Omega mechanized production, unified specifications of parts, and the introduction of the new division of labor system, assembly work, installed a sophisticated and accurate, high quality and reasonably priced watches.
Quick-witted, frank, optimistic, ambitious and adventurous. Could there be a more suitable list of attributes that we need in 2016? As Jean-Claude Biver admirably demonstrated last year while others were prevaricating, some quick-witted risk-taking can pay dividends in marketing. TAG Heuer now holds the sponsorship rights with the German Bundesliga and the Austrian Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team, among many others. This year, however, Jean-Claude Biver is very likely to turn his attention to Zenith – the only brand in the LVMH group’s watch brand portfolio to which he has yet to apply his magic touch. We can thus confidently expect a deluge of news from Le Locle this year.
Many brands have already announced that 2016 will be the year of the lady as far as their watches are concerned. Roger Dubuis is set to open a stand at the SIHH that is exclusively dedicated to ladies watches, and only half-jokingly hints at banning male visitors. The more traditional DeWitt has also hinted at some playful new complications aimed at ladies. Expect others to follow suit.
Whether TAG Heuer will be able to make its new Formula 1 partnership pay in the battle with the powerful visibility of official timekeeper Rolex is a moot point. But in more general terms Formula 1 may be able to enhance its profile in the world of sport. As one of the few global events to be managed by a commercial arm, with only a token link to the political body that oversees motorsport, it has a privileged position against under-fire governing bodies like FIFA and the IAAF, both of whom have their own timekeeping sponsors.
Omega Watch will undoubtedly benefit from the visibility associated with the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro over the summer, but will the brand renew its association with the IOC as member of the TOP Programme, which it joined in 2004, beyond its expiry date in 2020? After Oslo withdrew its bid, there were only two candidates competing for the 2022 winter Olympics (Beijing won the contest against Almaty) and two of the six candidate cities for the 2024 summer games have already withdrawn (Boston and Hamburg). The spiralling costs of hosting the games and the lack of public support for the bids are the two reasons for the withdrawals.
Thanks to these major sports events, as well as others such as the America’s Cup, we can be assured of a steady flow of watch-related news next year. Furthermore, as the number of watch exhibitions around the world has increased, with the Dubai Watch Week and the first major luxury watch exhibition in India being added to an already busy schedule, there will be no shortage of new watch launches throughout the year.