Girard Perregaux’s pursuit of perfection – exclusive interview with Stefano Macaluso, General Manager
Girard-Perregaux has recently attended the second edition of TimeCrafter exhibition in New York and launched a new watch with the occasion. How important is the U.S. market for your company? Do you plan other mono-brand boutiques? (besides the one in New York)
The US market is an important market for Girard-Perregaux. We have long term plans in the US and for all Americas. For now on, we are fully satisfied with the development of our flagship boutique of New York City.
You have created a watch for Ermenegildo Zegna (Monterubello) and a watch for the anniversary of the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel. How important are these associations with luxury brands from other sectors? Do you have plans for future such collaborations, maybe from different luxury sectors?
As we have done in the past, we might collaborate in the future with brands of different luxury sectors as it is always interesting and enriching to share experience of high end craftsmanship.
How has your business strategy changed since becoming part of the PPR Group? Which are the most important advantages and the disadvantages of being part of a group of companies?
Girard-Perregaux remains a Swiss Manufacture of high end watches and we fully take advantages of PPR Group’s importance worldwide.
The media has announced in the past months that your company will create the mechanism for the first Bottega Veneta high-end luxury watch. Will your company be involved in distribution too? Do you plan similar collaborations with other PPR Group brands?
The Bottega Veneta watch has been already launched with success. Sowind Manufacture has been asked to develop the movement and technical aspects of the watch before assembling it. We are not involved in its distribution which is only made through the Bottega Veneta boutiques.
Which are the key elements that make up Girard Perregaux’s desirability as a luxury brand? How important is the aspirational factor and what is your approach towards aspirational consumers?
Girard-Perregaux’s exclusive savoir-faire makes the Brand’s uniqueness. We develop and produce high complicated movements such as the Tourbillon with three Gold Bridges. The Tourbillon being made of 73 components for a weight of 0.3 grams requires very specific skills.
With nowadays technology such as smartphones and tablets being most often used to check the time, rather than owning a wrist watch. Do you see this as a challenge or an opportunity? Are there undertakings of your company in terms of education, especially regarding the young generation of consumers?
Of course, watches have firstly to tell time but wearing a Girard-Perregaux is also wearing a piece of art. Young people are certainly attracted by technologies but we believe also curious about superior craftsmanship. We regularly organize workshops with our watchmakers for young people fascinated by the Haute Horlogerie.
What do you think are the best strategies of educating consumers in emerging markets? Which are the key features luxury watchmakers should highlight in markets such as India or Mongolia?
We have to reach our potential customers in emerging countries by all kind of networks depending of their cultures. Our selective distribution is an important way to reach them directly but also with coherent and dynamic messages through print or digital medias and events.
Apart from China, which is, presently, the best performing international emerging market for your company?
We are present worldwide and care of all regions to reach the best performances.
China is the country where you have most mono-brand boutiques. Why? Do you plan to replicate this type of retail distribution in other emerging markets?
The distribution structure of China allow us to develop a strong network of Boutiques but each market has a different approach so we analyze them to best stick to the culture and needs.
An increasing number of luxury brands have been embracing digital platforms as a means of communications. What is your approach in this respect?
Having a digital strategy is key to communicate but also to offer the best services to our clients and partners. See our new website www.girard-perregaux.com, our blog www.mechanicsofstyle.com or the site dedicated to our young watchmakers www.thenewfaceoftradition.com
Your company has been organizing touring exhibits focusing on craftsmanship. What is the feedback you received and what are the objectives you seek to achieve with these travelling exhibits?
We have excellent feedback of the worldwide tour we organize with our young watchmakers and it is the best way for Girard-Perregaux to explain its rich history of more than two centuries and present our innovation through its talented watchmakers.
Born in Italy, Stefano Macaluso is the son of Luigi Macaluso late President of the Sowind Group (owned by PPR Group) that incorporates a “Manufacture” and the two watchmaking brands Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard . Since 2003 he has lived in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel. There, he has successively held professional positions in strategy marketing, product creation and development, industrial management and in the Sales Department Direction for Girard-Perregaux. Among his achievements, he has coordinated the development of the Girard-Perregaux retail concept, from the first flagship store open in Gstaad in 2004 to the newest boutiques opened in New-york and China. Passionate for design, he puts to good use his architect background through his involvement in the product creation. Since November 2010, Stefano Macaluso has been appointed General Manager for Girard-Perregaux