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Georges Kern On What To Expect From Breitling In The Coming Years

Georges Kern On What To Expect From Breitling In The Coming Years Featured Articles

Although Breitling may appear to be a relatively simple brand, with its dedication to the exceedingly niche segment of big pilot watches, those of us who like it do so for a surprisingly wide variety of reasons. There have been some groundbreaking changes at Breitling in 2017 which we duly reported as they were happening: the company was sold to CVC Capital Partners for an estimated €840mn in April, 2018, and ex-IWC CEO Georges Kern announced getting aboard at Breitling in July, 2017… and these changes, along with the surprising new Navitimer 8 collection (news coverage here) raised many questions in the concerned minds of us Breitling fans. I flew over to NYC to listen to what Georges Kern had to say about his priorities and short- to long-term plans, chat with Creative Director Guy Bove, and interview Tim Sayler, the new Chief Marketing Officer of the brand to get a better understanding of where things are headed.

A good hint at the detail and depth of revolution happening at Breitling is my 1,321-word-long, unedited Gmail draft, full with the notes I had been taking during these talks: clearly, unlike with most other Swiss luxury brands these days, there was plenty of new stuff to be told to us and, through us, to all of you reading. Without further ado…

Georges Kern On What To Expect From Breitling In The Coming Years Featured Articles

“Breitling offers you a handful of sales arguments!”

Greater Focus On Breitling’s Extensive History

This bit would come as no surprise from any other brand – pretty much all the big ones are doing (and overdoing) it at this point. An even better indicator of the importance of Breitling’s new-found focus on its past is the fact that their best-selling model for the last 12-15 months, and I’ve heard this both at the event and from retailer sources as well, is the time-only Superocean Heritage II (detailed info on it and its Tudor movements here). This is a model that goes strongly against what the brand is best known for, as a restrained(-ish), vintage inspired, 3-hand dive watch, without a winged-B logo from Breitling, the purveyor of contemporary pilot’s chronographs.

There’s not much we can do about it at the moment: the tides have turned and a large portion of watch buyers (i.e. people who actually buy watches) have turned towards vintage-ish, more simple, and familiar-looking offerings from big brands. In Kern’s words: “People are going back to the roots, want more simple, less shiny, reassuring products. I have to respond to what the customer wants and the realities of the market.” This is a sad reality for those of us who are buying watches for our own entertainment and not for reassurance – on a personal note, I agree with Kern’s assessment and just want to add that I do see a vintage or vintage-remake watch from a big brand as the single most reassuring watch one can possibly buy today.

Georges Kern On What To Expect From Breitling In The Coming Years Featured Articles

I will not go off on a broader discussion on the vintage trend – a feature article has been brewing in my mind but is yet to boil down – but I will add that people are perhaps retracting to vintage stuff not simply for the reasons he mentioned, but because most contemporary offerings are either boring (they aren’t contemporary anymore when they’re the same watch as 10, 15, or even 20 years ago, just with different colors!) or if they are indeed new, they are poor designs. I disagree with the idea that everyone buys vintage re-releases because they are reassuring. They buy it because it’s actually new to them. If the big brands guilty of putting their heads deep into their own archives and abandoning all the talent they have onboard today were actually launching intelligently designed, properly modern stuff today, they would, I am sure, do well with those.

Many people buy vintage not because vintage is old, but because they are bored with the quasi-modern stuff they have been seeing in watch store windows for the last 15 years and want something new – and that refreshingly new stuff, to many, is vintage, something they haven’t owned yet because they were busy buying contemporary stuff at the time when it had some novelty to it. I understand things aren’t as simple as this, but I stand strongly by the idea that it is the void in beautifully made, genuinely new watches that is pushing many into cherry-picked vintage stuff, because cherry-picked vintage re-releases are by a better chance going to be proportionate, everyday-wearable, and unlike the products seen in every other watch shop window for the last 20 years. Anyway, let’s get back on track.

