Virtual Reality: The Next Frontier in Jewelry and Watch Marketing



If you haven’t experienced the latest in VR technology, get yourself to the App Store!

My first experience with virtual reality (VR) took place a couple of years ago when Rio Tinto invited guests at its booth at JCK Las Vegas to don the Oculus Rift headset and journey to its diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories. At this year’s JCK show, even more exhibitors jumped aboard the VR bandwagon (see the item on “best use of technology” in our Best in Show roundup).

The buzz surrounding VR is only growing stronger, and watch brands are among its biggest proponents. Why? This Inc. article offers a compelling three-point answer to why “virtual reality is a marketing game changer.”

VR, when done well, is super cool (if slightly nauseating). The New York Times VR app is a great place to get familiar with its power as a storytelling tool. (All you have to do is download the app and, for the best experience, be sure you have your Google Cardboard.)

As you get comfortable with viewing VR, consider these cool initiatives from some of our industry’s biggest brands.

Piaget

In the Piaget Polo Experience, the Swiss watchmaker takes you to a polo match, but you’re not simply viewing the “game of kings” from the sidelines like any ol’ schlub. Using Google Cardboard and your headphones, you actually get to experience what it feels like to sit atop a galloping pony, listening to the thumping of its hooves and watching the blur of motion around you as the other players race around the field. I can’t think of a better way to drum up excitement for the brand’s new “casual chic” steel Polo S timepiece—can you?

piaget_polo_experience.png

A still shot from the Piaget Polo Experience

piaget_polo_s_low.jpg

Polo S in steel; $9,350; Piaget

Seiko

On Aug. 10, a new exhibit opened at the Seiko Museum in Japan, allowing visitors to explore a Grand Seiko watch movement. Although I can’t seem to find a link to the actual video (perhaps because it’s available for viewing at the museum only?), I can speak from experience when I say that soaring past the gears, wheels, and bridges that comprise a mechanical watch movement is a wonderful way to appreciate its complexity and the technical savvy required to produce it.

TAG Heuer

Back in March, the Swiss firm created a fun VR experience via the NYT VR app that put viewers literally in the driver’s seat of a racing car before launching them into outer space, where they were able to float past and inside models from its iconic Carrera collection. I cannot for the life of me find the video—it seems to have disappeared from the NYT site and is nowhere to be found on the TAG Heuer site. But my boyfriend, Jim, and I both tried it out and loved the up-close-and-personal experience with Swiss engineering.

(Photo courtesy of Piaget)