In the business, the question of the psychological price returns regularly to the front of the stage. In times of crisis, one can legitimately ask the question: is there a limit to the value of Luxury watches? And how much is a consumer willing to spend on a dream plot? It is also an opportunity to mark a moving border where the plurality of tastes and purchasing powers makes things ever more complex to define.
It is imperative to first question watch market players by the tariffs charged by manufacturers: retail traders specializing in the sale of timepieces. Of course, not everyone offers the same thing, and industry professionals have become accustomed to classifying them by family. Thus, for retailers ranked “B” most often merchants associating their watch business with the sale of jewelry, the psychological price is included in a range ranging from 500 to 3500 euros. For those ranked in “A” rank, the price segment in which they know they are the most successful is between 3000 and 6 00 euros. Then, all confess, as pointed out by the retailer Jean Lassaussois, have customers willing to exceed their base budget for a major opportunity or to acquire a particular product.
The same Jean Lassaussois, who works mainly with a French client, added that the ranges ranging from 1000 to 3000 euros, from 3000 to 5000 euros, then up to 10 000 and, finally, from 15 000 to more, are as many thresholds psychological. For him, these groups do not necessarily depend on the client’s income, but are generally proportional to the latter. In essence, an amateur will be less reluctant to be tempted by an instrument located in the higher category for a great opportunity if his means allow him to look into it without putting himself in danger.
Exceed the time of his social class
According to Jean Lassaussois, but also in the opinion of Christian Barrier, owner of a Parisian shop targeting a less specialized public, there is really no rule in terms of psychological threshold when it comes to the price of references considered iconic. Because, as Jean-Louis Maier, a reputable retailer based in Lyon and met at Baselworld, added : “Anyone wanting to hold his rank experiences the cost of a status on a daily basis.” Result: the barrier put by the tariffs on the label is permeable. The best of all: the aesthetics of the model and, even more, its notoriety. “A customer who is ready to spend 5,000 euros for Luxury watches will rarely buy the high end of a small brand, even equipped with a beautiful caliber. In most cases, he will prefer to spend a little more to be sure to access products deemed in his environment as representative of a certain success, “said Jean Lassaussois.
“By dint of looking for the psychological springs to watchmaking purchase, a price considered a virtually impossible threshold to overcome eventually emerges, which itself corresponds, more or less, to a socio professional ranking”, likes to say Michel Freret -Roy, retailer offering “niche” brands in Paris. It then becomes easy to put the consumers in boxes according to their income and to guess, once known their culture and their professional environment, the luxury watches that they will be able to afford with their savings or their premiums. Luckily, we are not, like Pavlov’s dog, governed by basic stimuli.
Things are not so simple and amateurs are clever. As Jean Lassaussois reminded us, when a customer does not have the means to access a product, he prefers to wait or offer it on a major occasion, sometimes with the help of his friends. For this retailer, as for many others, these festive moments are essential because they boost sales.
This is perfectly understood Alain Zimmermann, the CEO of Baume & Mercier. On this subject, he said during an interview during the Salon of Fine Watchmaking in January that “1 000 euros is anything but pocket money for most people” and that can reach this customer by offering him a Well-produced, high-quality and beautifully signed, it is also the pleasure of the job, even if today it becomes more and more difficult to do so while remaining compliant with Swiss made rules.
It is a fact, some big houses are making serious efforts to guarantee consumers prices at the fair, in other words accessible. “But what is a reasonable price?” wondered Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bvlgari. For this boss, the issue of the price of luxury watches is not limited to the only expense that must be consented to become the owner. For him, the psychological spring of the price is translated into an equation where the quality must be related to the amount to be paid to acquire it. Thus, the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatic may seem expensive at first, but, in the absolute, lack of competition and the analysis of all its parameters, it will seem accessible to those who know the trade and complexity of manufacturing this type of products, considered just title by professionals on a par with a complication.