Georges Kern On What To Expect From Breitling In The Coming Years Featured Articles

“The Three Reasons Why People Buy A Watch Today…”

At some point during the NYC launch event for the Navitimer 8, Breitling had a highly dedicated collector of vintage Breitling on stage. When asked about why he collects vintage Breitling, the first thing he said was that he likes these watches so much because Breitling was so far ahead the others at the time. You see, he didn’t say design, he didn’t say this or that logo and he certainly didn’t say branding or communication. He said he has hundreds of awesome vintage Breitlings and he loves the brand “because the products were way ahead in the game.” By contrast, Georges Kern said: “Nothing will be invented, everything is there. (…) I open a drawer and I could do 30 launches, there are so many great things there.” Now, “nothing will be invented” clearly is a stretch so let’s not get bogged down there.

However, when I had the chance, I spoke with Mr. Kern and after pointing out what the collector said at the event the night before, I asked him when and how we could expect to see Breitling taking the lead when it comes to highly technical stuff. To this, he responded to me by saying “The first reason why most people buy a watch today is brand. The second reason is the brand, and the third reason is the brand. Nobody cares about a new novel movement. They want a reliable movement at a good price, and a strong brand.

Georges Kern On What To Expect From Breitling In The Coming Years Featured Articles

Again, as much as it pains me, I have to agree with that assessment, even if it leaves dangerously large room for interpretation. If I may, I’d suggest you don’t read that as though it was the end of the world, because, clearly, Kern’s understanding of how watch brands work and don’t work goes deeper than branding – but it is true that once we look beyond the small, albeit expanding group of die-hard watch aficionados, we find an annual market for 25 million Swiss watches and I can assure you, that market is kept alive not by us, hardcore aficionados, but by the watch buying masses. And watch buying masses don’t give a hoot about minuscule technological advancements between different generations of in-house movements – or even if they did, branding, marketing, pricing, and the image associated with a brand all come far, far before on their list of priorities than the difference between a vertical and a horizontal clutch. Much in the same way how all those factors come before they give a flying rat’s arse about the difference between a single or twin-scroll turbo in their next BMW.

Georges Kern On What To Expect From Breitling In The Coming Years Featured Articles

“We Need To Make Smaller & More Traditional Products”

Breitling was largely unaffected by the massive meltdown of the Chinese luxury watch market a few years ago… mainly because Breitling has traditionally not been popular there in the first place (by contrast they are the 4th biggest brand in the US). There are two main reasons for this lack of resonance with the biggest luxury watch market in the world: first, Breitling watches are just too large for that market and, second, aviation in Kern’s words “is not a value in China, there’s no dream attached to it. Aviation there is you take a plane and you lose your luggage. China has 1.6 billion people, 300 million is in our price segment so why ignore half of the market?

Lucky for Kern, Breitling has an extensive history of making cool watches that go well beyond modern Breitling’s self-imposed limitations of large, modern pilot watches. The Superocean of the ’50s was at the time advertised as a full-on dive watch, the Transocean was a great-looking casual three-hander, the Chronomat was a neat everyday chronograph and the Unitime was there perfectly on time to cater to the jet set. They were wearable, fashionable, and highly functional timepieces ready to take on a brave new world – and none of the five aforementioned collections were pushed into the niche market of wannabe pilots, or what have you.

Georges Kern On What To Expect From Breitling In The Coming Years Featured Articles

Cool late-1950s ad showing a variety of Breitling watches, including the Unitime, Navitimer, Chronomat.

So yeah, Kern is absolutely right that Breitling has a lot to work with both in terms of product and in terms of legitimate identity. He has also addressed the issue a number of times how so many of today’s Breitling customers, or even the wider watch loving audience, is largely unaware of Breitling’s extensive history for the simple fact that the brand has not focused on communicating it too much (or at all) in recent years. The problem is that Breitling has two very different communities to make happy: one that likes and collects vintage Breitling stuff, and one that loves Breitling for what it has been in the 3rd millennia, the focused producer of massive, sporty, go-anywhere, complicated-looking, modern pilot’s chronographs. Kern says “I’ve never experienced this in my career. We need to bridge both things and yes, we need to have big pilot watches.”

