features


Sector: The interior limits

June 2003


In its time, the slogan 'No Limits' was at the core of Sector's ultra-active sponsoring activities and the central theme of its strong advertising campaign. These two words also became known as a standard of quality for watches intended for use under extreme conditions. No Limits applied as much to Sector's products as to the athletes it sponsored as they dove from high cliffs, descended to the darkest depths of the oceans, rode the rapids of a furious river, traversed great open expanses or vast deserts of ice.

The brand's No Limits global activity created a real fashion phenomenon in the mid-1980s and is most impressive for a company that was founded only in 1973 by the Giardiello family. This campaign made Sector the uncontested leader of mid-range sports watches. Its models began appearing on the wrists of many young people attracted by their powerful design, highly competitive functions and characteristics such as formal elegance, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, bracelet with safety clasp, chronographic functions and short time measurements.

Hazardous diversifications
But then the No Limits tide began to recede. The attempts at diversification (which saw Sector trying to double its success by moving into the prêt-à-porter sports arena or launching a public magazine while eliminating a few of its most emblematic models in favour of new designs) reached their own limits. After having travelled though some very turbulent waters, the time was ripe for Sector to find new footing on a stable base.

New team
At the head of this new operation and with his foot on the accelerator is Enrico Ceccato, President and CEO (earlier Ceccato led the Autogrill Group, then the Fila brand), along with Franco Bosisio, Creative Director (after having worked with Swatch, Bosisio worked with Damiani and Superga).

“Today,” declares Ceccato, “Sector is offering models consistent with its own history, imbued with their own identity. While technological innovations and design prowess are not excluded, don't forget that Sector had become, in its market sector, a classic of contemporary sports watchmaking.”

Group strength
Over the years, the Italian enterprise grouped together a number of affiliated brands. Thus, the Sector Group controlled Philip Watch, Invicta, MoDe, Chronostar, Pirelli-Pzero Tempo, Moschino, Valentino, Sisley, United Colours of Benetton, and recently acquired the licence to produce Roberto Cavalli watches. With a 14% market share, Sector is becoming the Italian leader in sports and fashion watches. The enterprise has some 15 production partners around the world (in Switzerland, China and Japan), with six commercial centres and 50 distributors. Nearly 85% of its turnover is realized in Italy. The group is present in some 50 countries, principally with the Sector brand that accounts for 30% of its export turnover.

This renaissance is due largely to an infusion of funds by Opera, an investment company specializing in the 'Italian style' sector. Opera saved Sector from bankruptcy and now owns 77% of its shares, with Enrique Ceccato holding 3% and the remaining 20% divided among various investors.

Back to basics
The first positive signs of this rebirth come from the products themselves. Sector has returned to its origins, presenting the codes and values specific to the sports world (challenge, determination, courage) translated into watches, with firm attention to design and the excellence of materials (sapphire crystal, 316L steel case and bracelets, Swiss Made movements).

The targeted clientele is clearly masculine, young and in tune with current trends. Faithful to its legend, the new Sector attributes a central role to communication with entirely reworked ideas that still evoke 'challenge' and 'going beyond the limits', which contributed so much to the brand's past success. Forgetting the sweat, the hard stares of concentration and the traces of fatigue on the faces of the athletes, the new Sector campaign is focusing on sympathetic irony.

An ironic campaign
Created by the Lowe Pirella agency, the new campaign was launched in April in the press and on television. It is based on images tied to sex and birth, using slogans dedicated to the 'champion that is inside' each of us. Summed up, Sector's ads declare that “It doesn't matter if you are a great athlete or not, if your most extreme sport is tennis. It doesn't matter if your greatest effort is to descend a simple ski slope. It doesn't matter if you don't climb into a 4,000 metre high volcanic crater every day or dive into the abyssal depths of the ocean. It doesn't matter. You also deserve a Sector. And do you know why? Because at least one time in your life you have been first.” The first is simply because you were conceived and then born. The new campaign is still about 'No Limits', but the 'limits' are new. They are the ones that each of us reaches every day, day after day, and that make all of us champions.