1. Concerning the mechanical watchmaking market, I’m not positive for 2016. I feel that exports are going to continue to decline. The factors that lead me to think that way are: market saturation by the offer of far too many “fashionable” and too complicated mechanical watches; the realisation on the part of some watch enthusiasts and collectors of the excessive gap between price and actual value; a regression in purchasing power within the principal market sectors owing to systemic international crisis.
2. To consolidate my image with my client customers as an authentic watchmaker, strengthen communication on this point and equally on the quality of my products, from both technical and creative standpoints.
3. I don’t believe that the making of mechanical watches will disappear. I prefer to believe that it will find the place where it should currently be, that’s to say to fulfill a heartfelt market and not one of need. In effect, there’s no need for watches just to know the time, modern technology permits us to access this information easily and accurately. Mechanical watches will only survive as cultural accessory with emotional connections, a consumer niche belonging to the world of the arts. The arrival of smart-watches isn’t a threat to this activity, and it doesn’t justify a downturn in the mechanical watch market. Smart-watches are not part my working world and are as far from my field, as aeroplanes are from cars.
4. I haven’t participated in Baselworld for a number of years. We live in a modern world wherein the means to communicate and to connect with others renders this type of trade fair obsolete. In relation to my watchmaking activities, it’s no longer worthwhile for me to participate in events such as this. Events on a much smaller scale, which target the end-user client directly within their own marketplace allows a far more genuine exchange both from a professional and personal perspective.
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?