MORE THAN A WOMAN

Amelia Sil­lard, vice pres­i­dent of TAG Heuer South­east Asia, talks feminism, reach­ing out to mil­lenials, and what it takes to not crack un­der pres­sure. By Amy Yas­mine.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Watches & Jewels -

How is it like to lead one of the most in­flu­en­tial watch­mak­ing brands in a male-dom­i­nated in­dus­try?

In the be­gin­ning, it takes more time for you to gain cred­i­bil­ity. I still have the im­pres­sion that peo­ple won’t trust you right away, and they will test you for a bit longer just be­cause you’re a woman. Then again, that is just my im­pres­sion. I’m quite lucky to work for LVMH where there is an ini­tia­tive called EllesVMH that en­cour­ages women man­agers to grow glob­ally, con­tinue their ca­reers, and be­come mem­bers of the man­age­ment team. We also have a tar­get to have more women on the board of di­rec­tors for all of our houses.

How has the land­scape of lux­ury time­pieces shifted within the ladies di­vi­sion?

Be­cause watches are so tech­ni­cal, there are more prod­ucts that are meant for men. But now, brands are giv­ing a lit­tle more at­ten­tion to us. Women are be­com­ing im­por­tant clients, so there’s more at­ten­tion given at the level of prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, which I can see also at TAG Heuer. The women in the team give our feedback, and there are recruits for the de­vel­op­ment of women’s prod­ucts.

Which of the two do you think TAG Heuer put its fo­cus on: tech­ni­cal­ity or aes­thetic?

A bit of both. This year, we have more ladies’ watches in the Carrera col­lec­tion. We have the Con­nected Mod­u­lar watch as well, which speaks to women with its ad­justable straps, locks, and even the dial. With this time­piece, a con­fig­u­ra­tor en­ables you to cus­tomise your di­als with pic­tures. We’re do­ing it dif­fer­ently and do­ing our best in of­fer­ing more choices.

How does the world of fash­ion col­lide with the realm of watch­mak­ing?

The best ex­am­ple of this would be our Con­nected Mod­u­lar time­piece, which I love, thanks to its ver­sa­tile con­struc­tion. An­other thing to note is of its 36mm size, which is nei­ther too big nor too small, mak­ing it an el­e­gant time­piece.

Speak­ing of el­e­gance, your lat­est Carrera Heuer-02T com­bines so­phis­ti­cated gem-set­ting tech­niques with Grade 5 ti­ta­nium. What does that tell us about the TAG Heuer woman to­day?

They like customisation, and they like some­thing unique; this piece is def­i­nitely it. What’s also quite in­ter­est­ing is its light­ness. In the spirit of in­no­va­tion, we al­ways dare our­selves to test new ma­te­ri­als.

How does TAG Heuer keep an eye on the fu­ture while main­tain­ing a 157-year-old legacy?

In our mar­ket­ing ap­proach, we want to be young, dy­namic, dis­rup­tive, and avant-garde. You can see it from the way we have cho­sen our am­bas­sadors. An­other ex­am­ple is what we’re do­ing with our her­itage pieces. We have de­vel­oped a team of spe­cial­ists in our HQ to an­a­lyse all the pieces from our col­lec­tors. It’s re­ally im­por­tant to keep this link with our her­itage, and en­sure that we lever­age our her­itage but also build our fu­ture.

How does this link in­flu­ence the fu­ture of TAG Heuer?

We con­stantly check what our col­lec­tors like. For ex­am­ple, the Au­tavia is one of the most sought-af­ter pieces of chrono­graph in the TAG Heuer col­lec­tors’ com­mu­nity, and this year we de­cided to re­launch it. The orig­i­nal Au­tavia was the first wrist chrono­graph launched by Jack Heuer in 1962, and this year’s model is the re­sult of an on­line cam­paign called the Au­tavia Cup. Launched last year, we had 16 dif­fer­ent Au­tavias pre­sented to the pub­lic, and with 50,000 votes, dis­cov­ered that the most pop­u­lar time­piece was the 1963 Au­tavia Rindt. We’ve also had reed­i­tions like the Monaco and the Monza two years ago, so we con­tin­u­ously strive to rein­vent the past.

What sets TAG Heuer apart?

The idea of build­ing the fu­ture and en­sur­ing we are talk­ing to a young gen­er­a­tion. In many coun­tries, we have been the first wrist­watch that the young gen­er­a­tion owns, and we’d like to re­main this way. To­day, we’re see­ing more con­nected watches in the mar­ket. By working with two of the best com­pa­nies in this seg­ment, In­tel and Google, we are able to com­bine smart tech­nol­ogy with Swiss watch­mak­ing ex­per­tise.

How would you style your own TAG Heuer time­pieces?

I like to wear some­thing el­e­gant like clas­sic black trousers and a jacket, jux­ta­posed with a ca­sual watch. In the evening, I would wear more fem­i­nine pieces like the Carrera Lady with dresses.

Which are your favourite time­pieces?

I could see my­self wear­ing the Au­tavia. I do have some Carrera Men’s as well, but I have the Carrera Lady be­cause I re­ally like the 36mm. For the week­end, I wear the Aquaracer be­cause I’m very ca­sual then.

How do you keep your cool in the face of chal­lenges?

It’s find­ing the right bal­ance and know­ing what mat­ters to you. There’s a the­ory that I keep close to my heart: the four holes on your shirt rep­re­sents the most im­por­tant things in your life, and for the but­ton to stick, you need to have the four holes sewn in with thread. You may have to choose one or two that is more im­por­tant, so while that in­cludes fam­ily and work, I make it a point to keep ac­tive with ten­nis and pi­lates. It’s my way of find­ing bal­ance.

Amelia Sil­lard

Amelia’s go-to time­piece—the Carrera Lady

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