08/2023

Assuming that I had to buy only brand new watches, I select 20 premium brands, check their men’s collections in their official websites, and count how many of their models I would (theoretically) select to put in my purchasing list, or suggest to someone else. For this topic, I do not care about the exact selections, but about the numbers derived for each brand. In other words, I come up with an “approval” rate (%) for each brand current available models, with the following conditions applying. (1) There is no budget restriction. (2) There is no service ability restriction (manufacture movements are fully accepted). (3) The number of lines for each brand is adjusted per case for avoiding overlapping between similar collections. (4) The number of models for each brand is limited excluding case material differences, and focusing on use, design and functions. In addition, there are 3 criteria for approving each and every model. (A) The character of the watch respects the brand heritage. (B) The character of the watch is strong enough to overcome its price (for instance, the new IWC Injenieur is accepted). (C) The watch is not subjected to excessive designing and number of functions meaning complications are accepted, but over-complicated watches are rejected per case (for instance ALS Saxonia Triple Split is accepted, but Datograph Perpetual is rejected).

BRAND LINES MODELS SELECTED RATE
A.Lange & Sohne 6 33 22 67%
Audemars Piguet 4 30 12 40%
Blancpain 4 42 25 60%
Breguet 6 48 11 23%
Breitling 9 27 15 56%
Cartier 5 15 7 47%
Glashutte Original 4 30 12 40%
Hublot 4 20 6 30%
IWC 5 34 20 59%
Jaeger Lecoultre 5 29 20 69%
Longines 9 35 32 91%
Maurice Lacroix 4 20 12 60%
Omega 4 35 23 66%
Patek Philippe 6 50 23 46%
Rolex 3 12 12 100%
Tag Heuer 7 29 11 38%
Tudor 3 14 12 86%
Ulysse Nardin 5 23 7 30%
Vacheron 8 38 10 26%
Zenith 4 16 7 44%

The average rounded number of models available is 30 and the average rate of selected/accepted models is 54%. Considering that the criteria applying are not strict, the rate is very low. Doing this statistical test with no commitment, and trying to be as much objective and fair as possible towards all 20 participants, I claim that these numbers are representative, and more or less anticipated considering that most of these brands address their products primarily to affluent-ignorant consumers who buy with much different criteria than connoisseurs and experienced collectors. I clarify that these numbers are not at all indicative about the quality of the brands and their products, rather they show how much marketing departments overcome technical departments. Breguet for instance has the lowest rate, but (ignoring prices) it also has some of the most appealing watches like Type-20, 3357, 7047, 7137, 7337. Finally, I share these numbers in public believing that they are meaningful and useful for any professional or hobbyist who is interested in evaluating the performance of the key players and the market overall.

GS