Est. June 12th 2009 / Desde 12 de Junho de 2009

A daily stopover, where Time is written. A blog of Todo o Tempo do Mundo © / All a World on Time © universe. Apeadeiro onde o Tempo se escreve, diariamente. Um blog do universo Todo o Tempo do Mundo © All a World on Time ©)

sexta-feira, 30 de abril de 2010

Newsletter de L'Heure Asch (Abril)

Keith W. Strandberg, Editor Internacional da norte-americana Watch Journal e da suíça Europa Star, é o perito "de serviço" na newsletter de Abril da L’Heure AscH, um dos principais pontos de venda de Alta Relojoaria em Genebra.

A newsletter de L´Heure AscH consulta em cada número um jornalista internacional especializado no sector da Relojoaria e Estação Cronográfica é contribuinte dessa rede. Keith falou com Denis Asch sobre os mercados americano e suíço, o futuro das marcas independentes e o serviço pós-venda de relógios complicados.

O norte-americano Keith Strandberg, amigo de longa data de Estação Cronográfica, é jornalista freelance e um galardoado argumentista/produtor de filmes. Tem três filhos e duas filhas e vive na Suíça. Fala fluentemente chinês mandarim (muito melhor que nós).
A conversa entre Keith e Denis:

Keith W. Strandberg (KWS): How is the Swiss market?

Denis Asch (DA): There is still some hesitation for the purchase of big pieces but the Swiss market is getting better : during the first quarter of 2010, I started selling the big pieces I couldn’t sell at the end of last year. At BaselWorld, it was a good fair and the atmosphere was just like before. There might be a difference between what is really happening in the market and the feeling of the market. But the forecast is good and I am optimistic that 2010 will be ok.

DA: How is the US Market?

KWS: I felt the same kind of optimism at BaselWorld. The recovery has started, but the US market won’t truly recover until unemployment drops. With so many people out of work, people are reluctant to spend money on an expensive watch. Retailers are cutting back on expenses and staff. They are also trimming the number of brands they carry, focusing on the brands that are selling. Independent brands have a tough time ahead, as retailers are not really in a position to take on new brands right now. In addition, many retailers have been burned by new brands that have come in and then disappeared, leaving retailers holding stock that they can’t sell. So, they are understandably leery of investing in new brands.

DA: How do you think the future looks for independent brands?

KWS: Independent brands are important to the future of the watch industry. We need these companies to survive, so we have those ideas to talk about and their stories to tell. If all I had to write about was Rolex and Omega, the magazines wouldn’t be very interesting. I really hope that the best independent brands, the ones with true vision, true creativity and a legitimate story, survive. The watch industry would be less interesting without them.
What do you think?

DA: Most stores are afraid of carrying new brands. I think I was one of the first ones to dare to work with independent ones. And I have been successful with these new brands like Vulcain, where there is a real story to tell. But, when I started, the brands I was choosing had more originality, more authenticity. The last few years, there were more opportunists than artists. They believed that it was easy to make a new brand with any type of design, but it’s not just about the design, it’s also about the mechanics.

KWS: I completely agree. There are only a couple of examples where the level of marketing has matched the level of watchmaking expertise – like in the case of Patek Philippe. In most cases, the brands are driven by marketing or driven by watchmaking, and the other side suffers. But I must admit in the United States, you have to communicate to sell watches, more than anywhere else in the world perhaps.
Another problem is the service of the watches you sell. Is it a concern for you as we head into the future?

DA: Service is a huge issue. Everybody will complain about the price of service, they will compare the price of the repair to the price of the watch. It’s not only about the price, it is also about the delay. Most of the clients are ready to pay but they are not ready to wait. Some brands want their complicated watches to be serviced anywhere but at the manufacturer. The first brand to have created a really amazing worldwide organization was Rolex, they wanted to give the same quality and the same service worldwide. Their systems are fantastic – very organized - and they spent a lot of money training watchmakers.
Is the same true in the US?

KWS: I think the same is true in every part of the world. One of the issues is that there aren’t enough watchmakers to service all the mechanical watches that are sold around the world. In many brands mechanical watches represent 50% or more of their offerings, and these watches will all have to be serviced at one point or another.
Add to this the fact that - although many watchmakers do service and repairs during their training (and some of the best continue to work on vintage watches) - the best watchmakers don’t want to do routine service and repairs.

DA: As far as I am concerned, I had the chance to work in the Caribbean taking care of 25 brands : I worked on Rolex, AP, Cartier, Omega and others. It was a nice challenge to find what was wrong with the watch and to make the customer happy. For a young watchmaker it’s nice, and that was important to learn that for my job now.

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