Opinion: Authenticity vs. Hype: The New Age of Luxury Brand Building


Maximilian Schiefer | September 28, 2023

The limited edition “Delphis Oracle” from Chronoswiss.Credit: Courtesy.

What matters more in luxury watchmaking today: authenticity or hype? In this new landscape filled with high-profile collaborations and big-budget marketing campaigns, does this kind of digital footprint secure long-term customer loyalty, or is there another path? Maximilian Schiefer, Head of Communication & Social Media at independent watchmaker Chronoswiss shares his thoughts.

In today's digital landscape where a viral moment can catapult a brand to stardom or sink it into oblivion, the timeless question of authenticity versus hype has taken on a renewed urgency. Nowhere is this tension more tangible than in the luxury watch sector, a field steeped in centuries of craftsmanship yet increasingly subject to the era of the digital world.

Recent high-profile collaborations and marketing campaigns have thrust this industry into the limelight, often stirring controversy along the way. These initiatives leverage massive budgets and hype, raising immediate awareness and sales. However, the question remains, does this kind of digital footprint secure long-term customer loyalty?

For certain, these partnerships are eye-catching. What they bring to the table is more attention, perhaps a new way of looking at a brand, and the excitement of something new in a world that is often associated with a lengthy heritage. But there are other paths to take.

The Chronoswiss Decentraland boutique.Credit: Courtesy.

For Chronoswiss, we believe in our decision to chart a different course, which is a journey towards authentic and enduring community-building in the digital age.

We value the democratising power of social media platforms, especially their role in making luxury items like our watches more accessible. However, we firmly believe that accessibility doesn't have to dilute exclusivity.

For us, the digital realm offers a golden opportunity to foster genuine and sustainable brand communities. Our vision goes far beyond short-term hype and it's not just about converting clicks into sales. We aim to cultivate a meaningful, lasting connection with our clients.

That’s why we are launching an exclusive community hub called “Crown Club” in the next few weeks, designed solely for Chronoswiss enthusiasts. This virtual space will serve as an insider's hub, offering sneak peeks at our latest creations and exclusive content crafted only for our dedicated followers.

What distinguishes our community is its bedrock foundation of creative, curated content, as well as our commitment to fostering open, direct lines of communication to us as a brand. This philosophy manifests in our storytelling strategy, which goes beyond the standard "features and benefits" game.

Instead, we offer exclusive backstage access to our Lucerne ateliers, candid interviews with the visionaries shaping our brand's future, and an array of educational materials aimed at elevating the independent luxury watch discourse.

To amplify the sense of engagement for our members, last year we broke new ground by opening the world's first luxury watch boutique in Decentraland—a virtual realm. This isn't just a gimmick; it's an extension of our commitment to meeting our customers wherever they are. We are offering an experience that fuses the digital with the tangible. It's another layer of the community hub we are creating.

The promising start that we have seen from Decentraland demonstrates the rich potential and interest in innovative virtual engagements. The initial limited edition we developed swiftly sold out, underscoring the strong appetite from our community for immersive luxury experiences.

We play the long game, meaning that we view the first steps of marketing and sales as the beginning, a stepping stone to further projects in the digital space. Every successful step is also a testament to the excellent team we have, dedicated to pushing the boundaries and exploring new ideas and concepts that are uncharted territories.

As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, our eyes are already set on the future — on the next 40 years and beyond, backed by the vision and dedication of the Ebstein family, the proud owners of Chronoswiss.

This long-haul vision involves nurturing an ecosystem where both newcomers and already existing fans can connect, engage, and share their passion for the exquisite craftsmanship and pioneering innovation that define Chronoswiss. Our emphasis on community building means establishing a lasting foundation for sustainable expansion based on authentic connections rather than momentary trends.

So, the ultimate question remains: Authenticity or hype? As a family-owned, independent entity operating in a rapidly evolving luxury landscape, we unapologetically choose authenticity. Hype may deliver quick, ephemeral wins, but authenticity secures a legacy of loyalty. It ensures that our watches aren't just worn; they're lived in, loved, and passed down through generations.

In a world cluttered with brands fighting for your attention, we invite watch enthusiasts to join a community that values genuine relationships over fleeting engagements. Our strategy is creating a Chronoswiss experience that is not based on big marketing budgets but on the vibrant, ever-growing community we foster.

Because in the end, the true worth of a luxury brand lies in its ability to transcend the temporal and build something everlastingly and extraordinary.

Luxury | Opinion | Watches