Esquire (Singapore) - - Style -

The first part of its name stands for tech­niques avant-garde, so it stands to fol­low that Tag Heuer is a brand rooted in in­no­va­tion. For the most part yes, but there had been some di­rec­tional changes lately, es­pe­cially since the leg­endary Jean-Claude Biver has been stand­ing at its helm. Tag Heuer made great in­roads into ul­tra­pre­cise time­keep­ing with hun­dredths of a sec­ond to thou­sandths of a sec­ond chrono­graphs, but ar­guably those prod­ucts have not been true to its core seg­ment. Un­der a new man­age­ment, there is a clearer sense of iden­tity, one that bal­ances its rich her­itage with mean­ing­ful in­no­va­tion.

CEO, Jean-Claude Biver:

“Yes vin­tage watches are a big trend, and no it’s not a good trend. The trend to re­peat yes­ter­day is not a good trend. Why? Be­cause we can­not go for­ward by re­peat­ing yes­ter­day. It’s a trend that shows peo­ple are hes­i­tat­ing, that peo­ple don’t know what is to­mor­row. And when you don’t see to­mor­row, where do you look? You look to yes­ter­day.

“It’s not nec­es­sar­ily a good trend but, on the other hand, be­fore go­ing to to­mor­row, you must un­der­stand yes­ter­day. If you un­der­stand his­tory, you can un­der­stand the future. I think it’s a trend that comes from mil­len­ni­als who need to con­nect first to yes­ter­day be­fore they can go to to­mor­row, so it’s a trend that I can un­der­stand. But it’s not a trend that will last. That is prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant thing to say. That it’s a trend that’s nec­es­sary for the mil­len­ni­als but it’s not a trend on which you can build the next 10 years.

“Building the next 10 or more years is the job of vi­sion­aires. You must project, you must take risks, you must in­no­vate, you must cre­ate. This is what has to be done. To do this you need peo­ple with courage. Courage to be wrong, courage to see dif­fer­ent, etc.

“If you want to be suc­cess­ful, you must be first, dif­fer­ent and unique. You can­not be first, dif­fer­ent and unique with­out tak­ing risks. If I want to be unique, I can­not copy oth­ers. If I want to be first, I can­not be be­hind any­body. Be­ing first, dif­fer­ent and unique po­si­tions you, gives you im­me­di­ately the high­est risk fac­tor. First, dif­fer­ent and unique has the high­est risk fac­tor, but it’s also the best way to win. If you’re first, dif­fer­ent and unique, how can you lose?

“If the mes­sage of your brand is to re­peat tra­di­tion, then you should re­peat tra­di­tion. If the mes­sage of your brand is to be dis­rup­tive, and you re­peat tra­di­tion, then you’re wrong be­cause you’re not fulfilling the mes­sage of the brand. Ev­ery brand has its own mes­sage and ev­ery brand has to adapt its phi­los­o­phy and man­age­ment to this mes­sage. The mes­sage of Tag Heuer is tech­niques avant-garde. We want to be a young dy­namic brand. There­fore what we do is right for the DNA of Tag Heuer, which will prob­a­bly be wrong for the DNA of Zenith for in­stance, be­cause Zenith has a com­pletely dif­fer­ent mes­sage.

“Com­pa­nies today have to adapt their mes­sage. They also have to adapt to the cus­tomer. They have to com­mu­ni­cate to the cus­tomer in their lan­guage and by lan­guage I mean tat­too or mu­sic or fash­ion, etc. I use lan­guage as a global def­i­ni­tion of the be­hav­iour. Adapt­ing and speak­ing in the lan­guage of the new gen­er­a­tion is some­times the most dif­fi­cult thing be­cause not ev­ery­body can ac­cept. Here’s an ex­am­ple: Catholi­cism in the ’60s de­cided to stop cel­e­brat­ing its cer­e­monies in Latin be­cause not enough peo­ple un­der­stand Latin. All the old guards started whin­ing. Come on, stop it, that lan­guage which no­body un­der­stands, why do you even need it? Lan­guage is some­thing that peo­ple un­der­stand so it’s bet­ter to use French in France, Ger­man in Ger­many, etc. This way you will drive more peo­ple to come to church be­cause they un­der­stand. See what I mean? Adapt­ing the lan­guage is the key to newer younger au­di­ences.”


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