1. In 2016 Ernest Borel celebrates its 160th anniversary. This longevity, a token of wisdom, as well as Love and Romance are the timeless values conveyed by the brand which allows Ernest Borel to look forward to 2016 with serenity. We estimate that the watchmaking sector will undergo a global consolidation in relation to brands and markets; without forgetting that in comparison, 2015 was a little weaker than 2014 which was a record year for Swiss watchmaking. Even if the international environment is more uncertain than before, Swiss watchmaking remains and harbours a token of quality and reassurance. Amongst the brands everyone has become aware of how to best rationalise their production and be as close to their sales partners as possible.
2. The objectives of the Ernest Borel brand are multiple; first of all, to consolidate our position within the Asian market and particularly China and Hong Kong where the brand already has a strong presence. Then, continue and accelerate our expansion in the Middle Eastern, European and United States markets. All at the same time, remaining extremely vigilant in relation to developments within the emerging markets. To achieve these objectives, the brand will continue with its policy of launching new models as well as an attractive pricing policy. Its publicity will be primarily driven by its 160th anniversary.
3. Mechanical watchmaking is and will remain a refuge for quality and passions. Smart-watches open a new field of opportunity; an entry point to the world of watches before discovering traditional watchmaking and its values. Mutations and the risks are more delicately poised between smart-watches and the quartz models of traditional brands. We’re giving deep and serious thought to a realistic and durable alternative whilst still preserving our identity.
4. For a brand such as Ernest Borel, Baselworld provides an indispensable shop-window to display our products and meet our customers. In the current climate, which is affected by great instability, our sales partners are increasingly vigilant and, like ourselves, rationalise their investments. To welcome our customers into the heart of our stand at Baselworld is the opportunity to provide them with proof of our solidity and well as our confidence. Their attendance also allows us to complete a not insignificant portion of our annual order book. 2016 will also be the opportunity to celebrate our 160th anniversary and share this bit of history with our partners. For Ernest Borel, Basel provides trend indicators and allows us to take a pulse. On the other hand, given that our workshops are only one hour away from Baselworld, during the fair, it allows our partners the chance to discover more about us and our history.
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?