JIMH Table ronde scene heure bleue

The multiple lives of watches – experts gather at the JIMH

The 2015 edition of the International Watch Marketing Day will be held on December 3. There is still time to register. This event, which began in 1997, has become must-go, academic, certifying, spectacular...

By Joel Grandjean

Things will get going on December 2, 2015, already, when the JRMH (Watch Marketing Research Day) will be held as a prelude to the plenary session of December 3. Kalust Zorik, President of the JIMH, is to watchmaking what Bob Geldof is to music.  He is a magnet, a motivator and, at times, an unrecognized talent for having been far too active for the common cause. 

Highlighting serious reflection 

In the realm of watchmaking, the manufacturing side clearly prefers the crafts that actually make watches to those that attempt to sell them or, worse yet, explain their success. It's quite a strange business, this watchmaking industry: It can turn certain perceptions upside down that appear to be perfectly obvious elsewhere. So, at the JIMH, you will not meet many people coming from the établis, the watchmaker's workplace, except for a few independent watchmakers, whose fame does mean that that they have to answer the call to the limelight.

JIMH - Edition 2014

Because it is a stage, the one at the Heure Bleu, the legendary theater at La Chaux-de-Fonds, used for  plays and concerts alike. Given the very theatrical backdrop, the satin seats and the heavy burgundy drapes at the balconies with their openworked balustrades, it would have been off-message not to add a few elements of staging to the very serious discussions that are held during the Marketing Days. Kalust Zorik has a theater director's touch when it comes to the deeper meaning of his play and its form as well. 

So, a wandering comedian, and often a very promising find, mixes into the day's program to create links between the various speakers or acts. And, especially, to create a relaxed atmosphere and optimize concentration. Zorik's feeling for changing backdrops, is remarkable, also for the presentation of the roundtables – with large armchairs facing the audience – and for the great care given to the sound and image of the event. Voices are extremely audible, the presentations are on large screens and extremely visible. And when dialogue has to come from the auditorium, a natural sense of proximity appears as well.

François H. Courvoisier

Thoughts become things

With regards to the topics in 2015, let us hear Kalust Zorik: I have met this man at other major watchmaking venues throughout the year, and I can say with conviction that there is a topic he feels very strongly about. A subject that reminds one of a film poster. "The multiple lives of watches – pre-owned watches."

Kalust Zorik

Do you believe in horological reincarnation with your concept of multiple lives?

Our symposium focuses on the multiple lives of a watch and the enormous  pre-owned market. In order to even have multiple lives, a product may not be in a cycle of perishability, and its transmission must represent some form of value for the protagonists, like salespersons, the marketers, the buyers.

An enormous market… could you give some details?

This economic activity represents turnover of about 10 billion Swiss francs. These multiple lives appear in shops as well as pre-owned websites, classic and online auctions, classic and online one-to-one sales, antique dealers, and even the pawnshop.

It would seem that this market is not at all in the sites of the big brands.

The customers – our audience – have their own personal impulses, so separation, transmission and re-acquisition are that we must readily accept and integrate into our value-added chain. There are many questions, and we will attempt to answer some of them. Let's see if it's worth the brands' while to become more interested in this unregulated market.

Could you mention some of the questions raised by this market?

What are the advantages that the brands draw from it, and what remains to be tapped? Could vertical integration of the retail segment, particularly in monobrand stores, be prolonged towards management of the pre-owned segment tapped by the brands? Are there ideas to be found in other sectors, such as auto making? Do appraisal and overhaul (the services we call after-sales) offer opportunities for new revenue streams for the brands? What does this pre-owned market provide the brands with respect to their image? What are the risks?


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The 19th International Symposium of Watch Marketing will be dedicated to pre-owned watches

Welcome to the world- unaffected by any crisis- of pre-owned watches, so called second hand or vintage. On Thursday December 3 2015 in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the...