Today IWC announced that it is offering customisation services for the Ingenieur Chronograph to its US-based clients through their website. From different case materials, dials, hands, straps, and back engravings clients will be able to personalize their IWC. Thanks to real-time 3D rendering technology clients can see the Ingenieur Chronograph (Ref. IW380801) come to life on the screen, as they design it from the comfort of their own home. To ensure that the right choices are being made can the client not only see the watch from multiple angles, but dit IWC also offers the “IWC Style Visualizer” in which your creation can be seen in combination with different outfits.
Each of the watches will be built to order. This will happen just as if you buy an Ingenieur Chronograph from the regular collection, to which the watch is technically also identical. It takes IWC twelve weeks to build the Ingenieur Chronograph, which includes a 500 hours testing period, after which it can either be picked up from any US-based IWC-boutique or even delivered straight to the clients home or office.
For many luxury brands, the increasing digitalization of society is a challenge. Where once they could provide added value through their brick and mortar retailers and boutiques, people now browse online and buy online, have the entire world at their disposal, and because of this, are more driven by price. How to be competitive in this changing market is something many watch brands are still trying to figure out. That means looking how they can establish a new added value for their clients, without competing on price, because they remain a luxury product after all.
Customization is something many clients desire, but few have access to. Brands like Cartier, Rolex, and Piaget have been known to accommodate clients wishes for custom pieces, but only when they fitted into the brands DNA, while their price tags kept them from the mainstream clients. Limited editions can sometimes fill in the gap, offering a more exclusive watch in a more unique design, but you still cannot give it your own flavor. Jaeger-LeCoultre, another Richemont Brand, has been known to be able to customize the back of their Reverso with engravings and enamel paintings for quite some time. Not too long ago they also increased their customization options, available under the name “Atelier Reverso“. By doing so, a brand enables its clients to still get that iconic watch, but influence the design to their own taste.
IWC‘s launch will eventually also impact the market for used watches. With the different configuration options, some are bound to be more popular than others, affecting resale values. While this may be of concern to some clients when they configure their Ingenieur Chronograph, the majority will hopefully create a watch that truly represents their own taste. This is also the power of this new service offered by IWC, and one that most likely proves to be very successful.