Tudor Black Bay Bronze 58 – Boutique Only!

Tudor Black Bay 58 Bronze

Rolex’s little brother recently released their latest Tudor Black Bay Bronze. The new variant boasts a bronze case AND a bronze bracelet. Judging by the number of likes garnered by the BBB on Tudor’s Instagram page, it’s a hit! That’s the good news. The bad news . . .

Brand fans are pissed that they can’t buy the watch at their local Tudor dealer. I mean really pissed. Why should geographical happenstance deny them a chance to strap on a box fresh Black Bay Bronze? Protesters’ comments receive an automated reply, suffused with Swiss sympathy:

“The new Tudor Black Bay 58 Bronze is the first ‘Boutique Edition’ and the watch is only available at selected Tudor boutiques. Please visit tudorwatch.com to find your nearest Official Tudor Boutique.”

Tudor Black Bay Bronze available in China

Tudor’s first boutique-only watch is causing consternation in countries large and small. You can’t buy a BBB in France, the United States or . . . wait for it . . . Switzerland. [Note: Tudor’s opening its first U.S. boutique in NYC at the end of the year.]

The countries that are blessed with Tudor boutiques: Australia (Melbourne), Bahrain (two), Canada (Toronto), Germany (Cologne), Hong Kong (nine), Italy (Rome), Japan (three), Macau, Mainland China (12), Malaysia (two), the Philippines (Mandaluyong), Singapore (two), South Korea (three), Taiwan (Taipei City), Thailand (two), UAE (two) and the United Kingdom (one).

Frustrated consumers living outside these exalted countries – many unable to travel freely – aren’t the only ones seething at their exclusion from the future patina club. Tudor’s decision to withhold the BBB from their authorized dealers tells us their executives haven’t read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Tudor china

The boutique-only BBB is a stab in the back for Tudor’s ADs. Thank you for spending years building our brand. And now we’re keeping the good stuff for ourselves. Remember Gordon Gekko? Greed is good!

As we pointed out in back in January, watchmakers took a close look at their dealers’ 40 percent markup and thought nah! We’ll keep that big ‘ole slice of the pie. We’ll sell watches in our own stores, without competitors clamoring for attention. And we’ll data capture the f out of every single customer that visits us.

Watch brand boutiques can’t rely on years of customer loyalty to move the metal. Hence boutique-only timepieces – a proven technique for increasing footfall and generating sales. And a zero-sum game. Every boutique-only sale is a lost sale for an authorized dealer.

Ben Bridge - retail sales rise but not here

Don’t worry that big brother Rolex will catch the boutique-only virus. Geneva’s favorite son doesn’t own any boutiques. There’s no chance Rolex will create a special edition of a “regular” Submariner exclusive to company-owned stores that, like new watches in their ADs’ showcases, don’t exist.

Do worry if you like to buy special edition watches from any other upmarket brand. They’re all doing the “if you want it here it is come and get it” marketing shtick: Bvlgari (the first), IWC, Chopard, Ulysse Nardin, Jaeger-leCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet, Patek Philippe, everyone.

Rest assured that the Black Bay 58 Bronze will appear on Chrono24, eBay and other gray market websites within hours of its arrival in Tudor boutiques. It will sell for a premium – increasing resentment amongst die hard brand fans.

The watch marks the start of Tudor’s descent into short-termism. It’s a poster child for the luxury watch industry’s dysfunctional relationship with the internet. The Tudor Black Bay Bronze will age extremely well. The boutique-only marketing gambit, not so much.

11 comments

  1. Can’t wait for the next real, proper, hard hitting recession.

    When all these f*cks actually have to worry about having a roof over their head, and food to eat. Including the work-for-free bloggers that do their very best to exaggerate every little point of every passing story.

    Oh no, a Tudor-something-something isn’t available in my area? Sniffles! What will I dooooooo.

  2. The countries that are blessed with Tudor boutiques: …… Mainland China (12)….

    Well there ya go. That pretty much tells the tale. TWELVE Tudor boutique stores in CHINA!

    1. It does and it doesn’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple Watch (and smart watch) sales are less robust in China when compared with sales in North America.

      1. It does. It indicates where the money is. The apple watch isn’t a luxury item like a Tudor. It indicates where Tudor (and Rolex?) see as their primary target market. USA is going down that hierarchy and China is moving up.

        1. There are a lot of variables at play. North America is an “outlier” amongst other countries inasmuch as we want to “keep it real” and be “authentic”. Everybody everywhere else is pretty much, “Make a lot of money and enjoy it.”

          1. Dipshits. They may also find that Americans can be very loyal… and very persistently DISloyal when given the cold shoulder.

  3. It’s stupid to offer it in a boutique only if you don’t have boutiques in said country. HOWEVER, it makes sense if there are 12 locations within said country. I have no problem with them doing that except for lack of boutiques in the US.

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