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  • Afenestra

    I don’t see anything wrong with them taking this approach. In my opinion, they’ve been celebrating mid 90’s tackiness for too long. It’s what keeps a lot of WIS’ from buying a Breitling. In fact the only people I see in the wild wearing Breitlings are not into watches at all. They usually tell me they bought them as admittedly tacky, gaudy status symbols. I’d love to see some 60’s racing inspired Breitlings (not just re-issues). How about a new panda dialed Top Time inspired chronograph with a modern movement and modern case finishing? Why not offer a 38-40mm chronograph that isn’t thicker than a double cheeseburger? I think the brand needs a little injection of class so they can get back to being “Breitling” again and not just a 1990’s re-branding of Sicura.

    • Marksman

      Dude! The guy wants to get rid of the logo, and you see nothing wrong with that? It’s like Rolex saying ok, we’re getting rid of the crown now, it will only read “Rolex” from now on…
      To being Breitling “again”? Like from when? Like from when it was run by Breitling himself?

      • Afenestra

        Eh, I don’t think that’s really a fair comparison. They aren’t getting rid of the company’s logo so much as they are returning to the old logo, the cursive script “B”. Rolex has only ever had one official logo. By “getting back to being Breitling again”, I meant the brand changed drastically when they were bought by Ernest Schneider and eventually merged with Sicura. Maybe that “Sicura-ized” version of Breitling just isn’t working for them anymore and they’re trying to get back to their roots. That’s what I meant I see nothing wrong with.

        • Marksman

          Ah yea, ok! Hey you’re right. Maybe they could split the collection into what we know (Schneider era) and vintage Breitling?!

          There’s always the danger of going boring by using *only* the vintage logo, as they’ll lose market-share for sure.

          Everyone loves speed!! (especially those slick Breitling ads involving planes and girls – younger boys and girls love them, I’ve polled it!)

          • Afenestra

            Actually, I think that would be totally reasonable and smart. Having a modern, recognizable Breitling collection as the base and a smaller, throwback collection would cover both customers who appreciate the larger, louder Breitlings of the 90’s and early 2000’s, and the younger generations that seem to want more heritage inspired pieces.

  • IG

    When the CEO is called Georges Kern you expect good kerning in the texts on the dials though I think the big ’10’ on the first watch is a little bit too tight.

    • Marksman

      He is useless and knows nothing. Read the interview!

  • ProJ

    As a consumer, I’d like to see a well built time-and-date-only SS watch with SS bracelet, with good WR, in the 39-41 mm diameter range, and with a thickness no more than 10mm. Add to that a nicely decorated, display view, in-house movement. Something along the lines of AP RO or GP Laureato but at a lower price point. In my opinion, this kind of an entry piece is going to attract buyers from all categories if it’s reasonably priced.

    • I owe you one extra upvote (redeemable on a comment of your choosing)

      • ProJ

        Hahahaha sure, I also accept paypal

    • spiceballs

      add – simple, minimal dial text

      • ProJ

        Yup — a nice and ‘minimalist’ dial should be there too 🙂

  • 18Kt gold navitimer for $250…drool!

    • JosephWelke

      And the difference between a date and none… was a quarter. Back when watches were tools, not luxury jewelry.

  • JosephWelke

    Oh-kay. In MY unsolicited opinion, if Breitling wants to streamline and focus on themselves, they need look no farther than the yellow poster that was shown on page 1. The various aviation brands were nifty, but did you look at the various models on display, their descriptions, and their prices?

