Promising Future
    Category: Forbes Life By : Forbes Indonesia team Read : 309 Date : Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 00:16:16

    Courtesy of Breitling

    Swiss luxury watch maker Breitling has a long history that spans from 1884 when it was founded by Leon Breitling, and is known for its pilot watches and precision chronographs. In April, private equity firm CVC Capital Partners bought an 80% stake in Breitling, for a reported $870 million, from the owning Schneider family, which will retain a 20% stake. The change in ownership brings new guidance for the brand and a new person at the helm, Georges Kern, who became Breitling’s new chief executive and a shareholder in the company in July 2017. Georges, 53, had previously worked as Richemont’s head of watchmaking, marketing and digital, and also as chief executive of brand IWC from 2002 to 2016.

    “The beauty when you are in private equity and you are also a shareholder yourself, the interests are aligned, everybody has the same interest,” says Georges during the brand’s roadshow to showcase the Navitimer 8 collection in Singapore. “I have to put my own money into this, so I have a fundamental interest that the whole thing works, therefore you will be careful with your cost, you look for efficiency in production and purchasing, everything you doing because there will be immediate impact on your profit and loss.”

    To start growing the brand, Georges has launched the first new collection—the Navitimer 8 collection—with a global marketing roadshow. While Breitling in the past two decades positioned itself as a macho pilot brand, Georges wants to revive the brand’s heritage beyond pilot watches. He also wants to make the brand more informal. “That’s why I’m here without a tie,” Georges says.

    He has prepared a revamp of many elements of the brand, including a new logo that was inspired from a logo used in the 1950s, the main difference being that the current logo doesn’t have wings in the background—to emphasize the brand is more than just aviation. The Breitling boutiques will also be changed, taking on a more industrial design, and renamed the Breitling Loft. The first Breitling Loft in Indonesia was opened last March, when the brand’s Indonesian retailer Time International renovated its store in Plaza Senayan in Jakarta. “It’s about coolness—but not in your face. It’s another type of clientele that we want to reach,” Georges says.

    Along with its new logo, Georges want Breitiling to be more appealing to a non-aviation crowd. To reach that goal, the brand will simplify its watch offerings into distinctive lines. For aviation core market, the collection is named Navitimer, and for the ocean lovers, it will be named Super Ocean, and for land it will be the Premier. The collections will be also be distinctive in their segmentation, with three clear segments: elegant, elegant sport and super sport. “We are going to be clearer in the way we structure the products lines, tell stories and associate emotions to each product,” Georges says.

    According to Georges, many know the brand is closely tied with aviation, especially with its famous jet team. What is less well known is that the brand is involved in motorsports such as the Tour de France and the Giro. The watch also was in a James Bond movie, worn by famous musicians such as Miles Davis and many sportsmen. “Breitling has been a very fashionable brand for many years,” Georges says. Women have also been attracted to the brand—for example being worn by actress Rachel Welch. For Georges, it’s this historic image he wants to revive. He is looking for a sweet spot of watches in the price range of $250 to $10,000. “This is where we want to offer more than not only a pilot watch but also elegant ones and sport watches.

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