A NEW DI­REC­TION

An hon­est chat with the new head hon­cho of Bre­itling, Ge­orges Kern THE IN-HOUSE DE­BATE

AugustMan (Malaysia) - - Baselworld 2018 - WORDS SEAN MOSSADEG PHO­TOS BRE­ITLING A jour­nal­ist from China kept pres­sur­ing Kern for a yes/no an­swer re­gard­ing a change in the in-house strat­egy. Kern’s rea­son­able re­ply was that brands should have both in-house and out­sourced move­ments to cater to diffe

ROUND TA­BLE IN­TER­VIEWS are typ­i­cally stress­ful for any in­ter­vie­wee. Jour­nal­ists cross­fir­ing ques­tions can change the flow of con­ver­sa­tion ev­ery two min­utes. But Ge­orges Kern showed he is a true vet­eran of the in­dus­try by the way he nav­i­gated the hail of queries. Read on to find out how he in­tends to re­vamp and el­e­vate Bre­itling.

Bre­itling has al­ways shown mys­tery at its man­age­ment level. How do you see the re­struc­tur­ing of its com­mu­ni­ca­tions?

Be­fore Bre­itling was ac­quired by CVC, it was a pri­vate com­pany be­long­ing to a pri­vate per­son who built some­thing fan­tas­tic. It was very suc­cess­ful in the US and Europe, but it needs to be ready for a dif­fer­ent set­ting.

Every­body has their style; I have mine. I have no prob­lems talk­ing to the press or be­ing on In­sta­gram. I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant in the con­text of a trans­for­ma­tion and it’s why we are do­ing these phe­nom­e­nal road­shows. We have been to Shang­hai, Tokyo, Osaka, Sin­ga­pore. I have met with 800 re­tail­ers, and hun­dreds of jour­nal­ists and blog­gers. We have been very ac­tive on­line for the first time.

When you look at the prod­uct, the nov­el­ties, how we re­worked the Chrono­mat, the Navitimer, the Su­pe­r­o­cean Her­itage... Sud­denly, you have a dif­fer­ent brand, but it’s the same. It’s just a con­tem­po­rary, more upto-date Bre­itling and in 40 min­utes, we will an­nounce some­thing huge. (AM: It was the an­nounce­ment of Bre­itling Squads)

Where do you see Bre­itling go­ing?

I would need hours to ex­plain that prop­erly. Let’s start with the first thing: strat­egy. Bre­itling has al­ways been per­ceived as a pi­lots’ brand, with a qual­ity of util­ity that can eas­ily ex­tend the world of Bre­itling into other spheres. Of course, aviation re­mains the brand’s main pil­lar.

Its em­pha­sis on func­tional, leg­i­ble pi­lot’s watches led to big­ger, overt de­signs. But Bre­itling also pro­duced el­e­gant watches like the Pre­mier and the Top Time. From to­day on, Bre­itling will once more ex­e­cute small el­e­gant watches along­side its big­ger broth­ers. We will fo­cus on con­tem­po­rary, stylish and taste­ful of­fer­ings. Take for ex­am­ple the Su­per 8 we just launched. It’s sized at 46mm, but it’s more restrained in de­sign and ex­pres­sion.

We are keep­ing big watches. We will work on en­hanc­ing the de­sign of our larger watches. For in­stance, our new Chrono­mat is satin-brushed, not pol­ished. We have com­pletely re­viewed the dial to be sim­pler and cleaner. It’s a whole new watch.

How will the new de­sign ethos be re­flected in the brand’s cam­paign?

Our com­mu­ni­ca­tion will be more in­dus­tri­a­land life­style-driven, with a touch of the neo-vin­tage. We want to keep it in­for­mal and per­sonal. In our bou­tiques to­day, we have stopped all the car­toons and the pop art-

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