    It seems to me that, back in those days, Breitling was trying to make a legitimately useful, reliable, legible timepiece for a fair price. They succeeded, and as a result their name became known for such, and the go-to for aviators and adventurers. That spirit trickled down to the more common person who aspired to that kind of life, and then they started buying them.

    Over time I suppose Breitling lost sight of their original purpose and started making gigantic, overwrought watches for too much money using off-the-shelf movements. Instead of being the watch professionals looked for, it became the watch that screamed “look at me!” for wannabe professionals. Most WIS’s saw through that and kept buying vintage for their honesty to their purpose – which was a tool – rather then the new watches where the purpose was to look cooler and more butch, I suppose, than they actually ever had to be.

    So now Breitling is is going back and forward simultaneously. Streamline their offerings, establishing a cohesive design language, choosing one logo for all their watches, all good. Agree with Mr. Bredan however that brand gets people in the door only. The strengths of the product determine if that product is actually bought. I hope Breitling remembers that.

    • Marksman

      Kern won’t. Trust me.

  • SuperStrapper

    The heavy focus on history is a boner killer. History already happened, go make some new history you lazy dicks.

    Phoned-in design 101: take an existing design and add a new colour, increase the size. ZOMGWTFBBQ LQQK!!1!11!!one1!! TOTOALLY NEW WATCH SO KOOL!

    • David Bredan

      I’m with you on that – my soul is prepared for totally new watches. The market clearly says otherwise – for now.

      • SuperStrapper

        *brofist*

  • Jason

    I like it. Not so much a fan of the scalloped bezel or the lack of markings on the insert however.

    • SuperStrapper

      The flatness of the dial really does the whole watch a disservice. Missed opportunity there on an otherwise great design. I don’t mind the bezel texture, I find it add a hint of visual interest.
      Considering how excellent breitling is known to be in bracelets (pro, pro2 etc) the one implemented is a bit of a let down, despite being well made. They could have gone a little further in the design.

      • David Bredan

        There were so many things I forgot to add that all non-in-house models that come on bracelets will have all 3 links brushed, while the in-house fitted models will have bracelets with polished center links.

        • SuperStrapper

          Good info. Less the finishing than the actual design was the basis of my comment: this 3 link design has been done to death. It is of course easy to look at, but this being breitling I would have liked to see them up the ante a bit in terms of bracelet design.

  • Alexander Hilsbos

    Great article, as always. I would never have thought that I somewhat like the new models, including the Superocean.

    May I ask you to please avoid references to “intelligent design” in your future posts. Ta!

    • SuperStrapper

      Why?

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Contradiction in terms?

        • SuperStrapper

          Intelligent and Design contradict themselves?

          • Raymond Wilkie

            In this instance,………….yes.

          • SuperStrapper

            No.

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Yes,………………..no backzies.

          • SuperStrapper

            Again with the unsubstantiated comments without elaboration, Ray. Please advise how those words contradict themselves, in this or any other instance.

          • Raymond Wilkie

            I would have thought that was obvious.

            …..mond. .

          • SuperStrapper

            Mong

          • Raymond Wilkie

            That’s a terrible thing to call anyone.

          • SuperStrapper

            To be overtly sincere I presupposed that the inference of this juxtaposition would have been quite clear by this instance.

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Say whaaat? 🙂

          • Raymond Wilkie

            Is the snow keeping you in?

          • SuperStrapper

            I’m Canadian. It would be the same as someone asking you if the breeze keeps you from going outside.

    • David Bredan

      Thanks for the kind feedback. Like SuperStrapper, I too would like to hear what’s wrong with that statement (that actually was “intelligently designed”)

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Now I’m confused. Is that Zachs jumper or Davids?.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Good read. Not a fan. Busy busy.

    • David Bredan

      Thanks! I don’t think they’ll get less busy than this. (P.S.: that’s my shirt)

  • Yan Fin

    So, basically, only the logo changed so far?

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Basically…………Yes.

  • Yan Fin

    Such a long way ahead to reach Bremont excellence.

