1. 2016 should be a continuation of 2015 with similar issues in China, HK and Russia. This will continue to put pressure on watch industry. With regard to the new direction the industry is taking with smartwatches, we also believe that this will continue. Frederique Constant is responding to geopolitical economic pressure by introducing new, affordable luxury models at Basel. On the horological smartwatch side, we’ll be introducing an attractive women’s model.
2. Frederique Constant grew 3% in 2015 compared to 2014 and we’re aiming for single digit growth in 2016. With our positioning and result in 2015, we are confident that we will achieve some growth in 2016.
3. Mechanical watches will stay with us as objects of craftsmanship. We’re convinced that the future of this segment is sound. At the same time, we’re increasingly of the opinion that quartz watches will become connected. That’s why we’re investing in horological smartwatch technology.
4. Baselworld is important for us as the venue where we introduce new collections and reconnect with our customers from around the world. We have two booths in Basel to accommodate over 1,200 meetings during the show.
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?