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One thing all watch brands could learn from Tudor One thing all watch brands could learn from Tudor

One thing all watch brands could learn from Tudor

Zach Blass

Pricing. No matter how strong a novelty is, if the price is not right, all is for naught. Too often (understandably as it is a common symptom of being in a luxury space), we see a weak correlation between an offering and the price it is positioned at. And when brands get it wrong, it immediately dominates the news cycle and conversation after a watch’s debut. It is why we see such polarising commentary with each novelty drop again and again. One brand, however, rarely stirs up this kind of controversy amongst watch enthusiasts: Tudor. And that is because, when it comes to pricing, they pretty much always get it right.

 

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This aspect of the brand was brought to the forefront of the Time+Tide team’s hivemind when the Black Bay 58 GMT launched at Watches & Wonders, even more so after we shared a post on Instagram pitting the original Black Bay GMT and BB58 GMT head to head – which, in hindsight, we admittedly were left scratching our heads after. Why? Because it is really no contest. Sure, the BB58 GMT carries a smaller diameter. But it is a drop down from 41mm to 39mm, which, at least for most, hardly moves the needle in the too-big-or-too-small conversation. And it certainly is a small enough difference to end the counterpoint that brands charge more for bigger watches than smaller watches, thus the lower price difference.

Tudor Black Bay GMT white 2 e1679909786232

Where size really matters in this context, and what most people critiqued with the original and its white-dialled sequel, was its rather slab-sided thickness above 14mm. The new BB58 GMT more than solved this horological BMI issue, slimming down to 12.9mm. Quite frankly, Tudor is now equipped to make the 41mm model thinner should they choose to do so. As we all know, the slimmer a sporty watch, the more expensive it is (typically speaking).

 

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Also, the BB58 GMT knocks out the original with its usage of a T-Fit micro-adjustment clasp and a more decorated Master Chronometer movement certification, to go alongside its COSC rating. But, while Tudor had heavily upgraded the offering, the watch was only priced a few hundred dollars more (US$4,375 versus US$4,600 bracelet-to-bracelet configuration). Other brands must be thinking what is Tudor doing?!

Tudor Black Bay 58 GMT 2

When more intense certifications enter the mix, or new clasps are created for a bracelet, most brands see this sort of refresh as a chance to charge much, much more. This especially happens as well when new materials enter the fold, but Tudor’s recent foray into the world of carbon-cased watches only adds to its track record of fairness in pricing. Instead, Tudor recognises that this is the product they should have been making – elevating the offering without elevating the price significantly.

Now, Tudor is a manufacture estimated to produce around 300,000 watches per year according to Bloomberg. So, with innovation and R&D cost there is less emphasis on placing the burden of such developments on the consumer whereas a smaller brand, or a brand with a smaller production scale, would need to do so to recoup costs more quickly.

tudor pelagos fxd alinghi red bull racing edition
The carbon Tudor Pelagos FXD Alinghi Red Bull Racing Edition is just US$3,725.

I have seen some brands charge the same price increase between the Black Bay GMT and Black Bay 58 GMT just for COSC-certifying a movement. And plenty of brands are guilty of charging near-thousands more for a new bracelet that has simply upgraded the micro-adjustment within a clasp. Not Tudor. Your cynicism may make you wonder if I have been enlisted by Tudor to sing their praises, but ultimately I am simply giving credit where it is due. More brands need to be more grounded in reality and recognise what is and what is not worthy of major price hikes and when the brand power or brand name premium is pushing the limit.

More and more, we are hearing the sentiment that most people find the gap between Tudor and its big brother Rolex is shrinking. And yet, as the laurels and praises are thrown Tudor’s way, they have yet to forsake their value-driven positioning in the market that has made the brand so attractive to consumers worldwide.

Rant over.