My 2 cents on the Hublot loan watch...
The announcement from Hublot of their new “courtesy watch” offering has sparked heated debate amongst the watch community. I believe this is one of the missions accomplished for Hublot. Keeps people talking about their brand, thus keeping the brand front of mind.
However, after reading through various points of views, mostly from learned watch enthusiasts and the like, mostly expressing the view of “I wouldn’t wear a cheap plastic quartz watch as a loaner even if it’s free”, I think most of the enthusiasts are missing the point.
For me the critical part of the press release from Hublot is the very last sentence: “This delicate token of attention remains naturally at the discretion of the management of each Hublot boutique.” Let’s take it back a few steps. The loan watch is available ONLY at the Hublot boutiques. And as we all know, the boutique clientele generally speaking, is one of the most- how shall we say it- pedantic clients of them all. They want to be pampered. Attended to. Treated like a VIP. (Keeping in mind that this is a vast generalisation and there are of course exceptions to this.) In my humble opinion, although the loan watch is just that- a loan watch, but believe you me I know people whose ego will still find a way to show off with the loan watch, (as long as the boutique staff manages their choice of vocab towards the client – just like that very last sentence). Now I said “show off” not “wear”.
I have no doubt that every single person that brings in their Hublot into the boutique for a service will receive the loan watch offer. Whether or not they take up the offer, is of course, another story entirely. But let’s also keep in mind that Hublot is still very much a growing brand, and much of that growth will have come from nouveau riche, especially in *cough* middle kingdom *cough* meaning quite possibly the Hublot IS their first expensive watch, and unlike watch enthusiasts, they don’t have that trusty ‘69 Speedy or ‘74 Datejust to fall back on.
This brings us to another question. Wouldn’t the nouveau riche of the dragon people simply buy another Big Bang Ice Kachang? Only their ego can answer that question.
Just as an aside- swatchgroup offered Swatch watches (in some cases) as a courtesy watch to the most demanding clients. To keep. And you’d be surprised how many take up the offer.