Swiss watch maker Wyler Geneve has just laid off all of its employees save for their CEO. While not officially closing shop, the company says it is going into "hibernation mode" and will attempt to wait out the "crisis" that is going on in the watch industry. This refers to the generally awful economy dissuading consumers from investing in many of the more expensive or less known brands out there. It is unclear what will occur with the existing Wyler watch inventory out there or how existing customers will receive service for the expensive luxury watches.
Wyler attempted to make headlines by producing the first all carbon neutral watches out there. This was done via the purchase of carbon offsets that I discussed as being good-natured but not particularly impressive. Wyler CEO Ryan St. George, is the only remaining employee, and it is unclear what his role will be once the rest of the employees have left. The brand's "deep freeze" will start in the coming months. A question arises as to what Wyler did wrong having reasonably nice watches that are certainly unique. The issue could be market penetration, distribution, or consumer interest. There is also the matter of pricing, which was optimistic to say the least. During the "bull economy" of the watch industry you had new brands popping up all over the place. Many with good ideas, and all with 'impressively' high prices. The market reality has finally caught up with them and they must learn the hard lesson that the market, not the manufacturer, determines what people will actually pay.