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Ba111od Chapter 1 Watch Hands-On With New Sales Concept

Ba111od Chapter 1 Watch Hands-On With New Sales Concept Hands-On

Are you ready to be an “affluendor?” That is the big question Thomas Baillod — founder of Ba111od watches — has for the timepiece consumer public. His first watches, the Chapter 1 (which comes as the Chapter 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 to start), come with a unique way of purchasing them that is a brave attempt to shake up how timepieces are sold in an ever-adjusting online marketplace economy. The good thing for collectors is that, in addition to experimenting with a new sales model, the watches themselves are fun and an excellent value.

“Affluendor” is a combination of “aficionado, influencer, and vendor.” In a world where timepiece product enthusiasts are far more responsible for sales than retailers and brands are, the concept is interesting and has a lot of merit (assuming consumers learn how it works). Visiting the Ba111od website is the best way to understand this model, but I’ll give you the basics before I delve into talking about the Chapter 1.1 watch itself. Ba111od watches understands two fundamental points about the product purchasing economy these days. Point number one is that, while sales interest might come from all over the place, online sales themselves do not need to occur across a large variety of stores. The point is that sales might benefit from being centralized even if consumers don’t all learn about or form the desire to purchase a product from the brand itself or through the same channels.

Ba111od Chapter 1 Watch Hands-On With New Sales Concept Hands-On

Ba111od Chapter 1 Watch Hands-On With New Sales Concept Hands-On

Point number two is that watch consumers are increasingly the reason that another watch consumer wants to purchase something. If seeing a watch on a friend inspires us to buy that watch, why not facilitate the transaction starting there, as opposed to elsewhere? Thus, the affluendor is born.

OK, that’s all nice and good, but how does this all occur, practically speaking? It happens with the sale of rights to buy the watches, as opposed to the watches themselves. Ba111od gives out a certain number of “tokens” (rights to buy, in essence) to customers who purchase a Ba111od watch — who then become affluendors. Those tokens can be given to whomever the affluendor desires — who needs the token for a right to purchase the watch.

Ba111od Chapter 1 Watch Hands-On With New Sales Concept Hands-On

Ba111od Chapter 1 Watch Hands-On With New Sales Concept Hands-On

With the token. a consumer can purchase a Ba111od watch, or even sell/give that token to someone else. Retailers can also use tokens in a way like drop-shipping can. That means a watch retailer could have a small selection of Ba111od watches in their display case, and when a customer wants one, the retailer can give them a token or do the sale right there, and Ba111od will ship the watch out to the consumer — rather than the retailer having to invest in stock. The retailer would take a lower commission than if they invested in inventory, but in theory it could work out well for all parties, given the larger implications of how internet distribution and traditional retail distribution are currently at odds with one another. A model like using tokens in this regard would ensure a more consistent shopping and pricing experience for watch consumers — a model that, that over the long term, will make for a far stronger and reliable wristwatch market.

On to the Ba111od Chapter 1 that, outside the brand’s novel concept of selling watches, is worthy of discussion unto itself. Ba111od founder Thomas Baillod was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds and comes from generations of people in the Swiss watch industry. It’s no secret that his brother works at a major watchmaking name in Geneva. It is necessary to say all this because the design of the watch comes from Europe and people who are seasoned watch experts, even though its construction is all Chinese. In fact, most of the Swiss-made watches out there have similar stories, though brands aren’t public about it.

Ba111od Chapter 1 Watch Hands-On With New Sales Concept Hands-On

On a very subtle level, the Ba111od Chapter 1 watch is a message from Mr. Baillod to the industry that their value propositions to consumers are all off. He wants to show them that he can do nearly what they can but in a surprisingly inexpensive fashion. Does he wish to hurt the industry he comes from with such a move? I don’t think so. Knowing Thomas, I believe his goal is to both besmirch them and also encourage them to focus on where they do offer value. The real reason to buy a Swiss watch is because of attention to detail, loads of human effort, and application of real watchmaking culture and tradition. Swiss watches, in a lot of ways, almost necessarily require a lot of parts made in Switzerland because they are often made better in Switzerland with visual results to prove it. What then is a Swiss-designed watch that uses trained eyes to get the best of Asian manufacturing? I’m not sure, but brands ranging from SevenFriday to Ba111od are examples.

For under $400, the Chapter 1.1 is a good value. The 43mm-wide polished steel case (water resistant to 30 meters) is topped with a very clear and glare-free double-domed sapphire crystal. That you can see into the dial so well and legibly is a not an insignificant deal. The case is classic in fashion but with modern contrast polishing. It isn’t a small watch, but it isn’t too large, either, and it is meant to be a frame for the highly animated mechanical movement inside it.

