by Aran Hegarty

DC Area Timezoner’s Gathered at the Daily Grill – the ticking noise was so loud that the local bomb squad was called into investigate

25 DC area Timezoners and 3 special guests gathered for lunch at the Daily Grill Restaurant in Tysons II – The Galleria. There was an incredible display of watches and wonderful camaraderie between the DC area enthusiasts – we exceeded all expectations (and table space) that I had predicted for the gathering. Marc Bernhardt, Vice President Marketing and Sales of IWC, presented the group with a special sneak preview of the new Aquatimer and IWC’s marketing plans. No gathering of Timezoners would be complete without a technical expert and so we were fortunate enough to have IWC and JLC Head Watchmaker Bill Deschler in attendance. Mr. Deschler was on hand to dispense his technical wisdom if anyone in the audience stumped Mr. Bernhardt with any technical questions (I sometimes wonder if Timezoner’s reputations for giving watch representatives a hard time preceded us and IWC came packing their big gun!). The prize for the attendee traveling from the farthest distance was awarded to Michael Friedberg. Mr. Friedberg, Timezone’s own IWC Forum Moderator, attended from Chicago with his some of his collection of IWCs. Special thanks to Julian and David for picking up Michael at the airport!

Timezone’s own IWC Forum Moderator – Michael Friedberg

Tysons Corner is just west of the city outside the famous Capitol Beltway in Northern Virginia. The Tysons Corner area offers the best watch shopping in Washington, D.C. with stores selling PP, AP, JLC, IWC, Blancpain, Breguet, Rolex, Ventura, Frank Muller, VC, and many more. Ironically, the Daily Grill Restaurant is located directly below Liljenquist & Beckstead Jewelers who sells many top Swiss brands. The Manager on duty, Mr. Matthew Sheehan, arranged for an ample sized glass walled room (afterwards Mr. Sheehan confided to me that they have a nice room with padded walls in the back of the restaurant that we can use next time we meet). The room offered privacy, yet still pleasant view of our surroundings.

Timezoners started arriving around 12:45 PM and socialized for about 45 minutes (and some people say that there is never a need for a chronograph!). As guests arrived, I passed out the Watch Idiot Savant pins from Richard Paige and Timezone (the turnout was so large that a few late arrivers left empty handed) and I had everyone fill out name tags. THANKS TIMEZONE!

I then passed around the great promotional literature provided to us from JLC. There was interesting information and diagrams on the new Reverso and also new information not in the current catalog on the Master Black series. Also included was a great catalog of JLC’s Atmos Clocks. THANKS JLC!

John studies JLC’s promotional material in the foreground while Scurvy (a.k.a. Eugene) studies his JLC material in-between bites of bread.

Timezoners passed around copies of Wings of Time Flyer, InSync, International Wrist Watch, Chronos, Hr: Magazine, Watches 1999 and Watches Vol. 3. Also making its way around the room was a book on the history of Moon Watch.

We then had a wonderful lunch as puzzled waiters observed us passing our bread, watches, cream, and sugar between the tables and around the room.

Marc Bernhardt demonstrates Foie Gras’ favorite IWC product – the bright blue crocodile strap (official IWC product reference: KF) that comes with IWC’s Platinum pilots watches.

After we finished eating, it was time for the main event with IWC. I really can’t thank IWC or Mr. Bernhardt and Mr. Deschler enough. I believe that their attendance was a major factor in the large turnout and their support should not be forgotten. As Marc Bernhardt prepared to speak, he surprised the group by asking Bill Deschler to pass out copies of IWC’s catalog.

Bill Deschler passing out copies of IWC’s catalog.

Then to exceed all of our expectations, the gathered Timezoners were all given a wonderful large sized drawing of the DaVinci (which I have from a good source is already framed and hanging in a D.C. area law office). My wife is a graphic designer and was extremely impressed with the printing and the quality of the paper – a true collector’s piece. THANKS IWC!

Marc Bernhardt gave a wonderful presentation. I borrowed the following post from Timezone:

    “Marc Bernhardt, IWC’s VP in charge of U.S. sales, showed the Washington, D.C. TZers Fax copies of the new ads (in German) yesterday. I didn’t take notes, but there are three or four ‘catch lines’ that are slightly risqué/aggressive but not in bad taste. IWC is coming on stronger. More than the text, the layout is different. The old ads showed a watch with a lot of white space around it and the text in somewhat small size. Here the catch phrase is pretty bold and the watch is much larger — often shown horizontally in the bottom third of the space with descriptive text around it. It’s guess it’s to stress that these are bold and important watches. IWC apparently feels that few US consumers know the brand name…or for that matter any name other than Rolex and Cartier. They want to get name recognition and make the consumer more aware of IWC as an image.”

    “Privately, I was told that they really want to go after the purchaser or potential purchaser of Rolex, Tag-Heuer and Breitling with the idea that the purchaser can ‘step up’. (No offense was intended by me to fans of these other makes –I think the marketing is dealing with psychological perceptions of niches). I think IWC feels that the U.S., in particular, is a very large and untapped market –even diverting a relatively small fraction of sales away from these other lines could greatly expand IWC sales –perhaps enough to cause production problems!”

