Interview : Julien Haenny General Manager of the Fine Watch Club
“The world’s thinnest automatic watch by Bulgari and the Monaco Yacht Show will get the Fine Watch Club off to a great start this autumn”
What is the concept behind the Fine Watch Club?
It’s the first international watch club that offers benefits to its members all year round, including weekly private sales. Every week, members will receive an offer exclusively tailored to them, in one of four basic categories. Each month we create one highly limited series in collaboration with a luxury watch brand, on the basis of one of their iconic collections. The next week, we offer a VIP experience at a watch industry event, which might be a visit to a manufacture, or a behind-the-scenes experience at a watch fair. Then they will have access to our Privilege sale. These are high-quality watches that are no longer available from retailers, because we find them in the drawers of the watchmakers themselves! They can be bought at less than half the retail price. The fourth type of private sale is the Mystery sale, which will generally be an exclusive watch accessory, a piece of jewellery or an experience. Members are bound to come across at least one offer that interests them each quarter.
What is the price range of the watches you will be offering?
They are all luxury watches by recognised brands that we believe in, and we can recommend them wholeheartedly. We work hand in hand with the brands’ managers and designers to offer unusual variants of their flagship models to our members. This gives them rarity and exclusivity, given that the series concerned run to between 10 and 25 units. You have to be quick off the mark to get one. But the Fine Watch Club will offer watches at all price points, from under CHF 2,000 for certain Privilege sales, into the tens of thousands. Our programme is already mapped out up to spring 2020, and it includes limited editions created in association with Bulgari, Frédérique Constant, Girard-Perregaux, Maurice Lacroix, TAG Heuer, Ulysse Nardin and Zenith, along with Privilege offers with Alpina, Corum, Eberhard, Fabergé and Jacob & Co. Our inaugural limited series comprises twelve Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatics in titanium. This watch holds the world record for thinness, and it won the Men’s Watch category of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. There won’t be enough for everyone.
How do you become a member?
You have to love watches and the watch world! We offer three tiers of membership. The Three Hands category is the free entry-level membership that just gives access to the private sales. Applicants need to fill in a membership form, which is then validated by the Fine Watch Club. The Manufacture category offers more benefits, including offers from our partners, but the main advantage is that they get a 24-hour head start on those offers. It costs just CHF 98 per year. Finally, Platinum membership is for the VIPs of the Fine Watch Club. They have fast-track access to all our offers one week before anyone else, and they can get involved in the design process for future limited editions. The annual membership fee is CHF 480, but in the first year this fee can be deducted from the purchase price of a limited edition watch. That makes it extremely worthwhile for dedicated watch fans.
What are the Fine Watch Club’s first events?
Since March we have curated several events for small groups, focusing on creating a genuine experience, and offering proximity and exclusivity. We invited 20 members to join us over two days behind the scenes of Baselworld, and further groups have been invited on private visits to the Jaeger-LeCoultre, TAG Heuer and Bulgari manufactures. In September it will be our pleasure to invite them to the Monaco Yacht Show, to discover the Only Watch 2019 and the Monaco Yacht Show limited series by Ulysse Nardin. A visit to the Zenith manufacture is also on the agenda, along with private previews of the Watch Photo Awards exhibition, the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève exhibition, and Dubai Watch Week. And there’s plenty more. The Fine Watch Club also has a gallery where we can invite members for more private meetings. Membership of the Fine Watch Club is the best gift you could possibly give – either to someone you care about, or to yourself! The lucky recipient can continue to enjoy it every week for a whole year! Can you guess why we created the hashtag #getwhatyoucant?
- After working in the luxury industry for almost 20 years, including as CEO, Julien Haenny became General Manager of the Fine Watch Club in January 2019.
- Bulgari is offering 12 Octo Finissimo watches in titanium, created exclusively for Fine Watch Club members. This is the world’s thinnest watch, and it was awarded the Men’s Watch prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
- Alpina will be raiding its museum for something to whet the appetite of FWC members who are connoisseurs of accessible rarity.
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