  • cluedog12

    Good writeup David. I don’t think Breitling is losing too much replacing the Colt automatic with the Navitimer 8 automatic and I wouldn’t be heartbroken if the seven variants of the traditional Navitimer were reduced to two or three. The Chronomat and Aerospace came out in the early 1980s and there hasn’t been a real game-changer from Breitling since then.

    The Schneider-era Breitling made a watch that did not require nuance to appreciate, so they pulled in lots of new people to watch collecting. The designs are loud and proud and, when you hold one in your hand, you get the impression that it’s built like a tank. You instinctually know it’s an expensive watch, worthy of your wrist. As long as the new watches maintain that quality, existing fans won’t flee the brand.

    The Navitmer 8 looks like it could replace both the Colt and Transocean lines, giving Breitling plenty of retail space to discover the next Chronomat through trial and error.

    • David Bredan

      Thanks! Regarding the Chronomat (or anything to come), I don’t think they are going for trial and error too much (though I’d love them to experiment)

  • Travis Cannata

    This may be one of the best and most enjoyable articles you’ve ever written man.

    Love the opinions and observations with the facts and strategies.

    • David Bredan

      Thanks so much, Travis!

  • Steve_Macklevore

    I’m really glad they’re trying to change the image of this brand. Recently it has seemed designed to appeal to adolescent nerds who want to be pilots. Pretty toxic to most of us.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      Can’t people dream?

  • Tea Hound

    Georges Kern was the kiss of death at IWC, so I expect only bad things from his tenure at Breitling. And judging by the first set of watches released under his watchful (pun intended) eye, I’m not going to be proved wrong.

    • Marksman

      ‘nough said mate…

  • Pete L

    Great article. I have long been tempted by a chronomat 44 gmt and maybe now is the time!

  • benjameshodges

    Great article, David. I tend to agree with all of Mr. Kern’s proposed changes. There is no reason on earth why the Colt, Avenger, Super Avenger and Chronomat all exist yet look the same. Cutting the boring quartz models save for the actually very forward-looking Professional models is a good idea too. But I can’t see the words of Mr. Kern aligning with the first product of his reign. It’s so generic and baseless and totally un-Breitling. I know 3 months is not long, but I’d have rather waited 2 years for a new interesting product than see a half-baked, lazy and unfinished watch such as the Navitimer 8 etched into my brain. He’s managed to ruin the lineage of the Navitimer before his first Baselworld. I’ve been meaning to buy a modern Breitling as I love my old Aerospace. I will be waiting a little bit longer to see where they go but there are rumours that Breitling will not be attending Baselworld in 2019.

    • David Bredan

      Thanks, Ben! Breitling has stuff prepared for BSW2018 so I’d be surprised to not see them there.

    • Marksman

      If they get rid of that logo just because of a few boring Chinese, they won’t be going *anywhere*.

  • Next generation Smartwatches will be able to measure blood pressure and prevent some health issues…. GAME OVER for the traditional watches.

    • Marksman

      Really?!?!! So why is ROlex making such a turnover recently?

  • Austin Greer

    This is a great article. I believe Kern is doing the right thing to progress the brand, though I hope he doesn’t go too far and loose what Breitling has been about. The watch world needs brands like Breitling to push the boundaries a bit. I’m not sad to see the quartz watches leaving. That being said I’ll be buying the Skyracer before this short lived model is no more.

    • David Bredan

      Thanks for your kind feedback. I too am tempted by the Skyracer (on the green strap, not the black), it may just be a future collectible (that I could wear without it showing that thanks to that case)

  • “The first reason most people buy a watch is brand…ditto second and third” or some such paraphrasing.

    Balderdash. 90 percent of this and every other watch site is devoted to highlighting mechanical innovation, design and finishing.

