You see it more and more these days, collabs between watch websites or magazines and watch brands. It’s understandable, as it gives the website some kudos, plus the brand gets access to a ready made, often wealthy customer base. At NWC mag towers…well, more of a basement flat with meat pies, we can only dream of collabs with Bench, Limit or maybe Benyar, such is our poverty.
But seriously, why should any magazine hitch its bandwagon to major luxury brands?
You see, firstly these limited edition promo puff pieces blow the notion of editorial independence out of the water immediately.
Secondly, it means that Swiss brands can divide and rule the only watch media into haves vs have nots. In the same way that retailers have been messed around for decades by Rolex, Omega, hell even Seiko, over signage, staff uniforms, letterheads and worst of all upfront one-off payments for huge numbers of watches that hard to sell, the Swiss brands are pulling the same trick with watch magazines.
So let’s look at the Hodinkee Zenith El Primero. It’s identical to any other Primero except for the salmon and grey dial. Which is very nice of course, but if you want an El Primero with different dial combos then Bamford London, Zenith themselves or Lorologiese will be happy to help. It’s not a bad dial design but this model is just clickbait for the Hodinkee shop and that online watch retailing operation is part of a website that’s supposedly worth over $100m.
Yes 100 million dollars, for a watch magazine. Doesn’t make sense really when you think about it. Some Google research reveals that LVMH, owners of TAG, Bulgari, Zenith, Hublot and many more luxury fashion brands has a stake in Hodinkee. It’s like buying a loaf of artisan bread from Sainsbury’s then finding out the bakery is part owned by Sainsbury’s – are rival loaves from Hovis gonna get shelf space?
That’s the problem for every watch enthusiast with this magazine collab racket. In the end, it restricts your media by putting the smaller sites out of business, (try getting a review watch if you have less than 50,000 subscribers) and then restricts your watch choices, because the big boys always get the best write-ups, the most glam-slam photos and You Tube video reviews, fabulous press launches with celeb DJs and skinny models in the er…powder rooms.
OK rant over, click follow if you like the NWC mag. NO BS, just watches we love – or loathe – reviewed n rated.