Rolex and the Power of Framing

They were just another watchmaker.

But then something happened that flipped the watch market upside down.

Seiko unveiled the Astron – the world’s first “quartz clock” wristwatch.

All of a sudden Rolex’s watches looked dated.


Even cheap.

Rolex knew they had to do something fast…

Otherwise their goose was cooked.

But rather than follow the herd and pour resources into developing a quartz watch of their own, they went sideways.

They created a new niche of their own.

They promoted the fact that Rolex watches were ‘mechanical’ as an advantage.

A mark of craftsmanship, complexity and expense.
People who valued those identifiers flocked in droves.

Turning Rolex into the iconic mark of class and sophistication we know today.

The marketing lesson from this?

Your product doesn’t have to be technically superior for it to be the premium choice.

You just have to find a way of reframing it…

And attaching identifiers that your target customer values…

And want to attach to themselves.

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