Zombie Brands: Who should go gentle into that good night?

The last few decades have brought a lot of change, consolidation, and bankruptcy to the watch industry. High flying brands have been brought low. Big and little names have been bought and sold. Some brands have risen from the ashes with success (Zenith) or with some success (Zodiac). Some have been brought back only to flame out again (Welsbro).

What historical brand that still survives in some form should be let go? They made great watches. They were important in their day. But, there no longer is any room on the stage for them.  Their owner will not invest enough to put them in a position to make a difference in the industry. It is like seeing an old rock band at an amusement park:  please let us have our memories.

My vote is for Wittnauer. It has been more than 20 years since they were bought by Bulova, so they have been a Citizen property for a long time. They have not been associated with Longines for longer than that. Look at their current offerings:

Wittnauer Watches - Zales

What is that exactly? We can get a watch with more originality at a tenth of the cost on AliExpress. I have my criticisms of the current Bulova models, but Bulova doesn't mail it in like Wittnauer. The average age of a watch buyer for whom Wittnauer was their favorite brand must be in the upper 70's. Wittnauer was an important brand that made and imported fine watches. What is it today?

“No one is finally dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away, until the clock wound up winds down..."

     -Terry Pratchett

Wittnauer's clock has wound down.

(Edit: It had been a while since I looked, but Welsbro may be dropping new watches soon. If you like color...)

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Movado

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I must reluctantly say Universal Geneve. I truly can't comment much on their current offerings because who even knows? Their publicity is nil. I looked them up a few months back and let's just say I saw noting evocative or particularly noteworthy at all.

Also it looks like they've all adopted this weird protuberance around the logo at 12 o'clock. It's not flattering and is about the sole distinguishing design cue.

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I can't say they are bad or anything, just that nobody cares. I want to care. I don't.

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I just scrolled through a bunch of Bulovas, hoping to be proved wrong, but while there are a couple of lines that I didn't hate (namely the Computron and Breton), I don't think the brand is bringing much to the conversation, anymore.

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ds760476

I just scrolled through a bunch of Bulovas, hoping to be proved wrong, but while there are a couple of lines that I didn't hate (namely the Computron and Breton), I don't think the brand is bringing much to the conversation, anymore.

I can name several things they are doing off the top of my head, and that's ignoring Accutron. They have the Precisionist stuff, that silly Sinatra line, the Lunar Pilot or whatever that's called. And some other funky stuff that I can't recall the name of.

They're far from on point with the bulk of their products, but they have a pulse, signs of life are there. Movado is an even better example than mine of "who knows, who cares?" The museum watch is a default choice for a microsegment of uninspired buyers and... and... I got nothing. What else do they still do?

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Rolex. 😁 Sorry, couldn't resist. 

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OscarKlosoff

I can name several things they are doing off the top of my head, and that's ignoring Accutron. They have the Precisionist stuff, that silly Sinatra line, the Lunar Pilot or whatever that's called. And some other funky stuff that I can't recall the name of.

They're far from on point with the bulk of their products, but they have a pulse, signs of life are there. Movado is an even better example than mine of "who knows, who cares?" The museum watch is a default choice for a microsegment of uninspired buyers and... and... I got nothing. What else do they still do?

Definitely agree about Movado.  I guess my position on Bulova isn't that they're not making watches (and probably some that are fine), but that none that I saw said "ooh, you should buy that instead of a very similar watch from ____."

In the interest of full disclosure, I have no interest in quartz chronographs, so I just skipped over those, which may be their forte.  :-)

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Rotary. I can’t even think who owns them now, but a Rotary used to be a very good shout, especially 50-60s. It’s a sad brand now.

Roamer. Same. The relaunch is just very bland watches that share names with older models that had some character.

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OscarKlosoff

I can name several things they are doing off the top of my head, and that's ignoring Accutron. They have the Precisionist stuff, that silly Sinatra line, the Lunar Pilot or whatever that's called. And some other funky stuff that I can't recall the name of.

They're far from on point with the bulk of their products, but they have a pulse, signs of life are there. Movado is an even better example than mine of "who knows, who cares?" The museum watch is a default choice for a microsegment of uninspired buyers and... and... I got nothing. What else do they still do?

For me, Bulova does some interesting things and then ruins them. I love the idea of the Precisionist movement, but don’t find a single one of the offerings attractive. Some of the Sinatra watches are attractive, but they have that hat and/or the signature on them. I love this coffin link bracelet, for example, which is only available on one of those. 

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OscarKlosoff

I must reluctantly say Universal Geneve. I truly can't comment much on their current offerings because who even knows? Their publicity is nil. I looked them up a few months back and let's just say I saw noting evocative or particularly noteworthy at all.

Also it looks like they've all adopted this weird protuberance around the logo at 12 o'clock. It's not flattering and is about the sole distinguishing design cue.

Image

I can't say they are bad or anything, just that nobody cares. I want to care. I don't.

Oh, to have some quality Polerouter reissues, though.

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OscarKlosoff

I must reluctantly say Universal Geneve. I truly can't comment much on their current offerings because who even knows? Their publicity is nil. I looked them up a few months back and let's just say I saw noting evocative or particularly noteworthy at all.

Also it looks like they've all adopted this weird protuberance around the logo at 12 o'clock. It's not flattering and is about the sole distinguishing design cue.

Image

I can't say they are bad or anything, just that nobody cares. I want to care. I don't.

