We here at TWL have a great deal of respect for the marketing prowess of Hublot, especially their profound ability to foster strong emotional connections between their customers and their products. That’s why the brand’s latest announcement – the introduction of the Atelier watch – didn’t really take us too much by surprise. What did surprise us though were the rather lackluster specifications of the new, for want of a better word, ‘model’.
Allow me to explain.
Essentially the idea behind the Atelier watch is to allow the Hublot’s customers to remain connected to the brand even when their watch is away for servicing and/or repair. To achieve this they have developed a kind of “Courtesy Watch” that is loaned at no charge to the customer for the time required. Presently this service is limited to just the stand-alone Hublot boutiques of which there are currently 49 worldwide, with the final decision about which customers actually get a loan watch remaining at the discretion of the management team at each individual boutique.
So far, so good, right?
I thought so too, that is until I read a bit more about the Atelier watch itself. Below is an extract from the official Hublot press release that provides a brief rundown of the special model:
“This “Atelier watch” is a special model that is not for general sale, whose design is true to the brand’s pet principle of fusion: it is made in black composite, case, bezel, with a pin buckle also in black composite with a black rubber strap, screws and crown in steel, and equipped with a quartz movement with date and small seconds. The great majority of the watch’s components were developed and made in Switzerland.”
Now I don’t know about you but a couple of things jumped out at me immediately. Firstly, it has a quartz movement and secondly ‘most’ of the watch’s components were developed in Switzerland. In isolation you could probably say that these are not major issues but when you consider them relative to what the brand is trying to achieve here it seems like they have fallen short of the mark.
Allow me to demonstrate by example. Imagine you have just gone to drop off your Big Bang Ice Bang (pictured above – RRP approx. US$18,000) at your favorite Hublot Boutique where everybody knows your name. The manager greets you with a smile and informs you that you are lucky enough to be receiving a Courtesy Watch free of charge for the duration of the service of your watch. The only problem is that the Longines Chonograph you brought for your 10-year old son last week has a more complicated movement.
Would You Wear It?
Now ask yourself this, as a luxury watch aficionado who clearly has the means and the sophistication required to purchase at least one (but in reality probably several high-end timepieces) would you actually wear this watch?
Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a fantastic idea and a great way to retain that strong connection between brand and consumer, however I can’t help but think they’ve really missed the mark in the execution stage. Firstly, with the exception of aesthetic similarities, the watch is in no way comparable to most of the models in Hublot’s line-up.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it really raises the question of what Hublot knows or thinks about its customers? After all, the decision to give out one of these so called courtesy watches is at the discretion of the Boutique’s management team, which in other words means if you have only purchased one of the brand’s cheaper models than you are probably unlikely to be considered. So, following that logic, in order to be eligible you need to be wealthy. Why then would the brand want give to you something that can only be described as a cheap watch? And more importantly, why would they expect you to wear it? After all, if you wanted a cheap watch you probably never would have bought a Hublot in the first place, right?
As fellow watch enthusiasts I would love to hear your thoughts and invite you to please share your comments below. As I said before, I think this is a great idea but I really am surprised at the execution. Maybe I’m missing something?
For more from Hublot please visit their official website: www.hublot.com
Category: Watch News
About the Author (Author Profile)Tom is the founder and editor of The Watch Lounge. Together with his team he is dedicated to bringing you the best, original content you won't find anywhere else on the net.
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