WT: So the agenda going forward for the Ingenieur will be that as Formula One technology evolves, so will this collection and its materials? GD: Yes. We have signed a three-year agreement with Mercedes Formula One Petronas and we believe that we will continue in this direction.
WT: Is it difficult, with six watch families and one being the focus each year, to devote attention to the entire line? GD: Quite simply, it is impossible from a budget standpoint to focus [our marketing] on all the lines at once. So we must set our priorities. This year, we need to make sure that the Ingenieur line is built up in the market and will be a commercial success, which we are 100 percent sure it will be. It doesn’t mean that we don’t talk about Pilots or the Portuguese, but the major focus this year, through all our marketing channels, is clearly the Ingenieur.
WT: IWC opened its first flagship boutique last year, and has opened them in several other cities since. Are there plans to expand further? GD: Opening a flagship boutique in New York was a decision made by Georges Kern about three or four years ago with my predecessor, Benoit de Clerc. They wanted to make a statement in the U.S.A. and to create a new benchmark in distribution — to send a clear message to the market that these are the distribution standards we want to achieve all over America. We’ve been very successful in New York and we continue to invest in strategic boutique environments like Miami, Los Angeles, and South Coast Plaza in Orange County. We’ve recently opened a boutique at the Wynn in in Las Vegas, and we are looking into potential new markets where the opportunity arises. We feel this will raise the bar of our distribution and of our service, and that it represents the experience and the lifestyle that we want to communicate to our end customer.
WT: Many luxury brands have been starting up their own boutiques; do you see that as the future of the luxury watch business? Is there going to be a de-emphasis on other retailers at some point? GD: Absolutely not. I think that a healthy mix of both makes sense. We are very much in need of quality partners that support the development of the brand, and we cannot do it without them. That’s the strategy that we are focusing on for the future.
For a look at more watches from the new Ingenieur collection, check out Alexander Linz’s report from the 2013 SIHH on Watch-Insider.com.
Good job Gianfranco and WT.