A new line from Swiss watchmakers Blancpain and Swatch is an unexpected marketing collaboration making significant waves, as two polar opposites connect their reputations.
The watch industry maintains thriving interest with its affluent consumers, but the buzz generated by this partnership has burst out from special-interest circles.
At the time of writing, Google Trends results show that interest in Blancpain has shot up to almost ten times greater than its previous peak in the last decade.
These brands and the reputations
The Swatch Group is a titan of the watchmaker industry, with its premier brand Swatch known for producing high-quality watches available at an affordable price. Within its catalogue of largely Swiss brands the Swatch Group has representation across the entire pricing spectrum, but is careful not to dilute the discreteness of each.
A 2022 effort from Swatch and another luxury subsidiary Omega created a planet-themed collection with the MoonSwatch that is now one of its primary lines, but that marriage between two contemporary brands which lead to a new collection was less of a surprise.
Founded in 1735, Blancpain is known as the oldest watch brand in the world, but does not have the presence it once did in the luxury market having suffered from unstable ownership before being acquired by the Swatch Group in 1992.
The brand has fiercely championed mechanical systems; its opposition to the dominant quartz watches of the late 20th century a contribution to its decline. But under Swatch, this more affordable collaboration is “playful and unexpected”.
The new Blancpain X Swatch Scuba Fifty Fathoms
The watch resulting from this partnership is a tribute to Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms, a diving watch first released in 1953 that became a standard of horological waterproofing and costs upwards of $20,000.
It brings the premium Fifty Fathoms branding to a wider audience, assembling by hand replaced with automated manufacturing thanks to the Swatch SISTEM51. The range includes five ocean-themed models, each styled for the colourful sea slugs found within the respective body of water.
Each watch costs US$630 with availability in limited stores, having been released on 9 September to passionate queues. In Sydney at Swatch’s Pitt Street store crowds waited for up to 15 hours to get their hands on the collection.
Swatch has clearly been inspired by the market-fusing MoonSwatch, so look out for more luxury partnerships at similar price points in the future.
Check out another surprising collaboration with Nike and Tiffany and Co. here.