Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The DOXA SUB 200 and the GPHG - Some Inside Baseball

So with the latest press release from DOXA, I am starting to get the sense that the folks now responsible for the SUB bought a bulk package of press releases and need to use them up before the introduction period expires ; )

This one is somewhat interesting, if not only for the slightly goofy copywriting.  I will give you the press release first, just as it was received this morning, then we'll sift through the tea leaves to get a handle on what it might really mean.
Courtesy of DOXA
DOXA SUB 200 in the runningfor the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2019
in the “Challenge” category

For its first participation in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), the global watchmaking industry’s annual celebration of creativity and excellence, Swiss brand DOXA (celebrating its 130th anniversary this year) is both pleased and humbled to see its legendary SUB 200 chosen for the official preselection in the “Challenge” category.  

DOXA SUB 200 goes on the GPHG World Tour Australia,
Asia, Latin America, Europe...the travelling exhibition showcases the 84 watches of the Official Preselection.First stop: Australia, a key growth market DOXA looks forward to engaging as part of an international redeployment strategy.
DOXA’s SUB watches still remain a reference in the field of legendary diving watches in watchmaking history. And the legend lives on.

At Baselworld 2019, DOXA celebrated the brand's 130th anniversary with a new edition of the famous DOXA SUB 200 in steel. Originally launched in 1967, the revolutionary SUB concept became the first truly purpose-designed diving watch for the general public. Besides being rated to a depth of 300 meters, it was the first to feature DOXA’s patented unidirectional rotating bezel with the dual indication of dive time in minutes and depth in meters to avoid decompression stops for a safe return to the surface. A legend in its own time, the SUBs was instantly recognizable because of its orange dial, also a first for a diver's watch, contrasting with the conventional black or white dials available then.

An authentic vintage character
True to legend, today's SUB 200 is still a three-handed diver's watch with a case made of 316L stainless steel of the highest quality. With a diameter of 42 mm, it is topped by a sapphire crystal that takes on the distinctive shape of the domed plexiglass used back in the day. Water-resistant to 20 ATM, about 200 meters, this model features a unidirectional rotating sapphire bezel. Distinctive features of this series: a velvet black dial with baton-type hands, applied indexes and elements on the bezel, all of which are coated with Super-LumiNova® beige “Light Old Radium” to accentuate the authentic vintage character. The SUB 200 is powered by a Swiss Made ETA 2824-2 automatic mechanical caliber and held on the wrist by the iconic DOXA “beads of rice” bracelet, also made of 316L steel and featuring a folding clasp with diving extension.

Okay, so one important piece of Inside Baseball for your fine readers - 

It is not as if that August body of judges and commissioners of the GPHG are out there, pounding the horological pavement, scouring the horizon for the latest and greatest of the watch world.  Want to be considered for the GPHG?  You fill out an application, and YOU send CHF 500 (for administrative fees and expenses), along with your application, and not entirely unlike the "Who's Who" sales pitch, you will be instantly part of the big time.  Okay, that's not entirely fair.  The "Who's Who" is a well known scam - Who's Who Scam
And I want to be very, very clear - I am in no way saying that the GPHG is a scam.  


What makes a true competition is not the ability to nominate and promote yourself.  Especially when you have a perpetually constant group of judges who despite the claims of only retaining a small percentage from year to year, tend to continually be recycled and appear in that capacity more frequently than Madonna did on MTV in the 80s.
Put Gregory Pons on the list of Judges?  Then maybe I can take it seriously.

But then again, the watch world is full of interconnected interests like media, advertising and marketing.  And the GPHG is a nice shiny thing to show off.

We will wait for November, and who knows? Maybe DOXA's first foray into the GPHG will be a winner.

But what I find fascinating is the relentless repetition of the same message -
DOXA had an amazing BaselWorld and the watch world is awash with excitement and demand.

So let's hop into the Way-Back Machine and revisit those thrilling days of yesteryear.  Most specifically?  BaselWorld 2008.  The team (and yes, part of that team was yours truly), opened up several accounts across the US.  It also bears mentioning that within 18 months we had to close several of those accounts due to the manner in which those stores were representing the brand.  Deep discounting was the least of it.  Let's just say that it was not unlike being a parent sending your child off to summer camp, and finding out that they got hustled by a pimp when they were trying to change buses at the Port Authority in New York City.

And don't get me wrong, at that moment in 2008 we were crowing like the rooster that made the sun rise.  But as I have come to learn after 12 years of involvement in this business on every side of the BaselWorld booth, it's easy to get excited about potential retail partners.  The only thing that will really matter is whether or not those retail partners can sell the watch, and do so in the manner that you, as the brand, hope that they will.

To be clear, there are a LOT of us who want to see DOXA succeed and finally become a mainstream player.  But maybe, just maybe, if they could stop repeating the same message about how much demand there is.  

It sounds a bit needy.

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