- You took office at the end of August this year, in November you decided to gather the world press and officially meet. And so we arrived at the presentation, where everything is so fashionable, modern, according to my feelings - for millennials … Cheerful music, you put on sneakers under your suit …
- Did you like it yourself?
- To me very much. But the question for me is different. Russia - it happened so historically, and largely thanks to the figure of the late Rolf Schneider (he acquired Ulysse Nardin in 1983, headed it for almost 30 years) and his love for Russia, the market is very important for your company.
- True, very important. Therefore, my first trip as CEO was to Russia. In general, I am quite familiar with the market, when I worked for my previous watch employer (TAG Heuer - ed.), I went to Russia six to seven times a year. As for Ulysse Nardin, it seems to me that we have very serious positions in the market, but they can be improved too.
“However, customers in our market are not millennials at all. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that their average age is 50 years.
- Age clients are a common problem in the watch industry, a problem for many brands. I see no contradiction in retaining these clients and attracting a new, young audience. In terms of products, under my predecessor (Patrick Hoffman - ed.), A lot has already been done: in Ulysse Nardin you can find models for different tastes, but we need to continue to develop.
- And what needs to be changed?
- We need to talk more about the brand, otherwise we seem to be shy. About our history, values, about many things. For example, we have a five-year warranty on watch service, but few people know about it.
Marine Torpilleur Military (engraved back of the case) © Ulysse Nardin Press Service
- In the official announcement of your appointment, one of the priority tasks was to expand the brand's geography. Where, in your opinion, is the special potential?
- America, we are already strong there, but we can do much more, I am convinced of this. In addition - Asia and a number of European countries.
- How is communication with your immediate supervisor, the head of the watch department of the Kering group Albert Bensoussan built?
- We are constantly in touch, I report to him, Albert is an excellent sparring partner for me, we exchange ideas all the time. It helps in the work.
- Albert said in an interview that his first priority as head of the group's watchmaking business is "to help brands focus." Ulysse Nardin what should you focus on?
- On improving communication, on how we interact with customers, so that they are confident in the products they buy, and they learn about new products in time. And already mentioned - to tell about our history.
Manufacture Grand Feu © press service Ulysse Nardin
- For several years you left the world of Swiss mechanics for the world of completely different watches - you were developing the Apple Watch. When Apple made the offer, did you explain the details of your future work?
- Honestly? They told me: first, let's sign the contract, and then you will find out why you were hired. Everything was very secret. It's also interesting that when I left for Apple, many said that "Patrick left the watch market." It's especially nice to be back now.
- How do you plan to interact with other watch brands of the Kering group?
- We are all very independent from each other in terms of our products and mechanisms. Our main interaction is to share experiences. That is, we can help each other by giving the contacts of the necessary suppliers, tell how this or that production line is built, etc.
- Are you going to use new materials in the near future?
“We are constantly looking for them, but every time we introduce something new, there must be a reason, it must be a functional improvement. I don't see any point in inventing some kind of "ulissnardinium" just to use it as a news feed.
Marine Tourbillon Blue Grand Feu © press service Ulysse Nardin
- When you worked for Apple, you lived in Cupertino?
- There and in London.
- My question is about Cupertino. Many brands are now positioning Silicon Valley IT businesspeople as the model for the new client format. Millennials, if you will. And they are trying to figure out what they would like about the watch. Do they even wear watches? And how would a watch brand like them?
- Of course, brands want to please them! Simply because these potential customers have a lot of money! They wear watches, but mostly they are Apple Watch or Casio. Much less often mechanical watches. I suppose these new format customers won't fall for marketing bullshit, they choose what they think is cool at the moment. The main problem for brands in Silicon Valley, and indeed in America in general, is that everything is changing rapidly, things are getting in and out of fashion very soon. This year it is popular, next year it is no longer. I saw this when I was still at Stanford, so it's not exactly a new trend.
Coming back to today, a venture investor can have a huge amount of money and not a single expensive watch. Because he simply did not find a positive answer to the question: "Why should I buy them?" And our task is to help him find this answer. For me, this answer is a story, a story about a brand and its uniqueness. For example, I want to invite my friends from Silicon Valley to our manufactory. Of course, I'm not going to sell them anything. Just so that they can see how our watches are made, how we make our own movements (and we have 75% of watches on our calibers), and something switches in the brain. New customers should be aware that they are buying a piece of art that can be worn on the wrist.>