Watch brands enjoy associating themselves with interesting people. The person doesn’t even need to be real – James Bond, for instance – but they should at least be interesting. Any number of brands could doubtless attach themselves to a Hollywood superstar like George Clooney or Charlize Theron – and they do, of course – but brands also like to pick curious people, in a sort of symbiotic relationship. The brand highlights the person, and the person enhances the brand. The key to picking these people must surely be in identifying someone who really exemplifies what the brand sees in itself.
JeanRichard – On a Rope and a Limb
For Jeanrichard, the person of the moment is Nik Wallenda. It’s perfectly sensible to wonder who he is, because he is exactly the curious specimen of humanity that you expect a brand to want to associate themselves with: he is unusual. Nik Wallenda is a tightrope walker. Not one of those three-ring circus, high-wire tightrope walkers, however. Nik Wallenda walks across Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon and over the Charlotte Speedway in North Carolina (twice). And he does so while wearing a creation from Jeanrichard.
Jeanrichard makes watches for active people – or so you might assume from the names of their collections. They have names like Aeroscope, Aquascope and Terrascope, which aligns nicely with their claim that they make watches “for independent spirits who play by their own rules, and rather than just focusing on the destination, prefer to enjoy the road being traveled.” For Nik Wallenda, it’s a Terrascope Special Edition, which he will be wearing for the first time as he walks across Chicago’s skyline.
JeanRichard – What will it be ?
Details of the watch Nik will be wearing have not yet been released, but if previous special editions are anything to go by, it should be rather a nice piece. The last special edition was dedicated to Arsenal FC, which isn’t quite as exciting or interesting as Nik Wallenda. The Aeroscope Arsenal FC Limited Edition came with a rather attractive red honeycomb-stamped dial and redesigned the second hand at the 3 o’clock position with a cannon.
For Arsenal fans out for a subtler watch – one less likely to draw the attention of rivals – they also released the Terrascope Arsenal FC, which retained the team’s colours in the hands and indexes, and engraved a subtle Gunners logo on the dial. It’s a much more restrained piece, and more likely to appeal to the sort of person for whom the sport is important, but not a defining factor in their life.
Nik Wallenda’s Terrascope Special Edition will follow the former pattern: bold, drawing on the Wallenda family’s long history in aerial acrobatics (two centuries, if the press are to be believed), perhaps with nods to the event itself – Chicago’s skyline is, after all, as iconic as any brand can hope to be. Following in the Terrascope style, it should have more in common with a classic racing watch than the perhaps heavier diving and flying watches reflected by the Aeroscope and Aquascope collections, which hopefully means it won’t shift Nik’s balance too much as he’s tottering over the city on an inch or two of cable.