Concord Watches Ride The Hype Machine

Concord Watches Ride The Hype Machine

Concord Watches Ride The Hype Machine   watch releases

Something positive first. I give credit to Concord, or whoever Concord is hiring for being creative. Though I question the effectiveness of it all. I have to first pull myself aside and consider my own position in the watch world. Someone in the know, someone who sees most of what comes out. So consider this a biased opinion by someone who might know what they are talking about. A bit of history – Concord is owned by the Movado group, and couple of years ago it was likely decided that because the brand was not pulling its weight, they would attempt to revitalize the brand into a different kind of manly high end watch. For this they repositioned the brand as a niche product maker and hired a new president in 2006, Vincent Perriard. Since then Concord has released one watch, the C1 – In a bunch of different flavors.

I’ve never been quiet about the fact that I don’t like the design of the Concord C1. I’ve also been pretty straight forward on how I feel about their new QuantumGravity watch with its BNB Concepts based movement. Now, as for the design, if you are taken by it, then please enjoy it in good health, it is not my thing at all. The whole thing with Concord however  is a lot of hype. The issue of hype is interesting. I call it that, Concord probably calls it “marketing dollars well spent.” Never have I seen so much effort in trying to justify a design direction. I will tell you what I mean. Lets start with the new website dedicated to BNB Concepts’ design of the QuantumGravity movement and watch seen here. A bunch of guys sitting around drawing a watch with wax models, and some computer rendering images is not exactly the stuff of legend. Concord wants you to think that they are working on the greatest time telling device ever. It really isn’t, basically we are getting highly cosmetically enhanced watches that we have seen before. BNB Concepts is a popular high end watch movement maker that basically does all the work. It looks OK, but come on… stop telling me to look at a cottage and telling me it is a mansion.

Concord Watches Ride The Hype Machine   watch releases

Concord Watches Ride The Hype Machine   watch releases

Concord Watches Ride The Hype Machine   watch releases

The QuantumGravity movements haven’t been discussed much in detail. Why? Because it really doesn’t do anything special by today’s standards. Yea, a dual axis tourbillon looks cool, but it has been done, and done better by others. Also, the movement will use some liquid filled chambers for gauge purposes – quirky, but silly. Do you know how Concord refers to the C1 QuantumGravity movement and watch? “A resolutely disruptive time engine.” You kidding me? Who comes up with this stuff? (hype!). It is actually pretty strong hype, and a lot of people buy into it. For some reason, the Concord C1 Tourbillon Gravity won the 2008 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve design award. I guess hype goes a long way. That watch is admittedly a bit more interesting than the standard C1 line, but I wouldn’t give it an award save for a hype scholarship.

Now take a look at the Concord Art website. This is something rather peculiar. My buddies at Fratello Watches had some good points to make about it, but don’t quite hit the point home. The idea is just kinda weird. Taking a few ‘competent’ graphic designers and having them mess around with images of Concord watches in Photoshop does not constitute ‘fine art.’ “Art reconstructed” indeed. Checking out the site as an examination of an interesting marketing experiment is worthwhile, but I’m not going to spend 200-400 Euros on a print of a watch picture put through a filter in a photo editing program.  I really do applaud Concord for their hype efforts, but the result on someone like me is not exactly positive. I am left feeling quizzical at what they are trying to achieve. The idea seems to be that by presenting the watch designs as ‘art’ people might take the watches more seriously than before. Frankly you can call anything art, but dressing it up with a frame doesn’t make it fine art.

If you know my writing, you know I could go on about this – but I’ll save it. If you are interested, check out these various websites, the video, and some of the “art.” Then you can make a decision for myself. I’ll just remain here smiling as a I shake my head back and forth as I see the great horological hype machine of 2009 in action at Baselworld soon.

Other Implements of Hype:

See Concord watches on eBay here.

See Concord watches on Amazon here.Concord Watches Ride The Hype Machine   watch releases

[phpbay]concord c1, 6, “14324″, “”[/phpbay]

10 comments
Lucy Andres
Lucy Andres

With the C1 concrod has succeeded in eliminating women's watches from their line. Not the brightest move that they are making.

