Cartier sets new ground with online retailing. The recently announced (SIHH 2017) Panthère de Cartier will currently be available exclusively at the online luxury retailer: Net-a-Porter, a full month ahead of its arrival in stores. While this is not the first time a luxury watch brand has chosen to retail their watches with Net-A-Porter, this is the first for Cartier, and the first for any brand where the entire collection of 12 watches will be exclusively available online. The collection is featured for sale on special pop-up store from May 2 to 31. The Panthère de Cartier will only be available on brick and mortar Cartier stores from June.
Until very recently, the thought of buying luxury watches online was perhaps laughable. Would one risk buying and having these high priced items delivered across the world? What about the need to have a consistent pricing methodology which is totally transparent from country to country? What about the much touted buying experience? The visit to the beautiful store. The customary celebratory champagne on purchase? Are these still essential to the luxury clientele? Will brick and mortar boutiques, built with multi-million dollar budgets and occupying high rental shop space be obsolete? Is this the taste of new things to come for online retailing? We don’t have the answers, but will watch intently. And hope it will also translate to the shift of advertising spend to online portals like Deployant.
The new Panthère de Cartier collection was first launched in 1983, the updated design is targeted specifically at women. From cool steel to warm yellow gold. The watches are available in a variety of finishes and two different sizes, with the option a diamond bezel on some models. Needless to say, all 12 models look utterly desirable, especially when seen on the campaign imagery featuring the gorgeous, fresh faced New Zealand model, Georgia Fowler. The images show the watches beautifully, teamed with jeans and a white shirt or a slinky black evening gown.
This is the first time Cartier has ever partnered with an online retailer. Although this is not the first time a high end watch brand has chosen to retail online. We saw IWC with their campaign, also with Net-a-Porter. And stablemate Piaget are also selling their jewellery and a couple high jewellery watches on the same retailer. Cartier, IWC and Piaget’s parent Richemont owns a 50% stake in the Yoox Net-a-Porter, which owns Net-a-Porter. Indeed, Cartier has chosen well. If any one retailer has really nailed the concept of online luxury, it’s Net-a-Porter, who sells lots of diamonds, jewellery and haute couture many times daily.
But what is interesting is that Cartier has allowed Net-a-Porter to sell this important relaunched collection online first – before it arrives in Cartier boutiques. This a bold and significant move. The first cut retail revenue (the collection retails from US$4,000 to US$71,000) for a full month for a product line like the Panthere de Cartier must be substantial. And is an interesting insight into the retail thinking behind Johann Rupert’s team. Could there be more and more interesting online ventures from Richemont? And by extension, the rest of the luxury watch industry? Quo vadis Swatch Group and Rolex?