1. I’m not certain that it’s really easy to predict anything at the moment, but all we can hope for is that the situation settles down, or even improves, rapidly before it can do too much damage. I think that we’re in a period of change in a number of ways and that we perhaps did not anticipate certain situations, such as that in China, enough.
2. Fabergé is probably in a slightly different situation from that of other brands, because our products have only just come onto the market. I even think that the current situation could act as a springboard for us, and that we ought to work on genuine innovations to set us apart, whereas better- established brands will be drawing back a bit more during this chaotic period. So we aim to strengthen our existing partnerships, but also to explore new markets for Fabergé, such as Asia (Japan, Southeast Asia, ...). To do that, we want to offer products at fair prices and give priority to communications campaigns other than solely traditional advertising.
3. I think smartwatches are a normal development, but that doesn’t make them a threat to traditional watch- making. In fact I think our society is increasingly in need of reference points and that customers are looking for exclusivity and a return to reassuring, fundamental values. My view is that nothing can replace a mechanical watch if it has been designed and developed with passion. That doesn’t mean you can’t use leading-edge technology to create it, of course.
4. Baselworld is a key moment in the watchmaker’s year because it gives you a good idea of the trends in the months ahead, even if you have to continue your efforts all year long...
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?