We had the opportunity to sit down with Nicola Andreatta, Roger Dubuis’ CEO. We cover several topics ranging from product strategy to Hyper Horology.
Here is how it went.
How did the brand come out the pandemic, how did it adapt to the changes in the market?
Well, clearly the pandemic was a difficult moment for everybody, not only for Roger Dubuis, but also for the watch business, but for every industry. I mean, we change our attitudes and our habits in a very short time.
Everything moved to digital and clearly it was a moment also for us to sit down and think about what we would do in the future, knowing that the context out there would have been different from the past. And this is exactly what we did.
So you had to react faster than usual to keep up with the world?
Well, we work on becoming even more agile and anti-fragile, knowing that the disruption is happening in a, let’s say, not a in a planned way. You have one country that closes the other one which is open. So how do you learn on allocating resources? How you do learn to allocate resources to the right place at the right time instead of having a global approach as before. And I have to say that all in all we worked also on the brand on what the brand stands for.
There is a new breed of clients coming to the luxury market, so we became more/ we try to become more appealing to the younger generations. We’ve been expanding our presence as I said on digital channels, on communication and on our way to deal with our customers around the world. And so all in all, I’m super happy about where we are today. I can say that the evolution that the brand went through in the past few years is a very much helping us surviving better today.
What’s making offer? And that’s why, for example, we decided to cut the entry level of the brand. So we stopped producing the plain dials and we started concentrating on what we do best, which is our skeletonized approach to complicated movements. So, all in all, I am very proud and very happy of what happened. It was not a given that we would come out from the pandemic stronger than we entered it. And this is exactly what we see today.
Hyper horology is it only marketing or can you take us through the concept more and develop it to us?
Definitely not only marketing, hyper horology is really what we stand for. I mentioned to you that we’ve been working on the brand and on what we stand for. And in that case, the work required us to sit down and understand exactly what values we stand for.
If we asked to be a represented with a single word, that word will be excess in the Latin etymology of the word, which means which comes from excedo which means going beyond.
Hyper means exactly the same, so the prefix hyper means beyond means above. So in a way we combine what is the narrative of the brand from a branding standpoint to our craft, our offer once again and we said we are the only one who can propose a credible alternative to the fine classic what’s making world with a product which is more contemporary and expressive than the typical classic watchmaking brands. And we decided to call that our hyper horology.
Think of hypercars, the same pretty much applies to our way of doing watchmaking.
Disruption is a concept that is close to the brand. How does it translate beyond watchmaking?
Disruption includes a kind of the seed of a break with the past, the disruption if you, if you look for what disruption means it, it means interruption, it means a shock. And in a way, every time you innovate.
You do exactly that. You break with the past, you bring a new solution to something that would previously was done in a different way.
For us that really reflects the way we think because we all we are always projected to the future. We always think about reinventing the game, our claim, our motto is no rules our game because yes, we take inspiration from the tradition, but we always go beyond the tradition and we challenge the boundaries of in the industry itself.
What are the challenges you face when it comes to disruption, when it comes to local cultures as markets. I would say what work in Asia might not be disruptive in Europe or the other way around; and in Latin America… How do you treat that?
This is a very good point and I can answer by telling you that our strategies are globalized, meaning that yes, we have a global approach because at the end every creative effort has to be directed from the source. So yes, we listen to the markets, but at the end, we want to affirm our watchmaking idea. And so, it is most of the time a push effort rather than a pool effort. At the same time, we need to thrive in the markets facing different cultures.
And so we try to get to be closer and closer with our clientele in that the work of CRM. So our ability to connect, interact and understand our clientele is absolutely key and it’s one of the main efforts we’ll put in place in the last few years we’ve been developing our CRM. So to be able to understand exactly what our clientele wants, not only, but we have been evolving our retail concept to make sure that it will fit within the local culture or play.
In Dubai is one example with a few elements that connect ourselves with the local clientele, the local crowd and the same will happen more and more in other places. For example, we have been customizing our gifts so that in every boutique you will find a bit of the culture of the local people of the local population and so that you can almost go with a pilgrimage when you visit our boutiques around the world where everywhere you find.
Talking about exclusivity, the recent Watches and Wonders did not showcase many novelties. Was it deliberate, or like you mentioned before, cutting on the entry level? What was the reason to reduce the novelties or not to showcase any?
It was absolutely a decision we took first of all because this kind of watch fares have changed completely from the past. Before you will go to a watches and wonders or Basel fair to present your collections for all sellers to buy for the whole year. So it was absolutely key to be able to line up everything you had ready for the year to come. Now these fears have changed. The crowd that come is mostly composed by finite clients.
Then you need to know exactly where you want to focus and focus has been a keyword at Roger Dubuis for the past three years.
I felt like presenting everything at once will dilute the message and will not allow us to concentrate on. We want to promote certain models first.
So this year, the idea was to promote the top of the line with a very new creation, which was the prosecution of our nights of the Roundtable history. But for the first time, putting a complicated movement in a complicated craft before we always show the our Knights of the Round table to show the craftsmanship, that what’s making prowess, but using a simple three ends movements or even A2, hence movement.
Talking about Watches and Wonders and the releases recently, we saw the Dubai Exclusive green piece today. Would we experience any other launches before the end of the year 2022 at the fiscal year?
We have plenty of things coming now. This was a specific effort. We did that to please our Dubai friends. You know we play. We decided to play with the material that we normally don’t use which is platinum. And we created a specific case in platinum. We played with the green, which is a color very dear to the Dubai people.
What was a feedback on the Platinum Green Dubai exclusive like not only from Dubai or the region, or your collectors and brand lovers around the world?
It was very well received in Dubai, as far as I know, because unfortunately I couldn’t be there. I hope in the future.
Very well received locally and I hope to be there soon to continue and to present it maybe to some other clients. And I think so far we haven’t, we haven’t communicated outside. So I don’t know yet because the piece is exclusive to Dubai and so we are not spreading the word because otherwise we know that we would have plenty of requests from other markets and we want this to be available mostly in Dubai.