Swiss Watchmakers Are Now Making Everything From Perfume To Smartphones

ulysse nardin cell phoneUlysse Nardin’s Chairman smart phone

Photo: Ulysse Nardin

It’s nothing new for a luxury company to put out a watch: we’ve seen branded timepieces from everyone from Ferrari to Chanel.But now traditional makers of haute horlogerie, at the highest end of the watch market, are expanding their luxury goods lines as well, according to the New York Times‘ Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop.

The new products tend to be extensions of the brands, intended to give brand enthusiasts a chance to become return purchasers without having to shell out for a four- or five-figure watch. They range from perfumes to pens.

Here are a few of the more innovative spin-offs created by luxury watchmakers:

  • Swiss watchmaker Bovet released a perfume at BaselWorld 2012, the watch show taking place in Switzerland. It will be available in a purse flask “shaped to recall Bovet’s early pocket watches,” according to the Times.
  • Ulysse Nardin has introduced an Android phone and, more recently, a fountain pen “inspired by the watchmaker’s craft traditions and design characteristics,” the Times writes.
  • Girard-Perregaux has also released a watch-inspired pen, as well as a Tourbillon cuff-link that incorporated details from an 1889 version of its tourbillon watch.

Trademark protection also plays a role in brand expansion, according to an article in the Financial Times‘ How to Spend It section. Writes the FT’s Nick Foulkes:

Take the example of Omega, which, in addition to jewellery and leather goods, sells a fragrance called Aqua Terra. It’s not that the brand suddenly thought it could segue into the potentially profitable fragrance business; rather, as Stephen Urquhart, president of Omega puts it, “We never had any intention to make a fragrance, but it is a way of protecting the trademark, and we wanted to do something top of the line, so we took one of the best fragrance designers, Alberto Morillas, and did a very special bottle with a gauge to show how much is left.”

iwc flight simulatorIWC’s flight simulator on display in Geneva, 2012

Photo: IWC

For high-end Swiss watchmaker IWC, expanding product lines was as much about filling retail spaces as it was about extending the brand image.When the company’s flagship store in Hong Kong opened in 2009, it was stocked with a huge array of products intended to accompany IWC’s watches, from crocodile skin briefcases to a carbon-fibre bicycle, Foulkes writes.

But the highlight of the store was the section devoted to Pilot watches, which featured luggage, bomber jackets and even a flight simulator available for purchase—price upon request.

 Now find out about the world’s changing appetite for luxury goods >

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