Ever experienced a watch buying situation at a retailer in which a lack of knowledge or training on the part of the sales associate left you frustrated? Take heart: thanks to the Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH), there’s now an app for that. And it made its U.S. debut today at WatchTime New York.
The FHH Academy, the training and certification branch of the FHH whose mission is aimed exclusively at professional sales staff, presented the new Watch Live app to an audience of brand representatives and industry media this afternoon at WTNY, the East Coast’s biggest watch collector event, held at Gotham Hall in midtown Manhattan. The Academy has provided training for 11,000 people worldwide in its four years in existence, and today offers 300 courses, in 10 languages, for the watch retailing community each year, led by a team of 21 certified trainers on every continent. The stated objective of the Watch Live app, according to the FHH, is quite simply “to increase the desirability of haute horlogerie.”
As every watch buyer and watch seller knows, the rise of E-commerce has challenged watch producers’ brick-and-mortar distribution channels to adapt — to offer the best in-store experience, with sales staff capable of meeting the end customer’s increasingly high expectations. Watch Live was designed as the “go-to app for keeping up to speed with the latest news from brands and the industry as a whole.” It will offer product information, history and brand news, including a feed that aggregates posts by FHH partner brands posts, all accessible with a single click. What that means is that sales associates will be able to access information instantly and at any time to quickly answers any questions that even the most knowledgeable customer might pose. Watch Live is available in 10 languages, meaning it has a potential audience, according to the FHH, of 15,000 sales professionals worldwide.
Watch Live takes a three-pronged approach to educating professional sales staff. The first is “Follow,” which allows the user to get up-to-speed with developments regarding all eight FHH partner brands with a single tap, rather than with eight separate searches. The second is “Learn,” which provides “bite-sized” learning opportunities on the basics of watchmaking as well as specific aspects of important watch brands and collections. Finally, there’s “Play,” which entices users to with interactive quizzes to win points toward FHH Certification as well as goodies, invitations and exclusive gifts from the individual brands.
The eight participating FHH brands that have joined forces with the FHH to build the Watch Live app are A. Lange & Söhne, Baume & Mercier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, Officine Panerai, Roger Dubuis and Vacheron Constantin. The download is free, and content is continually being updated directly by the brands.
“It is not a coincidence that we are here today to present Watch Live. Here in New York City, just four years ago, we first launched the FHH Certification, now a recognized label of watchmaking knowledge,” said Pascal Ravessoud, International Development Director of the FHH, who presented the Watch Live application at WatchTime New York. “It’s a natural and logical progression: where the FHH Certification established a standard for knowledge, Watch Live is an innovative facilitating tool for sales associates to broaden and deepen their knowledge as well as keep up-to-the-minute on industry developments. Watch Live puts sales associates in a better position to engage the customer in a richer retail experience.”
“The US represent a key market for the high watchmaking industry. Nowhere else will you find more demanding customers when it comes to quality and pedigree. And these customers want to be served by the most competent, knowledgeable and engaging sales associates. It is so fitting to launch Watch Live here at Watch Time New York, a venue dedicated to excellence in timekeeping in a city that not only stands as a beacon in the world of high-end luxury shopping, but is also synonymous with the preciousness of time itself.”