Raynald Aeschlimann, president of Omega, is confident that the demand for Swiss watches will rise again
Q. At Baselworld 2016, we saw some new watches from Omega, such as the Seamaster Planet Ocean models, Speedmaster CK2998 and the Moonphase Chronograph Master Chronometer. What was the underlying theme of these collections?
For Omega, Baselworld 2016 was about introducing more models with Master Chronometer certification. This high standard of precision and performance is something that we have committed ourselves to. It helps us establish trust and confidence. With a new generation of buyers coming through, this is extremely important.Q. Stephen Urquhart had an illustrious tenure as president. What do you propose to bring in or change at Omega?
It’s always important for a brand to remain true to its DNA. So I don’t foresee making any major changes. However, one of my challenges is connecting with a new generation of buyers. Those in the 20-40 age group are the future of our business, so we have to adapt our marketing, product and sales around their needs and wants. Things like social media and ecommerce are now very much a part of consumers’ lives. Q. Exports for Swiss manufacturers have been sluggish of late. Will demand for luxury watches improve?
It will improve. There is a lot of uncertainty in the world regarding politics, economies and social stability. That affects the entire luxury market, not just watches. I’m confident that things will balance out again. I don’t think the love of mechanical watches will stop. Omega remains an aspirational product, so the motivation to buy is already there. The Swiss industry still makes the best watches, so when the markets are calmer, demand will rise again. Q. How do you propose to increase Omega’s presence in India?
India remains an important market for Omega. We are renovating a major boutique in Delhi and meeting with some close clients to promote our new Globemaster collection. We plan to extend our boutique reach across India. There are plans to open a new boutique in Hyderabad and I hope we can continue with even more in 2017.
(This story appears in the 09 December, 2016 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)