Name a few watch brands at the top of your head. Which ones come up almost immediately? Perhaps Rolex, Omega, Seiko and Tissot? All of these brands have a few things in common. First, they are well-established brands with decades-worth of having released successful collections. They have all accomplished something great. Perhaps they have invented a new technology to make their watches more accurate, or they have created a classic design that we all know about. Second, they all have short names that are catchy and easy to remember. So their names probably immediately came up because these brands are famous and their names are easy to remember.
In this article, I will discuss the importance of naming watch brands. These names, as we will see, sometimes have no particular meaning but sound good. Others do have a meaning but I would argue that they are easy to remember because of how they sound. There are many other popular brands that we all know off but perhaps only by their acronyms: for example, JLC and AP, respectively Jaeger LeCoultre and Audemars Piguet. We use acronyms because the names are hard to pronounce for anyone who is not a native speaker.
The History Behind Iconic Names
You have probably already read the story of how Hans Wilsdorf came up with the name Rolex. The story goes that he was riding a horse-drawn double-decker bus in London and had an epiphany. Bam, the name Rolex came to his conscious mind by way of his subconscious creative mind. He immediately realized that the name Rolex would be easy to pronounce in several languages and that it would look good printed on the dial of his watches. This is how, as the story goes, that Mr. Wilsdorf settled on the name.
Tissot, on the opposite side of the spectrum, is named after the founder of the brand, Charles-Félicien Tissot, and his son Charles-Émile Tissot. Pretty simple, right? Same story goes for brands such as Breguet, named after its founder Abraham-Louis Breguet. Other brands are named after the city where they manufacture their watches, for example as it used to be for Elgin in Illinois. Elgin, by the way, is one of the most recognizable historical American watchmakers, and I would argue that having an easy name to remember helped.
The Names of Modern Brands
The same can be said of modern watch brands. Having interviewed a few dozen of them, I can tell you with great confidence that brand owners are very mindful of naming their brands. They generally like to keep it short and sweet, and for the names to have a particular meaning. MONTA is a good example of an effective name. MONTA is short for “Montagne” which means “Mountain” in French. The founders of the brand had a particular affinity for these natural formations and for those they would see in Switzerland during their many trips preceding the creation of the brand.
Another popular brand with an interesting name is Serica. The French brand, founded by Jérôme Burgert, takes its name after the farthest known city to the ancient travelers of the Asian Silk Road. Maen, another brand I’m fond of, takes its name after the old Dutch word for “Moon,” showing the founders inspiration in vintage aesthetics and their interest in one of the oldest indicators of time. Many other brands have found similar inspiration, and again, all of them have in common that they are short and easy to remember and pronounce.
Keeping It Short and Sweet
Of course, if your family name is short and easy to pronounce in many languages, then you are golden. As we saw above, Tissot is the family name of the brand just like Enicar is the name of a 17th century family of watchmakers, read backward. Enicar actually sounds better to me than Racine and I can see how it is easier to pronounce in different languages. Regardless of the origin of the brand name, we tend to remember them because they are short and sweet.
Take contemporary non-watch related brands such as Apple, Google, and Amazon. The names are easy to pronounce and are probably spelled the same in more than one language. But I would assume that finding the right name for a multi-billion company is as difficult as it is for a brand new watch brand owner trying to make a name for itself. On the opposite side of the spectrum, some brand names are pretty terrible and have no particular meaning. And historically, these brands don’t exist for very long or never make it to the mass market.
Although this is a brief article, I hope that it has at least made you curious about the names of your favorite watch brands. Keeping names short and sweet does help, at least according to me, in marketing a brand. And this is not to say that a brand cannot be successful with a long, convoluted name—quite the contrary—but more often than not it is the brands with short names that are the most successful. I did not find scientific evidence for it but I would say there is a certain connection there.Featured image: www.chrono24.com