Richemont - Holding All The Cards?
Richemont boasts some of the most desirable watch brands in the world.
Building up a portfolio like this takes time but they have grown into one of the biggest luxury holding companies in the world.
Other examples of companies like Richemont are LVMH, Capri, L'Oréal, Kering and more. Together, they dominate the luxury market.
Their reach is profound as they have the ability to influence a lot of what we wear, carry, accessorise with and more!
But, which brands do Richemont own? An array of Swiss watch brands among others.
IWC was founded in 1868 by Florentine Ariosto Jones, an American watchmaker. Based in Schaffhausen, Florentine combined American production with fine watchmaking.
Despite primarily targeting the American market, they have gained worldwide appeal.
Watch families such as the Portofino, Big Pilot's watch, Ingenieur and more, they have dazzled us with an array of designs which continue to push the boundaries of precision and watchmaking.
To guarantee the precision of their watches, their timepieces must endure a series of tests. Examples include fatigue tests for their diver's watches, climate tests which last from a few days to weeks and they form part of a 30-part testing program.
To read more about this fascinating watch brand, check out our article: Luxury Watchmaking Spotlight: IWC
Cartier carries the namesake of their founder Louis-François Cartier, who founded the company in 1847. They became renowned for their luxury jewellery which attracted the attention of Kings and Queens.
They ventured into watchmaking in 1888 in the form of Brooches and Chatelaines.
The first wristwatch created by Cartier was the Santos. Debuting in 1904, it was for Brazilian inventor and aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont. The watch was a saving grace as he had trouble using his pocket watch during a flight!
New innovations followed when they created the tank watch. Made famous by the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Cartier has been able to transfer their reputation for jewellery making into the world of watchmaking.
Check out their full story here: Luxury Watchmaking Spotlight: Cartier
Founded in 1860 by Giovanni Panerai, Officine Panerai has combined Italian design with fine watchmaking.
This endeavour has led to a collection of watches that changed the landscape of watch design.
One of those watches was the Radiomir. With its luminous dial, the wearer could enjoy greater visibility underwater which prompted the Italian navy to use Panerai as their official watch.
As their demands increased, such as watches being underwater for significant amounts of time, so too did the watchmaking knowledge of Panerai.
This partnership has enabled Panerai to establish themselves as a leading watchmaker. Explore their story here: Luxury Watchmaking Spotlight: Panerai.
Montblanc ventured into watchmaking in 1997. Despite being in their infancy, compared to other watchmakers, they have managed to establish themselves as one of the finest watchmakers in the world.
Named after the tallest mountain in the Alps, they have come a long way in their journey to the pinnacle of watchmaking.
Located in Le Locle, the heart of Swiss watchmaking, it was only 2008 when they debuted their own in-house calibre.
The Metamorphosis II is an example of their watchmaking prowess. With the ability to transform from a classic minute dial into a chronograph, you're beginning to understand why Montblanc are rubbing shoulders with the likes of Rolex, Patek Philippe and more!
Check out their story here: Luxury Watchmaking Spotlight: MontBlanc.
Baume et Mercier
Baume et Mercier leave no stone unturned when testing the quality of their watches. This belief has been honoured for over 180 years.
Launched in 1830 by cofounders Célestin Baume and Louis-Victor, they only accept perfection.
Their philosophy has yielded an array of milestones and achievements with none not coming bigger than the “Poinçon de Genève”. This isn't just any award, it's like the Oscars of the watchmaking world.
Now the embodiment of provenance, craftsmanship and reliability, this mid-range watchmaker is able to keep up with the finest of them all.
Check out our article here: Luxury Watchmaking Spotlight: Baume & Mercier
A. Lange & Söhne
A. Lange & Söhne was founded by Ferdinand Adolph Lange in 1845. With an unusual understanding of watchmaking, he travelled around Europe to increase his knowledge and returned to Glashütte to launch his own workshop.
He hired apprentices, taught them the world of watchmaking and A. Lange & Söhne was born.
However, for nearly a quarter of their history, they were only a memory. The impact of the world wars forced them to stop making watches. This went to new levels when their land was seized after the war.
It wasn't until the fall of the Berlin wall when a third generation member of the Lange family was inspired to revive his grandfather's legacy.
A. Lange & Söhne have since returned to the fore of watchmaking with over 40 in-house calibres that have won over 150 international awards!
Check out their story here: Luxury Watchmaking Spotlight: A. Lange & Söhne.
Now that you have an idea of the brands, you'll realise how they are steeped in history and are highly desired among watch lovers, collectors, investors and more.
However, these watches never meet their demand and this is on purpose. A plague in the luxury market is ubiquity which is the state of being everywhere. For a luxury brand, this can kill your reputation and desirability. You can read more about it here: Fighting Against Ubiquity.
It's also motivated some radical decisions. It was Richemont who made the announcement that they destroyed £400m worth of watches. But why?
To ensure that their long-term brand equity was maintained, they bought back their own watches and recycled them before excess parts were destroyed. An incredible statement, you can get the full idea here: Why do Luxury Brands Destroy their Own Products?
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