1. In view of the macro-economic environment (a strong Swiss franc which is improving but still tense, the HK/China politics, the rate of the ruble and the price of the barrel in Russia, the oil situation in the Middle East), in 2016 we’re anticipating a year of stagnation compared with the previous year.
2. The principal objective for Maurice Lacroix is to pursue its strategy of positioning itself in the CHF 1,000-5,000 price range. This strategy is underpinned in 2016 by new models, such as the Aikon collection. This quartz collection—a revival of our emblematic Calypso model—was behind our brand’s success in the 90s. With Aikon, Maurice Lacroix is offering a timepiece that marries design with a finish of outstanding quality worthy of our high-end products. Moreover, our brand is undergoing a digital transformation to be as close as possible to potential customers and raise brand recognition—first and foremost through our partnership with FC Barcelona—to the global level.
3. On the whole, the Swiss watchmaking industry is still a niche market, given its volume compared with worldwide production, with its own codes, history, environment, reputation and dependability. But it’s continually having to reinvent itself to offer the right product at the right price at the right time and in the right place. For the brand, just like for other brands, all these actions are aimed at providing impetus in that segment and making us ask ourselves (the right) questions about how we can help horology retain its noble credentials.
4. Basel is still the place where, within a limited scope and for a defined duration, we enter into direct contact with our principal commercial partners, as well as with the press and the end consumer. Like any other brand, it allows us to make a maximum of contacts and appointments and take a maximum of orders while showcasing most of our innovations, not just on glossy paper, but in the flesh. So it still has maximum impact.
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?