Joezer Mandagi chats with oMega ceo raynald aeschliMann about the attaining new standards and reaching new generations
ack in mid-2016, Omega saw a major shift in its top management as Stephen Urquhart stepped down as CEO and president. It goes without saying that he left some very big shoes to fill. But it also goes without saying that Raynald Aeschlimann, the new top guy at Omega, is more than up to the challenge. For one, he seems to embrace Generation Y’s fixation with social media, as seen in the success of the Speedmaster “Speedy Tuesday” Limited Edition which was made available exclusively through Instagram. At the same time, Omega pushes ever forward with the new Master Chronometer standard while still holding firm to its history and lineage. It is, indeed, an exciting time to be an Omega fan. DA MAN: What are the highlights from Baselworld 2017 which will really represent Omega through the year? Raynald Aeschlimann: It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this question here, but I always say the same thing. This is one of those years where you show the richness of Omega. It’s like having kids. As the CEO, I have four families and they’re doing very good. So, it’s difficult to talk good about one. But two things are definitely very important, and that goes back to the DNA of the brand. I start with the trilogy [The 1957 Trilogy Limited Edition]. Everybody talks about the trilogy. You start with three watches and then you do this whole evolution of these three key watches. But more importantly—and I think it’s a highlight for a lot of people—I want to insist on this one: 60 years of Speedmaster. There’s no luxury in today’s world without roots, without tradition, without history. If you have a bad history, and you try to make one, it wouldn’t be credible. So, I’m very much insisting on the credibility and the history of Speedmaster—a watch that made history on the moon while still featuring the same shape. So, that’s one of the highlights.
The other highlight is obviously the Aqua Terra line, where we’re coming very strongly with the Seamaster. Talking about this is talking about the technology: the Master Chronometer. That’s also something to celebrate. So, that’s why it’s difficult to talk about one highlight. But these are my highlights. DA: Speedmaster seems to be the real “hero” of 2017, so to speak. Especially with the success of, say, Speedy Tuesday... RA: We reached to this connected community with a Speedmaster. Everybody asked me about connected watches and now I have the answer. I’m going to tell