Brands use digital to make an impact at the big watch fairs

April 2012

The first major watch event of the year, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva was a star-studded show featuring the Haute Horlogerie elite. The 18 brands unveiled their finest pieces in an extravagant setting, with lavish boutiques, world-renowned celebrities and champagne bars to match. However, the champagne was not the only thing that kept flowing; non-stop tweets and numerous Facebook posts were going round the clock creating a huge buzz. These, along with other digital initiatives, formed an integral part of the brands’ marketing strategies for the event. Here are the key digital highlights from the SIHH, surely a taste of what’s to come at BaselWorld.

Getting in front
Even though the event was closed to the public, Vacheron Constantin’s online forum, The Hour Lounge (, offered their members a chance to attend an exclusive get-together in Geneva which included a private dinner party, visit to the manufacture and VIP access to the SIHH.

Jaeger-LeCoultre employed a very strategic search engine advertising campaign on Google. For SIHH-related searches, the Jaeger-LeCoultre ad featured in the top position.

This marketing strategy ensured that the brand would receive exclusive online exposure in the lead up to and during the event. Furthermore, Jaeger-LeCoultre was the only brand to use Google AdWords to promote its presence at the SIHH.

Behind the scenes with blogs
IWC paid significant attention to their digital communications, ensuring fans did not miss out on all the action from the watch fair. Their blog on Tumblr ( featured numerous posts about the exclusive collections, videos and recaps from the event.

A.Lange & Söhne also provided highlights from the event on their blog (, with a collection of photo galleries and videos showcasing their cocktail event, interviews and the making of new timepieces.

These blogs serve as an interactive and engaging way to provide fans with recaps of events, allowing them behind-the-scenes access to bring them into the brand’s world.

Tweets go flying
Favoured by the WIFI coverage at the SIHH, Twitter was the digital platform of choice as it proved to be a very convenient and engaging way for brands to communicate the happenings directly from the event. DLG recorded the activity on Twitter during the time period of the SIHH (see table 1), and as expected, most of the brands experienced very positive results—with a notable increase in the number of followers.
In particular, Roger Dubuis and IWC fuelled the topics of conversation—this proactive approach allowed these brands to record a higher increase in the number of followers than the average of the exhibiting brands. Twitter regular Jaeger-LeCoultre was the most active brand sending out over 100 related tweets, gaining the greatest volume of brand mentions during the event.
Baume & Mercier also gained a significant number of mentions on Twitter during the event, anticipating the noise that would be created by aggregating all the tweets that were published in connection with the SIHH on to one platform, This initiative was a successful way for Baume & Mercier to increase their exposure.

Brands use digital to make an impact at the big watch fairs

Key insight – Although they don’t have an official account, Richard Mille caused a stir on Twitter, with over 470 mentions of the brand. This was the highest number out of all the brands and likely due to hype surrounding the launch of their bold new timepieces. It will be interesting to see if this positive outcome pushes the brand to create a presence on Twitter in the near future.

The five most popular posts on the leading social network
The usual suspect, Facebook, was certainly alive with news from SIHH. Brand pages were flooded with content from the event featuring pictures and videos of their showrooms, new collections, and famous ambassadors who appeared at the fair. Taking into account all the activities on the platform, DLG identified the five most popular SIHH-related posts on Facebook (Table 2).

Brands use digital to make an impact at the big watch fairs

IWC and Cartier dominated Facebook with the most engaging content, notably featuring only watch models. IWC’s post, ‘Take my breath away’ displays its Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun. ‘Cartier craftsmanship’, posted on Cartier’s Facebook page, shows their Santos-Dumont XL watch with a horse motif. Also worth mentioning regarding Facebook use are Vacheron Constantin and Montblanc, who created dedicated tabs on their Facebook page to make the SIHH updates more interactive.
These are just some of the many digital initiatives that brands implemented to increase their awareness at the SIHH. It will be interesting to see what is next on the cards for all the brands involved at the watch event of the year in early March, BaselWorld.

Source: Europa Star April - May 2012 Magazine Issue