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Van Cleef & Arpels targets travelers with two-for-one watch

August 11, 2015

The Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs watch. Van Cleef & Arpels' Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs watch.


French jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels is emphasizing its international appeal in a pair of short videos to promote the Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs watch.

The watch is designed to display two time zones simultaneously, making it the perfect companion for a frequent traveler. Van Cleef & Arpels chose to highlight the watch’s practicality by contrasting events happening in two different cities at the same time.

"Van Cleef & Arpels is best known for their jewelry and watches for women, but the Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs watch is for men," said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami. "The videos underscore the watches' capacity for dual time with dual continents.

"It’s the technological ability to do so rather than the need of the wearer to know, so that is endearing."

Mr. Ramey is not affiliated with Van Cleef & Arpels, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Van Cleef & Arpels was unable to comment directly.

Two at a time

Van Cleef & Arpels’ Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs watch has a white gold case and a crown inset with a single diamond stone. It is automatic and self-winding with a black alligator strap.

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The Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs watch shows two times

What makes the Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs watch particularly unique is the addition of two time windows on the face of the watch. These can be set for different locations, allowing the wearer to stay connected with either time zone.

The watch is ideal for businessmen and other frequent travelers who might have to monitor events in one location despite being in another. Affluent consumers often travel for business or pleasure, so the watch is well suited to its target demographic.

"Van Cleef & Arpels traditionally has marketed their products for the precision of the underlying technology and the intricate detail of the jewelry piece, therefore justifying sometimes astronomical prices such as their $333,000 Astronomy watch," said Lisa Roberts, vice president of marketing for Edgecase, Austin, TX.

"They're selling a lifestyle here - one more akin to younger jet-setters jumping time zone to time zone rather than that of its traditionally older, target market. Using YouTube plus Facebook ensures that they'll continue to reach a good swath of each."

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In New York it is 10pm, but in Paris it is 4am

Van Cleef & Arpels worked with the agency Same Same But Different to produce the two short videos, in which the differences between two locations are emphasized. One compares footage of Paris with New York.

The video opens with a shot of Paris with text indicating it is 4 a.m. After panning the face of the Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs watch, the video goes on to show New York at 10 p.m.

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The videos highlight the contrast between two locations

"Both the content of the social media campaign and the placement of these videos in social channels points to the brand seeking to target the avid watch collector and the upwardly mobile, social media-savvy executive and those who buy for him," said Sarah Engel, senior vice president of global marketing at OrderDynamics, Silicon Valley, CA. "It is both inspirational to the luxury buyer and aspirational to the buyer who wants to portray himself as someone who jets from Paris to New York without missing a beat."

The second video takes a split screen approach, highlighting a different city or location on each side of the screen. In doing so it emphasizes the “duality of time” and the contrast between different locations.

By creating two videos to illustrate the concept, Van Cleef & Arpels is giving viewers a chance to engage more deeply with the campaign. The videos will likely help the brand connect with consumers.

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Consumers are shown wearing the watch in different locations

Campaign strategy
Van Cleef & Arpels often chooses to create elaborate campaigns for its products. For example, in 2014 the French jeweler explored its heritage of incorporating florals into designs through a social video housed on a microsite dedicated to the Cosmos collection.

The video aspect of the microsite was presented as a timeline that gave enthusiasts a brief glimpse of the maison’s floral designs through the decades. This added microsite feature was relevant to the Cosmos collection as it highlighted the continuous inspiration of Van Cleef & Arpels’ designs (see story).

Social videos often allow brands like Van Cleef & Arpels to focus on the more subtle aspects of their collections. In 2014 Van Cleef & Arpels chose to explore the cosmos with a dual social video approach that traversed the jeweler’s celestial inspirations and its core values.

The first Facebook video focused on Van Cleef & Arpels’ Midnight Planétarium wristwatch and its relation to astronomy, while the second examined the brand’s overall relationship with what it calls “Poetic Astronomy.” By creating coupled videos that support both a product and the brand’s DNA, consumers got a better understanding of Van Cleef & Arpels’ creative process (see story).

The social campaign that Van Cleef & Arpels created for the  Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs watch will likely make it quite appealing to a certain set of consumers.

"At close to $40,000, almost twice the average of most Van Cleef & Arpels time pieces, this watch will appeal to collectors who appreciate the uniqueness and divergence from the norm," Mr. Ramey said.

Final Take
Kay Sorin, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York