1. In a period where analytical forecasts have already been superseded by actual events the moment they were announced, we prefer to consider the issues in a broader context. By the end of the decade, world population will have grown from seven to almost eight billion, with a similar distribution of wealth. In the long run, this means that a growing number of affluent individuals will be investing in real estate, buying yachts and collecting watches
2. In a changing world the main challenge is to develop a business model that is protected against risks and can react to change in a flexible manner. I think that we have succeeded in this by building up a highly attractive product portfolio and a well-focused sales network. Our new watches, presented at the previous SIHH in Geneva, are characterised by ingenious mechanical solutions, elaborate functionality and striking designs. This year, we will concentrate on our core strengths, by developing and producing sophisticated complications for our customers. With our new, state-of-the-art manufactory building and the best watchmakers, we are well prepared to achieve our next goals.
3. Since the launch of the first wearable smart devices, I have noticed no change in the perception of the mechanical watch. This is not surprising since it is a separate product category aimed at different target audience. Therefore, combining smart technology with fine watchmaking cannot be the right way. We believe in the long-term and experience and tangible products. This applies all the more to complications that transport watchmaking to the level of an art-form and increase the value of watches as collectable items.
4. There is no way around it, the SIHH is simply the most important trade fair for superior quality watchmaking. It also offers an excellent networking opportunity and provides first-hand information and sharing experiences. Again, we made a lot of good contacts. So my feeling is that in an increasingly virtual world, direct contact between people becomes more and more important.
EUROPA STAR’S FOUR QUESTIONS
1. What are your predictions for 2016? Do you think that exports will recover, or will the markets stagnate or continue to decline after the slump we saw in 2015? And what do you think were the reasons for the downturn in 2015?
2. What are your priorities for the coming year: consolidating your existing markets, actively exploring new markets (if so, which), rationalising / consolidating / expanding your distribution network, launching new products, PR initiatives, etc.?
3. Over the longer term, do you believe that mechanical watchmaking will gradually die out, hybridise, or continue to occupy its own exclusive niche? Do you see the advent of smartwatches as a potential threat, or an opportunity for growth and diversification?
4. What exactly do you hope to achieve from your participation in Baselworld 2016? Do you feel your presence at the fair is essential to your business, or are such forums less important now than they were in the past?