Sunday, August 15, 2021

A Summer Day Dream - What If?

Author's note - what follows is purely fanciful speculation based on nothing other than the whimsical musings of an horological raconteur during the very slow summer watch maker's holiday. None of it is based on anything other than my rather vivid (and sometimes undernourished) imagination. It is intended solely and completely as entertainment.

What if...

Rolex Bought Patek 

I know, sounds pretty nutty, but as summer daydreams go, it's got a bit of a toothsome quality to it.  Remember a few years ago when Stern the Younger floated the idea of possibly selling Patek?  Well, in the interest of summer fantasies, what if Rolex sacked up, and bought Patek?  Now I don't claim to be any sort of authority on Swiss law or the rules of business governance, but as both are private companies, would either be required to acknowledge such a sale/acquisition to anyone other than their board/s?

More to the point, of ANY other independent brand out there, in terms of how they position themselves, communicate with the press, and do business, it's hard to imagine 2 corporate cultures that could be any more similar (and hence easy to integrate if even "unofficially").  

I know, it's a crazy idea...

What if...

The Hayek Family Ceded Control of the Swatch Group 

While the sky isn't necessarily falling, Swatch Group has not enjoyed the most "amazing" years recently. Moreover, as it is a publicly traded company/group of companies, it would seem that a leadership position in one of the "jewels" of the group seems to be predicated on a DNA Olympics of sorts, in which being born with a last name that starts with H and ends with K appears to be the surest path to running one of the world's 10 most important brands (Breguet, Blancpain). While Omega has a CEO swimming in a different genetic pool, Blancpain and Breguet were both being run by Hayek the Even Younger. I have never met Marc Hayek, but from all I've heard he's a perfectly nice guy and as far as I can tell, he did not crash Blancpain (in charge since 2002) or Breguet (in charge since 2010) during his stewardship of both brands. Which begs the question - why now? As there do not appear to have been any significant seismic shifts (either positive or negative) why now? Official news teased its way out initially on the 12th, and in depth on Friday that  Lionel a Marca would be taking the helm from Marc Hayek, who would be remaining as "President" of Breguet.  

There does seem to be a "Dear Leader" approach to succession plans within the group. Could this mean that Hayek the Even Younger is about to be kicked upstairs and take the big wheel? As there has been no clear or obvious attempts to develop any significant leaders within the group who are not named Hayek to take over some day, my Summer Daydream leads me to wonder if this is no daydream at all and Marc Hayek is about to be promoted again.

What if...

Swatch Group Returned to BaselWorld

In what would be perhaps the most "Baller" move ever, Swatch Group agrees to come back to BaselWorld, but only if they take a partial ownership in the fair and a few board seats at MCH. In some ways they might have already shown some of their cards. They had planned to bring three or so of their less "well-heeled" brands to Las Vegas (which if we're being honest, is a watch show that should be put out of its, and our collective misery). Now with the Delta variant spreading COVID faster than swinging couples spread syphilis, gonorrhea and unplanned pregnancies at Plato's Retreat circa 1976, it now seems unlikely that this will happen as Nevada is an exceedingly "Hot" location, and I'm not talking about the gambling, legal prostitution and all you can eat buffets. Several brands have already reversed course and are not going to be attending. So whether or not the three ships of the mighty Swatch regatta will dock in Sin City remains to be seen, but despite the power of my Summer Daydream, I tend to think maybe not.

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