    Those along with Functionality, price and value proposition most likely figure into most people’s watch purchases far more than the name on the dial. I have one Breitling – a panda Chronomat from the 1990’s. I bought it because a) it was a steal and b) I had never seen that particular color combination on any other chronograph before. If that watch had said, oh, I don’t know, ‘Formex’ on the dial, I still would have bought it.

    • egznyc

      I agree with your view of what appeals to you as a watch consumer. But I think we and the people who spend time on these watch sites – who actually care about watches – are decidedly NOT “most people” who buy watches. MOST people want a name they’ve heard of and one they hope will impress others. That’s my opinion of course, based on lots of anecdotal evidence.

  • PR

    I agree with the article in that when a customer walks into a store or Boutique to try on said brand, the overall impact makes a BIG role in how motivated they are to buy it, or even save up and dream of it enough to buy it later, or comment about it on social media as the “grail” or “lustworthy” watch which will help with marketing immensely. They do need to keep their level of overall fit and finish if they want to stay in the game. Going vintage is a double edged sword, its either going to shoo away a lot of customers and not bring many new ones, or bring in new ones and slowly convert the existing base to like it.

    There is NOTHING vintage about the Superocean heritage other than being called heritage and having maybe a slightly old school dial. Its selling well because it has a blingy as hell bracelet that is thick, heavy and shines like a thousand diamonds and the ceramic bezel now adds more bling to the watch than before and literally every mm of that watch is polished! Its not doing well because its a vintage design, its doing well because Breitlings customer base that wants bling finds it in spades in that watch.

    If the take away was restrained, sober vintage styled watches based on the success of the SOH II (and it does seem that way looking at the new Navitimer series) think again. While the new Navitimer might appeal to a new customer looking for something different from Breitling, its not going to do well with the existing customer base. It needs more polished surfaces, high polish markers and a blingy bracelet to work. The Colt ONLY works because its the cheapest way to get into a steel Breitling, and it is brushed precisely for this reason, to look “not expensive” compared with the pricier polished brethren. I think they have to rethink this strategy again.

    • Marksman

      So what’s your point?!
      Is it that we should burry the blingy and quirky in favour of a tasteless reference to the past?

      • PR

        My point is that its not easy to cater to both markets simultaneously, SOH II does it to a certain degree (with the new non-ETA movement and a more conservative dial, while still having big thick case with all the bling for the core crowd) so using it as inspiration is correct, but the takeaway as mentioned by the article is just plain wrong. To think that SOH II did really well because it is supposed to be a “vintage” look and then making a dull reference to an old watch is not very logical.

        • Marksman

          Ah yea! But Kern will burry Breitling, mark my words. I have seen this happen every single time a traditional marque tries to adapt to the market (instead of refreshing modernising and running good campaigns) – it just looks desperate (so many examples come to mind…)
          As I say earlier, he could split the collection into a vintage one, and a modern one capturing as much market share as possible. But he won’t. Because he knows nothing.
          RIP Breitling!

  • “However, when I had the chance, I spoke with Mr. Kern and after pointing out what the collector said at the event the night before, I asked him when and how we could expect to see Breitling taking the lead when it comes to highly technical stuff. To this, he responded to me by saying “The first reason why most people buy a watch today is brand. The second reason is the brand, and the third reason is the brand. Nobody cares about a new novel movement. They want a reliable movement at a good price, and a strong brand.”

    What horse shit. Sorry David, but I stopped reading at this paragraph. Same tired old, worn out, Swiss crap.

    • Yanko

      Well said. Mr. Kern’s statement only justifies Breitling’s downfall.

      • Marksman

        Breitling hasn’t been doing too bad, what downfall?? You mean now with CVC?

    • David Bredan

      Haha, well, I can’t do anything about a quote, I’m sorry it kept you from reading on. When you’re curious about where Breitling is headed, check back here because there’s a lot more information in there.

