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CEOs HAVE THEIR SAY - RICCARDO MONFARDINO, CEO MECCANICHE VELOCI

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April 2016


CEOs HAVE THEIR SAY - RICCARDO MONFARDINO, CEO MECCANICHE VELOCI

- 1. 2016 is likely to be quite a difficult year, there’s no point in denying it. Nevertheless, I think the effort put in by all the companies in the horology sector will in any case make for a solid presence in the marketplace. The different brands are certain to come through this period. Asia remains an important market for Meccaniche Veloci. In my view, the strongest markets will be in North America, which is already showing signs of a recovery, and I think they’ll continue to consolidate. We hope that the situation in Russia will regain and even exceed its previous level, because it’s still a very strong market. There are real lovers and connoisseurs of fine watchmaking out there. The Brazilian and Indian markets are the ones to watch, because great interest is developing there for high-end watches.

- 2. For Meccaniche Veloci, the year will be geared to quality and creativity. Starting in 2016, we’re going to be even more open to the world. Our strategy is clear: in 2015 we attained our objective of centralising all the production and assembly for Meccaniche Veloci, and not just research and development, in Switzerland. The next step now is to launch the new collection. This has been completely redesigned while maintaining the highly distinctive piston feature. This year, Meccaniche Veloci will continue to strive for excellence both in terms of assembly and its distinctive design. We’re aiming for the haute horlogerie sector, as our in-house MV8801 mechanism proves. All our new models will be fitted with the MV8801, developed and manufactured in Geneva. The commitment we have shown in developing the mechanism and the quality level we’re striving for justifies some slight price adjustment.

- 3. I think that excellent-quality mechanical watchmaking will never disappear. In the long term, electronic watches will never be more than a gadget for consumers of mass-produced, rapidly obsolete goods, as with mobile phones. Programmed obsolescence, which is typical of the electronics sector, can never be applied to the beauty and living soul of a high-quality mechanism. We can rule out the emergence of a “vintage smartwatch” market in the next ten years. Mechanical watchmaking will always have “best-seller” status the world over. It’s more than just a niche market. Fine mechanical watchmaking is sure to remain exclusive, because every quality mechanism exalts the watchmaker’s art.

- 4. Baselworld is as crucial as ever for the whole horology industry. It’s an international showcase that brings the whole world to one place. What are our expectations in being present at Baselworld? A highly attentive, competent audience. It’s also true that we’re currently seeing a gradual reorganisation of the central role played by this kind of trade show in numerous sectors. For Meccaniche Veloci, our presence at Baselworld represents the rebirth of the brand, which coincides with the tenth anniversary of our foundation.

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?

LIST OF RESPONDING CEOs