Sunday, June 29, 2014

L'Limbs of Time: L’Instant Chanel

Chanel’s classicism never ceases to amaze and its latest wrist watch advertising campaign is no exception.  Released as video shorts and a series of  two-page black and white spreads this June in such luxury glossies as WSJ Magazine, each covers two central actors: the human body and the hands' placement on a Chanel watch face. The timing between the two is an exciting Everything in the Now.

It’s the visual congruences between creatively positioning the axes of the human form: torso, arms and/or legs replicated by the positioning of the dial hands that gives the campaign its innovation and freshness. Gone is the cliched watch hands' emoticon advertising standard of ten minutes to two subjecting us to a suggested happy dial face and a brand's name or logo.

For Chanel, each image sequence, whether print or video, visually defines what it means to be in The Chanel Moment i.e. L'Instant.

One of my favorite print/video combo's is below.  Three minutes to one. No better time for a summer's drive on an imaginary Riviera!

The campaign was originally unveiled at Baselworld 2014 to rave reviews. The ads feature the Polish fashion model Monica “Jac” Jagaciak; the Chinese fashion model, Fei Fei Sun; and the Angolan/Portuguese model, Sharam Diniz. The trio teams with the three Chanel L’Instant collections, Chanel Première, J12, and Mademoiselle Privé. 
The photography was done by acclaimed 70 year-old French fashion photographer, Patrick Demarcheiler, who some readers may remember appeared in the documentary, The September Issue about Anna Wintour and American Vogue. Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele did the smartly magnificent model styling.

This is the first time in 20 years that Chanel has featured its watches in an advertising campaign. 

 I hope that the summertime activities Chanel has chosen including sunbathing, swimming,  sailing, and motoring will be followed by wintertime’s  skiing, ice skating, sleigh riding and a relaxing fireside après ski gathering, all exemplifying  L’ Instant. Selfish me, but I'd also like to have at least another seasonal pairing of  Chanel and Patrick Demarcheiler/Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele.  
Wouldn't you?

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Whole World is Watching

Since I began this blog, a number of my posts have focused on luxury, wristwatch limited editions with prices way beyond what the majority of us could ever afford.  Now it’s time to explore the size and reach of the global finished- products watchmaking industry.  

In his Publisher’s Letter for June 2014, Glen B. Bowen, publisher of Watch[Journal] provides an excellent capsule overview of the industry in 2013.  These highlights, many of them drawn from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry(FH),are revelatory. They include:
  • Over a billion watches were produced last year giving one to every 7thperson on earth.
  •  30 million of these were exports that came from Swiss watch companies.
  •   Look to Asia as the global behemoth from the numbers standpoint. It exported 30 times the number coming from Switzerland.
  •  But, when it comes to geographically-centered selling price points, a Swiss watch averages $700 whereby a Chinese watch averages $3.  That’s over a 230% differential that allows the Swiss watch industry to account for more than 50% of the value in the global market. 
  • When it comes to Swiss  export market strength, Asia was the leader buying 53% of the Swiss  exports; followed by Europe with 31%; then America with 14%; and finally Africa and Oceania each with 1%.
If you devour statistics, you can find a more detailed summary of the highlights above at Statistics Brain which also includes the watch market leaders by sales revenue; the largest global watch manufactures; watch sales by type (i.e. mechanical or electric); and the countries which are the largest buyers of watches by purchased value.

The watch industry is fascinating and so when you gaze at your dial, you are participating in an industry whose international community unites us all.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hublot’s Vivacious Contender: Viva Italia!

As the 2014 FIFA World Cup continues, another luxury watchmaker besides Hublot is aggressively capitalizing on Brazil’s Green and Yellow and the international football frenzy we are enjoying this year. 

Enter GaGàMILANO, with its exuberant colors and flamboyant, playful dial-style Arabic numerals. I first became aware of the company last month when I saw an ad for it and its Quirky Tourbillon in Taschen’s Spring  magazine.  My reaction to it was “what a clever use of the word “quirky”! Meaning for me a peculiar or extravagant action.

And its visual Action and Attraction we get from GaGàMILANO’s Brasile World Cup Collection’s Manuale 48 MM, a limited edition of 300 pieces paying tribute to six cup competitors: Brazil, Italy, Japan, Argentina, Spain and England.  Each of the collection’s dial face design is anchored by a green soccer field and the phrase, “Brazil 2014” with the year done in yellow above a soccer ball. What distinguishes the country-specific models are the national flags that separate the dial numerals.




GaGàMILANO has retailing partners in all of these countries except Spain and England.  Although there is no GaGàMILANO USA watch design for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the company offers a Manuale 48MM/Las Vegas model.  GaGàMILANO has eight dedicated boutiques internationally with one in Beverly Hills and another in Honolulu.

A relative newcomer to watches and other luxury goods (sunglasses, handbags, jewelry and even an iPhone cover), Ruben Tomella founded the company in 2004.  According to the GaGàMILANO website, “Gagà” is an old-fashioned expression, very popular in the '50s, to define a kind of man more timely than ever: elegant but quirky, careful to fashion trends always revised with irony and elegance, without neglecting details.”

Expect greater overall brand familiarity and popularity and in its watch line-up collections, even more surprising visual punch in its dials and mechanical movements.

So who which team or teams are you supporting in the World Cup this year and which watchmaker do you champion with or without a 2014 FIFA edition?