Julien Haenny On What Exactly is the Fine Watch Club
Understanding this newly launched luxury watch owners’ club.
An international multi-brand watch club aimed at anyone with an interest in luxury mechanical watches, the Fine Watch Club – which we already introduced here – just kicked off its sales activities with a Bvlgari Octo Finissimo special edition. Perfect timing to talk with the Fine Watch Club’s Managing Director, Julien Haenny, and understand what is exactly the goal behind this collector’s initiative.
MONOCHROME, Xavier Markl – How was the Fine Watch Club born?
Julien Haenny – The Fine Watch Club is an initiative started by GMT Publishing, which owns and publishes GMT Magazine and WorldTempus.com since the early 2000s. The goal was to create a bridge between those who are passionate about beautiful watches and high-end watch brands and create unique experiences for those who don’t easily have access to this universe.
What brought you to the Fine Watch Club?
I really liked the idea of being able to work with different brands on many aspects of their watches, such as their designs, their technology and their heritage. And I wanted to be able to show our members the great diversity there is in watchmaking.
What is your business model?
There are four monthly offers: Limited Editions, Events, Privilege Offers, and a Mystery Offer. With the Limited Editions, we work with a brand to offer an exclusive limited edition watch, usually an iconic model from their collection, with a different colour or design aesthetic that hasn’t been done before, in a limited quantity. With our Events offer, we organize experiences for our members that aren’t widely available to the public, such as manufacture visits where they have the chance to discover a brand and even spend time with CEOs or product directors. The Privilege Offer entails us digging into “the drawers”, so to speak, of watch brands and selling pieces that aren’t available on the market anymore for favourable prices. The Mystery Offer is a watch accessory or jewellery that we offer our clients, usually with a Fine Watch Club touch to it. All the details are available on our website for anyone who wants to know more.
What do you bring to your clients?
There are two main aspects to what we offer our members: exclusive access to the “behind-the-scenes” of their favourite watchmaking brands and limited editions, available in very small quantities.
What are the different levels of membership and the benefits for the members?
There are three levels: there is the first level, Three-Hands Membership, which is free, and members get access to weekly private sales 24 hours after Manufacture members and 1 week after Platinum members; the Manufacture Membership, which has a CHF 98 annual fee, gives access to weekly private watch sales 24 hours before Three-Hands members and 48 hours after Platinum members (this condition also applies to limited editions and events with limited places), as well as a subscription to GMT Magazine and the WorldTempus.com newsletter; then there is the Platinum Membership, which gives all of the above access before our Three-Hands and Manufacture members and subscriptions, as well as VIP invitations to watch events organized by our partners GMT and WorldTempus, including the SIHH and GPHG after-parties, and the private preview of the Watch Photo Awards exhibition.
What are your key challenges?
One of our key challenges is offering limited editions that respond to the expectations of our members. And another is establishing the first international watch owner’s club, which hasn’t really been done before.
You have just unveiled your first special edition with Bvlgari, can you tell us about your next collaborations?
We have the chance and the honour to work great Maisons, such as Zenith, TAG Heuer, Girard-Perregaux, Maurice Lacroix, Frédérique Constant. And there are many more in the pipelines. Our schedule is already booked up until next spring.
What is your main advice to watch collectors?
My main advice to any watch collector is to invest in pieces that you love and that are really unique. That’s what we offer here at the Fine Watch Club – pieces from respected brands in new design combinations, and that are very limited in quantity. For the best access to our offers, we suggest that members opt for the Platinum Membership.
More details at www.fine-watch-club.com.
This entire idea seems utterly pointless- a niche within a niche within a niche.
It begs the question, “how many ways will people on-the-make devise to make rich people feel special?”
When the Ex-CEO of Anonimo ends up becoming the managing director of a watch club thats sells leftover press invitation and slaps bland logos with no history on a caseback and call it limited editions, you know its the work of Worldtempus and GMT magazine.
P.S.: it takes to be a collector to truly understand collectors.
– Johnny Nosville
This watch club is not unlike what HODINKEE does with its surprise limited editions.
In a shrinking mechanical watch market manufacturers have discovered the power of the internet to stimulate demand and avoid excess inventory.