Luxury watch brands competing with technological innovation

How Can Luxury Watch Brands Keep Up with Technological Innovation?

Hollie O'Connor

With the explosion of smartwatches and wearable tech, luxury watch brands were faced with a challenge. In a world of technological innovation, how can traditional watches maintain their place on consumers' wrists and stay relevant to new generations? Luxury watch marketing is certainly evolving.

The good news is that luxury watches are still coveted items. According to a Bain & Company report, the luxury watch category grew positively in 2022. “Sales of new watches grew by 22%–24% and reached a record €52 billion, reflecting solid demand for top-of-the-range models and iconic pieces,” says the report.

With the right approach, luxury watch brands can rise above the competition and take home a bigger-than-ever slice of the pie. What’s needed is a more strategic, considered, and data-focused approach to marketing. This way, you can make technology work for you instead of competing against it.

In this post, we’ll look at 6 ways to do just that. 

Luxury watch brands: Exclusivity and personalization

Creating a sense of exclusivity and desirability is a key aspect of luxury watch marketing. By offering personalized pieces, luxury watch brands can differentiate themselves from mass-market products and emphasize their exclusivity

People want to go beyond the norm and attain a timepiece that truly represents their style or that can be gifted to celebrate a unique occasion. And while aftermarket customization has long been available, brands are increasingly expanding their customization options at the point of sale. 

Customizations can range from simple engravings to gem settings, color choices, custom faces, and more. At the top end of the scale are completely bespoke pieces. 

Offering personalized watches not only adds value for buyers. In fact, it shows that you as a watchmaker understand what customers want and have a finger on the pulse of consumer trends. 

Above: Personalization options from Victorinox

Build a more vocal presence for your Luxury watch brand

Word-of-mouth referrals have traditionally been the go-to method for luxury watch brands. In a digital world, that’s no longer enough. Building a strong online presence is the way to stay relevant and visible. It will also help you reach consumers at both a local and global level. 

A key aspect of this? Leveraging social media and influencer partnerships to connect with new audiences (and enter new markets) with impact. 

Two brands proving the value of a strong digital strategy are Daniel Wellington and Cluse. Both are relatively young brands (founded in 2011 and 2013 respectively). They quickly rose in the ranks thanks to their use of influencer marketing and user-generated content (UGC).

According to our data, Daniel Wellington dominates Instagram with incredible success. The platform generated $6.9M in MIV® (Media Impact Value) for the brand in Q4 of 2022. 

Cluse, meanwhile, saw a 19% increase in conversation rate by integrating social media UGC directly into their shopping journey. 

Daniel Wellington and Cluse gain a high percentage of value through influencer marketing.

Luxury watch marketing: Strengthen the consumer-brand connection

As the growth of the luxury watch market shows, consumers desire to connect with products that are superior and long-lasting. By utilizing the heritage of your brand and of luxury watches in general, you can create a powerful emotional connection with audiences. This connection will translate to customer conversions. 

Think about emphasizing tradition, history and authenticity through campaigns, and using the right mix of Voices (e.g. Media, Owned Media, Influencers, etc) to transmit that message in a way that connects best with your target audience. 

Similarly, emphasizing brand values can help you connect with a customer base that increasingly chooses brands based on an alignment of those values with their own. For example, Mondaine’s social campaigns strongly highlight their sustainable practices as well as their minimalist designs. The brand has a dual-pronged marketing message focusing on their timeless Swiss heritage and commitment to sustainability.

Go outside the box with technological innovation 

The pace of innovation is increasing exponentially, and heritage brands must stay ahead of the curve without losing touch with their traditional values. Luckily, there are many ways to do that in your luxury watch marketing plans.

As a luxury watch brand, both your product range and marketing message can stay focused on craftsmanship and time-honored techniques, while tech is used to enhance your products and services and drive your marketing message at scale

That means things like:

  • Continually evolving your e-commerce functionality by using client apps, product recommendations based on machine learning, social shopping, and other methods (more on this below).
  • Developing an omnichannel approach to retailing to create a seamless and high-quality customer experience across physical and digital touchpoints. 
  • Using cutting-edge technology to provide digital certificates to buyers. E.g. Brands are using blockchain to provide proof of authenticity
  • Leveraging data for better decision-making to improve products and optimize marketing spend. 
  • These types of strategies allow you to utilize new technologies and demonstrate your willingness to innovate without subtracting from your strong connection to traditional craftsmanship and brand heritage.

Embrace social shopping/e-commerce

The more ways there are for your customer to buy from your luxury watch brand, the better. That means embracing both e-commerce and social commerce in your luxury watch marketing strategy.

Social commerce allows consumers to make a purchase from within their social media apps, which means they can dive into a purchase at the moment inspiration strikes. And with 97% of Gen Z using social media as their main source of shopping inspiration, that’s a crucial factor in capturing this new audience. 

Reportedly, half of younger consumers already make purchases through social shopping. And according to Bain & Co, luxury spending by Gen Z and the even younger Generation Alpha is expected to increase three times faster than that of other generations by 2030, so this is a market you don’t want to ignore. By embracing both e-commerce and social selling, you can meet each generation where they are and amplify your sales potential.

Fossil uses Instagram to drive customers to shop.

Quantify Luxury watch marketing impact to stand the test of time 

The advantage of a digital world is that you can quantify the impact of every single marketing activity using data. This gives you the ability to test out new strategies and measure their effectiveness, optimize campaigns even as they’re running, and fine-tune your marketing approach down to a science.

There’s just one problem: the sheer volume of data. On its own, raw data from every different platform and Voice is not easily interpretable or comparable. 

The right tools and metrics allow you to extract meaning and insight from your marketing data. For example, using MIV® (Media Impact Value) as a standardized metric, you can directly compare results across various Voices, media types, channels, time periods, products, regions, and more. It also allows you to benchmark against your luxury watch competitors so you can monitor your position in the market and get a competitive edge.

Being able to quantify your marketing efforts is crucial as this understanding is what will drive your decision-making and steer your campaigns toward success

Find out more about using MIV® with LaunchMetrics Insights so you can use data to take your luxury watch marketing to the next level.

10 Performing Watch-Wear Brands in Q4 2022, Ranked by MIV®

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