Which Watch Brands Spent the Most on Advertising in 2014?


More big spenders are spending more. That’s the situation with watch advertising in the U.S. market. Watch companies here spent an estimated $535.36 million on advertising in 2014, according to Kantar Media, which tracks advertising by brand for a range of products across all media channels. That’s an increase of 8.7 percent over 2013. It’s the first time spending has exceeded the $500 million mark. Five years ago, in the depths of the Great Recession of 2009, spending was $250.30 million, less than half of last year’s amount.

Another measure of the watch ad explosion is the amount required to make the list of Top 25 watch advertisers that we print annually (the latest appears in WatchTime’s July-August 2015 issue). In 2014, a brand had to spend $5.1 million to make the list. (Zenith spent $5.01 million and just missed the cut.) In 2013, $4.66 million got you into the Top 25. In 2012, Casio made it with $3.64 million. You’d only get to #39 with that amount in 2014. All told, 71 brands spent more than $1 million on watch advertising in 2014, up from 60 two years ago.

Rolex Ad
Rolex was #1 in U.S. advertising for the 15th consecutive year.

Another sign of the times is that spending $10 million on advertising used to guarantee a brand a spot in the Top 10. Not anymore. Last year Seiko upped its spend by nearly $4 million and dropped out of the Top 10. Tudor boosted its ad buy from $8.2 million in 2013 to $12.0 million last year and stayed smack-dab at #12. Breguet passed the $10 million mark for the first time and fell 2 spots to #13. That’s a first.

Seiko Ad
Seiko fell out of the top 10 despite upping its ad spend by almost $4 million.

For the 15th consecutive year, Rolex was the biggest watch advertiser in 2014. (It dethroned Timex in 2000.)    Rolex’s $56.37 million estimate was about $5 million less than in 2013, but it still kept a healthy lead over perennial #2 Breitling at $45.12 million. The big story at the top of the chart was Omega, which boosted its budget by 50 percent, jumping to $34.49 million from just under $23 million the previous year to put itself solidly in third place on the list, well ahead of #4 Cartier ($25.45 million).

One notable new arrival in the Top 10 list was Patek Philippe. Patek moved from #13 in 2013 to #9 last year by more than doubling its advertising spending to $15.69 million. That’s nearly $10 million more than it spent two years ago ($5.83 million).

Patek Philippe Ad
Patek Philippe moved into the top 10 by more than doubling its ad spending.

Here are some other highlights of the Kantar Media data:

*TAG Heuer remains a monster marketer ($15.36 million), but a 30 percent cut in its ad expenditure dropped it from #5 to #10 on the list. Moving up the ranks were Citizen (#5), Chanel (#6) and Longines (#8). Rolex and TAG were the only top 10 brands that spent less last year than they did the previous year.

*Richard Mille made its first appearance in the Top 25 by nearly tripling its ad spend to $6.04 million from $2.05 million in 2013. It ranks #18.

*Richard Mille was one of four brands on the Top 25 list that were not there in 2013. The others are Parmigiani Fleurier (#17), Timex (#22) and Ulysse Nardin (#25).

*The four brands they replaced are Hublot, which dropped from #14 to #29, Bell & Ross (from #16 to #36), Dior (from #17 to #30) and Shinola (#25 to #28). Shinola actually increased its advertising in 2014 but with other brands increasing more, it slipped three notches.

Ulysse Nardin Ad
Ulysse Nardin is one of four brands in the top 25 that were not there the previous year.

Below, you’ll find the complete ranking of all 71 watch brands that spent over $1 million in advertising in the U.S. market in 2014 (all amounts are in $million increments).

  1. Rolex (56.38)
  2. Breitling (45.11)
  3. Omega (34.49)
  4. Cartier (25.45)
  5. Citizen (23.62)
  6. Chanel (20.89)
  7. Movado (19.69)
  8. Longines (17.81)
  9. Patek Philippe (15.69)
  10. TAG Heuer (15.36)
  11. Seiko (14.94)
  12. Tudor (12.02)
  13. Breguet (10.02)
  14. Audemars Piguet (9.51)
  15. Chopard (7.98)
  16. Swatch (7.58)
  17. Parmigiani Fleurier (6.49)
  18. Richard Mille (6.04)
  19. Armitron (5.83)
  20. Baume & Mercier (5.71)
  21. Montblanc (5.60)
  22. Timex (5.52)
  23. Rado (5.38)
  24. Ball Watch (5.37)
  25. Ulysse Nardin (5.12)
  26. Zenith (5.01)
  27. Nixon (4.85)
  28. Shinola (4.82)
  29. Hublot (4.69)
  30. Dior (4.67)
  31. Victorinox (4.61)
  32. Fossil (4.34)
  33. Luminox (4.31)
  34. Tissot (3.98)
  35. Vacheron Constantin (3.95)
  36. Bell & Ross (3.92)
  37. Panerai (3.86)
  38. Michael Kors (3.68)
  39. Jaeger-LeCoultre (3.49)
  40. Casio (3.44)
  41. Blancpain (3.39)
  42. Ralph Lauren (3.22)
  43. Oris (3.17)
  44. Bulova (3.13)
  45. Louis Vuitton (3.06)
  46. Coach (2.95)
  47. Piaget (2.93)
  48. Harry Winston (2.89)
  49. Bulgari (2.50)
  50. Girard-Perregaux (2.31)
  51. Armani (2.24)
  52. MTM (2.18)
  53. Vince Camuto (1.82)
  54. Glashütte Original (1.81)
  55. IWC Schaffhausen (1.55)
  56. Fendi (1.54)
  57. Anne Klein (1.53)
  58. Pulsar (1.53)
  59. David Yurman (1.50)
  60. Raymond Weil (1.49)
  61. Van Cleef & Arpels (1.44)
  62. SkyGolf  (1.43)
  63. Swiss Army (1.33)
  64. Marc Jacobs (1.19)
  65. JeanRichard (1.18)
  66. Mulco (1.16)
  67. Bovet (1.16)
  68. MeisterSinger (1.15)
  69. Gucci (1.15)
  70. Garmin (1.09)
  71. Kenneth Cole (1.04)

Source: Kantar Media

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