David Kleinfeld
David Kleinfeld

Dear Ariel,
I appreciate to read your blog and especially this article on Concord latest developments.
I am a proud owner of few concord watches from the discontinued collections including a bennington tonneau in gold and a delirium manual in platinum.
I bought these watches for their timeless designs and incredible built quality.
It is very difficult for a company to determine whether it becomes necessary to reinvent its production irrespective of past achievements.
I personally would not acquire a C1 because I believe that the size of a watch must always be proportional to the wrist of the owner.
However I acknowledge it is a very subjective statement and I have to say that I will keep a close eye on further concord production.
Prior to the C1, concord production was certainly too much diversified but today it seems that the brand felt into the opposite excess.
“All that is exaggerated is insignificant.” “ Tout ce qui est excessif est insignifiant “ Talleyrand

Best regards,

David
(NB. It is funny to notice on the pics that Designers of C1 wear Panerai).

Charles
Charles

Very neat that a little blog like yours gets emails from Concord's CEO! If they're that sensitive to critique, it probably means they'll be around for a while.

The other advantage of the "new direction" is that the older style Concords are being discounted heavily - often up to 50% off, in authorized retailers - so there's a great opportunity to buy a great looking watch (like the Mariner).

Charles
Charles

I have to say, I agree with you on the new Concords. I don't like them very much at all - they seem to be going the same direction as Zenith (and are probably Movado's way of competing with LVMH) in building obnoxious, huge watches that have way too much ornamentation that really doesn't add anything to the timekeeping. I loved the old Chronomaster El Primero. I hate the new Zenith Defys.

I wish they would have gone the other way and perfected the Delirium line - started a race to "thinnest watch on the planet" but they didn't. It seems the whole watch industry is starting to go to bigger, thicker watches with "neat", attention-getting movements that aren't actually easier to read, and that don't give more functionality - they just look like they do. It's like fins on caddys.

That being said, I do like that watch companies are taking the time and effort to try to build something new and exciting. Though the current trend isn't my style, trends change, and an emphasis on new watch designs (and trying things no one has ever seen before, like the liquid nanocrystal indicator) is a very good thing, even though the specific embodiment (the liquid nanocrystal indicator) isn't something I personally find alluring in a watch.

DavidH
DavidH

It is fairly sad that a watch like this is winning awards. While quirky and potentially interesting to some, it is exactly as you say - hype, not innovation.

Also, on a side note, this blog (and your work on luxist etc) is a pleasure to read. Keep it up, I know it keeps a poor college student wishing he could come up with some money!

- David H

admin
admin

Another good point.

admin
admin

Hi David,
Good comment. Part of this blog is my subjective opinion. I try to back up my opinions with factual reasons, but still a lot of it is subjective. Still, somethings are just "bad." You've taken a very diplomatic approach with your comment, which is good. The current Concord will no doubt appreciate it. It was nice to read your thoughts. Sometimes people don't feel passionately "anti" a watch, but still would never get it - a point that watch companies still need to understand when making new watches. Thanks again for commenting!

admin
admin

Hi Charles,
Per Concord President's (Vincent Perriard) request I will be publishing his response letter this week. You'll get a kick out of. He also invited me to meet him and play with the QuantumGravity watch at JCK in Las Vegas. So I guess I will do that!

admin
admin

Hi Charles,
I agree with you on all that. Concord's CEO e-mailed me yesterday not so pleased with all my coverage, but I explained my position to him. These companies simply aren't used to anything negative being said about them.

It pleases me that budgets exist to do new and innovative things, but that doesn't mean we all have to fawn over the results. Good taste is good taste, and you can't merely spend a lot of money on innovation to buy the public's acceptance of your new products.

admin
admin

Hi David,
Thanks for the amicable comment. I really appreciate that. I too began my love for watches in college when I was about 20. At the time it was a stretch to spend $100 on a watch. Now, more than 6 years later my budget is up, but I'll probably never be to the point where I can afford some of the beauties that are out there. The goods news is that my coverage of watches at least affords me personal time with the brands and exclusive watches that we fawn over. So I will do my best to keep your watch fever alive.
As for Concord, I can only say that there is a reasonable difference of opinion in various watch circles. They see what Concord makes as being "fresh." For me it is mostly phony. Either way I will always make my opinions known and try to back them up with details. Take care and thanks for reading.