Ba111od Chapter 1 Watch Hands-On With New Sales Concept Hands-On

Ba111od Chapter 1 Watch Hands-On With New Sales Concept Hands-On

Styled somewhere between Breguet and Maurice Lacroix, the Chapter 1.1 is all about the double balance-wheel-based movement inside. The Chinese-made automatic movement is actually really nicely made for the price — with solid attempts to replicate traditional surface finishing, as opposed to leaving so many movement parts blatantly unfinished (as is the case in some cheap mechanical movements). The dial is displayed via a subsidiary dial for the hours and minutes, and the seconds are indicated via a traditional centrally mounted seconds hand. For me, this is like a poor man’s Arnold & Son when you take into consideration the view of the double balance wheels that are connected by a true differential system. How accurate is the movement? I don’t know; it’s not a chronometer. But I don’t think you need to reset the time more than once a week. I’m certainly happy for this price.

Ba111od Chapter 1 Watch Hands-On With New Sales Concept Hands-On

As it common with such watches, the case, dial, and movement are often far nicer than the strap and buckle. Ba111od does its best within a limited budget to offer a leather strap and folding metal deployant that is etched with the family chest. Those strap styles, in my opinion, are always stiff and bulky. The first thing I did to improve the wearing experience was to take off the strap and put the watch on something else. I found it was really comfortable on a NATO-style strap, actually. Note to brands wanting to make a dress-style watch: Ditch the deployant clasp. Nine out of 10 times, a simple pin buckle will be much more comfortable than an awkward (and often sharp) folding deployant clasp. I don’t care if people feel  that these straps make watches look more expensive; they are not comfortable most of the time.

How do you get a Ba111od Chapter 1.1 or the other models? Well, you need to get to know an affluendor. If you don’t, then you can contact Ba111od watches, and they will actually introduce you to one via their Facebook group. Assuming you and your affluendor hit it off, you could be given your own “rights to sell a Ba111od” watch tokens along with your timepiece and see if you feel it is the future of sales for at least some niche timepiece brands. The Ba111od Chapter 1.1 watch has a retail price of $360 USD. Learn more at the Ba111od website here.

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  • Carmen Brisante

    “You are the Afluendor. You decide what you want to do and who deserves to wear a BA111OD watch.” Okay … ?

    Tokens and trying to convince people you know to buy so you can get one free. A name I have no idea how to pronounce coupled with a design that has no appeal for me. I wish Mr Baillod all the best with his project, but it’s not one I’ll be participating in.

    The watch is 43mm.

    • Mark Lewis-Jones

      Please see my reply to Pedro’s comment above, and kindly allow me to proffer the same advice.

      • Independent_George

        Hard pass on the watch, and an even harder pass on your sales pitch “advice”.

  • elanjacobs

    Nice looking watch, pity about the dumb sales model. Just let me buy the damn thing without the pretence of an invite only club.

    • Mark Lewis-Jones

      What makes it dumb or pretentious? As with other watch enthusiasts who have commented, while you are not compelled to like the watch, a deeper understanding of global watch distribution, its recent disruptions, its serious challenges in the current era, would go a long way in helping you synthesize a more well-informed position on the value of the BA111OD concept. The back story on the development of the concept is solid, qualified, and compelling. For those who are truly interested to look beyond just the aesthetics of the watch, or even their first impression of the concept, I am happy to share that story with you.

  • Pedro Lambareiro

    988 words until ‘Chinese-made automatic movement’. And then you lost me.

    • Mark Lewis-Jones

      Could you venture a guess how much component manufacturing of Swiss watch brands, and the luxury industry in general, are executed in China? If you get it right, you may also lose a number of other brands you heretofore venerate. Point aside, where the watch is manufactured is not the central point to the concept. I cordially invite you to dig a little deeper into the paradigm shift in international watch distribution and the disruptions that have taken place over the last decade, and the BA111OD concept will become much clearer, and relevant, to you.

      • Tempvs Mortvvs

        When you use words like the ones you used on your posts, i imagine you wearing a monocle and a pointy mustache while furiously polishing a BA111OD watch case, hoping to make it look immaculate…

        • Raymond Wilkie

          I got that at ” heretofore venerate “

          • Pedro Lambareiro

            My guess…? a-few-generations-back AI bot.

          • Mark Lewis-Jones

            Tempvs Mortvvs and Raymond. Constructive criticisms are always welcome and useful, even counterpoints to the BA111OD concept. You are free to express the point of view, and its always good to know what others think, as it helps one to see from a broader perspective. As this is an enthusiast forum, all intelligent comments welcome. No one pretends that everyone will be enamored with any particular watch; we all have our own tastes. However, criticizing the speaker on his vocabulary, demonstrates exceedingly poor manners and education, and could point at what is perhaps your own lack of vocabulary. So to be a good sport, and make it simpler, “…brands you had admired until now.” Hope that helps.

