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Watching Watches: Why Instagram Is a Playground for Top Timepieces

Many different types of brands have found success on Instagram. From car companies to real estate giants, the network has attracted all types, but its undeniably the ideal platform for luxury companies. Today, we’re turning our focus to the watch makers that are finding success on the photo sharing network.

Not all watch brands are active on Instagram, but the ones that are have found a multitude of effective ways to loop in audiences and make the most of the up-and-coming visual network.

From ultra luxurious to more moderately-priced, these brands set themselves apart in a famously traditional field with cutting-edge Instagram techniques that form a much-needed bridge between older generations of watch buyers and new ones, maintaining strong brand aesthetic and messaging while attempting to reach younger audiences in a tightly-packed and highly competitive industry.

Set The Scene

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 2.11.41 PMThis was Fossil’s most engaged-with post during May. Fossil has gotten a lot of traction recently with photographic still lifes of this nature, setting eye-pleasing scenes to go with various watch styles and faces. In fact, 85% of their most engaging posts in the past month were still lifes of this kind, some including Fossil bags and satchels featured more prominently but always with a gorgeous watch front and center.

Pair Content With a Sponsored Event…

…that mirrors the vibe or lifestyle your brand hopes to convey. For instance, this was TAG Heuer’s most engaged-with post in the past month:

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 1.05.00 PMTAG Heuer is associating its brand with car racing; Specifically a popular and high-class race among, you guessed it, men. It’s a traditional advertising move on a new social platform.

TAG Heuer doesn’t post very often – only 7 times in the month of May – but 86% of its posts during that time revolved around the Monaco Grand Prix. Event-based Instagram posts can be a fantastic ways for brands cautiously exploring Instagram to experiment with what’s successful on the network and spread the word about a major sponsored event.

This was the most engaging post for Nixon in the past month:

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 1.03.50 PMHere, Nixon pairs up with the King of Greens International Golf Tournament – and fellow sports-centric, male-oriented brands Oakley and Red Bull – to introduce a new watch to the Instaworld. It’s a match made in branding heaven, and one that scores – this post boasts 33% more engagement across all channels (Twitter and Facebook included) than the next most popular post for the month of May.

Run a [Classy] Contest

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 1.40.27 PMBecause compromising their classiness is a death knell, high-end watch brands (and brands in general) have to be very careful about how they run and represent contests.

The contest mentioned above took up a few posts during the month of May – and the two most engaging posts of that month were part of the contest.

Instagram is an ideal forum for these contests, because not all entries are automatically seen – you’d have to click on the hashtag to explore the entries – and because they have the potential to produce a deeper level of engagement (personal images) than most other types of engagement on the network (Likes, comments, and tagging friends).

Show Off Your Best Qualities

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This Raymond Weil post tries to set Raymond Weil watches apart by emphasizing, via hashtags, that they are Swiss-made.

It’s also a Regram of watch connoisseur’s @chepeherled image – but more on that later.

Omega used a similarly status-oriented, distinctive hashtag in the month of May – #omegaclooneyshanghai.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 5.29.10 PM

Omega deployed this hashtag on all its social media channels to publicize its – you guessed it – evening in Shanghai with George Clooney to debut the new Seamaster Aqua Terra timepieces. I’m sure you know this already, but not every watch brand can boast an evening – and thus hashtag – like this one.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 5.23.49 PM

That evening occurred on 5/16. Notice the huge Photos Posted and Engagement spike on that day. This is a great example of using a hashtag to set your brand apart and get a little Instagram engagement heat going.


Be a significant presence in your audience’s life – and steal market share away from competitors – by linking to content on other social networks you’re active on and reminding peeps of your presence on those networks.

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Movado did this recently in anticipation of Father’s Day – a watch brand’s favorite holiday – by reminding Instagram users of all their solid content and gift ideas over at Pinterest.

Connect With Watch Lovers on the Network…

…and get some readymade content out of it, too. Let your followers and product-lovers do the work for your. One of Bulova’s most popular Instagram posts in recent times was this one:

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 1.29.08 PMHere, Bulova chooses Instagram user’s @gray2bme’s image as its #PicOfTheDay. In this way, Bulova both engages a clear fan and the passionate watch-lovers community at large.

Movado used a similar tactic, Regramming a picture of a Movado wearer that doesn’t even feature the watch as its main attraction.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 1.30.31 PM

Be Responsive

An Instagram user might express his or her love for your product in the comments section, then click away and forget about it entirely. Don’t let this happen.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.10.03 AMInstead, do what Fossil does and be the link between the visually attractive content and the product itself. If a follower wonders out loud where the closest store she can buy your product is, don’t leave her hanging. If a follower wants to know when the product hits shelves, respond and let him know. Reward your audience’s excitement with information. Be the link.

Beyond Watches

All the creative and quasi-traditional Instagram tactics used by the watch brands I’ve mentioned are applicable to any brand active on Instagram – especially luxury brands.

Which tactic is the most valuable in your eyes? Which watch brand did I miss? Let me know in the comments below, and click on that bodacious green button for a free 14-day trial when you’re ready to test whether your own Instagram methods are working or need improvement.

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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