The Watch World in 2013: WAR is declared

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June 2013

What do the layout of a magazine – Europa Star in this case – and the global situation of an industry – the watch industry in this case – have in common? At first glance, nothing. But we think that there is a link, at the very least in that graphic design should reflect a given situation and period. So what is, today, the global situation in the watchmaking industry?

Back from BaselWorld, one thing that everyone noticed was the consolidation of the watchmaking sector among a few very big players with strong firepower, which is pushing back to their last lines of defence all those who are not part of a powerful group. A number of such companies expressed their concerns to us, even going as far as to say that “from now on, war is being waged in the remaining points of sale”.

There is every reason that this war will heat up further, since the big brands now aim to occupy new territories that they had so far neglected, whether it is, for example, the “middle ground” for TAG Heuer, the mid range for Tudor, which has the strategic advantage of support from Rolex, or the entry level for Swatch, which, with its Sistem51, aims to steal a march on its low-cost competitors as far afield as China and beyond.

Commercial “war” is therefore being waged and the open hostilities are further enflamed by the recent decision by the COMCO (Swiss Competition Commission) to allow ETA/Swatch Group to gradually reduce the level of its mechanical movement deliveries to 20 per cent of current levels by 2020-2021, in other words by tomorrow in terms of industrial production of movements. This decision will naturally affect those who are already the weakest. At the same time, the increase to 60 per cent of the value of a watch as the criterion required to obtain the Swiss Made label will automatically increase the average price, this in a period when movements are already in short supply. But despite these storm clouds on the horizon, the world watchmaking industry, as we saw at BaselWorld, is buzzing with new ideas, launching new initiatives and remains as creative as ever, exploring new avenues in terms of aesthetics and technology. (One remark in passing: why has BaselWorld still not understood that the real stimulus in the industry, the most creative minds in “new watchmaking”, deserve more consideration than a Palace that vibrates so well under foot that all the watches wobble in their display cases or an inadequate position for the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants)?)

This brings us back to our question of graphic design and layout. The specific – and unique – role of Europa Star is to provide news, democratically and without bias, of all activities by brands, whether they are small, medium-sized or large, whether they are part of a group or independent, traditional or innovative, haute horlogerie or mass market, from Switzerland or elsewhere, which make up the vast and colourful fabric of the world’s watchmaking industry. In this context, we offer a space to all stakeholders, because this is our crucial mission to all our readers, whether they are professionals or collectors, who receive the magazine in over 160 countries.

In order to strengthen this “universal” aspect of our mission even further, we are gradually evolving our print version as well as our web presence. We believe that we should be able to reflect better the wealth of initiatives emerging from all over the place, which is the source of the dynamism in the watchmaking industry.

If, as some think, the “war” has really been declared, then the intelligence, the analysis of the opposing forces, their strategies and their weapons, is more indispensable than ever to all those concerned. So without further ado, we invite you to discover our new face, hoping that it will meet your expectations.

Source: Europa Star June - July 2013 Magazine Issue