After two years laying the groundwork and a further twelve months putting it all together, early on the morning of September 2nd, the Fine Watch Club officially opened with the same mix of nerves and excitement as a first day at school (for those who can remember!). Members of this international watch owners’ club can look forward to extensive benefits. These include sales of exclusive, limited-edition timepieces, access to VIP events, as well as private sales of accessories and watches that are no longer available as part of brands’ regular collections.
A different link with collectors
The club’s founder is Brice Lechevalier, who describes the venture as offering “rarity, experience and exclusivity” – a promise that hasn’t fallen on deaf ears. In addition to the 6,000 timepiece enthusiasts who have already joined, the club has the all-important support of prestigious brands. “These days, brands want to get closer to their customers and create synergies,” notes the club’s managing director, Julien Haenny. “They want to know more about them. We can be that link. We have a strong network and a database that provides excellent leverage. We know the age and favourite brands of each of our members, and who they collect. Then there’s the vast amount of content, text, videos and photos we produce, which offers a genuine showcase for brands.” All of this makes for a convincing case, confirmed by Zenith CEO Julien Tornare: “The Fine Watch Club is a great initiative to reach our clients and talk to them in a different way. We all have boutiques and points of sale, but approaching clients in this special and privileged manner is totally in line with today’s world.”
The Fine Watch Club proposes four types of offer: a monthly limited edition, produced by a leading brand exclusively for the club; two VIP events per month, such as private tours of manufactures or invitations to trade-only events; mystery offers to purchase accessories, jewellery or experiences; and “Privilege” sales of watches that are no longer available from retailers, at a discounted price. Members choose their status and the benefits they wish to enjoy. Options range from basic membership to early access to private sales and, for the highest status, the opportunity to make suggestions for the design of future limited editions.
Our mission is also to spotlight smaller manufacturers. In a word, to show every aspect of watchmaking.
Brands large and small
To coincide with the launch of the website, the club’s initiators have chosen one of the most iconic watches of recent years: the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic in titanium, personalised for the Fine Watch Club with brown hands and markers, and a special engraving on the movement side. “Every time there is an interesting crowd of people who love watchmaking and who are eager to learn more, it is a pleasure to do something specific for them,” enthuses Guido Terrini, managing director of watches at Bvlgari. Just 12 pieces were available for this inaugural sale, which stayed open for one week. As for events, a handful of members will have the opportunity to visit the Monaco Yacht Show on September 25th or 26th, where they will preview the 50 watches taking part in this year’s Only Watch charity auction. Also in September, the club is hosting a “Privilege” sale of selected Fabergé watches.
So what’s next? Collectors can look forward to the sale, in October, of a special 24-piece limited edition of the El Primero Calibre A386 with a steel case and one-off dial. “We wanted to launch with the really big-name brands,” notes Julien Haenny. “But that’s not the end of what we’re doing. It’s also our mission to introduce members to other things and spotlight smaller manufacturers. In a word, to show every aspect of watchmaking.” Watch this space!