1. Honestly, it’s difficult to be optimistic if we take the current climate into account together with the cumulative effects of the strong franc, the fall in the oil price, economic uncertainties, and conflict throughout the world and the slowdown in Asia. Notwithstanding all of that, we envisage a slow increase in sales for 2016 thanks to our current momentum and the really exciting projects that we’ll be announcing very soon.
2. Above all, our principal objective remains the reinforcement of our two principal markets, these being USA and the United Kingdom where our market share should show significant growth again this year. We are also about to create a branch office in Hong Kong in order to develop our presence in this vitally important location to the Swiss watchmaking industry. The Japanese market represents an equally interesting option for future years. Although we haven’t yet entered into this market with our brand, it holds a growth potential that shouldn’t be underestimated due to its recent political and economic stability. The 2020 Olympic Games should also create an addition springboard. Lastly, and this is an important strategic point, we have made price adjustments to certain product ranges in an attempt to be more and more competitive and responsive to our customer needs. In conclusion, 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of Raymond Weil and we’ll celebrate this event via two major musical partnerships, since music is always at the heart of each of our developments and the driving force behind our creativity.
3. Mechanical watches will always be of major importance, because we’re referring to something eternal, precious and above all emotionally stimulating, behind which hides a genuine and sought-after know-how. The arrival of smart-watches opens new horizons and attracts a new range of customers who previously had little or no interest in Swiss watchmaking. This forces us to question ourselves and investigate these new horizons. We have to be more and more creative to anticipate the new demands of a changing clientele.
4. Baselworld is an unmissable event and above all remains the opportunity to re- establish contact with our partners from around the world.
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?