Stéphane Linder resigns as CEO of TAG Heuer

  1. WillMK5

    WillMK5 Dec 10, 2014

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    Calibre11 likes this.
  2. Hubert

    Hubert Dec 10, 2014

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    Oh wow. Thanks for sharing the news. :(
     
  3. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Dec 10, 2014

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  4. Hubert

    Hubert Dec 10, 2014

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    Guess it has not been a coincidence that Jean-Claude Biver has been directly engaged in recent events.
     
  5. drunken monkey

    drunken monkey Dec 10, 2014

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    I bet the forums are going to be full of ill informed chat that involves Hublot and forget what Biver did at SwatchGroup.

    With that said though, I have to say I'm a little wary because he has a very sharp axe that he isn't afraid of using. If his intentions are to maintain a control of pricing with TAGHeuer specifically then I can see some harsh things happening.

    Then again, as I've been sort of alluding to in my random posts around the forums, I'm seeing a more clear tidying up of the lower end, namely the Formula 1 and Aquaracer line-ups that I have always said were very muddled up in terms of their pricing relative to each other and other models (i.e I found it hard to see why one watch cost more than another for example) and very bad model-life control. There were simply too many overlaps between what are supposed to be clear model-year releases. With the release of the latest line-up of both of those, there is a much clearer method behind it all which should have a knock-on effect from now on as the previous models clear the shelves. Hopefully, the next generation watches maintain the discipline.

    A lot of this will also be down to just how many watches they put out in a year and if more discipline is to be exercised then it could mean a reduction in production overall, which in turn will affect development. As you imply, the HH department is a concern and it's been strangely quiet for this time of year.

    My fear is that his vision really is to turn the LVMH Watch Group into a mini Swatch because with only three labels, the one at the bottom is going to suffer the most.


    Without meaning to sound like I'm saying something along the lines of "in the good old days" but Biver isn't like the other JC...
     
  6. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Dec 10, 2014

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    Agree with this: I've always said that the best proof of any change in strategy will be the watches themselves. Some websites fall over themselves with this simplistic view of saying "the price points will be pushed down"- which is contradicted by Biver in some articles, where he talks about a "pause" in the push upwards:

    "In passing, the new division head rejects the idea that he is laying waste to a decade of work accomplished by former CEO of TAG Heuer, Jean-Christophe Babin (currently head of Bulgari): “It’s ridiculous to suggest that. On the contrary, I’m building on everything he has done. Today, TAG Heuer is a strong, well-structured brand that is very profitable and has succeeded in moving upmarket. Just remember where the brand was ten years ago.” Jean-Claude Biver seems to suggest that only the last stage in this move upmarket, “even though it’s logical and justified”, doesn’t fit the current market conditions."

    I spoke to Stephane Linder a few weeks ago as part of a long interview on the direction- he was adamant that the entry-level range needed improving and broadening and that is what was being done- meaning that they would sell more of these watches and therefore keep the average price of the brand at the same level. Very different to the idea that the Carrera 1887 will be made with cheaper parts and have its price dropped by USD1000.

    Whether this is or isn't the case, we'll only know with time and the proof will be in the watches...
     
  7. drunken monkey

    drunken monkey Dec 10, 2014

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    I should add that there was a part of me that felt like TAGHeuer (and the rest that operate in this relatively affordable middle market) were riding on a wave of enthusiasm during a time when the industry as a whole was full of energy. That meant they were able to sell more watches simply because of the general mood of the market.

    It feels like that energy has died down somewhat and even that there is more cynicism and I don't mean specifically to do with TAGHeuer.

    The thing that interests me is what's going to happen with Zenith.
    From what I gather, they are pretty much operating at max. capacity already but then again, they are what, something like only 8% of TAGHeuer production numbers? If they are to grow as I assume is needed if the market level strategy is to be maintained and if TAGHeuer are to step our of that area where they overlap, then they will need to physically grow.
    Where/how is that going to manifest?
    You don't sell more watches by just well, having more to sell.
     
  8. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Dec 10, 2014

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    Certainly everyone benefited from a buoyant market, but I do think that under Babin's time there was a fundamental transformation of TAG Heuer that recaptured the spirit of the brand from the 1960s and 70s.

