ho better than Jared Silver to study the profile of Silicon Valley buyers, the very people who are defining our new purchasing habits? His boutique is located in the famous Rosewood Hotel, where most of the key deals of the tech industry have gone down (as seen in the HBO series “Silicon Valley”).
In 2014, the second-generation jeweller began representing a range of exclusive highend independent brands, catering to a wealthy tech clientele. “Our average unit sale is almost 12 times the national average,” he says. “But mostly, we try to identify watch brands that match our ethos as a company.” Among them we find MB&F, Ressence, Urwerk and Richard Mille.
“Most of our customers are entrepreneurs themselves so they are naturally attracted to stories of entrepreneurship, like that of Max Büsser or Richard Mille, who seem like-minded. At the same time, what they are producing is mechanical artwork, which is very different from the products of the Valley.”
“Tech entrepreneurs are naturally drawn to the new generation of watch entrepreneurs.”
But what about the mechanical vs. connected conversation, in the heart of Silicon Valley? “What I see is a very polarised market,” says Jared Silver. “I see people who stick to the Apple Watch because they like the functionality. But they will always see it as a disposable item. And they also have timepieces that they like to collect.”
“Actually, people started to become more interested in watches in general just as smartwatches started to ramp up. But if you’re a brand producing watches under 1,000 dollars, you are ripe for disruption. Why spend 1,000 dollars on a quartz timepiece when you can spend 400 dollars on a smartwatch and get all the functions?”
The jeweller continues: “We are insulated from that disruption because we specialise in high-end and unique timepieces. Our customers are typically extremely well educated, sophisticated in the sense that they are very in tune with culture, arts, trends and society, and when they look at a piece of jewellery, they want to be different. They want to stand out. Most of my customers, by the time they come to us, already own multiple Pateks, Vacherons and vintage timepieces.”
What is the lifestyle of Silver’s customers? “Very casual. That’s why brands like Ressence, Urwerk, Richard Mille and MB&F are doing so well. You can absolutely wear these striking timepieces with a T-shirt and jeans. The watch culture is very strong here, and we are really just scratching the surface of it as a retailer.”