April 17, 2020
It’s true that one’s character is revealed during challenging times, and while we’ve certainly all had our fill of bad news and difficult days these last few months, there’s still plenty of good to be found throughout the watch industry, where an increasing number of brands are flexing some philanthropic muscles and rallying resources, either in the community or in manufacture, to support COVID-19 relief efforts around the globe. To inject a little bit of good news into your week, we’ve rounded up all the amazing initiatives we’ve learned of so far that exhibit watch brands going the extra mile.
Rolex Continues Global Campaign in Support of the Red Cross
Where Rolex goes, the industry tends to follow — and though the Crown wasn’t the quickest to the draw in making a public statement on COVID-19 relief, its contributions are, not surprisingly, every bit as sweeping as we would expect, with financial support going out to the Red Cross on a global level, along with local charities and organizations like City Harvest, Mount Sinai Hospital, and the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. Historically speaking, Rolex has never been particularly vocal when it comes to promoting the specifics behind its philanthropy, but the brand does have a sterling reputation for being as generous as it is secretive, so it’s pretty safe to assume that they’ve been hard at work behind the scenes on this since the crisis began.
Oris Enables Community to Nominate ‘Local Heroes’ to Receive Watches
Rather than doing a straight-up donation, Oris has cleverly rallied its adorable @orisbear Instagram account to receive community submissions nominating their own “local heroes” fighting on the frontlines against the pandemic. Oris has pledged 50 watches to the cause, and is gifting a healthcare worker with a new watch every week until all 50 have been given out – you can nominate your own local hero by posting a picture on Instagram and tagging @oris & @orisbear and using the hashtag #inthistogether.
Norqain Pledges Portion Of Each Sale To Buyer’s Choice Of Charity
Upstart NORQAIN announced its #norqainersunited initiative in which 15% of the price of a watch purchased through the brand’s e-commerce channel will be donated to a person, company, or institution of the buyer’s choice (this can be anything from a neighbor in need to a local business). Also realizing that retailer partners are in a distinctly tough spot at the moment, NORQAIN will also contribute part of the sale to a retailer of the buyer’s choosing.
Panerai Launches #OwnYourTime Program To Keep Spirits High In Isolation
Panerai launched the #OwnYourTime online content platform as a way to share programming done with the brand’s ambassadors for the watch enthusiast community. They began with the topic of Exploration with live streams featuring climber Mike Horn, diver Guillaume Nery, and wildlife photographer Marlon Du Toit. The brand is updating and adding to the programming schedule on its Instagram page, and Panerai noted that it plans to include more panels, training sessions, new releases, and virtual community gatherings down the road.
LVMH Converted Its Perfume Factories To Make Hand Sanitizer
The LVMH group’s contributions to the ongoing COVID crisis have been multi-faceted and quick to action — from repurposing the perfume manufacture facilities for Christian Dior, Guerlain, and Givenchy to make hand sanitizer “for as long as it takes” to Louis Vuitton re-purposing its American workshops to create non-surgical face masks. Fellow group member TAG Heuer also got in on the #stayhome movement early, using its massive global social media reach to encourage followers to do their part in flattening the curve by self-isolating.
Rado Forgoes Physical Model Release Events In Favor Of Video Debuts
Rado decided to use its YouTube page in order to share all new product launches, allowing press, as well as enthusiasts, to check out its latest watches. CEO Matthias Breschan and VP of Product Management Hakim El Kadiri introduce and talk through products like the Bronze Captain Cook and HyperChrome Classic in English, as well as French and German.
Parmigiani Fleurier Offers Helping Heroes Sales Incentive To Invite Charitable Donations
We discussed Parmigiani’s innovative new charity incentive called “Helping Heroes” earlier in the week, and it really is a compelling way to spur charitable giving. In short, if you live in the United States or Canada, part or all of your charitable donation to a local healthcare institution will be matched by the brand in credit toward a select group of watches from the brand’s Tonda collection. You can read the article for further details, but note that “Helping Heroes” is running through April 30th.
