1. I’m convinced that the situation will remain very difficult given current world events. But I also think that this will vary enormously between manufacturers. As far as Louis Erard is concerned, and after a difficult 2015, we should see a substantial improvement in that we’ve resolved some inherent problems that existed in certain specific markets. Product development in these “problem” markets will provide us with the re-growth that was missing in 2015.
2. We intend to reinforce and consolidate our existing markets whilst at the same time attempting to respond to the demands of our secondary markets. However, we’re not going to attempt to open new key markets which demand a great deal of support, unless of course, the opportunity should present itself. Our strategy is clear in that we will concentrate on improving and doing more with those which we already have.
3. I remain convinced that the smart-watch will become a parallel market but it won’t pose a threat to products such as ours, which are more of a traditional, mechanical nature.
4. For a relatively new manufacturer constantly looking for sales opportunities, Baselworld remains an obligatory and necessary stepping-stone. Frequently we manage to develop very rewarding contacts.
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?