Imagine, briefly, that you wind up reclaimed in time quite a while and plunked down in the CEO’s chair at admired watch endeavor Audemars Piguet . As you review your realm, you are struck with two inescapable conclusions:
- Your driving product line, the Royal Oak with its Offshore expansion, is probably the best gift in consumer products history as it is energetically pursued by collectors, promptly recognizable, and has kept up its notoriety over decades.
- Your driving product line, the Royal Oak, is a curse as you sense that eventually it should start to decline, and your statistical surveying reveals to you its purchasers are starting to slant more seasoned. Your other core lines, the Jules Audemars and Millenary, have mulled in the enormous shadow of its success, and increasingly consumers see “Audemars Piguet” as inseparable from, and restricted to, “Illustrious Oak.”
In the many case considers I investigated back in my business college days each finished with, “what should the CEO do?”
What Audemars Piguet did
In genuine apparently Audemars Piguet concluded that the solution to its concern was to create a totally new line of watches sportier and edgier than conventional dress watches while as yet being on the dressy side of the Royal Oak. What’s more, to launch it with incredible display at SIHH 2019, the brand’s final appearance at the Geneva fair.
The starting on the web reaction to the new Code 11.59 collection was incredibly negative, and even among the individuals who retained judgment until taking care of the watches I’d give the signal “tepid” was the general view.
In the Quill & Pad group’s SIHH 2019 retrospective , I went on the record to say that I didn’t think the actual watches were the crimes against humankind some considered them to be, however that there were significant issues with Audemars Piguet’s showcasing methodology and tactics on Code 11.59.
Having let the residue settle a piece, we should investigate the life systems of an inauspicious product launch.
What went wrong?
There are various dos and don’ts with regards to new product system, and Audemars Piguet fell afoul of a significant number of them.
1. Clearly discrete the new line from other continuous product lines. As noted over, the Code 11.59 line is situated somewhere close to dress and game. That is as of now somewhat problematic from a product portfolio perspective as (at any rate to me) the Royal Oak as of now sits on the splitting line among dress and game watches, and it’s intense for a solitary manufacturer to build up two distinct contribution characters in the equivalent space.
Then there’s that case band – octagonal in profile as seen from above and planned to reflect the Royal Oak’s bezel shape, and same on the hexagonal screws at the spring bar positions on the carries. There’s an excessive lot of discussion about “DNA” in the watch business for my taste, and in this instance I feel that a misplaced craving to keep up visual similitudes to the Royal Oak significantly reduced the capacity of Code 11.59 to remain on its own.
If you envision a divider measured product situating map on which the Royal Oak and Code 11.59 lines are plotted with pins, the pins would be practically touching and encircled by plentiful zones of clear, unserved market potential. That is not good.
2. Test, learn, adapt. While the Code 11.59 watches are maybe excessively close in sort to the Royal Oaks, they are very not the same as the Jules Audemars watches they replace. Notwithstanding logistical constraints, there are valid justifications why companies (including extravagance product pioneers) turn out new arrangements of products inside a family more than quite a while utilizing a disciplined product/subsidiary roadmap.
Whether it’s Ferrari with the Berlinetta, Spyder, and Competizione renditions of a particular model or Nikon with successive levels of products inside a given line, beginning another product family with a couple of starting models assists with a smooth change just as permitting time to pass judgment on market reaction and improve ensuing variants.
By contrast, in January of 2019 Audemars Piguet introduced no less than thirteen different references across six watch types (time/date, chronograph, never-ending calendar, automatic flying tourbillon, openworked tourbillon, and Supersonnerie) and three new movements.
Had I been in charge, I would have introduced one reference – likely the chronograph with Audemars Piguet’s new completely incorporated development, a significant advance for the brand – and afterward tuned ensuing deliveries more than quite a long while dependent on consumer response.
While we’re on the topic of test and learn, an all around placed (yet unconfirmed) source revealed to me that Audemars Piguet had conducted some feedback meetings with customers during the improvement process, however in the end decided to overlook much of the counsel received. While the facts demonstrate that consumers are frequently awful at distinguishing new classes of answers for issues, it’s additionally evident that they are very acceptable at revealing to you whether your thought is unadulterated virtuoso or a stinker – and on the off chance that you decide that you know better, you’re on your own.
