How LVMH Watch Division Reinforced their Visibility during SIHH


Genna Meredith | February 08, 2017

This year, in a first for SIHH, the public were able to purchase tickets for the final day of the exhibition, thus opening the brands up to a much wider audience. But if you are a luxury watch brand that does not exhibit at SIHH how do you jump on board when there’s a huge party and you’re not invited? Well if you are Jean-Claude Biver, President of LVMH Watch Division (Hublot, TAG Heuer, Zenith) you just host your own.

While all Richemont brands, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille and a selection of smaller independent brands were exhibiting at the first major luxury event of 2017, the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH),  the LVMH Watch Division, under the reign of President Jean-Claude Biver decided to make their voices heard by creating an exhibition all of their own the same week.

The same week as SIHH, the three brands under his leadership (as President of LVMH Watch Division); TAG Heuer, Zenith and Hublot, came together for the first time to present their latest timepieces, taking full advantage of the flurry of industry press and contacts congregating in the area.

All three brands took to their official social media channels to promote the exhibition, which ran between January 16th and January 22nd, cleverly referring to the week as ‘Geneva Watch Week.’ It took place onboard a strategically moored boat situated on the shores of Lac Leman in Geneva, with Mr. Biver officially opening the exhibition alongside Mr. Guillaume Barazzone, Mayor of Geneva. On the evening of January 15th, the night before the SIHH officially starts, over 550 guests were treated to a party and preview of the collections before the boat opened its doors to the public the following day.

And the boat certainly caused waves within the industry, with Franco Cologni, President of the FHH Cultural Council, sharing his thoughts in an article on the HH Journal where he questioned Biver’s understanding of the rules of ‘playing fair.’

Image courtesy of TAG Heuer

But beyond hiring and branding a huge boat, how did the three brands leverage digital to ensure they made their mark? Reporting for Luxury Society, Digital Luxury Group’s Genna Meredith looks at what was done.

TAG Heuer: From virtual reality to all black everything

As Luxury Society recently reported, brands such as Baume & Mercier and Jaeger Lecoultre turned to virtual reality to add an interactive touch to the array of watches on display at SIHH. TAG Heuer dominated the exhibition space onboard with their virtual reality simulators, where exhibition-goers were invited to participate in the #DontCrackUnderPressure 3D experience in an audacious and innovative way. This included the chance to go base jumping, with footage taken from the TAG Heuer #LaNuitDeLaGlisse campaign, where dauntless daredevils took to the sky against a backdrop of stunning scenery and dangerous rock faces.  A glance down at your wrist as you were ‘falling’ offered the chance to see the TAG Connected watch - a nice touch indeed.

The oculus rift virtual reality simulators on the boat. Image courtesy of TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer also installed two rows of TAG Connected watches for the public to interact with, and an iPad that collected data from those interested in learning more, aiming to ensure a more personalised CRM experience.

TAG Heuer revealed several key timepieces for 2017, including an updated Chronograph Carrera Calibre 16 in black titanium which was created on celebration of the model’s 10 year anniversary. Keeping with the black theme, the brand also unveiled their first all matt black ceramic watch, the Carrera Heuer 01 Full Black Matte Ceramic.

The TAG Heuer stands in the boat, including the oculus rift virtual reality chairs. Image courtesy of TAG Heuer

Zenith: Vintage remaining at its roots

Zenith, where Biver has recently taking the interim CEO role, kept with a distinctly vintage theme, including the installation of a barbershop chair, meaning their area within the boat was distinctly reminiscent of their Baselworld 2016 presence when they actively communicated about their key values of vintage, craftsmanship and legends.

Show-goers could benefit from a shoe-shine from Zenith’s partner Bullfrog, the Milanese barbershop, who share their passion for craftsmanship and passion whilst admiring Zenith’s new products for 2017.

The Bullfrog Barbershop & Shoeshine chair situated within the Zenith stand. Image courtesy of Zenith.

Continuing with the vintage theme, and situated within glass stands, Zenith revealed their new vintage series, the Heritage 146 Chronograph, inspired by a 1960s watch and now equipped with an El Primero movement.

The Zenith stands within the exhibition. Image courtesy of Zenith.

Hublot: Making even a bigger bang

Hublot announce their upcoming #HublotGenevaDays on their social media channels. Image courtesy of Hublot Instagram 

Hublot teased fans about the reveal of their novelties using the hashtag #HublotGenevaDays on their official Instagram account

Hublot first started teasing fans using the hashtag #HublotGenevaDays, and continued throughout the week, posting images of their novelties. A large number of reposts interestingly included the hashtag #SIHH, showing that the public assumed this was all part of the same event.

Within the exhibition itself, Hublot showcased their ability to manipulate sapphire with the new Big Bang Unico Magic Sapphire as well as revealing the new Big Bang All Black models.

During the exhibition Hublot revealed the new limited edition Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull collection

Hublot’s installations included specially designed stands where their new watches appeared out of black boxes alongside accompanying video footage.  

Another major LVMH brand, Bulgari, also increased their visibility during the week with a beautiful and intimate display in the Hotel des Bergues (Four Seasons). More details to come soon in a special series from Luxury Society. 

Strength in numbers

The three brands coming together under one roof cleverly took advantage of the power of the LVMH umbrella, particularly the ongoing strength of the TAG Heuer brand. And, by opening up to the public, the three brands started to shake up an industry known for its invite-only events and exclusivity.

And perhaps the boldest move was to unapologetically promote the event using terms such as “Geneva Watch Week” and“Geneva Days.”  With the Mayor of Geneva by Biver’s side, the group cleverly capitalized on the association of fine watchmaking that the city of Geneva is afforded with during a week when the industry’s ears were listening.