“WE WILL ALLOCATE A BIGGER BUDGET TO BRANDING SO OUR CLIENTS HAVE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHO WE ARE”
What will be your main focus at Corum over the coming year?
The Golden Bridge [ an iconic piece with the movement placed in the centre of the watch in a transparent crystal case] is going to be our main focus. We will enter the haute horlogerie and jewellery segment, which means more precious and coloured stones and different complications. The Admiral will also be a major focus: it will be presented in a new 38mm case and as a very seductive 45mm openworked version.
What new timepieces from 2018 are you most proud of?
The arrival of the mini version of the Bubble watch was certainly an important addition. The mini Bubble allows us to be very Corum – unique, different, a little bit crazy. It’s something that created a lot of buzz. I’m very proud, too, of the Golden Bridge Titane DLC, which represents a modern interpretation on what’s been a leading watch for us since the 1980s.
Actor Hu Bing is Corum’s newest global brand ambassador. How did he get involved and what makes him the right ambassador for the brand?
Hu Bing is truly a typical Chinese gentleman, and his achievements as a model and actor have proved his talent. His pursuit of excellence and continuous breakthroughs are the best interpretation of Corum’s persistent progress in fine watchmaking.
You recently announced that you would be pulling out of Baselworld to focus on engaging with the “real ambassadors of the brand – retailers, final customers and journalists” and to “invest the budget in other ways”. Tell us about your marketing strategies post- Baselworld.
It’s about giving more time to go deeper in discussions with our retailers, and helping them promote and sell the brand to consumers. We will be on the road more to meet the press in more intimate presentations to better adapt our communications to different audiences and cultures. In addition, we will allocate a bigger budget to branding so our clients have a better understanding of who we are. With GB, Admiral, Bubble, Coin and Romulus, we have so many icons, each different from one another.
Which timepiece have you worn most this year and what makes it so special? I very often have the Golden Bridge Stream on my wrist, as it looks beautiful when it catches the light. Another piece I’ve worn a lot lately is the Admiral 42mm steel and gold with the teak wood dial, an iconic piece from the 1980s.
What should we look out for from Corum in 2019? What are the forthcoming releases and developments that are exciting you most?
We created the Corum Lab to think out of the box in terms of products, distribution, communication and marketing. The goal is to go back to our founder René Bannwart’s spirit, mixed with the culture and vision of [ former Corum owner and creator of the Bubble watch] Severin Wunderman.
What do you expect to be your largest markets in 2019?
It’s important to us that Corum is viewed as a global brand. Hong Kong and Macau will remain the best in class but we see a very encouraging comeback in Japan and good results in India and Thailand. The US is starting to become more prominent and in Latin America, Mexico is definitely a good market for us.
How important will Hong Kong and China be for the brand in the coming years?
We just opened a Corum boutique in Beijing and one in Hong Kong. We have five in Macau and no other boutiques around the world. This makes it easy to understand.
What has been the biggest change in the watchmaking industry you have witnessed during your career?
There have been several: the creation of groups with a strong portfolio of brands, the arrival of many new watch brands, the explosion of mono- boutiques and, of course, the arrival of the internet.
In these economically challenging times, what is the most important thing the luxury watch industry can do to secure its future?
To stick to quality and authenticity. And not to forget that very often, less is more.