Haha I didn’t even know they were still out there!

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-Invicta. The original company had some impressive watches in their history, both under the names Les Fils de R. Picard and Invicta. That includes grand complications pocket watches with ebauches by LeCoultre, which featured a complete calendar, moonphase, chronograph and minute repeater. Even the ones made in the 1960s were decent. The Lalo clan bought the brand name and turned it into an abomination, continuously referring to a past that isn't theirs in order to market the new Invicta's monstrosities.

-Movado. There is just about nothing Movado left in Movado. Their design is completely stuck on the Museum dial, only now it's all made in China, except the occasional Swiss movements.

-Croton. Another abomination, like Invicta. The original Croton was at some point one company with Nivada. Now it's a necromanced brand producing absolutely hideous watches. Wipe the name, wipe the shame.

-Doxa. I don't mind the SUB, but still wouldn't buy one, as the company's horrendous conduct has created a lot of bad blood. Let's just say I don't want to add a single penny to the pocket of Rick Marei, who especially at WUS hounded and bullied everyone who dared question Doxa's marketing claims. The non-SUB Doxas are, well...maybe not trash, they're just predominantly mediocre and boring. 

-Bulova and Caravelle. Sometimes Bulova gets a reissue close to right, but then they throw in the Miyota 8-series and overprice the end result viciously. Their modern designs... Sorry, but they look like Jaragar or other AliExpress wonders. Caravelle is downright horrible. 

-Claude Meylan. In the watch industry, most enterprises of the Meylan family were successes. Not this one. These skeleton watches might not be horribly made, but they definitely look horrible. AliExpress design meets Swiss Made prices. 

-Enicar. The original brand has made some damn sturdy tool watches. Now...just go to their website and tell me it's not absolutely dull and insipid.

-Buren. They had some great contributions to watchmaking, like their micro-rotor later licensed to Universal Geneve. Then, as part of Hamilton-Buren, they co-designed the micro-rotor base calibre for the Calibre 11 automatic chronograph joint venture. Now... Someone bought the brand name and puts it on properly hideous watches. The Buren name should have remained dead.

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MrBloke

-Invicta. The original company had some impressive watches in their history, both under the names Les Fils de R. Picard and Invicta. That includes grand complications pocket watches with ebauches by LeCoultre, which featured a complete calendar, moonphase, chronograph and minute repeater. Even the ones made in the 1960s were decent. The Lalo clan bought the brand name and turned it into an abomination, continuously referring to a past that isn't theirs in order to market the new Invicta's monstrosities.

-Movado. There is just about nothing Movado left in Movado. Their design is completely stuck on the Museum dial, only now it's all made in China, except the occasional Swiss movements.

-Croton. Another abomination, like Invicta. The original Croton was at some point one company with Nivada. Now it's a necromanced brand producing absolutely hideous watches. Wipe the name, wipe the shame.

-Doxa. I don't mind the SUB, but still wouldn't buy one, as the company's horrendous conduct has created a lot of bad blood. Let's just say I don't want to add a single penny to the pocket of Rick Marei, who especially at WUS hounded and bullied everyone who dared question Doxa's marketing claims. The non-SUB Doxas are, well...maybe not trash, they're just predominantly mediocre and boring. 

-Bulova and Caravelle. Sometimes Bulova gets a reissue close to right, but then they throw in the Miyota 8-series and overprice the end result viciously. Their modern designs... Sorry, but they look like Jaragar or other AliExpress wonders. Caravelle is downright horrible. 

-Claude Meylan. In the watch industry, most enterprises of the Meylan family were successes. Not this one. These skeleton watches might not be horribly made, but they definitely look horrible. AliExpress design meets Swiss Made prices. 

-Enicar. The original brand has made some damn sturdy tool watches. Now...just go to their website and tell me it's not absolutely dull and insipid.

-Buren. They had some great contributions to watchmaking, like their micro-rotor later licensed to Universal Geneve. Then, as part of Hamilton-Buren, they co-designed the micro-rotor base calibre for the Calibre 11 automatic chronograph joint venture. Now... Someone bought the brand name and puts it on properly hideous watches. The Buren name should have remained dead.

Wait - Enicar and Buren are still around?

(googles it) - noooo, my eyes.

Bulova upset me, and they have jumped on the NFT train, so now they can truly do one.

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chronotriggered

Wait - Enicar and Buren are still around?

(googles it) - noooo, my eyes.

Bulova upset me, and they have jumped on the NFT train, so now they can truly do one.

Elgin Adult Men's Analog Wristwatch and Bracelet Set in Gold with 4 Diamonds - FG9031ST

On the Walmart website.

Picture 1 of 5

What's in a name?

At least Gruen's name isn't being desecrated, right?

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Yeap, Enicar is still around. 

From this 🤩

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... To this 🙂🔫

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Aurelian
Elgin Adult Men's Analog Wristwatch and Bracelet Set in Gold with 4 Diamonds - FG9031ST

On the Walmart website.

Picture 1 of 5

What's in a name?

At least Gruen's name isn't being desecrated, right?

Depends - my cal.512 is really playing up so I’ve called it some colourful names over the last few days.

Oh Elgin - what have they done to you?

What blissful state of ignorance have I been living in, I’ve never seen a ”new” Enicar, and now I wish I could unsee it.

This thread has upset me a lot, thanks everyone 😂