Fine Watch Club Interview with the founder
Brice Lechevalier is an entrepreneur with a passion for watches. He’s about to lift the curtain on a new club he has created to promote interaction between its members and the watchmaking world.
Who is the Fine Watch Club for?
The Fine Watch Club is for anyone who’s interested in fine watchmaking, and watches in general. It’s the first international multi-brand watch owners’ club that offers its members year-round benefits. Depending on their situation, some members might be interested in the limited series designed exclusively for the Fine Watch Club, while others might be more attracted to bespoke experiences, or specially designed accessories. And a different group may be keen to access the heavily discounted luxury watches. And finally, anyone for whom watches are an all-consuming passion will want to take advantage of all these privileges. Currently, there is no other bridge between luxury watch brands and their end clients that gives access to all these benefits.
What, exactly, do you mean by “luxury watch brands”?
The term is perhaps overused, but we have concrete, successful experiences with the luxury watch industry. Simply put, we’re talking about high-end Swiss-made watches with a mechanical movement (at least as far as men’s watches are concerned). These brands know us well, because we have been dealing with them on a day-to-day basis since the year 2000, through our watch magazine GMT and WorldTempus. What’s more, the process of creating exclusive limited editions with luxury watch brands is not completely new to us. In recent years we have designed one-of-a-kind pieces for our readers in cooperation with 15 watch brands, in a range of prices from CHF 3,000 to 42,000. There has been something to suit all tastes: Anonimo, Bell & Ross, Bulgari, Chopard, Eberhard, Frédérique Constant, Graham, Hublot, Rebellion, TAG Heuer, Tiffany, Ulysse Nardin, Urban Jurgensen, Vacheron Constantin, Zenith. This was a new departure for the majority of these brands. I’d like to thank them again for their trust, and for the wonderful experience of working together to create unique dial designs for their flagship models. We are working with the same range of brands to design limited series exclusively for our Fine Watch Club members.
Some of the unique pieces designed in partnership with luxury watch brands
Isn’t this a bit opportunistic?
The world has changed. The purchasing behaviour of end clients, as well as the way they are approached by watch brands in terms of communication, distribution and e-commerce, have changed profoundly over the last few years. The Fine Watch Club initiative is neither impulsive nor opportunistic; it’s a logical extension of the activities we have been conducting alongside the watch industry for the last 20 years. It’s a long-term endeavour that will meet the needs of both watch buyers and watch brands. As an entrepreneur and a lover of fine watches, I co-founded GMT Magazine in 2000. It has since become the publication of reference for the Swiss watch press, with issues published from the Middle East to Africa, plus a large format international special issue, GMT XXL World, which is circulated in 80 countries. That’s a lot of readers all over the world, with an interest in watches.
On a more fun but still educational note, in 2012 I set up the Geneva Watch Tour, which has become a mainstay for Geneva’s many business, institutional and leisure visitors. In order to share my passion in a creative way with the diverse international community of watch owners, in 2018 I also created the Watch Photo Awards, a watch photography competition open to the public. The authors of the 60 finalist entries had their photos exhibited at Geneva’s Museum of Art and History in November.
Brice Lechevalier is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of GMT. He also created the Geneva Watch Tour and the Watch Photo Awards. His latest venture for 2019 is the Fine Watch Club. He is also active in the sailing world: his magazine Skippers, Voile & Océan is now the official magazine of the Swiss Sailing Federation and also Switzerland’s oldest nautical magazine.
In 2014 GMT Publishing, our publishing house, bought and developed WorldTempus.com, which was launched in 2001 by 30 watch brands, and has since become the leading trilingual watch news website, with 80 partner luxury brands. Each month, close to 300,000 unique visitors browse WorldTempus’s pages looking for information about specific watches. Why not give them an opportunity to get closer to the watch brands, by joining the Fine Watch Club? If just 0.5% of this highly qualified readership opted to join each month, the club could have more than 10,000 members by the time we launch our first offers next summer.
What benefits can Fine Watch Club members expect?
Thanks to our knowledge of the watch industry, our geographical proximity to them, and the close relationships we have built up, we can guarantee members of the Fine Watch Club privileged access behind the scenes of the watch industry: private viewings, visits to manufactures, invitations to private events, new services, products and accessories available only to members and, of course, limited edition watches designed especially for the Fine Watch Club, plus luxury watches at a serious discount. Each week, members of the Fine Watch Club will be given access to these private sales, but they’ll have to be quick because numbers will necessarily be limited. Members of the Fine Watch Club will have a dedicated contact person. For several months we have been interviewing watch industry professionals to find the person who best shares our vision for the club. The qualities of the club manager clearly include a deep-seated interest in watches, a gift for communication and service, a facility with digital media and a creative drive. From the point of view of the watchmakers, they appreciate the contact with end clients, and the opportunity to get to know them better and even meet them, through their long-standing partnership with us.
How do I become a member of the Fine Watch Club?
It’s very easy, you just have to sign up! Until the end of 2018, it’s completely free to join. Beginning in January 2019, three tiers of membership will be available, with three different price levels according to the nature and quantity of benefits that members can access. The highest tier will also give members a time advantage, by granting them early access to private sales, plus many other benefits. Readers of GMT and WorldTempus have a head start, with the opportunity to apply for free membership up to December 2018. After that, we will start telling the readers of our media partners around the globe, although they will not enjoy the same advantages.