Why did 2 Swiss watch brands leave Kering Fold?
We are convinced that wholesale trade is an important success factor for us. This is to ensure that the message will remain the same and that what we stand for is very clear to the end consumer and the retailer.
What messages do you want consumers to take away from each brand?
Ulysse Nardin is clearly a disruptive manufacturer inspired by the sea, and which encapsulates a lot of innovation. The word disruptive is important because it is in the look of the watches, the way they are designed. And for Girard-Perregaux, it is one of the oldest manufactures that embodies sport chic. It sends the message that you can be extremely upscale but also welcoming. The two intend to remain exclusive in cast and production, but inclusive in our message.
Do you plan to combine any aspect of the brands manufacturing or operations?
We are fortunate to have a large number of internal movements. None is common between the two brands. And there are no plans to change that. In all of this, there are no significant changes in our way of doing things. That’s the beauty of doing a management buyout with the same team. We believe what we are doing is right.
Why do you think Kering wanted to leave the watch industry?
They said it in a Press release. They wanted to focus on their core business and on brands that would have a critical size. The world of watchmaking is a very different world from the world of fashion, in terms of product life cycle. And I was talking earlier about the wholesale strategy, it’s the opposite of Kering which is clearly very retail.
Honestly, I believe this industry is going through changes. It has been a real privilege to have such incredible historic brands at such a time, during Covid. It is a time when you collectively have to make decisions, when how you must act is not written in any book. But now that we are coming out of the crisis, what is interesting is that there are so many systemic changes in the landscape. And this trend will continue.
What are the most important lessons you have learned from the pandemic?
Everyone says it and I guess it’s true: it was a trend accelerator. In the past, the way we talked to the end consumer was quite conservative. Before, it was believed that you had to be in the store and you had to touch the watch to buy it. But now it’s not about selling the watch, it’s about making sure the message behind it is understood.