3. In case you’re attempting to set up a sub-brand, go as far as possible. Audemars Piguet gives us a clue with its naming of this line as “Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet,” recommending that it is planned to stand to some degree separated from the core brand. In any case, there was nothing that I found in the launch of Code 11.59 that finished on that recommendation, not at all like when Vacheron Constantin launched its FiftySix line with its own limited time situating clearly focused on more youthful, style forward male consumers.
Is this line standard Audemars Piguet or intended to be a different recommendation under the AP umbrella? What’s more, exactly who is the planned customer for this arrangement of pieces? Other than CEO François-Henry Bennahmias’ comically unclear explanation that “it is anything but a men’s watch and it is anything but a lady’s watch, it’s a watch,” we’re left to guess.
4. Choose a brand name with importance – to consumers. Okay, I’ll concede that my home region of Silicon Valley is the birthplace of probably the most nonsensical brand names at any point conceived, yet I’m somewhat of a perfectionist about at any rate endeavoring to give products brand names that get an opportunity of creating fondness with one’s proposed customers.
The “Code” part of the brand’s name (I needed to find it) alludes to “Challenge, Own, Dare, Evolve”: four words that might be fine as a feature of a corporate qualities explanation, yet don’t have any evident linkage to consumers’ requirements and needs. What’s more, 11.59 is intended to allude to being “near the precarious edge of tomorrow.” Why not go directly into tomorrow as opposed to holding tight the edge?
I wouldn’t be amazed if “Code 11.59” weren’t the inward project improvement designator for this line of watches, and the advertising people ran out of creative mind around the time an appropriate brand name was needed.
5. Underpromise, overdeliver. From the bombastic and gaudy pronouncements associated with this launch, including the rehashed explanation that this was the absolute most significant product launch for Audemars Piguet since 1972, these products would have should have been almost miraculous to confront the hype.
Then there was simply the introduction: I was at the AP stall at SIHH, and at regular intervals the primary reception territory would obscure for the panoramic appearing of a self-congratulatory video accompanied by booming music (a form of which, all things considered, can be seen on the brand’s site at audemarspiguet.com/en/watch-collection/code1159byap/film) .
Had the introduction been the announcement of a cure for pancreatic cancer or the rollout of the Mars supporter rocket, it would in any case have been 50 percent excessively long; for a bunch of new watches, it was sufficiently exaggerated to help me quickly to remember the “Stonehenge” scene from the parody “rockumentary” This Is Spinal Tap , in which a proposed concert finale is destroyed because of the primary prop having been made 18 inches high as opposed to 18 feet.
By the way, in the event that you have an extra three minutes and you haven’t seen the full scene previously, I’d generously recommend it.
6. Try not to figure you can control the message. There was a period in which it was conceivable to hand-pick the media through which a brand introduced another product and carefully shape the messages consumers received. In the Internet period that is completely gone, and brand directors act in any case at their peril.
With Code 11.59, a couple news sources received reviews of the new watches preceding SIHH. On launch day, January 12, Hodinkee for instance distributed Introducing CODE 11.59 By Audemars Piguet under Stephen Pulvirent’s byline that was considerably more commendatory than the prompt reactions from the incredible larger part of the watch community and included a five-minute, slickly produced, Hodinkee-hallmarked video in which Audemars Piguet CEO Bennahmias reveals to us why Code 11.59 is the best thing since sliced bread.
The modest number of selected media accomplices, and the stamped difference in energy for Code 11.59 between the perspectives on the chosen outlets and others, prompted altogether predictable speculation that suppositions had been purchased and sold, at least with favored access and likely with hard cash; this isn’t such a buzz that you need encompassing your product launch.
At the actual show extra news sources were shown the watches in a condensed way (in at any rate one case I’m mindful of without the facilities for photography being made accessible, for instance), and when our collector bunch saw the pieces three days into the reasonable the time-and-date references were done being introduced for viewing.
In the celebrated expressions of heavyweight champ Joe Louis when gotten some information about adversary Billy Conn’s arrangements to “quick in and out” in their 1946 session: “He can run, however he can’t hide.”
