1. Things are looking pretty good for 2016, but we’re going to have to play it carefully. In a highly uncertain market, choosing the right product is absolutely crucial. In my view, the new collections have to take market trends into account while remaining true to identity and Hublot’s DNA. I can’t really speak for the other brands, but there might be some erosion. We’ll probably see some market consolidation with fewer players and less demand from Southeast Asia.
2. Speaking for Hublot, the backbone of our strategy is our collection. We have a strong product offering that corresponds to customer demand. We’re strengthening our presence in our current markets by reinforcing our retail strategy in a number of ways, including opening a boutique on 5th Avenue in New York. Also, as regards communications, as the official watch of UEFA EURO 2016 the thrust of our communications is going to be geared to that partnership. This year, we’ll be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the All Black concept and we’re going to be relaying this “philosophy” to our markets.
3. No way, mechanical watches will adapt to market demand. As for Hublot, we’ll always be striving for excellence in haute horlogerie by aiming to develop new innovative and avant-garde models. Smartwatches have potential, but maybe not in our segment. Of course, we’re not inactive; we’re working on elements of connectivity in relation to our products.
4. Better results than in 2015 certainly! To attain a new record! Baselworld is an event no one in our industry can afford to miss. Success at this trade fair is hugely important, because all the market players are present, which gives us a direct measure of the success of our products.
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?