In particular, why do brands matter the most when it comes to Watches.
There is a circle of thought that says the brands you buy and wear shouldn’t matter. The idea is that quality by any other name would be just as fine, so long as you liked it. To a certain extent, this is true because there are generic foods, drugs, or yes Watches, that are just as capable of fulfilling your needs without the fancy name attached.
Why then, is it that Brands matter and especially, Watch Brands matter more? Why is it that most regular people off the street know Rolex but not Jaeger- LeCoutre? Why Omega but not Grand Seiko? Branding. Advertising and promotion are some of the greatest tools a Watch company have at it’s disposal to bring attention to itself so it any wonder that Rolex or Omega are in all the Bond movies. Clearly the strategy works as they have some of the biggest celebrities in the world be their brand ambassadors. The title is fairly obvious I should think.
Now, before you jump down my throat by saying certain brands are overrated and shouldn’t cost half as much as they do, just wait. Yes, there are certain brands that are overrated and are over hyped. Yes, there are brands that cost double or triple their retail cost on the second hand market. Do not confuse cost with value, they are not the same thing.
To get the idea of why Branding works, you have to understand the human mind. Branding works by connecting brands to certain events or emotions, with memory. Ever wonder why the biggest brands fight for a spot during the Superbowl? The commercials have proven viewership and reach that companies have complete bidding wars over who gets seen for how long at what time slot. Remember those after school snacks or those toys in the happy meal? This brand exposure is serious business because everyone is emotional. Emotions trigger memories. Memories that help you figure out what to buy when you have an itch for a shiny new something, like a Watch.
Competition and exclusivity is another reason why brands matter. Within your immediate circle, no matter how big or small, brands matter. What car you or your friend drives, what clothing you share with your family, what Watch you wear out on a date. All manner of things are taken into account to build your own image and sometimes, to out do the image of those around you. Competition. You want to be better than the guy or girl standing next to you. To have something more impressive than them.
Culture also plays a part, just outside your immediate circle. Seen on the news, in music videos, movies, TV shows and heard on the radio, culture drives brands and spending trends. The hottest brands as I’ve mentioned are often endorsed by the biggest celebrities. This in turn does feed into your close circle of friends and family but has further reach, being evident and visible on a large scale. Sometimes recorded into history books, certain watches make it onto the tops of mountains, land on the moon, or get us through wars.
There is something also to be said for sheer Loyalty and Trust. Back when brands were first being mass produced during the industrial revolution, branding did and still does rely on reputation. Image your trusted local mom and shop cookie company or in this case, Watch maker. They just make a few dozen at first, maybe a few hundred. At some point though, they got big enough to gain regional, then national, and international renown. Large international brands still had to start small and gain local trust at some point, even Rolex, before they could get to where they are today, titans of their industry.
All of the things mentioned here are reasons why Branding matters. There is certainly some gray area but at the end of the day we attach meaning to brands. We choose to be able to identify a product with a name and then we assign meaning to that product. Good or bad, branding gives us Control of our selves, allowing us to sort out our priorities and make life easier.
Branding gives us control of the chaos in our lives. It’s why we name things, for control. To define and sort and categorize and recall for later use is part of the very nature of history. It’s why we record and name things, for memory and for control. It’s at the very core nature of life to name and categorize things. From the moment that mankind discovered it’s consciousness, it has been striving it control everything around it. Over time, reputations build, giving you greater control until you find one day that certain brands have a near monopoly over your life. Isn’t that just equal parts amazing and terrifying?
So yes, Brands matter and Watch brands especially, as an extension of the age old idea of categories and control, matter more. Nothing more and nothing less, outside of the huge amounts of money that it generates on a yearly basis, you know? It’s why Rolex is one of the most famous watch brands generating great control over the industry, one of the biggest movers and shakers of the Watch world.