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JIMH 2014 - Proceedings

The 18th International Day of Horological Marketing (JIMH) took place in La Chaux-de-Fonds in front of more than 300 participants. The theme of this edition was "Watchmaking design, create me an icon".

The importance of design in watchmaking

Design is a reflection of a brand's vision based on its skills and stimuli received from the outside world. This is retransmitted through the aesthetic conventions presented by the prof. Nicolas Babey of the Haute Ecole de Gestion Arc. There are eight of them: the Second Empire illustrated by Breguet among others, the Art Nouveau illustrated by Cartier and Franck Muller among others, the Bauhaus illustrated inter alia by Mondaine, Swatch and the MIH watch, the Art Deco illustrated inter alia by the Reverso by Jaeger-le-Coultre and Cartier's Tank, Futurism illustrated by Casio, Pulsar and Apple Watch, the Streamline illustrated by MB & F and Bugatti by Parmigiani, the Pop-Art illustrated by several Swatch models and Flik-Flak, the machine illustrated by HYT, Richard Mille and Hublot Ferrari among others, and finally the loan agreement - diversion by disqualification of the original function - illustrated by Breitling, Omega Diving and Panerai among others.

Once registered in an aesthetic convention the design follows trends of the moment to be in conformity in its colors, materials, lines and even its communication. Vincent Grégoire, trend hunter at Nelly Rodi in Paris, presented the societal contexts in which we can see how to conceive the life, the taste and the influences of the next two years. The "30 glorious" (1950-60-70) were followed by the "30 pitiful" (1980-90-2000), to pass the "30 ingenious". The year 2009 was characterized by "Living the crisis", 2010 by "Reset", 2011 by "Dare to risk", 2012 by "Mutation (s), 2013 by" Yes Future ", 2014 by" Action "and the vision 2015 will be "Move on" and 2016 "Dream it". The spirit that he believes will surround us in the coming years is that of "Modern Sensitivity", "The Force of Fusion", "Techno Peplum" and "Smart Connection". Vincent Grégoire accompanied his presentation with a large number of images and colors which aroused undeniable interest among the participants.

Roland Iten, an industrial designer, has expressed his way of deciphering the customer and the way he uses a product so that his designs meet ideal functionalities. To answer all the situations of use of a product that he designs is his motto.

Patrick le Quément, automotive and naval designer, Twingo's father, works to give a soul to the product and provoke emotions. His vision of the evolution of society has allowed him to create products out of the beaten path, to become icons.

For Antonio Terranova, daring in tradition and designing according to the customer briefing is the way in which one must learn to excel.

The specificity of watchmaking design

The design of a watch, especially if it is an original mechanical movement, calls for a spirit of maximization under stress. The inventions of Greubel Forsey already as a movement reflect a design that must be dressed taking into account all the DNA that the company has put in place. It is to enter this universe of the brand which is the most important point for designers such as Xavier Perrenoud and Antoine Tschumi, who spoke during the round table. For Xavier Perrenoud, moving from 2D to 3D design, and then to the prototype, is a crucial passage exam. Especially when you're an independent designer, it's important to know who you're designing for and what your expectations are. So the design of the movement called internal design is superimposed the design of the box, the dial, the hands, the bracelet, the case, the window and why not the store.

And an icon?

For the founder and president of the International Watchmaking Days, Kalust Zorik, an icon is defined as "a venerated image, widely recognized, forerunner of a path, and running through time. Everything in it represents a symbolic aspect and it creates new traditions and conventions. It is associated with a strong cultural significance for a group."

Designs such as the Audemars-Piguet Royal Oak, Rolex Oyster, Jaeger-le-Coultre Reverso, among others, have achieved this coveted status. For Ottavio Garcia "Chief Artistic Officer" of Audemars-Piguet, it is the audience who attributes iconicity to a product.

Research in watchmaking marketing

Marketing has become another science that watchmakers have learned to cultivate to complement their customer vision. This is why for the past 9 years the JIMH has been accompanied by a Watchmaking Marketing Research Day taking place at HEG-Arc in Neuchâtel. Academics and watchmaking practitioners submitted their research work, which was pre-selected and presented in front of a sold-out theater. The JIMH award for best communication: "Design and positioning of watch products: the contribution of implicit cognition" was rewarded with a prize offered by TAG Heuer.

This team research was carried out by Imène Belboula from Blida 2 University of Algiers, Claire-Lise Ackermann from ESC Rennes School of Business and Jean-Pierre Mathieu from Paris 13 University. She puts into perspective the beliefs functional and symbolic beliefs that by the use of a dual measure, explicit and implicit, the perception of watchmaking product design would limit the risks associated with a misperception of positioning. By controlling the design features of a watch, practitioners can determine which combination of design elements is most implicitly associated with the concept they wish to highlight. Thus, design, as a vector of information, a persuasive element and a key to interpretation for the consumer, participates in the perceptual process by making it possible to perceive the product in the direction intended by the marketer. Therefore, the choice of design must be consistent with the desired positioning, it is possible to review the design of a watch by working on other attributes to optimize the desired positioning.