Video Exclusive: Interview with Serge Maillard, CEO & Publisher, Europa Star

April 2016

Watch Maillard’s musings on the industry, including the latest trends, brand strategies and market perspectives, in this first of a series of special video features.

Europa Star has been at Baselworld for over 70 years, seeing many trends and crisis come and go. And that’s the message that Serge Maillard, CEO & Publisher at Europa Star wants to get across: perspective.

This year, it’s the absence of “new” that made news at Baselworld. Traditional watch brands were focused on consolidation of their existing lines, opting not to launch new - and usually risky - collections.

So was there anything different at Baselworld 2016? Tune in to Maillard’s musings to find out!

According to Serge Maillard, now we have much more legitimacy from high end fashion brands, like Hermès and Chanel. Such brands have novelties in both quartz and mechanical models, meaning they have a wider proposition for watch fans.

And what about the trend of smartwatches? Europa Star’s CEO reveals that Fossil envisions that all of their watches will be connected within 5 years – likely an achievable objective for the entry level brands of the Fossil Group.

But the main issue is how to connect luxury with smart technology, with one being timeless and the other bound to be obsolete in a few years’ time. So don’t expect brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe to jump on the tech bandwagon any time soon.

With Swiss watch exports falling by 8% last year, Serge Maillard still remains cautiously optimistic. One reason is the opening of new markets, like Iran, and increasing globalization, meaning market borders and blurring and more travellers buying watches in Switzerland.

Another reason is the untapped potential of growth in the women’s market, which is only 35% of the watch industry today. Predicting growth in that sector, Europa Star also launched a dedicated magazine to women’s’ watches and jewellery, Europa Star Jewels.

We also need to have a broader outlook, according to Serge Maillard, “When we speak of the slowdown we are a bit biased – it’s not only about Switzerland.” German brands like Nomos and Junghans are doing well, providing good value for money with their elegant and unisex timepieces. And we should never forget the Japanese.

The takeaway is that in today’s watch market, everyone is looking for good value and affordability. “Price has never been as important as today,” according to Europa Star’s CEO.