    The obsessions some people have with slotting TAG Heuer under Zenith makes no sense. The website "The Watch Insider" has the following estimates:
    TAG Heuer production 720,000 units/ Revenue of CHF990 million (remember, this is NOT selling price)
    Zenith: 33,000/ CHF130 million

    TAG Heuer is far more important to LVMH than Zenith- and that's not a criticism of the great Zenith brand, just the reality of the respective sizes. TAG Heuer under or over performing by 15% would contribute/ lose more profit than the entire Zenith business!

    Zenith has good potential for growth, but I don't see it being at the expense of TAG Heuer- they're totally different watches for different purposes. How many people have ever said "I'm thinking about either a Zenith or a TAG Heuer???"
     
  9. drunken monkey

    drunken monkey Dec 10, 2014

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    From what I can tell, a lot of people would pick a Zenith if asked to choose but the reality is when it comes to their money, they wouldn't actually buy it; in other words, empty support.
    In the real world, they're pretty much invisible and if not invisible then perhaps what is worse still, they have no image, no character.
    Sure you can tell people that this was (one of...) the first chronographs but outside of a watch forum, who actually cares.
    My favourite El Primero was a now discontinued Pilot which happened to be, I think, the cheapest but realistically, the only EP I would buy is the old Movado/Zenith TV dialled Surf because it's my style of watch. That is Zenith's problem; apart from the "legend" they don't have anything that tells you it is a Zenith. Every one on the forums goes on about El Primero but that's a movement, not a watch and with very few exceptions, you don't just sell a movement, you sell a watch. The Master Co-Axial Aqua Terra is a good example of this where people are opting to buy the outgoing model because it looks better to them in spite of the Master being more advanced.

    Incidentally, maybe I got my numbers wrong and the figure I was given of 8% was to with revenue.
    That makes more sense because the production numbers I got to do with Zenith were more around 40,000 which isn't 8% of the 720,000.
     
  10. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Dec 10, 2014

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    In Australia the EP's strongest point is its incredible value, at one point you could but the Stratos El Primero for about $4.2K, actually slightly less than some 7750 Carreras which was just crazy considering the quality of the movement involved.
     
  11. drunken monkey

    drunken monkey Dec 10, 2014

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    thank you for that tidbit.
    in the UK, Zenith's have always been priced higher than TAGHeuer with the exception of the EP/Calibre 36 ones.

    The Pilot I mentioned was the one that was out before the big-date (which supersedes it).
    If I recall correctly, it was £4600 when the Carrera 1887 was £3300.
     
  12. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Dec 10, 2014

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    I'm a Zenith fan, but agree that they are a watch-lovers watch...lots of kudos from watch nerds, but to the guy on the street they're not known. And that's the opportunity I guess, to turn them into a brand with broad support. But what's harder: improving TAG Heuer profitability by 15% or transforming the Zenith brand entirely?

    BTW, DM, that TV-Screen Zenith is also my favourite!
     
  13. drunken monkey

    drunken monkey Dec 10, 2014

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    so do the numbers 176.0014 also mean something to you too?
     
  14. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Dec 10, 2014

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    Ah, yeah...kind of. It's not bad, but I've never "got" the whole Speedmaster thing. Would choose a Lemania Silverstone or the Zenith every time ;)
     
  15. drunken monkey

    drunken monkey Dec 10, 2014

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    It's not a Speedmaster thing for me, I just dig TV dials.
    I might have an interesting one coming my way after Christmas.

    I'll post it here if it comes through.
     
  16. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Dec 10, 2014

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    Closest to a TV Dial I like is the Nautilus, I think they look weird :p
     
  17. drunken monkey

    drunken monkey Dec 11, 2014

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    ..wha...?
    my watch box cries...
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Dec 11, 2014

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    If you like those, I have a special Heuer for you...coming soon!
     
  19. Hubert

    Hubert Dec 11, 2014

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    I hope that is not the only vintage themed HEUER from the 2015 collection. I am hoping for another Carrera or Monaco.
     
  20. Calibre11

    Calibre11 Editor of Calibre11.com Staff Member Dec 11, 2014

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    No, this isn't a new model..