Time 'n Style meets Olivier Bernheim, President & CEO, Raymond Weil, for a short tête-à-tête.
What are your favourites from Basel 2012 collections?
I have two: Maestro is my week-long watch that's elegant. And the other is my weekend watch for casual wear, which is the Nabucco.
How has 2011 been for the brand?
It was a tough year. Despite everything that's happened [in terms of the economic debt crisis in Europe], the price of gold and diamond rocketing, the currency rate bottoming, we had many adverse elements and there was nothing we could do, but adapt ourselves. In that sense, a family business is more capable to react quickly. At Raymond Weil, we stay very coherent. We have the roots and history, and we can maneuver in an efficient and quick manner.
What's your take on the Asian market?
We have a very strong US market. That's the pillar. However, China is growing fast. India is a market where everything is still to happen. A part of our expansion there comes from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities like Ludhiana and Guwahati. That's how the market is, there is uncertainty. Somehow, that market is locked by internal politics.
As a brand, how do you bridge the gap between the aspirers' market in the emerging countries and the connoisseurs' market in the West?
Today the world is global. The new generation of 25-35 years is very well informed. It's a generation, which is knowledgeable. And they go to a shop with information. So it's important for us that our brand communicates. In India, where we have been present for so long, we need the boutiques to tell the customers who we are, what we represent. No other brand can offer such price for the kind of technologies we provide.
What does the brand mean to you?
For me, it's like art, culture, music. We are artists and trend-setters. We have access to the history of the company. All our collections have history, whether it's the Jasmine, Maestro or the Parsifal.
Give us three adjectives to define the brand.
Longevity, creativity and independence.
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