What are Girard-Perregaux’s 2017 objectives in terms of strategy and challenges with the watchmaking “crisis” surrounding global markets?
This year for us is a very interesting one because we connect the brand with its heritage and its history. We have 225 years of history at Girard-Perregaux and this year is a new chapter for the brand not only in terms of product offer, but also in terms of global strategy aligning the brand with its heritage. When you see the Laureato collection that was born in 1975, today it comes back with a complete family – four sizes and four movements. We need to capitalize on our heritage with innovation and creativity. 2017 for us is about two main launches and two main focuses, the Laureato and the Three Bridges, the iconic product that was launched 150 years ago. It’s a really great new chapter for Girard-Perregaux and so far the feedback has been incredible, especially with the Laureato.
Innovation and creativity are the two words that got my attention in your answer, since Girard-Perregaux has a relevant history full of achievements. How influential is that for your present and future?
That’s a very good question. At Girard-Perregaux we have more than 80 patents. We were the inventor of the quartz movement. For me, the R&D department is the most important department. Creativity for us is linked with our DNA. Each brand has its own heritage and we have to respect that heritage. That’s why creativity is the key word and the foundation to move forward, in line with the identity and the respect to the heritage of the brand.
What is your strategy in terms of educating watchmakers and taking them on board, in view of the recent catastrophic decisions made by some watch brands firing many watchmakers? Also, how do you see the immediate and the long-term challenges of sustaining the Manufacture skills and levels of Girard-Perregaux?
Key questions… For so many decades, Girard-Perregaux truly focused on the respect of watchmaking. For me, to protect and to pass the know-how from one generation to the other represents a prime responsibility. As a CEO, you do not only focus on your brand and your business but also on how to protect the whole watch industry. Each year, we at Girard-Perregaux have a lot of watchmaking interns coming to follow our internship programs, since you know we are not only a manufacture brand, we are also a “Haute Horlogerie” brand. We produce each year few hundreds of timepieces with very high complications at the real high-end segment. We won last year two GPHG prizes for “Haute Horlogerie for Men” and “Haute Horlogerie for Ladies”. So, in terms of some skills, you really have to pass the know-how since there aren’t schools where you can learn those skills. This is why it is a real responsibility to protect the watch industry. As the CEO, my responsibility is not only to focus on the Girard-Perregaux business and brand, but also to dedicate my time to protect the watch industry. We have a heritage of more than 300 years and it’s an incredible responsibility to take care of the watch industry.
Last but not least, how do you characterize Girard-Perregaux?
Girard-Perregaux is a real special brand with more than 225 years of history, with two different main business models; we are an Haute Horlogerie brand and a Manufacture brand. The key words for Girard-Perregaux are innovation, creativity and an incredible heritage.
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