Parmigiani also introduced an e-commerce platform to support its retail partners (also limited to the United States and Canada). Simply put, this platform allows buyers to credit their local retailer with an online purchase, while Parmigiani handles the logistics. If a buyer doesn’t select a retailer, then Parmigiani credits the retailer closest to the buyer. You can check out the Parmigiani Americas website for more information on “Helping Heroes,” as well as to browse the e-commerce page.
CODE41 Promises To Ship Only Pre-September 2019 Stock To Avoid Potential Virus Spread
Young brand CODE41 has been particularly aggressive in its efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to prepare watches and ship orders. As part of this effort, the brand has pledged to only use and ship product stock that arrived in its warehouses before September 2019, including components from China. In addition, all CODE41 workers are following strict social distancing and sterilization guidelines, including re-sterilization after handling each new item. Lastly, the brand is offering direct-to-home contactless shipping with a 30-day return policy featuring at-home product pickup.
IWC Schaffhausen Launches #TimeWellShared Program To Support Stay At Home Efforts
IWC is encouraging the spirit of community in these difficult times with its #TimeWellShared campaign, sharing inspiring and in-depth discussions with IWC ambassadors through a series of video interviews. The first of these offers a personal discussion with six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady regarding his lessons on overcoming adversity and some of his greatest victories. Each #TimeWellShared interview video will also include a link to donate to Save The Children, a charity dedicated to strengthening family support programs in countries hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Louis Erard Donates 15% Of All Online Sales To World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund
Industry giants aren’t alone in the fight against the pandemic, as smaller brands like Louis Erard take measures to help stop the spread as well. To that end, 15% of Louis Erard’s online sales revenue will be donated to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, a charitable fund operated by the World Health Organization. This fund is used for nearly every purpose imaginable in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, including funding research, supporting vaccine and treatment development efforts, and providing essential supplies to healthcare workers.
Citizen Watch America Partners With Jewelers For Children On Big Hearts, Little Hands Initiative
Citizen‘s U.S. subsidiary, Citizen Watch America, has had a long history of supporting charitable causes, most notably children’s support organization Jewelers For Children. Citizen Watch America and Jewelers for Children have deepened this long partnership during this difficult time with the Big Hearts, Little Hands program. Under this new campaign, 10% of all proceeds from e-commerce sales made on both Citizen and sister brand Bulova’s websites will be donated to the charity. The initiative will run from April 1 to June 30, 2020, and funds collected by Jewelers for Children will be disbursed to multiple children’s causes including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Make-A-Wish America, and more.
MAT Watches Promises 10% Of All Sales Revenue To Supporting French Hospitals
Keeping things simple, French tool watchmaker MAT has committed 10% of all its sales through 2020 to Fondation des Hôpitaux Paris – Hôpitaux de France – a leading Parisian foundation that manages charitable donations to the local hospital network. The brand has also activated its friend & ambassador network, which includes Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden fame to help drive the point home. You can learn more, and shop MAT’s offerings right here.
Halios Supports Vancouver General Hospital’s COVID-19 Response Fund With Auction of One-Off Prototype
Limited-edition releases from Vancouver-based indie Halios have a tendency of creating so much demand they routinely crash the brand’s website upon release. So when it was announced last week that a one-off prototype Seaforth with a DLC-coated black case was going to be auctioned off for charity (with 50% off the total price going to Vancouver General, and the other half to the winning bidder’s charity of choice), all bets were off as to where the bidding would end up. Once the dust settled, the $700 steel sports watch hammered for nearly $4,000, with all proceeds going to a pair of great causes. Well done, #watchfam, well done.
Frederique Constant Donates $20,000 to Support Virtual Learning Programs at Public Schools
The pandemic closures have wreaked havoc on home and school life alike, with many schools opting to end their academic years a full three months early, relegating the remainder of the season’s classroom time to the living room. Frederique Constant has pledged to a generous donation to the public school charity Donors Choose, who have organized a pilot program designed to equip schools and their faculty with the resources and tools they need to build virtual classrooms. A very thoughtful initiative indeed.