You have been at Boucheron for four years and we have seen the brand evolve over that period, with your lighter and more welcoming stand at Baselworld being a perfect example of the changes you have introduced. What were your priorities when joining Boucheron?
One of my first priorities was to work on the intrinsic values of the brand, in other words the archives and the legacy that Mr Frédéric Boucheron left us. He was the first person to set up a store on the Place Vendôme, in 1893, and he developed a lot of techniques for watches and high jewellery. For us it was important to reinterpret this in a new way with our new Creative Director, Claire Choisne, who joined the company in September 2011. All the creations from the brand since then have been inspired by what we find in the archives and are linked to a real history. This is what differentiates us from the fashion brands who have entered the market only relatively recently.
We also needed an iconic jewellery collection, so we relaunched the “Quatre”, which brings together the four design codes of the brand: double gadroons, mirror setting, grosgrains and the “Paris cobblestones” (clous de Paris) motifs.
It was also important for us to return to the Biennale in Paris to present the high jewellery collections, which we did in in 2012 and again last year, which was a big success for us.
The fourth element in my strategy was to develop the business in Asia. So we set up an office in Hong Kong that drives the business in our most important markets in the region, which are Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and our wholelsale markets in mainland China, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia.
Can you explain the reasoning behind your 2015 watch collection?
In watchmaking we have tidied up the collections over the past three years with the most concrete example being the Epure collection which was launched in 2013 in gold and it was important to show the direction in which the brand was heading: towards elegance and classicism. This year we are presenting the Epure in a more accessible steel version.
We are not about to start competing for market share in the segment of complicated watches. We are a jewellery brand, after all, and you can see the perfect example of this in the Lierre de Lumière unique piece, in the form of a fully-paved diamond bracelet with a secret watch. This is the type of product that we are interested in.
We have a production facility in Cortaillod (Neuchâtel) on which we can rely on for movements through the Kering Group, but we also have our own legitimacy in the field, since the company was established in 1858 and launched its first watch just one year later in 1859.
How has Baselworld 2015 been for Boucheron?
The situation is very positive and we are seeing more retailers knocking on our door. I think the fact that we concentrated on reducing the size of the collection and launching fewer products, meaning in turn that the retailers have less inventory, has helped us a lot. I think retailers are regaining confidence in the brand and that we have passed a turning point.