For all their marketing budgets, advertising campaigns, press events and elaborate websites, brands can still be…elusive. A few months ago, I visited the manufacturing facilities at Breitling’s head office in Grenchen, Switzerland.
Over the last few years, Breitling had become a brand that I had learnt to admire, if not desire. The kind of brand that I’d be happy to see my friends buy. In fact, Breitling was one of those few brands that I’d happily recommend to a friend.
But would I ever buy a Breitling for myself? I wasn’t so sure. Not that there was anything wrong with the brand. Far from it. As a watch journalist, there are few companies that are as professional as Breitling. Their presentations are always comprehensive, press kits well-made, and meetings meticulously scheduled. Yet somehow, while I admired their timepieces, especially some of the more retro models launched over the last two years, they never quite made me go weak in the knees.
This situation, I am glad to report, has changed completely. One visit to the Breitling factory later, I now have a newfound respect for the brand. Breitling has a wonderful factory, a colourful history, and some passionate people working for them. But what impressed me most is their particular obsession with making great-quality watches at a sensible price. For instance, Breitling continues to source movements from suppliers. However, unlike many brands, it doesn’t simply slam that movement into a branded outside and pass it off as a unique achievement.
Instead, it disassembles each movement and then puts it back together after several refinements and improvements. This gives you a product that attains a balance between the economy of a sourced movement, and the quality of an in-house calibre.
Which, of course, is Breitling’s proposition: superb value.
Tragically, customers of all kinds of luxury products seldom get the opportunity to get to know brands this closely. While you can tell much about a brand from their stores, staff and service, there is nothing quite like seeing how the product is made.
In this issue of Indulge, we seek to tell you the stories of some of these brands. In this issue, you will find histories and profiles of brands such as Breguet, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Fisher and Paykel; and interviews with the people who run them.
So we decided to tell you what makes these brands great. We decided to tell you why these brands are not only good to own, but also great to give your loved ones.
Have a happy, luxurious Diwali.