François-Paul Journe is truly a unique personality in the world of watchmaking. He is perhaps the only talented watchmaker to have been able to build a contemporary brand that bears the name of its founder, which is enduring in the fine watchmaking segment and whose aura positions it today among the most prestigious Swiss manufacturers. more prestigious. This dual technical and strategic skill is based on a perfect knowledge of the market and what collectors are looking for, whether in terms of products or behavior from a brand. At a time when many brands are investing in CRM tools which mobilize infinite energy on the part of the sales forces and which one sometimes wonders if they are of any use in the feedback of information, François-Paul Journe can rely both on his personal knowledge of collectors and on effective communication from the shops.
Establishing a brand over the long term is constant work and François-Paul Journe knows perfectly well that an extremely favorable context can be fragile. Chanel’s 20% stake in the capital of Montres Journe SA in 2018 was part of this approach. While allowing the manufacture to retain its independence, the positioning at this level of a powerful company in the capital had been perceived by observers and especially customers as excellent news since it strengthened its financial stability and gave it the means to pursue its expansion. He is also aware that the significant increase in demand has been driven by the spectacular results obtained at auctions that have taken place in recent years. It is a veritable virtuous circle of which we no longer know how it began: the increase in demand for new watches leads to higher prices at auctions which itself maintains the increase in demand for watches. new.
The editorial in the latest issue of the FPJournal delivers a very clear message:
François-Paul Journe returns to this phenomenon in his editorial in number 7 of the FPJournal and the least we can say is that the message addressed to customers is very clear. Only François-Paul Journe is able to use the following words which are taken from this editorial:
“We have decided to try to better control distribution by drastically reducing the number of independent retailers in favor of our Boutiques, the next of which will be located in London. We manage to unmask them sooner or later. The penalty inflicted is not so serious, this person finds himself at the end of the queue with the impossibility of buying a new watch for a few years.
A word of advice: if you want to get rid of one of our watches, go through us directly if you want to stay in the family.”
The message is direct, clear. It sounds more like a warning than just a friendly suggestion. François-Paul Journe knows he can use this tone because he knows his customers and his customers know him. Nobody is surprised either by the content or by the form, because ultimately behind this determined fight against speculation, there is François-Paul Journe’s quasi-obsession with maintaining sound and solid foundations for his business as well as boost the development of the FP Journe Patrimoine activity.
The same editorial also contains information on the discontinuation of limited series, which is an event for a brand with such a large presence in the fine watchmaking segment:
“Small limited editions are mostly affected by speculation, that’s why after 2024 I won’t be making limited series anymore.”
Personally, I really liked this editorial because I felt that it was written without beating around the bush, which is rare in the watch industry, and because it once again demonstrates the vision strategy of François-Paul Journe. Rather than being blinded by all the current favorable signals, he is already thinking about the next steps by focusing on his loyal clientele while strengthening his own business of selling watches that are no longer in production. An effective way to make the company’s financial performance less sensitive to auction results.