“WE WILL AL­LO­CATE A BIG­GER BUD­GET TO BRAND­ING SO OUR CLIENTS HAVE A BET­TER UN­DER­STAND­ING OF WHO WE ARE”

Prestige Hong Kong - Tic Talk - - PEOPLE | INSIDE VIEW - Jérôme Biard CEO, Co­rum

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.

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