Connecting vanity dots —
Brand collaboration where Technology meets crafted luxury
There’s a quiet hush of discreet wealth on Zurich’s Bahnofstrasse, but as the luxury watch industry continues to delight its customers who seemingly have everything, there’s an autumn economic chill in the wind. According to a recent report by Deloitte’s, smartwatches are moving into the same luxury segments as high quality swiss watches. In November Apple watches in a collaboration with Hermes hope to capture a less tech friendly audience. Trying to appeal as a fashion accessory they could well take a significant step into the lower end priced luxury watch market.
Apple execs in their levis and mock track shoes have always shunned fashion in favour of that easy Californian lifestyle. So it seems they’re not beyond recognising they need help from Hermes in what’s fashionable as opposed the cool irreverance they cross the world with generally. I think that high quality expensive time pieces will remain a means for the wealthy to distinguish themselves for a while yet. But perhaps by encouraging younger people to wear devices on their wrists as higher priced smart watches the Swiss are securing the future of Luxury watches.
The junction point of collaboration where technology meets craft is an interesting product crossroads which can damage brands from both sides if not sensitively designed and managed. Mont Blanc the fine writing instrument company this year launched ‘’e-straps’’ for its watches which link to smartphones.
"Luxury collaborations of this kind are exciting new areas of product and service innovation"
Vertu the luxury phone is perhaps the best example of this crossover between technology and fine metal craftmanship. The Concierge phone that will run your bath and book your opera tickets, its become the gem encrusted device to link your business and personal world.
Luxury collaborations of this kind are exciting new areas of product and service innovation which can help extend the reach and often appeal of a traditional Brand. Aston Martin’s commissioned Jewellery range by Colleja,Bang and Olufsen’s associations with high performace car brands, Louis Vuiton’s links with America’s cup beyond sponsorship to fashion clothing are clever collaborations where brand values compliment and create new markets.
"Everyone’s world when you look close enough at it, has seemingly disconnected things connected"
Everyone’s world when you look close enough at it, has seemingly disconnected things connected. It takes a great eye and perception to recognise the potential marriage of values and find new appeal. They can in fact happen at any price point and it’s the less myopic marketer who will find these opportunities. Product and service curation is more than innovation.It requires street cred knowledge of where the world would like to go as opposed to where it actually is going.
Unbridled thinking is so rare and we are only just now enetering a new age where those businesses who can connect the dots in this case vanity will surge ahead in their category.