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Showing posts from 2024

Rolex, Bucherer and WEKO: an Update (of Sorts)

The other day, I was poking around in Swiss business registries (as one does on a weekend) when I noticed that Jörg Bucherer was still listed as the "president and delegate" of luxury watch retailer Bucherer, AG. A Rolex clock in front of an AD in New England. Since Bucherer, the man, passed away on November 8, 2023, this clearly raises some questions. More curious was the fact that Rolex ownership of Bucherer, the business, was not indicated in Bucherer's commercial registration and Rolex's own business registrations did not indicate a lash-up with Bucherer. News of Rolex's intent to acquire Bucherer broke roughly eight months ago. Now, I will admit that I do not understand or know all the nuances involved in Swiss business registration. I do know that registrations are administered by the Swiss cantons (roughly equivalent to states in the US) so perhaps this was simply a matter of delay in updating the registrations across cantons (Rolex is registered in G

Have Watch Prices Reached Bottom?

There's a quip in the world of finance: "nobody rings a bell at the top or bottom of the market." AI generated image of someone looking for the bottom of a chasm. If you're on a trading floor, you know it is the start of the day because of the "opening bell." But, if you reach the low point for prices, there is no bell. Everyone just has to do their best to figure out if prices are finally going to start increasing again. This is certainly true of watches. According to Chrono24's Chronopulse index of watch prices (full disclosure, I've contributed to this index), we've just begun the third year of a "bear market" for preowned watches. Chronopulse overall index of late. The rate of decrease in prices has certainly slowed, but there hasn't been an overall turnaround in prices just yet. It is hard to say if we're at the bottom or if we're just on a gentle downslope that will continue for the near term. Right or wron

Clash with the Customizers

One of the less glamorous, but nonetheless important, activities in the watch industry relates to intellectual property (IP). AI thinks this is what it would look like if Rolex and a customizer were gladiators fighting in an arena. Largely behind the scenes, micro mechanical engineers file patents, brand founders file trademarks and attorneys file lawsuits when they believe someone has infringed on the rights of a horological IP owner. Periodically, some of this activity is covered by the popular press, particularly when there is a lawsuit. For example, Swatch Group's unsuccessful litigation against Vortic was covered by a wide range of media outlets (and Vortic themselve documented the legal clash on YouTube and in a forthcoming book . A somewhat recent watch market development relates to the customization of timepieces. Customization can take many forms, including "bust down" watches in which gemstones are added by an aftermarket jeweler. I first realized watch

A New Horological Moonshot

The story of watches and moon exploration is arguably more well-trodden than the surface of the moon itself. A view of the moon from the IM-1 lunar lander. Photo credit Intuitive Machines. The Omega Speedmaster is the incumbent "moonwatch," a title earned after U. S. astronaut Wally Schirra wore his personal Speedy on Earth orbit in 1962. Seven years later, Speedmaster was there when humans first landed on the moon. What's interesting is that this legacy of Omega on the moon emerged through serendipity. There was no grand marketing plan or product placement strategy or KPI which choreographed the arrival of the Speedmaster on Schirra's wrist. Instead, Omega learned that the Speedmaster had been adopted by NASA astronauts in 1965 when they saw a news photo of Ed White wearing one during a spacewalk. Eventually, Omega's role in spaceflight became more intentional and formal. An Omega Speedmaster Project Alaska III. I took this photo during a Phillips auc