Pop up: to appear or occur suddenly. For the watch industry, the definition can be slightly different. It’s more like: to appear – and disappear, suddenly. But that’s what pop-up stores are all about. They pop up in some unusual location, then disappear again a few days, weeks or months later.
Many watch brands are familiar with the concept. And their clients too, obviously. And yet, if you look at the idea more closely, it’s hard to see the rationale. In general, pop-up stores only present part of the collection; they do nothing to build up a loyal local customer base; they often don’t give any idea of the brand aesthetic (in terms of setting and services); they mobilise commercial forces that are as ephemeral as the premises themselves; and they may take precious sales away from local retailers who are there to stay. So are they a good idea, or a bad one?
Zenith: a textbook case
Opinions are divided. Zenith didn’t have to think twice: it has just opened a pop-up store in Place Vendôme, Paris. It had a leg-up – Zenith stepped into the place left vacant by Vuitton (they both belong to the same group, LVMH).
Julien Tornare (CEO) and Arnaud Vidal (Managing Director, France) are enthusiastic about the benefits: “We’re going to stage events, bring in clients from all over the world. We’ll have the full collection, and a museum space,” notes Julien Tornare. Place Vendôme is seen as an accelerator of prestige and sales in a domestic market now in a state of flux, having seen 30% of points of sale close this year.
Zenith’s Pop up store, in Place Vendôme Paris © Zenith
There are a number of unique details about the watch that I like. For example, you will discover a ruby crystal in one of the pushers (what I think is to get the chronograph), as well as a lapis lazuli backdrop for the moon phase indicator. The dial should also be amazingly three-dimensional in its appearance, and overall very bold to behold.Roger Dubuis further says that for the person who purchases the Hommage Millesime view, they could create custom links for the 18k gold pocket watch chain. These custom links can have special engravings on them or text. Once again, this bit special Roger Dubuis Transparent Watch Price Replica Hommage Millesime will exist as a one-of-a-kind production produced as the very first of its type at a new series which will exist as a brand new “vintage restoration project” annually. The Roger Dubuis Hommage Millesime pocket view will further be exclusively available in the Roger Dubuis boutique in Geneva (opening July 2015) and also the cost is currently $892,500. The event is meant to raise money for a medical charity, to which 100 percent of the profits go. Each of the watches filed are totally unique and donated by the participating brands. People get really interested in the results, since it isn’t just a indication of the market when it comes to Monaco’s wealthy elite (and many others), but in addition the interest people have in particular brands and models. The entire return of Just Watch 2013 was 5,066,000 Euros (most of which is thanks to a single opinion).For 2013 there were some significant winners and losers. Each of the lots sold of course, with some going over quote, and a few under estimate. Most of the lots however sold inside the estimated cost, and those are not covered in this article. So let’s take a look at the major winners and losers of the 2013 Just Watch auction. This article will only cover pick lots, and for a complete list of all the watches which were up for auction you can see our original Only Watch 2013 post here.Scattered in this guide and in the picture gallery below are some graphics from Roger Dubuis’ 2012 advertisement campaign for your Excalibur collection. I really don’t understand who they hired for this along with other ads, but once I saw them I was like “whoa…!” The fantasy loving Tolkeinist inside of me was like “holy crap, finally a wrist watch for Middle Earth denizens.” With a name like “Excalibur” it’s not surprising that they would have a fantasy-style medieval approach to the art for the ads.
Pros and cons
But beyond the Place, opinions are more circumspect. Laurent Picciotto (Chronopassion, not a Zenith partner) feels: “A pop-up store is only really worth it when the brand has no presence on-site. In the end, a pop-up store is a store, whether it’s pop-up or not.”
This view is shared by Mario Peserico, CEO of Eberhard & Co: “We never felt it was appropriate to use this sales channel, out of respect for our retailers.” But he does have opinions about the image conveyed by a pop-up store: “They can be interesting if they are used in a context that’s consistent with the brand image. If not, they can seem cheap, and that’s counter-productive. Pop-up stores should be used only if the conditions for a very high-end event are present.”
Pop up store at Colette in Paris © Roger Dubuis
From Gstaad to Geneva
So, the two key elements of a successful pop-up store are 1) high-end and 2) no local retailer. Hysek has taken this on board. “Each year, we are present at the women’s tennis tournament in Gstaad (WTA Ladies’ Championship Gstaad). We have noticed that people are reluctant to cross the threshold of a boutique on the Rue du Rhône or the Place Vendôme, while a pop-up booth is immediately accessible to everyone. Once this initial contact has been facilitated, we can in a few minutes convey the spirit of the brand, and reach a clientele that might not necessarily have come into a shop.”
Yes, that’s correct, watch fans – this is an American-only watch (USA! USA!) . Well, okay, anyone can buy it, sure – but they might have to travel over to New York to pick among the twenty pieces up. Should you end up in this position, you’ll be getting not just the very scooped-out “spider web” appearance of the hand-wound RD505SQ calibre (which also looks like celebrities to me), you’ll also have a flying tourbillon whirling away in your wrist. With extremely skeletonized watches, such as we’ve got here with the Roger Dubuis Watches For Sale Replica Exalibur Spider Americas Edition, I’m frankly amazed at the job performed on the dial up and case.By that, I suggest how tidy-looking things are kept, all while keeping the “interesting” bits vulnerable, and tucking everything else away in layers under the structure that still remains. The tiny machines are amazing, and then once you constrain yourself with these sorts of limitations, that does certainly lift things that a fantastic bit. Unfortunately, it also afflicts the opinion with something that hits a lot of these skeletons – diminished legibility.That stated, you’re probably not going to head having to stare in a watch like the Roger Dubuis Exalibur Spider Americas Edition for a bit longer in order to tell the moment. And who knows, possibly in person, those white-filled tips on the palms (one presumes lumed too) are easier to find out at the 45mm situation than the images indicate. Yes, it blends thematically with all the movement/dial, but I really could go for some comparison – state, fully red hands.Speaking of color, which was another somewhat strange choice in my book for a USA-exclusive watch. This edition of the Roger Dubuis Exalibur Spider features red and yellow accents – I would have guessed something more to the red, white, and blue plot might have been implemented. Expected? Sure, but it may be done well (in actuality, swapping yellow for blue on this watch would take action), also appears like a miss on this particular version. Then again, there has to be a reason behind it, and I’m sure those who are somewhat more well-versed in the world of Roger Dubuis will allow me to know in the comments below.
Hublot offers the same point of view: “A pop-up shore requires less commitment than a boutique. It can also test the waters for locating a permanent shop there in the future. We might also consider opening a second boutique in a city where we already have one, and in this case a pop-up store gives us the opportunity to try out the location, and see if there might be scope for two boutiques. Finally, at a time-limited event like the Bol d’Or Mirabaud in Geneva we make very few sales, but we make contact with new clients who might come into one of our stores later.”
Hublot’s pop up store in China © Hublot
The other side of the coin
But pop-up stores don’t just have advantages. One major downside is the cost. There’s the rental on the premises, plus the events, the receptions, the parties and clients’ travel expenses. The special events can entail considerable set-up costs. At some sites, the facilities have to be built quasi-permanently, for a presence of just a few weeks. And then there’s the sales force: they have to be good, available, fully trained and operational, and ready to work sometimes seven days a week. Staff often end up being “borrowed” from nearby stores, which can be tantamount to robbing Peter to pay Paul. In the end, it’s all about compromise.