1. After record years and then a downturn in 2015, 2016 will again be a transitional year and the indicators are certainly not on the rise for the moment. Consumer and purchasing habits are changing. For example, the results of political and social changes in China (anti-corruption laws, customs controls, protectionism, place of purchase restrictions, etc.) have been being felt for some months now and we have to accept them. The Chinese economy is slowing down and there isn’t another market that’s taking its place to provide the assurance of progress as we experienced after the 2009 crisis. However I see positive growth in the medium term.
2. We’ve developed our own in- house assortment and calibration. It’s improvement of product quality that we’re now targeting. We prefer to invest in the quality of our products rather than grand scale publicity campaigns. It’s the value for money relationship that is our strength and our customers are aware of this. Consolidation of our Chinese market is a priority, which still remains highly promising and within which we’ve become highly competent. We have also opened new sales outlets throughout various European cities and we have great potential within various international markets that we’re opening up this year.
3. Mechanical watchmaking will perpetuate, because it remains the symbol of longevity and flies in the face of all the objects with built-in obsolescence. It bears witness to a precious skill and know-how and its clockwork magic never ceases to amaze. As proof, we’ve invested greatly in the internal development of our own assortment that remains at the very heart of the mechanical movement. I don’t believe in a hybrid mix between the mechanical watch and the smart-watch, this has been tried for years without any tangible result. The association between the two doesn’t really create an interesting end product. However, quarts watches may, very slowly but inevitably become “connected”, to my mind that’s where the true development lies.
4. We’re working hard, to make this meeting truly worthwhile. It’s such a large investment for the brands, that it must show results. If not, it puts its whole existence in question. The show allows us to introduce ourselves to new customers and to get to know and develop our networks and partnerships. This year, we present a fabulous adventure based around the development of one of our own creations. We’re setting up an interactive experience for each person who visits our stand. To understand how the movement works, interact with it, touch it, explore it via tactile screens and get inside the universe that is our brand, that’s our goal. To transform the highly technical developments that occur within our workshops into a cultural and learning experience, open to all our visitors.
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?