By Steve Lundin
Multiple studies on Millennial behavior and buying patterns have turned up some interesting characteristics that French watch company Hegid is building a brand around. The most important findings surround an interest in simplicity and brand loyalty.
It is these attributes that define the Hegid approach: simple watches that can be customized within the brand itself, in the same manner as Pandora jewelry. In short, providing a path for a customer to build a collection within one brand.
Hegid watches are built around the concept of interchangeability. Buyers receive a capsule, the core of the watch itself, and can customize with different bezels and bands, changing the basic look of the watch while retaining the fundamental style.
If you are a consumer looking for complications, keep moving. Hegid watches are minimalistic, with the most complicated sporting a date window. Simply put, they tell time.
Ownership and line expansion, and therefore loyalty, is encouraged through the handsome wooden case that accompanies the purchase of a watch. The case is akin to the old G.I. Joe footlockers of the 1960s, and is based on the same principal: provide a consumer with a space for accessories and they will fill it up. This enables buyers to expand their collection while staying within the brand.
Hegid is betting on this age-old razor/razor blade theory of marketing, combined with the millennial interest in all things simple, to grow its presence within crowded craft watchmaking space.
IW sat down with brand founders Henrick Gauche, Grégory Gauche and Emeric Delalandre for an in-depth interview on everything from the brand philosophy to North American expansion.
What does the name Hegid mean?
The Maison developed the evolutionary watchmaking concept to offer to enthusiasts the unprecedented possibility to be the architects of their timepieces on a daily basis. The elements composing the Hegid watches have a diverse range of influences, making the brand global. In Hegid, there are also references to the names of the founders.
What constitutes the Hegid line?
There are currently four lines of cases in Hegid, which, with the capsules and the strap they will be associated with, will give a unique style to the Hegid watch. These are:
-Vision: A professional carrure (case) for a useful tool watch. Its eye on its rotating bezel is a useful indicator and gives it a unique style. Perfect with jeans and a t-shirt.
– Laboratoire: A very elegant case for a perfect dress watch. Its Art Deco lines, especially on its lugs, make it both refined and comfortable. Perfect with a suit at an official dinner.
– Expedition: A very robust, masculine, rectangular case with a look inspired by the legendary all-terrain vehicles. These powerful and protective lines inspire the drawings of many children and the dreams of many adults. Perfect for an expedition in the countryside during the weekend.
– Mirage: A hexagonal case with a look that comes from the end of the 60s. The bold lines of the Italian cars at the genesis of ‘Wedge Design’ inspired the aerodynamic (especially the Lamborghini Miura) curves of the Mirage. Perfect to drive a vintage supercar on the French Riviera.
The word Global in the Hegid name means that our design inspirations can come from both watchmaking icons and other worlds. Thus, the classic shape of the Laboratoire or the sporty Vision come alongside more original shapes such as the Expedition or the Mirage.
Hegid’s concept allows the users to make their own styles out of the materials and designs offered by the brand. Hegid’s mission is then to offer an unprecedented variety in the cases offered. The Maison’s Artistic Director, Jerôme Coste, who does not come from the watchmaking industry, has the role to provide new sources of inspiration outside of watchmaking, to bridge the gap between watchmaking and fashion.
There have been several companies that have experimented with the concept of an interchangeable accessory watch. Why will Hegid be successful at this?
Hegid commercially launched at Baselworld 2019, after three years of strategic planning and the development of the Maison’s patented EVOL system. In an industry led by powerful brands and the same iconic models worn by the majority, Hegid wants to give back the power to the consumers and let them create the watch they actually want to wear on a daily basis.
One of Hegid’s co-founders, Henrick Gauché, imagined the concept of the timeless watch that evolves over time to always match an individual’s attire of the day. In addition to being a watch enthusiast, he worked for many years as a retailer of luxury timepieces in France.
Henrick observed a shift of clientele and noticed that the new generation of luxury consumers were not addressed with the right offers by the historical brands, at a fair price point with sustainable, personalized and playful watches. Encouraged by its customers excited by the promise of an innovative watchmaking, he then decided, with his two partners to make Hegid a reality.
Other watchmaking proposed in the past interchangeable watches, but Hegid simplified the concept in allowing the users to easily transform their timepieces, in a few seconds, to adapt to desires and situations. After purchasing a Hegid watch, anyone can upgrade it with a new carrure, a new capsule or a new strap.
Created under the guidance of the brand’s artistic director, Jerôme Coste, Hegid elements are then a ready-made idea for a gift, and each new element multiplies the number of possible combinations.
Who are the customers for your watches and what is their behavior like?
Our average consumer is thirty-five years old, and Hegid represents their first luxury watch. Like most companies, we have found that 70% are male, and don’t see themselves in the other luxury brands.
Hedig checks all the boxes for a great luxury watch, and the fact that they can change out the look for a fraction of the price of buying another watch is a major appeal. 80% of our buyers are from Europe and represent the philosophy of “people don’t judge me by the price of my watch.” 20% to 30% are aficionados who change their watches up weekly. The majority change only once per month.
What is the buying process?
Our customer walks out of the store with starter box, which ranges from $3,500- $5,000 for watch and a capsule. The buyer usually purchases a second strap at the time and may add more accessories at a later time as they discover more about the brand.
We’ll post Part II of this article tomorrow.