Swiss watches and German cars are known the world over for their engineering excellence, Old World craftsmanship, and historical importance. Swiss-made timepieces and German-made vehicles both carry a certain mystique and are widely considered status symbols due to their quality construction and perceived exclusivity. Are you looking for a Swiss timepiece that exudes the same values as your German-made car, or conversely, are you in the market for a German car that embodies the same heritage and attention to detail as your fine Swiss watch?
Rolex – The Best or Nothing?
Rolex and Mercedes both occupy similar positions and take similar roles in their respective industries. Both brands are widely seen as THE status symbol of choice, with Mercedes even adopting the “best or nothing” slogan, even though there are watchmakers and automakers that go above and beyond even that of Rolex and Mercedes’ best. Products from the German automaker and Swiss watchmaker are seen as halo-type goods by many, yet also viewed as still being within reach of us 99-percenters. Rolex has remained independent, much like Mercedes-Benz, which gives it a unique position in a heavily consolidated marketplace where watchmakers are often lumped into a corporate portfolio much like those automakers that report to the conglomerate that owns them. Rolex components are only found in Rolex’s quality Swiss-made timepieces just as Mercedes-Benz does not have lower-line or specialty brands to spread out R&D costs; Smart Car to a degree but it’s not nearly as big of a player as some of the brands that comprise others’ corporate portfolios. Mercedes and Rolex products are both viewed as possessing the pinnacle of craftsmanship and heritage, and are also rather staid and conservative in terms of design and overall aesthetic.
Audi – Bringing Economies of Scale to the Luxury World
Audi is the automaker of the German Big 3 that really encompasses the concept of corporate portfolio building and embracing economies of scale. As you may know, Audi falls under the Volkswagen Group’s corporate umbrella which also includes Lamborghini and Bugatti for exotic car enthusiasts, Porsche for the sporty crowd, Bentley for the true luxury fanatic, Volkswagen for the mass-market, Ducati for those favoring two-wheeled vehicles, and Seat and Skoda for those seeking value. Swiss watchmaker Omega falls under a similar corporate structure as it is owned by the Swatch Group which also produces Breguet, Blancpain, and Glashutte Original for the most discerning customers, mirroring Bentley’s demographic. Omega’s parent company, the Swatch Group, also owns Longines and Rado for those seeking a premium feel without a luxury price. Tissot and Swatch occupy similar positions in the Swatch Group’s portfolio to those occupied by Seat, Skoda, and Volkswagen in the Volkswagen Group’s corporate holdings. Omega is perfectly positioned to mirror Audi’s aspirational luxury image and the commonality of parts across brands that defines the business models of the Volkswagen Group and the Swatch Group makes an Omega watch a perfect pairing for your Audi.
Tag Heuer – Racing Heritage
BMW markets itself as the provider of “The Ultimate Driving Machine,” which is a claim that is rooted in the German automaker’s racing heritage and tradition of building premium cars that focus on driving dynamics and handling characteristics instead of unbridled opulence and luxurious amenities. The 2002 and 3-Series best embody BMW’s commitment to those sporty virtues. While BMW has branched out from those roots, there is still a trace of its racing heritage in every single product it makes and every marketing brochure it hands out. Tag Heuer occupies a similar position in the world of fine Swiss watches. The watch company eschews the complicated movements of higher-end brands like these I previously wrote about, and also tends to avoid luxurious and opulent features like solid gold cases. Tag Heuer places its focus on accurate timing, even if that means fitting its wrist watches with quartz movements, and sporty aesthetics, mirroring the values espoused by BMW’s motor cars. The racing heritage of Tag Heuer can easily be seen when looking through the watch company’s catalog; you will see lines of watches wearing names like Monaco, Carrera, Grand Carrera, and Formula 1. Tag Heuer even produced a limited run of Monaco timepieces in Gulf livery.
More from this contributor:
The 6 Most Exclusive Car Companies in the World
7 Watches That Offer the Classic Rolex Look for Less Money
7 Timeless Wrist Watches: Classic Timepieces That Never Age