#Resilience


“Every week, I see high-end watch owners switching to Apple watches”

MAX BÜSSER

Español
December 2019


“Every week, I see high-end watch owners switching to Apple watches”

In our latest report about the transformation of the watch world, we selected six major issues which are having a profound impact on the industry’s present and also on its future and discussed them with about forty stakeholders of the industry. Here is the take of Max Büsser, CEO of MB&F.

ENTRY-LEVEL
“I would be terrified”

“If I was the CEO of an affordable watch brand, I would be terrified. But even high-end brand managers should be seriously scared. Every week, I see high-end watch owners switching to Apple watches. Convenience is trumping all the rest. Let’s face it, our industry is mostly responsible for that. By mass-producing what used to be high-end artisanship, by focusing on status instead of education, by creating boring look-alike products, by ‘dumbing-down’ the buyers, the industry has reduced the emotional attachment it is possible to have for a mechanical watch. One day, it could actually be too late.”

POLARISATION
“When status-hungry clients meet the gasoline of social media”

“It probably all started when the fire of status-hungry clients met the gasoline of social media. Add a dose of greedy speculators whose interest in watchmaking starts and ends with money, and you have the recipe for one hell of a bonfire.”

"Add a dose of greedy speculators whose interest in watchmaking starts and ends with money, and you have the recipe for one hell of a bonfire.”

DISTRIBUTION
“If your team is really great, you are going to survive”

“There is no reason watch distribution should not follow a variation of Darwin’s theory i.e. ‘you either bring value or you disappear’. Certain retailers who keep on thinking that location and carrying the most sellable brands are their main assets may be replaced by brand-operated e-commerce. They will be saved by having a great team on the shop floor, who not only love watchmaking and are super knowledgeable but actually can inspire, engage and help you curate your choices. Retailers need their own variation of Apple’s genius bar where everyone can enjoy talking about the watchmaking world with people who share the same interests or who can bring them to the next level.”

Max Büsser, CEO of MB&F
Max Büsser, CEO of MB&F

PRE-OWNED
“I don’t understand why it did not happen before”

“I actually do not understand why it did not happen before. There is no reason the watch world should not follow the example of the car industry. Caring for your second- hand market is just great long-term thinking and investment. Until very recently, buying a pre-owned watch on the unregulated secondary market was one hair-raising very high-risk experience. I once bought a preowned Rolex from a ‘reputed’ eBay merchant. After inspection, the dial was not original (even though the vendor swore it was) but I knew it as that reference had never come with that dial. What I did not realise (and could not detect on photos) was that the case back was not from that reference, neither was the crown, and the crown stem was, well… a piece of metal but not from a watch. And… the glass was not a watch glass, but a piece of plexi which had been machined after market and glued on!”

"Until very recently, buying a pre-owned watch on the unregulated secondary market was one hair-raising very high-risk experience."

OPPORTUNITIES
“The pool of new clients can be multiplied by ten”

“The pool of new clients can be multiplied by ten – and does not need new geographical boundaries. It needs to rethink the reasons mechanical watchmaking exists and why it touched people’s hearts thirty years ago (when quartz had decimated our industry). Let’s talk soul, creativity, beauty, humanity and artisanship.”