          • Berndt Norten

            Is that you, Louis?

            Louis Winthorpe III ?

          • Tempvs Mortvvs

            I’m not criticizing you vocabulary in the way you’re inferring. It’s just that your choice of words is odd, not incorrect, and so formal that it seems weird. Also, your comments are those of a sycophant of this brand… and the whole situation just seems funny, at least to me.

            No harm intended.

          • Jan Florian

            heretofore venerate = you have up to now respected. dude just had to sound sophisticated.

  • Craig A Clark

    Especially when the movement is the same base movement in $40-80 watches on eBay (decent for the money I might add), so no way is this worth $360.

    I do think it’s a nice enough looking watch btw 🙂

    • Ariel Adams

      In my experience and opinion it would be wrong to suggest that two watches are the same simply because they have the same movement architecture. For example, these Chinese movements come in various grades and receive various levels of quality control before they are shipped. It is true that many of these movements compared to Swiss movements “fail quality control.” In a better product the brand cherry picks the best of the movements and returns the flawed ones. The cheaper the product the less this happens and they just ship anything that is assembled to the final customer. It just isn’t a good strategy to base what you feel a watch is worth based on two models that have similar movements. Of course this watch shouldn’t cost $1,000 (and it doesn’t). Knowing the other “good” options out there at $360 and I can’t see your argument going very far if you actually compare these watches in a real world test.

  • Still waiting for a brand name that is made up entirely out of emojis. This name has too many letters to be hip.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    There’s definitely room for a linked dual balance affordable watch on the market. It’s a fascinating mechanical idea.
    Unfortunately the level of movement finish is too rough for me personally to take pleasure in seeing it displayed in such a large case. Though it’s fair for it’s market.
    The neologism “Affluender” is just awful. It makes my teeth hurt.

  • DanW94

    The watch doesn’t look bad for the price but you totally lost me at “affluendor”. That might be the lamest portmanteau I’ve ever heard.

    • Mark Lewis-Jones

      Perhaps you could share a more compelling portmanteau (or two)? It seems to me to be a perfectly adequate combination of ambassador (the correct first moniker) + influencer + vendor. But sincerely, good alternate suggestions always welcome.

      • Tempvs Mortvvs

        Or maybe you are polishing a leather bound dictionary of ages past….

  • Pedro Lambareiro

    How do you get a Ba111od Chapter 1.1 or the other models? Well, you need to get to know an affluendor.

    Thank God I don’t know any so no danger of one of these ever finding its way to my wrist.

    • Mark Lewis-Jones

      I’d be glad to send you one of mine Pedro. And I won’t even oblige you to get to know me, although we might hit it off! Who can say? Anyway, if you are interested, I’ll give you my e-mail and if you reach me, and in turn I can send you access to acquire the watch. If not, no worries.

    • ray h.

      I don’t know what an affluendor is,and neither does google. , so maybe that’s why we can’t meet one ?

  • Thomas Williams

    Well, let’s just see what happens. Remember the original Swatch? It was an international high school hit and it provided enough cash flow to keep Swiss watchmaking, and the national economy, relevant. Fancy and expensive does not automatically translate into success. This guy is trying a different approach both with design and distribution. That takes determination and belief. Wishing him good fortune.

  • Tempvs Mortvvs

    That’s how I read it too, then jumped to the comments section. ?

  • Tempvs Mortvvs

    Now, that was ingenious…

  • Tempvs Mortvvs

    That time was the pinnacle of life! So, these brands want to relive it.

  • Mark Lewis-Jones

    I have acquired a BA111OD watch. I’m sincerely interested to know, why (and who) should stay out of horology?

    • SuperStrapper

      Portmanteaus should stay out of horology. Stick to real words and formal names. Do a quick search of comments surrounding mushroom and crowdfunded brands and you will easily see a common denominator in consumers wincing at brand names and product naming conventions. An alpha numeric code is fine for a reference, but not a brand or product name. Also, taking a word and just removing the vowels is contemporary branding, but in horology it always comes off as chintzy.

      If they hadn’t thought of D-O first i assume the cute new droid in Rise of Skywalker could have been called Bo111Od.

    • Berndt Norten

      Only the imperious, like, you know…

  • Aritficial barriers to free markets are doomed to fail, or at least have a very uphill battle. If this was an ALS for $5K, sure, I’d join a Facebook group. But for an under $400 watch (which is an impulse buy for most of this audience), you are making it way too hard to pull the trigger. And the brand name sucks – if people have to struggle with how to pronounce it (in any language), it is failure.

