“TO­DAY CLIENTS ARE A GREAT DEAL MORE SO­PHIS­TI­CATED THAN BE­FORE AND MUCH MORE SEN­SI­TIVE TO WHAT BRANDS ARE COM­MU­NI­CAT­ING”

Prestige Hong Kong - Tic Talk - - PEOPLE | INSIDE VIEW - Tim Malachard Head of mar­ket­ing, Richard Mille

What will be your main fo­cus at Richard Mille over the com­ing year? We will con­tinue to in­no­vate in terms of new watches, as we have al­ways done since the brand’s cre­ation in 2001. We never rest on our lau­rels, and this is also what is ex­pected by our clients. We will also con­tinue to open new ded­i­cated Richard Mille bou­tiques in ma­jor cities such as Moscow and Bei­jing. We re­cently opened a flag­ship bou­tique in the heart of New York which is al­ready at­tract­ing clients and prospects from all over the world. Our growth must be very con­trolled. Our ob­jec­tive is to dras­ti­cally re­duce the num­ber of re­tail­ers by the end of the year, and then to have only bou­tiques by the end of 2019.

What new time­pieces from 2018 are you most proud of?

To be hon­est, each of them is very dif­fer­ent. The RM 53- 01 launched at the SIHH fair in­no­vated with its light con­struc­tion and shat­ter­proof lam­i­nated glass. The RM 1103 Mclaren Chrono­graph from the Geneva Mo­tor Show in­tro­duced a spe­cific lim­ited- edi­tion watch de­vel­oped with our part­ner Mclaren and its de­sign team. We also launched our first in- house Au­to­matic Tour­bil­lon move­ment in the form of the RM 71- 01 Tal­is­man, and fi­nally the RM 25- 01 Tour­bil­lon Ad­ven­ture with Sylvester Stal­lone. Each model re­quired spe­cific de­vel­op­ments and is very dif­fer­ent in char­ac­ter yet all share the pas­sion found within Richard Mille.

What have been your other high­lights over the past year?

The on­go­ing re­la­tion­ships with all our brand part­ners, who we are also for­tu­nate to call our friends. Many are now part of the brand for many years, like Felipe Massa and Rafael Nadal, and it is a real plea­sure to work with all of them. This year new part­ners joined us such as Nafis­satou Thiam and Yuliya Levchenko, both highly com­pet­i­tive in ath­let­ics yet very warm and hum­ble hu­man be­ings.

Which time­piece have you worn most this year and what makes it so spe­cial? The RM 67- 01 Au­to­matic Ex­tra- Flat, launched over three years ago. I find it ex­tremely com­fort­able yet very chic and dis­creet, es­pe­cially in ti­ta­nium. It is a watch that is per­fect to wear dur­ing the week and also on week­ends.

Will there be any spe­cific re­leases aimed at the youth mar­ket for 2019? We are a young brand that also has a very young fol­low­ing. For ex­am­ple nearly 50 per­cent of our fol­low­ers on In­sta­gram are aged be­tween 18 and 35 years old. We rel­ish the chal­lenge of launch­ing new mod­els with ex­cit­ing ma­te­ri­als and many young clients love all our in­no­va­tions in modern ma­te­ri­als, such as with our part­ner NTPT with their car­bon and quartz vari­a­tions.

What do you ex­pect to be your largest mar­kets in 2019?

We don’t have a largest mar­ket. We have an even split where a third is the Amer­i­cas, a third the EMEA re­gion, a third Asia and 10 per­cent Ja­pan.

How big an im­pact are tech­no­log­i­cal changes hav­ing on your busi­ness? Tech­nol­ogy is a core part of what goes on at Richard Mille. We have a de­vel­op­ment team at the fac­tory of over 15 peo­ple. We are driven by tech­nol­ogy, be­ing a brand that has al­ways in­no­vated and never looked to the past for in­spi­ra­tion. It is in­ter­est­ing to see that we share ex­actly the same val­ues with our part­ner Mclaren, seek­ing to al­ways in­no­vate while stay­ing true to our val­ues.

How im­por­tant will Hong Kong and China be for the brand in the com­ing years?

Both are very im­por­tant. For many years we have had two ded­i­cated bou­tiques in Hong Kong that are per­form­ing ex­tremely well. In China we have a flag­ship store in the heart of Shang­hai and are cur­rently build­ing a bou­tique in Bei­jing that will open soon.

Who has been your per­sonal great­est in­flu­ence in the watch­mak­ing world, and why?

You might find this too ob­vi­ous as an an­swer, but it’s Richard Mille, who I have had the priv­i­lege to work for over the past nine years. Ev­ery day has been ex­cit­ing and full of new chal­lenges and yet the pas­sion is so present that it tran­scends through the com­pany all the way to our cus­tomers.

What has been the big­gest change in the watch­mak­ing in­dus­try you have wit­nessed dur­ing your ca­reer?

The dig­i­tal age and the younger gen­er­a­tion who are chang­ing the tra­di­tional way that watches were sold for many decades. To­day clients are a great deal more so­phis­ti­cated than be­fore and much more sen­si­tive to what brands are com­mu­ni­cat­ing.

In these eco­nom­i­cally chal­leng­ing times, what is the most im­por­tant thing the lux­ury watch in­dus­try can do to se­cure its fu­ture?

Adapt to the re­al­ity of the de­mand and un­der­stand who they are ac­tu­ally try­ing to tar­get and sell to.

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