Other “rumors” from the meeting about what the new Mark XV won’t have:

  1. A titanium case
  2. A display back…and maybe
  3. The word ‘Schaffhausen’ on the dial

Everyone really enjoyed the presentation and enthusiastically thanked Mr. Bernhardt and Mr. Deschler for attending. After the presentation, the group continued to socialize and yes (but don’t tell Vincent!!!) try on each others watches. I don’t want to get Vincent into a lather, but there were even women wearing men’s watches.

Marc Bernhardt enjoys a story from others at his table – he is sporting a Platinum UTC on one wrist and a SS DaVinci on the other.”

John B. said ‘It was a lot of fun. I wish I could have stayed longer. My table engaged Marc Bernhardt in a discussion about IWC’s perspective on the Internet. To sum it up, he is fine with brick and mortar dealers advertising IWC on their Internet sites, even selling via the Internet, but does not want to see anything but retail prices posted. He conceded that buying a watch from an authorized dealer over the internet was no different than buying a watch from an authorized dealer via a catalog and a 1-800 number. He just does not like grey market dealers, who do not have the showroom and advertising burden that authorized dealers have, selling IWC watches at a price advantage that authorized retailers cannot meet – because of their additional overhead”

I had some of the tables pose for pictures showing the watches they were wearing. Unfortunately, my battery died in my digital camera (now I know what that little LCD power meter is for) and I did not get as many pictures as I had hoped for. But, luckily Bill S. had a digital camera and I was able to get the following

The famous Blancpain 2100 on the wrist of Timezone’s Grande Dame Stephanie.

As a dedicated Timezoner, how many of the following watches can you identify?

Here are some of the follow-up emails I received:

Julian later confessed that “I did end up buying the Sea-Dweller immediately afterwards in a moment of weakness (and TimeZone lunch induced euphoria/derangement), making the lunch quite possibly the most expensive one in history!”

Rich later said “It was nothing short of amazing to see the great variety of watches worn by all. Aran did a great job of orchestrating the watch diversity, by minimizing duplicates, for the greater enjoyment of those present. As Aran said at the lunch, he may not have remembered everyone’s name, but he did know what watches were present! I don’t think the waiters knew what to make of us as we passed our watches around the tables. Having IWC’s Marc Bernhardt there was a real plus.”

Stephanie wrote “It was a pleasure meeting you today at the TZ lunch. You deserve many kudos on pulling together such a great gathering. The DC TZers are a wonderful group. Everyone seemed to have a good time. I really enjoyed it. In response to your request for anecdotes/ideas, I think Richard P. would be pleased to hear about the conversations at our table (which started with something you said) about how much Richard and TZ have influenced the market, boosting the sales in particular of JLC, IWC and Minerva (it may not help him get his JLC dealership back, but at least it will make him feel better to know people on the other side of the country are talking about it). And I am sure you will include Marc B.’s white coat story.”

Here is a partial list of Watches in attendance: JLC RDM, IWC Mark XII, IWC UTC, JLC Perpetual, Daniel Roth Chronograph, Rolex Seadweller, Omega Dynamic, Omega Speedmaster, Omega Seamaster, IWC Pilots Chronograph, Vintage Omega Military, Breitling B-1, GST Titanium Alarm, JLC Reverso, Bell and Ross and Sinn Chronographs, JLC Master Date, JLC Reverso Duo, IWC Portugieser, Minerva Anniversary, Panerai Luminor Marina, Lange 1 RG Black face, Ventura Loga, Revue-Thommen “Open Heart”, Breguet Skeleton, Glashutte Gold Senator Panorama Date. Bill S. brought an outstanding collection of vintage Omegas that were a great compliment to Michael’s IWCs. Of course, Mr. Bernhardt was wearing a Platinum IWC UTC and a Stainless Steel DaVinci and Mr. Dreschler was sporting a GST Titanium Alarm and Gold Portugieser.

Finally, I would like to post a wonderful letter that I received from Mr. Bernhardt after the luncheon. I think that this sums up why IWC is such a popular brand on Timezone.

    Dear Aran,

    Let me thank you again for giving me the opportunity to speak at the Timezone Luncheon. I was greatly impressed about the number of attending people. Initially, Bill and I were wondering what kind of people would attend, as this luncheon was the first one of its kind. Much to our delight, we met with very sophisticated and cultured watch collectors. It was a real pleasure to be part of the first luncheon.

    The whole event made me aware of two things: Firstly, as a watch company we are dealing not only with increasingly educated but with expert consumers. IWC and other watch companies are challenged to keep on satisfying the demand for absolute excellence in their products. Secondly, the internet, at least as Timezone is concerned, is made up of a mature and intelligent audience. I embrace this information tool to get closer to our IWC customers and fans.

    I hope that my brief talk on IWC was informative, and yes, I did get back the only picture (unscanned?) that I have of the new “Deep One” IWC Diver’s watch to be launched shortly.

    Although my primary job is to sell a certain number of IWCs every year, I have and will never lose sight of the actual beauty and ingenuity that goes into manufacturing these small and fascinating time machines. In this sense, I have the best job in the world combining work with pleasure. Saturday was again one of the pleasurable workdays.

    Kindest regards to all Timezoners from the Washington D.C. area. Again, many thanks to you, Aran, for organizing this event. Special thanks also to Michael Friedberg for taking the time and effort to fly in from Chicago.

    Marc Bernhardt

    Vice President

    IWC International Watch Co. Ltd.

The meeting was a wonderful success and we will definitely do this again. Thanks again to everyone that attended to make this such wonderful afternoon.


Aran (a.k.a. illiniah) Hegarty