    • Agnar Sidhu

      Actually quite simple and logical, how can you succeed if no one knows how to pronounce you brand…:)

      • Spangles

        I agree, but: AkriviA

  • Paul

    Aren’t most Apple products 100% Chinese made? It doesn’t seem to stop people – many people – desiring them. There’s some interesting psychology goes on here.

  • iBradcon

    If you need a code to purchase, you can use this one: BA1243D_BERGMAN

  • Spangles

    Timex is a portmanteau of Time and Kleenex.

    Game. Set. Match.

    Also, I’m making a new portmanteau: Affluendork.

  • Spangles

    Ariel, could you please follow up on the statement that most Swiss watches are made in China? Which watches and which companies?

    I’m not saying you are wrong, but it’s silly to make a statement like this when it’s far more interesting than the watch you are promoting tokens for.

    • Ariel Adams

      Many components in Swiss Made watches are produced out of Switzerland – mostly in China or other parts of Asia. There is no point in calling out one company or another because that information doesn’t equate to quality of a good value proposition. Consumers should be purchasing a final product and overall experience. A hyper focus on where parts are made tends to miss the point of where the value in a watch actually is.

      • Spangles

        Nonetheless, people have a right to know more about where companies are sourcing their parts. It’s really up to the consumer to decide what is important and what contributes to the value of a watch.

        For example, Robert Loomes made a watch as a test case where every part of the watch was manufactured in England, even the CNC machine was made locally! That certainly adds something to the story of the watch and its value, for some (perhaps many) potential owners.

        Also, why would a watch journalist decide to withhold an interesting story from readers?

        • Ariel Adams

          I’m much less concerned with where raw parts come from. I’ve tested all-Swiss Made watches that didn’t do anything special and I’ve tested all-Chinese watches that are quite cool. Where a watch is produced can be a good hint as to its overall quality, but at this point many watch lovers are simply prejudicial or have overly rigid stereotypes about what it means that a watch is produced in one place or another. I judge a watch by how well it is made, what it looks like, and how interesting it is. I really don’t pass judgement about where a watch is produced unless the brand is flat out lying about that fact.

          • Jan Florian

            meanwhile in the fashion industry it is much less demanded whether the fabric is from italy too! just a point justifying parallel

  • Ariel Adams

    The audience on aBlogtoWatch includes people just getting into watches all the way to those who will only buy a handmade “artisan” watch (and everything in between). If this isn’t a product for you then no problem, but there is nothing at all wrong with it for those looking for a decently designed “cool” watch at this price point. The brand also isn’t claiming to have invented the movement or that the watch overall represents a technical achievement. We covered this watch because I think the store of the brand is important and these are much better in person that most of the cheaper stuff with similar movements inside of them.

  • tmvu13

    By the way Ariel is defending this, I’m suspecting the website will get a sponsorship from BO111OCKS soon.

    That said, the watch isn’t horrible. That name and the “influencer” way to “sell” the brand just comes off as trying waaaaay to hard to appeal to the Millennial crowd.

    • Ariel Adams

      You misjudge and misunderstand. I know the people behind the brand and seek correct errors in perception I notice in comments. Just as I would hope others would correct misconceptions about my projects or ideas. There is no doubt this watch isn’t for everyone. No watch on aBlogtoWatch is for everyone. If you care about the evolution of the wrist watch market and how brands will interact and work with consumers in the future then this entire story is imminently relevant. If you are skeptical as to why we cover any particular story – all you need to do is ask. Coming up with conspiracy theories is simply going to put people on the defensive.

  • Sarosto

    SO, let me get this straight.
    You, are bestowed the power to buy (and sell) a certain number of tokens that allow you to buy this watch.
    Admittedly, you can sell your tokens with a markup as your “affluendor” (jeeez that’s really horrible) status allows you to do so. This would mean that I could “sell” my tokens to another person and then receive a percentage on any further transaction, plus they would have to come back to me (I’m the afflu-thingy they’re not) for more, if they are so inclined? If this is the case I think I saw this “model” of business before

  • disqus_jTudukIYpJ

    They rotated the movement a bit lol

  • Ariel Adams

    What I think is an interesting story behind the brand is that I believe it began as a vehicle to test a new selling method. The product came later. Indeed you can criticize the novelty of how it is sold independently of the product itself. No doubt the “affluendor” model is easy to poke fun at given its “rules,” but I do think it has nuggets of value that will endure and be picked up by many others in due course. Especially as a genuine attempt to prevent flooding the market with too much inventory.

  • M L

    Brilliant “experiment”! Count on me.

  • Jan Florian

    Mens Double Flywheel Luxury Bling Skeleton Automatic Mechanical Leather Watch – LOLZ

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