Time is on their side, yes it is. Or at least a luxury timepiece brand is. LVMH-owned Swiss watch brand Zenith recently announced a deal with the Rolling Stones that includes a 250-piece limited-edition run of watches set to hit retail in the fall.
The announcement was made June 1 while the band was playing Zurich, Switzerland as part of its 14 on Fire tour. Jean-Claude Biver, director of the LVMH Group Watch Division, and Tom Bennett, chief executive for Bravado, the global music merchandising division of Universal Music Group, made the announcement.
Although the partnership will include making Zenith a presence on the tour, the most immediately visible manifestation of cross-merchandising effort is the El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tribute to the Rolling Stones wristwatch.
Stones fans will immediately notice the band’s red lips and tongue logo emblazoned in the middle of the 12-hour chronograph, just above the 6 o'clock position on the face of the 42 mm in diameter stainless steel watch case.
Hard-core Zenith aficionados will likely pick up on the color of the two chronograph counters -- a 30-minute at 3 o’clock in midnight blue and a 12-hour at 6 o’clock in slate gray -- the same colors as the original 1969 version of the El Primero model.
Additional details include a sapphire crystal case-back engraved with the same lips and tongue logo along with “The Rolling Stones Edition,” behind which the famed El Primero 4061 movement (considered the first automatic chronograph movement in the world) can be seen doing its thing.
Even though we consider the 52-year-old rock band to be timeless, the high-profile partnership is likely to pay dividends for Zenith in terms of heightened brand awareness.
That's especially true in the U.S., where the 149-year-old brand (pronounced like Kenneth with a Z) has often been confused with the similarly spelled (but differently pronounced) consumer electronics brand.
It doesn't help matters that from 1971 to 1978 the American company actually held controlling interest in the Swiss watch manufacturer in an attempt to grow its quartz watch business. And, according to a company representative, even after Zenith Electronics divested itself of the watchmaker it used the threat of trademark infringement to keep the company from doing business in the U.S. for another decade.
Zenith has been part of the LVMH stable of watch brands -- which also includes Tag Heuer and Hublot -- since 1999.
Now that it's no longer exiled from Main Street U.S.A., perhaps the partnership will help Zenith get some retail satisfaction.
Or at the very least, a little chitter-chatter, chitter-chatter.
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