Following his recent roadshow in Tokyo, Breitling CEO Georges Kern is eager to launch the new Breitling Premier collection in Singapore. Wearing a classic grey plaid suit, he has just wrapped up his presentation about the brand’s rich history, heritage, and achievements. In terms of activities and initiatives, Breitling also recently launched the #squadonamission campaign and a partnership with non-profit environmental organisation Ocean Conservancy. We sat down with Kern to learn more about his strategy and innovations for the upcoming year.
As you know, we have two different groups of collectors: those for vintage and modern watches. What do you have in store for them? To unify the two communities, we need to continue to offer and develop bigger watches. The Premier is reflecting and corresponding to the request of the people who prefer something historical. In three months, we are relaunching new editions of collectors’ items, and we are going to keep the size and movement. There are many cool executions coming next year.
Breitling has a rich history. Are there any ideas you would like to implement from the archive but which have not been feasible? You have to distinguish between the technical and the aesthetic aspects. Once, there was a one-hand movement, but today it is no longer available, so we have to figure out something close.
What do you think of large-scale exhibitions like Baselworld and SIHH? We will be in Baselworld in 2019, but I am skeptical. If we’re talking about marketing platforms, I prefer to travel and do roadshows rather than participate in a fair because it is more personal, impactful, quick, and efficient. In the digital world, it is unacceptable to present a product in fairs and ship it months later. So I prefer setting dates and launching products when we are ready to ship them. The Premier is actually the best example of that. We have been getting phone calls from customers, and I can tell them the product will be available next week at their nearest boutique. If I tell them it will be available in eight months, they will buy something else.
Moving forward, will we see something like the Breitling Summit in London and Beijing? Yes, we would like to have a summit again. This was a great learning session for everyone. Next year, we definitely want to invite all the sales associates, have more sessions with major retailers, and perhaps have a bigger presentation. It’s powerful and phenomenal, but I believe we can do better. I think we need six anchor points to which people would travel, so let’s say Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Japan, the US, and Europe.
Which country in Asia represents the largest market for Breitling? Japan, by far. We are huge in Japan, which is a proof of our success. However, we also try to be more appealing to Chinese buyers. Their purchasing power is endless. We have huge digital initiatives in China, but we need to build more physical stores.