Breitling CEO On Image, Capsules And Market Conquest

Breitling CEO On Image, Capsules And Market Conquest
Breitling CEO On Image, Capsules And Market Conquest

Video: Breitling CEO On Image, Capsules And Market Conquest

Video: Exclusive: Breitling CEO Georges Kern on the Swiss watchmaker’s strategy to dominate the market 2022, December
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The head of Breitling officially announced his intention to leave the oldest and once most important forum of the watch industry in Basel in mid-April, shortly after the end of Baselworld - 2019. The decisive factor was the shifted dates of the Basel exhibition next year (it will take place only at the end of April). But the brand has clearly been preparing to go free for a long time, having developed the format of "summits" and roadshows with the participation of the press, buyers and clients in different cities of the world. “This platform allows us to be more flexible and decide for ourselves when and where we meet with our focus groups to talk about news and present new collections,” explains Georges Kern. However, he does not rule out the possibility of returning to Basel in 2021, if the timing and format of the exhibition turn out to be convenient for the Breitling Summit. The first summit was held in London in October 2018.During the watch exhibition in Basel, another presentation was organized, shortly afterwards Georges Kern flew to Moscow to present Basel novelties to Russian clients.

About Russia

We have been present in Russia for 17 years and are one of the strongest and most well-established brands in your market. In a sense, we are a local brand here. I haven't been to Russia for a long time. I came here, so to speak, in my previous life (before Breitling, Georges Kern headed the IWC company, and then the entire watch division of the Richemont Group -), but this is the first time with Breitling. We need to find a better location for the boutique. In general, we need two stores: in Moscow and in St. Petersburg. We expect from Russia what we expect from any country in the world: to be visible, to have the same strength and presence. For us, there are no countries of category A and B - everyone is important.

Photo: Georgy Kardava
Photo: Georgy Kardava

© Georgy Kardava

About the startup format

We are already a big company, but in a sense we exist in a startup mode. I feel like an eternity has passed, although we started working only 15-20 months ago, and someone just joined the team. Until now, Breitling has occupied the niche segment of aviation watches. We dominate it and we certainly need to stay there, but the whole brand is something more. We came up with the concept of Air, Land, Sea, and then, a couple of months later, we found an ad from the late 1950s that said exactly the same thing. And I said: these guys had the same idea that we have, which means it is true and authentic. We have a lot to do: to strengthen the segment of women's watches, to re-conquer the market of sports models, which we have lost in a sense.

About the Breitling look

Today I have a clearer and more compact understanding of the brand. I want to make Breitling a cool brand, casual, informal, a kind of alternative to conservative watch brands. For me, this is a concept of modern retro, vintage (but not old age), industrial loft, sports, active lifestyle. We selected all these style components intuitively: luxury is built on intuition, it cannot be tested. We now have a very good balance of historical and contemporary models, stylish and tasteful. And this allows us to unite two completely different communities of our clients: the former are fond of large aviator watches (the brand's pride for the last 40 years), the latter prefer the more elegant conservative models of the 1940-1960s. Breitling is perhaps the most versatile brand I know, and is equally good at different products (vintage,classic, electronic), while large models such as Superocean do not look vulgar and tasteless. A comparison with the automotive industry is appropriate here: after all, Mercedes produces not only four-wheel drive crossovers - they also have convertibles, and racing cars, and limousines.

Superocean 44 and Superocean 42 watches
Superocean 44 and Superocean 42 watches

Superocean 44 and Superocean 42 © press service

About the aviator's past

We do not want to part with our heritage in any way. The new marketing concept #SQUADONAMISSION is a kind of air squad of three people who go on a mission together. The first ambassadors of the brand were the pilots of the Breitling team, and then, according to the squad principle, they formed “teams” of surfers, triathletes, researchers and film actors. I don't want to go to extremes and take on some extreme sports like Formula 1 races - all our heroes correspond to the brand image, they are great recognized world-class professionals, the best in their field. On the other hand, each such team is a specific community: a community of surfers, cyclists, travelers. Such directions attract modern active people. In general, we live in a world of communities, and the Breitling audience is also a mass of different communities,they are not people living in this or that country, professing this or that religion.

Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton Edition
Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton Edition

Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton Edition watch © press service

About capsules and reprints

Breitling has many stories, but each of them cannot be turned into an independent collection. Therefore, in addition to the global regular lines Superocean, Navitimer, Premier, we offer capsule collections - editions limited by the number of copies and production time. Approximately such "capsules" are produced by fashion brands. For example, our permanent Navitimer collection includes the Navitimer 1 Airline Editions capsule, celebrating the golden age of civil aviation. Three chronograph models are designed in the style of the legendary airlines of the 1970s: Pan American, Swissair, TWA. But Navitimer Ref. The 806 is an exact replica of the 1959 watch. This is already the concept of Re-edition - a limited numbered series of watches. They are created with the utmost attention to detail: we have kept the 45 mm size, dial elements, manual winding,but the caliber was made modern. By the way, one collector helped me to choose the model for the "re-release". And then I talked to other collectors on social networks and, when I asked them what models of the past they would like to see today, I got a long list. So I have a Re-edition plan ready for 20 years ahead.

On the left is the Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-edition, right original Navitimer Ref. 806 1959
On the left is the Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-edition, right original Navitimer Ref. 806 1959

On the left is the Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-edition, right original Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 © press service

About personal ambitions

I agreed to the offer of CVC Capital Partners (the current owner of Breitling. -) because I am not just an employee, even a CEO, but a co-owner, a shareholder of the company, and my money is involved here. I was a professional in my past life, but I always wanted to be more independent. When investors came to talk to me, I realized that this was a unique opportunity, because Breitling is a big enough company that it doesn't have to fight every day for its survival, and besides, it is profitable enough. So now we are fighting for growth, for taking the brand to the next level. I think Breitling has the most potential of the companies I have come across. And the production capacity is amazing.>

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