Nicolas Bos, CEO of Van Cleef Arpels, an exclusive interview

CPP-LUXURY.COM has recently interviewed Mr Nicolas Bos, the CEO of Van Cleef Arpels, the iconic jeweller and watchmaker.

What is your strategic approach to creating awareness in emerging markets?

Our retail presence is very important, it is the best way consumers can experience our Maison– the heritage, the craftsmanship and the stories behind our products. We are a retail company and most of our stores are directly operated.

Exhibitions are also essential for presenting our brand, and, so are the internet and the catalogues. Our recent initiative to set up a jewellery school in Paris, in Place Vendome, existing and potential customers having the opportunity to experience each and every detail of our craftsmanship, tradition and creativity.

Is there a particular geographical region you are targeting in the near future?

We are present worldwide and we do want to be close to our consumers, but we do not have a specific area or country we focus on, to the detriment of another region. This year, in November, we are preparing for an exceptional event – the re-opening of our flagship store in New York, on Fifth Avenue, after an extensive renovation. We opened last week a boutique in Beijing at the Parkview Green Mall. We also focus on enlarging some of our boutiques and updating some, from an interior design point of view.

With the recent launch of the butterfly collection, are you aiming to create easier to market iconic products?

Yes, it is a first step in consumers understanding our brand and our products, especially in emerging markets. In mature markets, our Maison is well known and customers know exactly what our brand stands for.

Butterfly ring, Van Cleef Arpels

With several international luxury jewellers having ventured into different product categories, away from their core expertize, do you consider launching into any other sectors, besides watches and fragrances?

No. We want to continue to do what we do best. And I think we understand jewellery timepieces very well. Fragrances are a small business for us, which has been around for many years.

Jewellery is close to fashion, trends and aesthetics. How do consumers regard high jewellery? Can you differentiate between connoisseurs and collectors?

Many buy our products for their own pleasure, to wear them. But the investment factor – through durability, craftsmanship and materials – is indeed very important for some of our customers. Our products are works of art and connoisseurs would recognize the potential long term valuation of a certain piece. You can see the prices that some of our pieces are sold for, these days.

Would you consider collaboration with a fashion house?

We have successfully collaborated with Lanvin and Chloe, but more from the point of view of providing jewellery for their catwalk shows and thus, illustrating how to wear and match certain pieces. But we would not consider a designer collection for us.

How is your Maison related to lifestyle?

We have had very successful collaborations with the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and The London Royal Ballet.

Ballet has been an inspiration for our company. Claude Arpels and the renowned choreographer George Balanchine collaborated for the Ballet Précieux collection which was launched in 1967.

Van Cleef Arpels, Ballet Précieux Collection

Nicolas Bos

Nicolas Bos made his debut with Richemont Group in 1992, when he joined the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain. In 2000, he joined Van Cleef & Arpels, which had just been acquired by Richemont. He became the High Jewelry Maison’s Creative and Marketing Director.

His field of activity has steadily broadened to include the network of boutiques (development of the new concept and the international network) and watchmaking. In 2009, while remaining Creative Director, he was promoted to the post of Vice President of Van Cleef & Arpels. In 2010, he was also appointed President of Van Cleef & Arpels, Americas. On January 1st, 2013, Nicolas Bos became global President and CEO of Van Cleef & Arpels, replacing Stanislas de Quercize.

Nicolas Bos, CEO, Van Cleef Arpels