The watch industry today consists of around 30 big brands which really make a difference in worldwide sales. Interestingly, as in any industry there are several big groups which own the greatest brands there are. The Swiss family-lead Swatch-Group owns around 20 brands, among them Omega, Breguet and Tissot. Other big groups are the Richemont-Group, owning Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Mercier as well as the LVHM to which belong among others the brands TAG Heuer and Hublot. The one brand not included in one of these portfolios is Rolex, which is owned by a non-profit foundation. (1)
The brands discussed in this context until now surely belong to the “Haute Horlogerie”, the luxury sector which not everyone can afford. However, each brand tries to position itself within a slightly different angle and usually their marketing efforts show where they want to be found.
Rolex and Omega both strongly position themselves with a strong connection to sportsmanship, sponsoring main sport events or spokespersons worldwide. This similar strong approach shows for example in the fact that both were or are to date seen in James Bond movies and want to be connected to the values it represents. The only big difference is really that Omega is to date less expensive than Rolex. (2)
Other brands like Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet position themselves differently, heavily highlighting the fact that their watches convey a high awareness for tradition, that their watches are passed on from father to son and will never really belong to just one person.
Breguet has come back to its roots since it was bought by Nicolas Hayek in 1999 and is now positioned as a brand that knows of its high social status history, stressing their connection to Churchill, Napoleon and highly sophisticated social status activities in general.
Although many of these brands sell watches for women as well, they really remain dedicated to man, knowing of their strong affection for the technical detail which is hidden behind each watch’s body. A waste percentage of watches is bought by man, even women’s watches. Looking at the experience of several big players on the market, it shows that normally man start interesting their wives into the fine art of luxury watches and that they take great pleasure in this. However, Gisela Schneider, long-time consultant at Juwelier Wempe in Hanover, Germany, states that “once women started to attach themselves to the significance of highly technical watches, they are not likely to give up this habit”. Meaning, even if women split up form their husbands who introduced them to the fine art of watches, they will keep their interest and most often identify themselves with the brands they got attached to before. Still, they do present a target segment which needs to be communicated with on a different level than men and might demand different emotional or functional levels to relate and stay loyal to a brand. In 2010, Cartier made a huge effort into this direction by introducing a mechanical clockwork simply aimed at women, but didn’t succeed in establishing it at the same segment. It didn’t manage to catch their customers attention as well as the brand had hoped, with already too many other models on the market.(3)
This is why we decided that there definitely is room in the industry for a brand which positions itself as a brand solely for women. For women who are earning their own money, who are very successful at their job, to those women which prefer their career over everything else at the time being and, thus, also honour status symbols and the simple elegance of watches at their wrist which convey their power, eloquence and intelligence.
The target segment consists, hence, of women aged from 30-50, in successful job positions, who travel a lot, who are strong and belong to the upper class. This will be reflected in the pricing, so that a luxury status can be established.
Surely, there are Brands like Hermès, Dior or Dolce and Gabbana which sell sublime women’s watches as well, but Victoria is to be put as a competitor with distinguished watch brands, not the expansion categories of luxury fashion brands. (4) This is why in the following perceptual maps Victoria will be compared to the luxury watch brands discussed above.