7. In the event that you apply new technology or plan development, ensure it conveys an advantage. At the launch, much was made of the introduction of applied Audemars Piguet logos on a portion of the dials manufactured using galvanic development strategies. Bennahmias noticed that these were created “conflicting with beginning admonitions in regards to the attainability of such a logo.”
In my view, the AP group ought to have regarded the alerts as the subsequent chunky-looking characters with small scaffolds connecting the letters give the impression of those laser-etched metal detail units you can purchase to enhance the appearance of a plastic car model.
As a consolation, the unintended uplifting news is that the applied logos (and besides, the hour indices and hands) are close to imperceptible against the hazier dials in the arrangement. Our gathering thought that it was difficult to capture any pictures in which the applied logo appeared by any means, and the equivalent is genuine in any event, for a considerable lot of the shots in the articles from sympathetic press partners.
I’ll assume the best about to the twofold curved crystals (radially curved from 12 to 6 and spherically curved underneath) as I haven’t actually compared them with different watches, however my impression in the room wasn’t of a significant decrease in reflections or increase in legibility.
What about the watches themselves?
For me, that is to a great extent a matter of taste. The watches are not particularly however I would prefer, yet I can envision that others may discover probably a portion of the pieces appealing.
The time-date watch appears to be particularly problematic; from photographs I’ve seen and from the report of a companion who was at long last ready to deal with the watch in Hong Kong, the super dainty bezel and vast areas of the dial coupled with super-thin hands and indices are particularly cruel to this straightforward watch.
I imagined that the rectangular opening punched in the dial to uncover the date simply looks cheap.
The brace carries, fundamental to the front bezel and halting barely shy of the back bezel, are fairly intriguing yet as the proprietor of a Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire on which the drags have minuscule holes to the case, I can figure that Code 11.59 proprietors will invest a decent measure of energy fishing hair, skin cells, and other arranged crud out of the more pronounced holes on the AP cases.
I’m sure that the new calibers created by Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi are just about as excellent as we have come to expect from this top development configuration shop, and there were two pieces with set up developments I thought had particular legitimacy. The development of the openworked tourbillon is simply stunning to see, and the surfaces and tones are especially simple on the eye.
And while I loved the vibe of the earlier Jules Audemars form of the Supersonnerie better, to my ear the sound of that complication in the new Code 11.59 case was actually superior.
Excessively solid: Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Supersonnerie (video courtesy AllenS)
For me the visuals of different pieces in the line actually need work; for instance, the aventurine-dialed ceaseless calendar has sufficient proceeding to fill its dial, yet was messy enough in the splendid lights of the AP corner that my companions took to shooting it (and a few of different calibers) under the table.
Product pass, promoting fail
In a pass-bomb reviewing scheme, I’d be inclined to give most of these watches a “pass” as individual endeavors (despite the fact that, as referenced above, I consider genuine to be with them as a gathering from a portfolio perspective for AP).
From an advertising perspective, however, this was a clear “come up short.” And in the event that I were evaluating the exertion as a test reaction and feeling particularly snarky, I may scribble “to defy the norms, you should initially dominate them” in the edge of the blue book.
I have no clue about whether Audemars Piguet will succeed in selling out its absolute first-year production of 2,000 units (across 13 references!) to consumers at full retail prices through its monobrand shops (maybe I’ll get back to this retail channel procedure topic some other time), yet it will be fascinating to observe.
These are just my assessments, however. I believe in my perspectives dependent on my experience as a business and advertising planner and as a drawn out participant in the watch scene, yet in addition have a lot of respect for the principle of “test and learn” and anticipate hearing your perceptions in the comments below.
Note: while companions and Ian Skellern contributed a portion of the pictures for this article, the suppositions communicated are exclusively mine.
Quick Facts Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 Selfwinding Chronograph Reference 26393
Case: 41 x 12.6 mm; white and pink gold
Dial: lacquered dial and counters (in blue or black) with applied gold indices and galvanically developed gold logo; glare-safe twofold curved sapphire crystal
Development: automatic Caliber 4401 with column haggle clutch; 70-hour power hold; 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, auxiliary seconds; quickly bouncing date; flyback chronograph with continuously advancing 30-moment and 12-hour registers
Production years: 2019 onward
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