Japan.

Patek Philippe Logo

And now, Patek Philippe, one of the world’s preeminent and most prestigious watch manufacturers, has announced a series of price adjustments across its various markets.  As you can see in the letter below, the price changes — which include a 7% decrease here in the US — are an effort to adjust to the recent currency moves and reach price parity across markets.  Beyond the U.S., prices are being lowered in other geographies as well, and raised in others.  There is also mention of retail watch inventories being at “unreasonable levels” which surely factored into the announcement as well.

Click here to read the letter from Thierry Stern to his “Partners” (his retailers) outlining all the details:

Patek Philippe SA Global Price Adjustment Letter Feb 2015

And if you haven’t yet see our hands-on review and commentary on the new Patek Philippe Ref 5975 Multi-Scale Chronopgraph for the brand’s 175 Anniversary, you should check that out now, right here>>>

Patek-Philippe-5975-Perpetuelle-2 - Copy