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  • Writer's pictureSWB

Benefiting from Sleeping Beauties

SWB offers aspiring entrepreneurs disappeared Swiss watch brands for relaunch so they can benefit from brand’s heritage multiple times over.

Many watch brands have disappeared not because of the poor quality of their watches, but for other reasons such as false marketing or lack of financial cushions in times of crisis (like the Quartz crisis in the 1970s). These disappeared companies, called Sleeping Beauties, produced equally reliable quality watches. They had the same watch cases or the same movements with reliable, sturdy and dependable quality such as the Valjoux 72 which was once used by many companies such as Girard-Perregaux, Breitling or Rolex with its famous Daytona as well.

A variation of advertisements representing sleeping Swiss watch brands.
Watch brands with a visible past are called “Sleeping Beauties”.

Vintage leads to neo-vintage

Many historic watch brands have an exciting past, consisting of ground-breaking innovations or unusual design. They are now scouring the archives for all sorts of interesting facts about their heritage. Discovered mementos from their decades-long history offer new insights and strengthen the brand's image. And because the past is also serves as a source of inspiration, the brand's heritage is used to revive earlier successful models with similar neo-vintage watches. Thus, many long-established and newly founded watch brands take the opportunity to enhance their authenticity through the narrated past.

A variation of old wrist watches and a pocket watch
Icons as a source of inspiration for neo-vintage watches.

Investing in the power of the past…

Starting a new watch brand from scratch is still a difficult undertaking, even if it has never been easier with e-commerce accepted even for higher-end watches. Since it is no longer necessary to build a distribution network of brick and mortar retailers, aspiring entrepreneurs can invest time and money in their watch collection and online presence. But competition is fierce, with dozens of new brands entering the watch market every year. To stand out from the crowd, you can excel an exceptional design or an unprecedented craftsmanship or - if you don't have this talent – you can rely on the advantages of reviving a vanished brand with a fan base that still exists today.

A watchmaker with a magnifying glass on his forehead holds a pocket watch in his hands that he is repairing.
Watch maker in 1946

The initial costs of setting up a watch company with a sleeping beauty are somewhat higher than those of setting up with a fantasy name with no past. However, only legacy microbrands can benefit from the booming vintage market and the primary watch market at the same time, so this will soon pay off.

The desire for second-hand timepieces, when they are not exclusively investment objects, is often based on the fascinating history of a brand or a particular watch model. The reissue of a popular collector's watch releases a great deal of untapped potential, as the revived past makes both the vintage and the neo-vintage watch more interesting and desirable to the watch collector. Activating the collectors' market makes it possible to benefit from this loyal and often financially strong community.

… to be prepared for the future.

Vintage watches in particular support the circular economy, as they can be reused almost indefinitely due to their durable quality. Younger generations with their awareness of a sustainable environment use these quality watches instead of buying new ones. This expression of their eco-friendly thinking creates another opportunity for entrepreneurs with a heritage brand. These pre-loved watches embody the authenticity of old watch brands, as representatives of a bygone era that was not yet characterized by a throwaway mentality.

In view of all this, there are many good reasons to acquire a sleeping Swiss watch brand with a history. The initial investment may be a little higher, but it will soon pay off by activating the collector market. Moreover, the company is well positioned to build a sustainable business model. And since these brands are the representatives of a nostalgic era, wearing their watches puts a smile on your face as if you were travelling back in time.



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