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.
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:
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