1. When I attended the “Basel Trade Fair” 35 years ago, there were about a hundred watchmakers! At Baselworld today there are about 1,600. And two new brands every week!!! Yes, the market is saturated and markets are shrinking. But I think that a certain target group will always be passionate about beautifully created watches made with passion, patience and perseverance.
2. Our objectives for2016 are to go on building up the markets we’ve been working in for many years. We don’t have a marketing strategy proper. Every region has its own codes, and there are certain affinities or not depending on the country. We’re not looking for quantity, but for quality in our partnerships. As far as the products are concerned, it’s evident that you have to set yourself apart and innovate. To me that seems easier for a small company where decisions are taken immediately. Apart from that, we’ll continue to have a ready ear for specific requests in our products. And of course we need to communicate, keep on communicating, about our products, but also about the values we convey through our creations: respect, love and fine craftsmanship.
3. I’m a watchmaker who was born of the quartz crisis in the 1970s. The serious error that the industry made then was to call a complete halt. Many brands simply threw mechanical watches into the bin (literally and metaphorically). The industry had to be reborn, which put the Swiss watchmaking economy back by more than a decade and numerous big brands never recovered. Luckily there was one great man who continued to believe in it!!! Yes, fine watchmaking will have its place on the podium for a long time to come.
4. Baselworld is a gathering you can’t afford to miss, at the risk of disappearing off the radar! You have to make sure you’re seen at a booth, in the press, or on the terraces of the grand hotels and at parties where everyone talks about everything and everybody. Baselworld is the watchmakers’ Mecca, full of pilgrims. All the same, it’s true that there are more and more exhibitions all over the world, some of which are more important in terms of sales.
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?