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11 March 2019 Interview with Julien Haenny
2 November 2018 Interview with the founder
Fine Watch Club Exclusive: everything you need to know about the Fine Watch Club
FWC: three initials to remember Even though it hasn’t even been officially launched, the Fine Watch Club already has almost 5,000 passionate and knowledgeable members. We find out the latest from Julien Haenny, who is in the club’s driving seat.
Omni-channel is a marketing buzzword, and it’s all about using several different approaches to attract customers – shops, the internet, events and advertising. These are the traditional channels through which watch brands endeavour to enter the cognitive space and, ideally, influence the decision-making centres of its clients and prospects. Today, another stream has been added to the flow: the collectors’ club.
But don’t be fooled – this is a very different approach from others you might have heard of. While watch brands control their own advertising, shops and website, here they rely on recognised third parties to approach collectors. We’ve seen the Red Bar (in the United States) for physical meetups, various enthusiasts’ groups on Facebook, and now we have the Fine Watch Club. This is the first interface that brings watch brands together with collectors, while being completely independent of both. As both a platform and an enthusiasts’ forum, the Fine Watch Club opens up a new two-way dialogue: collectors have as much to gain by “meeting” the brands as the brands do by meeting their collectors. Where traditional methods prioritise broad-based communication (quantity), the Fine Watch Club unapologetically targets the “happy few” (quality), while nevertheless not excluding anyone (membership is completely free and there’s no financial commitment). So what’s the magic formula? Julien Haenny, captain of this new vessel, gives us some answers.
Is the Fine Watch Club just another collectors’ club?
No, not really! There are already plenty of clubs where collectors can meet. Our aim is completely different. It’s a club where enthusiasts can meet the watch companies. That’s not the same thing at all. The Fine Watch Club is part of the GMT Publishing group (GMT Magazine, WorldTempus, Skippers, etc.), which over twenty years has built up a privileged relationship with the entire Swiss watchmaking industry. Each month, the group aggregates over half a million watch enthusiasts from all over the world! That’s a unique asset. The Fine Watch Club is the natural extension of that.
When did the idea first emerge?
It all began in autumn 2018, with the aim of launching the club on 1 September 2019. That means less than a year to put everything in place. It’s a very short lead time but, thanks to our close relationships, we have been able to set up some amazing offers in record time. The Fine Watch Club immediately enjoyed strong support from the watch brands, and attracted unequivocal interest from collectors and enthusiasts. Before we’d even launched our official website, we already had 5,000 subscribers to our newsletter!
What kind of things do you offer?
It’s very simple. We work on a monthly timetable, with a new offer each week. The first week, our members are given access to a limited series designed exclusively for them, numbering between 12 and 24 pieces as an absolute maximum. It’s a very exclusive numbered series, a bespoke production for the Club by the brands, developed in collaboration with our teams. In the second week we have an immersive experience: factory visit, meeting with a CEO, watch fairs, GPHG, etc. The third week is for our special sales of highly targeted models, still in extremely limited quantities. And finally, the fourth week of every month, we have a mystery sale. Obviously, I can’t say anything more about that!
Factory visit © Joy Corthesy
What added value does the Fine Watch Club offer?
It adds value in three different ways. First, there’s the weekly sequence that I have just explained. There’s no one else today who can deliver that. Then there’s our content. We develop our own interviews, photos, videos and articles. That’s exclusive, and that’s the strength of the GMT group. And finally, we reach out to all demographics. We wanted to get away from the ultra-elitist collector profile. They all know each other already, in any case. Above all, we are a club of enthusiasts. Our youngest members are aged 25, and they indulge their passion by treating themselves to the exclusive timepieces we can offer. In some countries, women represent up to 45% of our subscribers.
Bulgari Octo Finissimo © Joy Corthesy
That must open up new horizons.
Absolutely! Indeed, we’re already working on new jewellery watch projects. But that will be further down the line. In terms of collaboration with watchmakers, our dance card is completely full until next summer.
Next, we’re not ruling out opening branches in other countries. We already have links in Asia, the United States and the Middle East. Things could move very quickly. When you harness the strengths of watchmakers and collectors together, things happen naturally.