      • egznyc

        I think Mark confused your quote of Mr. Kern as an endorsement of what he was saying. Clearly that was not your intent. As we used to say, don’t shoot the messenger …

        Thanks for your ballsy coverage. Maybe Breitling was once a ballsy brand but I’ve never really had a thing for them.

    • Makes selling watches as complex as real estate (location, location, location).

      • Marksman

        LOL

  • Larry Holmack

    David….what the heck???? Where is the video of the ad….and the two babes with the inadequately zipped Breitling jackets???? C’mon man…I am sure I’m not the only one who thought the same thing!!!

  • BNABOD

    “Many people buy vintage not because vintage is old, but because they are bored with the quasi-modern stuff they have been seeing in watch store windows for the last 15 years and want something new ”

    I think there is some truth to this statement, but the other part is the hunt, the chase, and also watches w much better chrono movements for instance that the ubiquitous 7750 and watches not thick like a stack of pancakes.
    I just scored a valjoux 23 Nivada Grenchen chrono that oozes fun. Not a whole excite me in the new watch world today but this one did

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/49e4de3b66c4ee7f65a44635e8536cd9b586b3f37275a2e8e89d3d54cfab8767.jpg

    • Marksman

      Nice one.

  • Carlos Trejo Vázquez

    Is there an editorial requirement for you to shit on everything you write or is it just the way you roll?, the other day you crap all over the new line of Vacheron Constantin and now just after every statement from the CEO we need to read your editorializing on how he’s wrong, on how YOU know better than him and why YOU believe people aren’t buying modern watches. Dude, I signed to read about Kern’s ideas and plans, not and ode to yourself, I must admit I didn’t make it past half page.
    Sorry David, but you come as cringy and full of yourself, maybe a lot of readers like this style but I think is better to be candid and tell you this is a big turn off for me.

    • Playboy Johnny

      Well done.

      • David Bredan

        Is there a Carlos requirement to have this attitude when voicing your criticisms? You are spot on with your assessment: yes, there is a need for editorializing, that’s what we are for. Look at the pretty images and the highlighted text for the info from Kern and be my guest to skip what I write.
        As for being full of myself, not sure where that is coming from? From the fact that I say more than drizzle brand communication with superlatives and put it on a plate in front of you? I don’t know where you’d been the last number of years, but I was here, living and breathing the watch world, writing over 500 articles, visiting most of the manufactures and events to have the confidence to even begin to develop this critical tone (which started recently because it took, shame on me, this long to have the sort of exposure I felt was necessary to first have to support my critical tone).
        To save us from more futile arguments on this, I’d suggest the following: skip what I write or *argue against what I’m saying, not against the fact that I am saying it.*

        • Playboy Johnny

          I think this was meant for Carlos??

        • Roberto Guimaraes

          Your articles are great as is this blog. The super trolls are a pain, though. You cannot espouse a viewpoint that they just jump in. Doesn’t matter what one says or implies. Real bummer, just hope you guys at ABTW enforce the comments policy.

    • Marksman

      David is right though! Sorry. And actually, he’s too diplomatic in this ghastly case…

  • Chaz

    Excellent read David.

    • David Bredan

      Thank you, Chaz!

  • Kern also mentioned how they are going to focus on red carpet, social media (i.e. Instagram) and influencers. Nice, same path as Daniel Wellington.

    • David Bredan

      That’s all good in my book as long as he has a P-51D do a low pass over their heads!

      • Haha. Don’t be confused, tho: Mr. Kern aspires to be the centre of all attention, regardless who he is with. Looves all that!

        • David Bredan

          I’m yet to decide what sort of watch CEO I’d be. Like the Eye of Sauron, sitting atop a tower and terrorizing everyone from there, or shamelessly bonded with the red carpet like a celebrated Brazilian soap opera star? I’m not sure yet, but it will have to be one of these two.

          • Well, soap opera stars seem to age fast, and not in a nice way. The Eye, however, looks always fresh for action. There you have it :0)

          • David Bredan

            I always knew I could count on you in these pressing matters!

