Three Swiss watchmakers face the crisis

By | 26th March 2016

Thirty-six thousand oscillations per hour. This figure is one of the prides of the Zenith in Le Locle, where they make watches for 150 years. The movement “El Primero”, launched in 1969, beats faster than others, which makes it as precise a mechanical timepiece can be. But last year, the sky darkened to the firm at the star: sales decline “below 10%”. 2016 does not look tag heuer watch for sale much better for a brand connoisseurs owned since 1999 to LVMH. She suffers from its dependence on Chinese and Hong Kong markets. “It’s a beautiful garden, I am the gardener,” Aldo Magada advance. “And we have a few too many plants. For us to simplify our offering. “The Morgien, inducted in the summer 2014, after the departure of Jean-Frédéric Dufour at Rolex, three major projects before him. The first is to focus a prolific manufacturing (34 calibres house!) On a dozen movements declined around three lines: El Primero (chronograph), Elite (classicism) and Pilot (aviators watches).

The second project is economic. First, sell more watches (about 30 000 a year today, estimation), because the average price of units sold declined – the customer buys less gold, especially in China where hunting corruption n ‘ no incentive to wear the yellow metal wrist. For this, we must “work hard to get customers where they are, interest in travel retail, in a global market where confidence has eroded,” says Aldo Magada. Another effort, streamline the production tool by sharing skills with cousins ​​of the group, like TAG Heuer. The staff of the site Locle (210 people) could reduce, but no way threaten the survival of a manufacture which must continue to carry the values ​​of the brand.

Last challenge, raise awareness Zenith beyond aficionados. “The Chinese do not understand the concept of stopwatch, notes Aldo Magada. We need to put more passion and emotion, daring a different aesthetic. “Paw Jean-Claude Biver, boss replica tag heuer uk of the watchmaking division of LVMH, which put the” case Zenith “on its agenda in 2016, risk-t- she of “hublotiser” the brand from Le Locle? For now, Zenith bottom placing on the vintage, vintage cars, motorcycles cafe racer, barbers and shoeshine boys, all present on a stand that was very popular in Basel..

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Louis Erard rises

A lost year. This is the nightmare that has lived Louis Erard last year in Italy, one of its most important markets. An exclusive distributor loses the ball a long struggle to separate, and not a single watch sold in the boot. “We had to review everything, strengthen our sales teams to start from scratch, says Alain Spinedi, CEO of the brand Noirmont (JU). We want to be closer to our retailers, ensuring their stability and profitability, and build differentiated strategies by region. ”

Examples? In the Middle East, the clientele is female half, attracted by simple complications, an oxymoron that well suits Louis Erard. In Europe, the positioning varies. “In the Czech Republic we are the premium, Croatia, rather the entrance,” commented Alain Spinedi. In his reconquest of operation, it has decided to lower its prices, with wise innovations: chronographs accents explorers, sober dials small seconds eccentric, and regulators (hour and minutes separated) that made his reputation.

Edox puts gas

Edox is not Rolex, but both brands share more than x: Alexandre Strambini, the young boss of the Jura brand has been a Davis Cup teammate of Roger Federer, now brand ambassador for the crown . At 40, Alexander Strambini now up to the net to prosper the watch brand was bought in 1983 by his father Victor ASUAG old, ancestor of Swatch. And it is to Formula 1 qu’Edox just look to boost its reputation: in late February, a sponsorship fake tag heuer uk contract was signed with the Swiss team Sauber.

A surprising choice? “Me too, I thought F1 in decline, but it is a European vision. A more detailed analysis showed us how, in numbers but also in perception, it remains a major vehicle. “Involved here some time in the World Championship rallies, Edox seeking a major sponsor. “With our three brands, Richelieu, Claude Bernard and Edox, we have reached a level of sales that forced us to position ourselves, says the young boss. Either we stayed on our positions, certainly satisfactory or we wanted to take the next step. “A financial risk? “Not at all. We maintain our philosophy very down to earth: you only pay what you can (note: we will not know more). This is a positive sign to see a small watch company (40 employees to Genevez in the Freiberger), 100% independent, engaging way. ”

The Jura brand is present in over 70 different markets. It is growing very strongly in Japan, where it sells watches for ten years, and has become his favorite country to Eastern Europe and Switzerland. Its price range is from 500 to 3,000 francs for very typical sports chrono.

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