You arrived at the Sowind Group at the start of the year. How have the first six months been?
Very intense, because I think people needed to work closely together and a team spirit needed to be built up. As far as the main pillars are concerned, when you look at a brand like Girard-Perregaux I think the unanimous opinion is that the brand has beautiful products. That’s the first thing that is apparent. But once you are in charge of the operation and you have access to more information, you can see that although the brand has beautiful products, a structure needed to be defined within the collection and, above all, a structure needed to be created in price segments where we should be present but weren’t up until now.
What we have done is very simple: to structure the collections, remove references whose positioning did not correspond with the market and our competitors and to create more competitive products in existing lines. So an enormous amount of work has been done but you will hardly notice it because we are not talking about a revolution and I think that is what is interesting.
What sort of timeline do you have for this growth? It cannot happen overnight…
We are moving fast! We know where we are going in terms of product development and you will see the changes as early as 2016. For example, we will be present in the 7,000 to 10,000 Swiss francs price segment from next year. There will be a new chronograph line, which will perhaps be the most notable change. A real family will be built up around the Three Bridges models, which will include other complications than the tourbillon, which is currently the only one in the collection.
Targeting new price segments will also mean targeting new customers…
Absolutely. We definitely need to broaden our customer base. One price segment is doing very well and is developing rapidly. This is the 5,000 to 10,000 Swiss franc price segment. In order to follow the path we want to for strong growth, we need to be in this price bracket, opening up the brand to people who are not familiar with it.
Given the current economic climate, will you be targeting specific markets for growth?
One of the strengths of being part of the Kering Group is that we have an owner who has a very long-term vision. They do not want to rush things and they want to build up sustainably, creating value. With this in mind, it’s not a question of not investing in this or that market next year because I won’t get an immediate return. We don’t do reactive management. It’s more about taking the right decisions to achieve a long-term return on investment.
We have a global presence and we will continue working hard on developing the European market and the main Asian markets such as Hong Kong and the principal Chinese cities but also Singapore and Malaysia. But we don’t need to be everywhere at the same time. USA is also a priority, of course.
Girard-Perregaux will be 225 years old. How will you celebrate?
We will have some extraordinary watches that will be the incarnation of the brand’s history, including 225 unique pieces. It will be a very interesting concept that will allow us to show off our history.
The museum will support our activities and our product communication will be adapted to showcase our history. The entire concept of the museum will be reviewed and we will introduce a much more innovative concept. The content is already there, of course, but we need to find new ways of presenting it.