  • Tempvs Mortvvs

    Ok, i have one question. How come Ariel Adams wasn’t there to tell Georges Kern the facts and truths about the watch business… ?. Sorry, i couldn’t resist it.

    • Marksman

      YEAH!

  • Ulysses31

    Nevermind the watches; I want to see more of that shirt.

    • David Bredan

      Haha, it’s a Scotch & Soda, proudly purchased on the most recent sale. Its article number is 139601.

  • Steve Bowden

    @david_bredan:disqus Thanks very much for the article. Very interesting. And to echo @disqus_o7hmcp27Qd:disqus would you please post a link as to where you bought that shirt? Sorry to go off topic.

    • David Bredan

      Hey Steve, thanks for your kind words. I never thought the shirt would be this popular (or at all)! It’s a Scotch & Soda 139601 (put that into google and it’ll show up. Their images don’t do it justice.

      • Steve Bowden

        Thank you for getting back to me! I look forward to the next Shirt & Watch review! 🙂

  • Travis Cannata
  • Jorge Miranda

    As per the new direction being take by new Breitling CEO, Georges Kern and as a fan of this brand, and after reviewing some articles besides this one towards this topic, certainly the changes appreciated in the recently launched models past Baselworld, specially the Navitimer collection, reflects the pursuing of two main driven policies: “cleanest dials” and a “retro” design.

    I have not been attracted by the busy dial of the Navitimer, nor fan of the Superquartz movement collection either (Except the Emergency model), so a change on both collections I see it as necessary, based upon trending factors of the watch industry.

    The new collection contained too much, a strong DNA from IWC in my opinion and loosing the wings entirely from dials, could affected the market niche, composed by military personnel, so it does take out from the global campaign, the aircraft pilot marketing of aircrafts such as the F-18 C Hornet, US Navy, which has been a brand by itself for Breitling fans worldwide.

    For the price range of the new collection, Breitling should have wait a little while due these new Navitimers contains the same buckle clasp as the ones you will found in an Avenger II GMT. Perhaps, Breitling could benefit from their allegiance with Tudor that have been beneficial in the use and exchange of movements but in the use buckle clasp as well.

    Mr. Kern is looking for new markets, particularly Asia, so is understandable the reduce of size of lugs and cases. Perhaps that is the reason behind.

    I think that DLC coated is no longer a material to be used in high or medium entry level watches. The trends shows that the use of black hard ceramic its becoming popular so does as he knows well, the use of bronze/alloy as IWC launched two popular models on such mineral. Could be interesting to see a Breitling watch, limited edition maybe, made in such materials.

    I do think that Mr. Kern would add a new direction, full of beneficial changes to Breitling though.

    • Marksman

      It’s NOT understadable mate!!!

  • Marksman

    If he scraps Breitling’s logo, all that will be left is a “Breitling” line. What difference will there be between a bog-standard Hamilton and a Breitling. Everyone has a logo. Kern will be scrapping it.
    Secondly, he says the Chinese don’t like the big watches. Ok so George, have you actually gone through your collection at all??? There are super-fine, smaller, thinner, watches in there!!!

    If Kern – instead of *building* on the logo, which signifies sea and air – decides to scrap the logo, Breitling is finished. What are customers going to do? First look into the hostory books in order to identify the old logo? At the moment where eeeevery single firm selling anything in China would love this brand infrastructure (ie. the logo together with the “Instruments for Professionals” identification).

    So Kern is telling us that for the eyes of a few inactive, boring Chinese with money, he’s willing to destroy the brandname and destroy aallllllll his other markets?

    Smaaaaaart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stas Shcherbakov

    most contemporary offerings are either boring (they aren’t contemporary anymore when they’re the same watch as 10, 15, or even 20 years ago, just with different colors! – that’s a great point! In fact i’ve been saying this for years at various watch forums under malcontentious hissing of “true watch lovers”

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