Get connected to the newfound embrace of smartwatches.
WHAT WE LEARNT FROM SITTING DOWN WITH THE SWISS GIANT’S GENERAL MANAGER, GUY SÉMON.
“Who is the biggest watchmaker at Basel Fair? Samsung is the biggest watchmaker. I met the number-two of Samsung and said, ‘Hello colleague.’ He is a very serious Korean man and said, ‘Colleague? But you are a watchmaker.’ And I said, ‘But so are you and you are bigger than Rolex.’ He was so proud.”
“We launched our ‘Connected’ watch two years ago [which sold a reported 56,000 units] and with that model we are just a second step but the stairway is probably 15-20 steps. This is the beginning. Now the concept of modularity starts with the connected watch but we are different to the smartwatch makers from China, Japan and California. We mix classic watchmaking with our work. And because we are the biggest manufacturers of tourbillon movements, I made one [the Heuer-02t] for this.”
“It’s a very simple idea [behind the Modular models] I had, because my son is 23 and he bought a Mini car. I visited a Mini boutique in Paris and it’s an experience. You can choose from the yellow, purple, pink or the Union Jack to make your car. I thought that we could apply this principal to watchmaking. When I talked to Mini’s store manager, he said that most people end up buying a black, grey or white car but it’s the experience that’s important.”
“Take a look at the booths at Basel and the Samsung one is open, you can touch and experience the products. The rest are closed, with all the products behind locked doors and visitors needing a pass to be admitted. The mentality of those from Korea, China, Japan and California is open-minded. We are closed and that’s a danger for the business.”
“Look at the young generation between 15 and 30 and show me the ones who are wearing a watch? There’s nobody except maybe at a watch fair like Basel. We’re building a business not for today but for the next 10 years. In the next 10 years Swiss watchmaking will be integrated or in a museum.”