March 13, 2012
Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre will begin its fourth annual auction to benefit the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Program March 12, allowing consumers to bid on a prototype N°1 of the Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph.
Consumers can bid on a the watch starting at $3,946. This effort extends from the brand’s longtime philanthropic partnership with UNESCO and the International Herald Tribune to protect marine wildlife.
“Jaeger-LeCoultre has a long-term partnership with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre because they understand their responsibility to serve that which is important to their targeted clients,” said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami.
“It promotes a story on exploration, environment and experience, all consistent with the Jaeger-LeCoultre brand,” he said.
Mr. Ramey is not affiliated with Jaeger-LeCoultre, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Jaeger-LeCoultre could not comment before press deadline.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization aims to promote sustainable development by creating dialogue among cultures and is working with Jaeger-LeCoultre to defend marine sites that face an immediate threat.
Making a wave
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s auction will let customers bid on a fully-functional prototype N°1 of its popular Deep Sea Vintage Chronograph during the fourth auction of the company’s Tides of Time campaign.
The watch is a replica of the brand’s Memovox Deep Seawatches from the early 1970s but with updated hardware.
The stainless steel, waterproof timepiece released this year honors the original timepiece with orange-tinted glass protecting the hands and an engraved motif of a frogman surrounded by bubbles on the back face.
The online auction runs March 12-15.
Jaeger-LeCoultre auction site
“Auctions are effective because they often drive a dopamine surge,” Mr. Ramey said. “Emotion and desire manifests revenue.”
Under the sea
All proceeds from the sale of the watch to the highest bidder will be donated to Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park in the Philippines -- a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Program -- to be used for equipment that monitors the land.
The park is the site of an underground river and a diverse habitat.
Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park
Previously, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s auction proceeds went to the preservation of Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park in the Philippines, India’s Sundarbans National Park and Malpelo Fauna and Flora Sanctuary in Colombia.
To promote the philanthropic endeavor with UNESCO, Jaeger-LeCoultre partnered with the International Herald Tribune to publish Tides of Time articles. These sections feature noteworthy marine ecosystems throughout the year.
This is not the first time that Jaeger-LeCoultre used creative partnerships to build brand awareness.
Jaeger-LeCoultre paired with AMC’s hit television series “Mad Men” for a limited-edition “Mad about Reverso” timepiece inspired by the show (see story).
In addition, the label donated part of profits from its Proto Zero models bought at its 1881 Heritage boutique in Hong Kong. The proceeds will go to the End Child Sexual Abuse Foundation in Hong Kong (see story).
“For many years, retailers have known that consumers respond to fear and greed,” Mr. Ramey said. “Today, if you’re marketing to the affluent, it’s evolved into fear, greed and good.
“Doing good isn’t a marketing strategy though,” he said. “It’s now considered a responsibility.”
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York