Christian Bedat on Swiss Luxury Watch Myths and Truisms

Posted on January 11, 2011


Originally launched in the Fall of 1996 by London-based advertising agency Leagas Delaney, the powerful “tradition campaign” has been a huge success as it captures the essence of the Patek Philippe brand.

It’s a common myth that Swiss Luxury watches enjoy over 2000% profit margin. It’s more a truism than a myth. Stepping away from high end complications and mono boutiques;  many brands claim 100% movements are made in Switzerland (legally, it used to be 50% of the movement. It’s now 80%) but movements only factor 4% of the watch’s retail value. That means that in terms of a luxury timepiece’s “Swiss made” heritage, a $2000 watch can theoretically contain only $80 worth of “Swiss-ness”.


Christian Bedat: My Red8 watches are produced in the Far East. Much like Apple, I wasn’t afraid to get my timepieces made in China but with Japanese movements because they are more reliable.

Jonathan Ho: Isn’t luxury designed around excess?

The luxury market has managed to successfully create the marketing message that we’re expensive and it’s worth it because you are buying it for the next generation. It takes away the guilt. -Christian Bedat

Christian Bedat: You can spend 25 thousand on a watch but you justify your purchase with the wife and say, “Look, I spent 25 thousand on watch but it’s not for me, it’s for our son” and at the end of the day, it’s all about taking away the purchase guilt or shopper’s regret. You are really buying it for yourself and the image it represents. My idea of new luxury is about products that make you happy and whether it suits your personality and looks, not so much as getting approval by wearing the right brands. What is important is that you get pleasure without spending a fortune.

Your priorities change as you get older. When you’re younger, you want to look older, you want girls to look at you and you want to look like you’re successful: get an expensive watch and a nice car. As you get older, you realise that at the end of the day, what’s important are family values, the company of friends, nature and the state of our world. If you’re buying a product because of a brand name. Something is wrong- A person is more than the sum of brands he wears or carries, or he’s just insecure.

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Posted in: watches