Million-Dollar Club: What Watch Brands Spent the Most on Advertising in 2011?

Rolex/Chanel/BellRoss/Omega graphic If watch advertising is a barometer of the health of a market — and it is — then the U.S. watch market is bouncing back after the catastrophe of 2009. Spending on watch advertising in the United States jumped 16 percent in 2011 to $365.8 million, indicating that the watch market here is improving.

The figure is an estimate by Kantar Media, which monitors brand advertising for a range of products across all advertising channels, including the Internet. The increase is in line with the 18 percent jump in Swiss watch exports to the U.S. last year. (Swiss watch brands make up the vast majority of watch advertisers. Of the top 25 watch advertisers last year, 21 were Swiss watch brands.)

While the total is still short of the record $387.6 spent in 2007, it is a big jump from the anemic $250.3 million spent in 2009. Last year, 54 brands spent more than $1 million on advertising, up from 48 the previous year. What’s more, to make the Top 25 list, a brand needed to spend at least $3.4 million last year; in 2010, $2.5 million made the cut.

Several brands upped their advertising expenditure dramatically in 2011. Chanel nearly doubled its total to $17.7 million and moved into 7th place on the list. Cartier moved from #6 to #4 with an increase of more than $5 million. Three brands came from ad oblivion to make the list: Louis Vuitton, from $660,000 in 2010 to $7.25 million in 2011; Baume & Mercier, barely a blip in 2010 at $63,000, spent $4.27 million last year; and Technomarine went from $778,000 in 2010 to $3.65 million.

Chanel J12 Chromatic GMT

Chanel nearly doubled its watch advertising expenditures in 2011.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller

At $47 million, Rolex was still, by far, the biggest spender.

Rolex led the list of big spenders, as always. The Swiss watch sales king added $3.5 million to its 2010 outlay for a total of $47 million. That’ $20 million more than Breitling, the traditional #2 brand, at $26.5 million. Notice that Bulova, which has raced up the chart since its acquisition by Japan’s Citizen Group in 2008, challenged Breitling for the #2 spot. In 2007, Bulova ranked #11 ($9.25 million).

Other items of note in the 2011 data:

*Bell & Ross increased its ad spend by 66 percent to $7.77 million to move into the top 10 ranking for the first time.

*Patek Philippe jumped from #17 to #12 last year with an 80 percent increase to $7.03 million. For an haute de gamme brand that produces just 50,000 watches a year to be knocking on the door of the top 10 is remarkable. Only one other haute de gamme brand ranks among the top 25 – Ulysse Nardin at #24.

*Timex, which ranked #11 in 2009, fell off the list in 2010 but reappeared in 2011 by doubling its total to $4.15 million.

*Only two of the traditional big spenders cut their budgets in 2011. Omega spent $5 million less than in 2010 and fell from #7 to #9. TAG Heuer spent just under $3 million less, but remained among the top 5 at $19.8 million.

*As mentioned, four brands on the 2011 Top 25 list were not there in 2010 (Louis Vuitton, Baume & Mercier, Timex and Technomarine. The four brands from 2010 not on the 2011 list are Rado (#12 in 2010), Ebel (#14), Hublot (#15) and Chopard (#22).

Bell & Ross BR01 Altimeter

Bell & Ross moved into the top 10 for the first time in 2011.

 

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Ceragold

Omega, which spent $5 million less last year, dropped from #7 to #9.

TOP WATCH ADVERTISERS

U.S. market, 2011

 

RANK   BRAND            AMOUNT

1.            Rolex                46.96
2.            Breitling          26.52
3.            Bulova              26.42
4.            Cartier              21.16
5.            TAG Heuer      19.82
6.            Citizen              18.48
7.            Chanel              17.72
8.            Movado            12.64
9.            Omega               9.80
10.          Bell & Ross         7.77
11.          Louis Vuitton      7.25
12.          Patek Philippe    7.03
13.          Montblanc           6.47
14.          Seiko                     6.35
15.          Raymond Weil    5.39
–.            Dior                        5.38
17.          Longines               4.46
18.          Ball Watch           4.33
19.          Baume & Mercier   4.27
20.          Timex                   4.15
21.          Victorinox            3.87
22.          Technomarine    3.65
23.          Tissot                    3.62
24.          Ulysse Nardin     3.55
25.          Casio                     3.43
26.          Corum                  3.19
27.          Luminox              3.10
28.          Rado                    2.88
29.          Tiffany                 2.71
30.          Panerai               2.43
31.          Ralph Lauren     2.36
32.          Zenith                  2.25
33.          David Yurman   2.14
34.          Fendi                   2.13
35.          Roger Dubuis     2.05
36.          Armitron             1.95
37.          Oris                     1.88
–.            Graff                     1.87
–.            Anne Klein          1.87
40.          Frédérique Constant  1.76
–.            Audemars Piguet   1.75
42.          Coach                  1.73
43.          DeWitt                1.71
44.          Hublot                1.68
–.            Parmigiani          1.68
46.          Richard Mille    1.58
47.          MTM                   1.49
48.          IWC Schaffhausen    1.41
49.          Emporio Armani       1.25
50.          Glashütte Original    1.14
51.          ESQ                    1.05
52.          Girard-Perregaux    1.04
53.          Chopard           1.02
–.            Fossil                  1.02

 

Source: Kantar Media

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    About Joe Thompson

    Joe Thompson, WatchTime’s editor-in-chief, has covered the global watch industry since 1977. Joe is one of the leading watch journalists worldwide and respected as a global authority. He is frequently consulted by the mainstream media on watch matters and has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, Newsweek International, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The International Herald Tribune, Sports Illustrated and numerous other publications. During Joe's tenure WatchTime has won several awards and nominations.

    Comments

    1. Tristan says:

      Also, it\'s not quite clear whether these figures include Rolex\'s vast spend on event sponsorship and \'brand ambassadors\', which must increase their spend exponentially.

    2. Tristan says:

      Quite pleased to see some brands I like, such as Oris, pretty low on the list. I\'d rather just pay for the watch and not the marketing.

    3. Davecroft says:

      No, I\'ve never seen an advert for IWC or anything sponsored by them.

    4. Abhilasha says:

      I appreciate the list. Really impressive. Here i have one more list to show which is all about big wrist watch brands http://www.goingbranded.com/best-wrist-watch-brands/

    5. Netminder1 says:

      Iwc $1.4M. No way! They have to be top 7.

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