A tête-è-tête with Raymond Weil7:32 am
Renowned for its excellent watchmaking skills, creative designs and unmatched quality, Raymond Weil – the coveted Swiss watch brand, strengthened its presence in the capital and felicitated multifaceted personality – Mr. Palash Sen, in association with Ethos SUMMIT. Mr. Olivier Bernheim, CEO & President of RAYMOND WEIL Genève, along with Mr. Pranav Saboo, Head- Internet Marketing of Ethos, were there to commemorate the occasion. While the course of the evening saw an interesting exchange of ideas and views between the three, we too managed to catch a couple of moments with Mr. Olivier Bernheim for a quick tête-è-tête. Tune in to the excerpts below.
1. Over the years, of all the collections, which is your favourite Raymond Weil and why?
It is very difficult to tell you which one has been my favourite over the years because pretty much every year we create novelties of which I try to select two. But certainly, one that I prefer currently is the Nabucco Rivoluzione in black. The reason for this is that it’s my weekend watch. So when I wear it I feel free, my mind is on holidays, skiing, horse-back riding – casual leisure, which is precisely what Raymond Weil is all about. That’s why for me it symbolizes my weekend, friendship and everything that I enjoy doing.
2. A family identity lies at the core of Raymond Weil’s legacy. In today’s fast paced business environment, how do you feel that this value serves as a strength?
I represent the second generation; my sons represent the third generation, while the company bears the name of the founder. So there is this very intense and intimate relation between the brand, its DNA and the product. There is a hand down and a similar transmission can be thought about with regard to the Indian customer. You buy a watch for yourself and then one day you will pass it on to your off-spring. It is this legacy that makes Raymond Weil so different as compared to others. An association with the brand makes you feel like you’re a part of this independence. And we like dealing with people that are independent; people who buy something because they like the product, not necessarily because they’re influenced by the advertising, but because they are lovers; lovers of art and design. This is precisely why our designs are trend setters.
3. How has the response from the Indian market been different from more mature markets such as Europe and North America?
It’s an interesting question. Let’s consider about India and only India. This country is a democracy and has a stable market, it is a market where there is a culture for fashion, for family relations, for gifting, and most importantly it’s a market which is not influenced by foreigners spending money. In Paris about 80% of the business is done mostly by foreigners. While in India, any business which is done is done for the locals. You have an import community influenced by the locals and not the reverse. So it’s a very interesting scenario because it’s a rather intimate market. It’s a market which can evolve by itself and businesses can better judge the customer because they have only one target group to concentrate on, which is the Indians.
4. So do you feel that it’s more difficult to penetrate such a market which is more focused towards its own people?
It could have been, except that my father-in-law started in 1976 and he was the founder of the Swiss watch industry. So my sons and I have inherited a brand which has a rich heritage and is exceptionally well known here. We just have to keep modifying the perception and the appeal of the brand by recruiting youngsters in order to keep pace with the times. This is why I’m completely behind the idea of going in-depth on to the internet platform and everything that Pranav Saboo, Head Internet Marketing at Ethos, has done because that’s the way that the youngsters are going. They don’t really read newspapers and magazines anymore; they just have the time to go on the internet, which is why supporting such a decision is for me, the key for the future. It is only by moving with the times that we will reach the right target group.
5. What is your perspective on the Indian luxury watch market?
I think the watch market will continue to further develop into a men’s centric one. This, I feel, has been the trend for the last 5-6 years now; that men have started becoming more interested in watches. One can safely say that watches are becoming a man’s best friend! In fact the market for men’s watches is becoming bigger than the market for women’s watches and this trend will continue. It is a trend abroad as well, except that abroad there was not as big a ladies market as compared to India. The Indian market, mostly a female one, has for years been centered around jewellery, watches and so on. It is now that it is expanding strongly in to a male market. And interestingly again, wherever across the world we have had internet associations such as with Macy’s and Bloomingdales in the United States, it is men’s expensive mechanical watches that are selling through the web. This clearly reflects that men have an interest to go online and learn through a website. There is less of an impulse buying for men than for ladies. A man wants to understand the technology of his watch and a website is the perfect platform to teach him.
6. Which is the most sought after and coveted collection globally?
Freelancer for men and Jasmine for ladies.
7. Is there any underlying theme for the upcoming collection in 2013?
There is no underlying theme as such. We have focused on evolving the continuity. However, we have considered that men are more inclined towards an interest in complicated watches, while for ladies we see quite a strong comeback of gold, gold plated, gold plated with diamonds and so on.
8. How has your experience with Ethos been thus far?
It has been an interesting experience actually. Mr. Yashovardhan Saboo, CEO – Ethos Watch Boutiques, is someone who loves food, wine and fine experiences and I feel that he’s been able to pass on very effectively, to his team and to everyone who works around him, his passion for watches and his passion to create a group. We at Raymond Weil, see something quite unique about this as we feel a certain connect of doing business with a family. There is a man behind the brand; there is a man behind the show. And now we can identify with his son too – Mr. Pranav Saboo, which I think is great. It’s very important, especially for a company like ours, which is full of culture, full of history, that one sees things being passed on from generation to another; it gives us a lot of confidence.
9. What is your favorite part about visiting India?
I love going to Agra; I’ve been there five times now. I also like the Indian food, it’s a bit spicy but I enjoy it none-the-less!
You buy a watch for yourself and then one day you will pass it on to your off-spring. It is this legacy that makes Raymond Weil so different as compared to others.