1. I sincerely believe that we’ll again have to endure a worldwide reduction in sales. For me, the traditional watchmaking business model has run its course. It needs to be re-invented. A distribution system that only considers promoting top brand best sellers that pre-sell at comfortable margins – the same top brands that for their part, want to reduce margins and increase shelf space – a distribution system where the sellers flit from one brand to another without qualms, for me that’s a system that’s forgotten the essentials: the customer, the act of purchasing, sentiment, product authenticity, the relationship and the brand. It will just become cut and paste, at the risk and like the vinyl disc industry, finding itself within less than a generation, addressing no-one other than niche aficionados.
2. Artya is lucky to be a young, innovative, different and creative brand, with high add-on value and I’m proud to say that since its launch in 2009, each year has seen our sales increase substantially in sell out. This year we’re embarking upon an extensive programme of high level complications that will again encourage this dynamic. Even given the underlying situation, I’m highly confident from the stance of an independent, self financed brand such as our own. Today we have a presence and genuine credibility in almost all of the high-quality watchmaking sectors, along with a new message and innovative product. Our end-user customers remain loyal and it’s not rare to have them make repeat purchases up to the point of possessing more than ten Artya watch-pieces. We’re not only seducing the typical watch-buying clientele but also a new young group of buyers who give recognition to our values.
3. The mechanical watchmaking niche will live on but it has to re-invent itself to be attractive and irresistible to a younger clientele. The arrival of smart-watches is undoubtedly a positive aspect, it’s a creative renaissance that’s on offer with an enormous potential.
4. Baselworld remains an essential meeting place to present our products to the established movers within the world of watchmaking. But these movers should also make the effort to study the brands which offer something more than that offered by the establishment. Because that’s where the renaissance is.
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?