Now consider experimental Swiss watch concept BA111OD. Thomas Baillod, its founder, explains: “I am a horologery activist. The annual sales volume of Swiss watches has collapsed from 30 million watches exported in 2011 down to 13.8 million in 2020. Meanwhile, the high-end segments (representing about 90% of the value but only 20% of the volume) are doing very well but they are turning watches into speculative assets. So, if the bottom of the pyramid collapses, and with it the network of assemblers and suppliers that keeps the whole industry going, everyone is in danger.
In three years, the brand has already launched four collections (it calls them “chapters”) targeting men and women and all at mind-bogglingly accessible prices. Yet Chapters 3 and 4 are entirely Swiss-made. “People look for the catch,” says Baillod. “After all, the average price of a tourbillon is $40’000, but what we offer is high horology. The box is made from Grade 5 titanium, the glass is sapphire, and there is a DLC diamond-like carbon treatment.” How is the brand able to sustain such attractive prices? Because the community strategy is the business strategy: if the community makes the bulk of the sales and creates a large part of the experience and social value, BA111OD does not need to invest in costly physical distribution and marketing and gives it back to its customers.
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Original text - Stéphane JG Girod - english - Forbes