Interview With Vincent Perriard, New(ish) CEO of TechnoMarine

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Vincent Perriard

This week we were very lucky to steal a few precious minutes with the highly energized, industry legend, Mr Vincent Perriard. Fresh from his role as the Global President of Concord, where he was instrumental in turning around the fortunes of the floundering watch maker, Vincent earlier this year took the reins at the iconic watch brand TechnoMarine. Never one to shy away from the limelight Vincent tells us what he has planned for this cool, hip brand that has unfortunately lost its way in more recent years. However, if TechnoMarine is the sheep than Perriard is surely the shepherd and it seems that greener pastures may just be closer than we think!

One thing is for sure, whatever the future holds, as long as Perriard’s around its going to be exciting!

TWL: What motivated you to take on the new role at Technomarine? What factors did you consider before accepting the position?

VP: I have been lucky enough to successfully reposition CONCORD in 3 years. After 3 years of hard work I started to receive a lot of phone calls… And the day I received Christian Viros’s call, it was different. Christian is one of the most talented managers the Watch industry has ever had. He is the man who repositioned TAG HEUER in the late 80’s and successfully sold the brand in the late 90’s to LVMH…

TWL: What do you feel you bring to the brand that it is currently lacking and why?

VP: E-N-E-R-G-Y… The need for positive energy is important in a brand. You need to have a vision. Translate your vision into an actionable plan. And then stick to it! I can bring this to TechnoMarine with a creative touch and my network.

TWL: At Concord you completely reinvented the brand, shifting the focus entirely and repositioning the brand to appeal to a much different target market. Do you plan to do the same with Technomarine?

VP: Yes. This is why Christian Viros wanted me on-board. My job is to recreate the brand with a new price segment, much more competitive but also much more compelling in a post-crisis situation! With a $300 – $3,000 retail price segment, we are much more “democratic” but want to offer the emotion and the content that you find in watches that cost $10,000+…

TWL: What changes are you planning to implement at Technomarine over the next 12 months and why?

VP: In Basel 2010 TechnoMarine is coming with around 100 new products to give a new dimension and coherence to our collections. We are coming with a total new team of creatives, marketers, sales people and designers. We are coming with a new brand identity with a new logo, color, new marketing concept, new advertising, new brand environment and a distribution totally reorganized and designed to penetrate the territories where we have no presence… this is STEP 1. This will be done in… 5 months of work (we have started our new mission on Sept. 1, 2009…)

STEP 2 is Basel 2011… we will create the buzz by reconnecting the brand with its core DNA: low end meets high end… Expect the unexpected. The brand will be credible, relevant and “cool” again…

Vincent Perriard

TWL: What do you think are the key strengths of the brand? What are its weaknesses?

VP: Strength: The brand has got a great and cool name that evokes something: Technique and Marine… There is something cool in the name. In any part of the globe retailers recognize this name and remember the good times of the TechnoDiamond… The plastic meets the Diamond. There is goodwill, without doubt.

Weakness: The brand has lost its point of view. Its “raison d’être”. We will reconnect the DNA of this brand with great products.

TWL: What does a Technomarine customer look like? What do they like about the brand and why do they choose to wear your watches?

VP: Our customers, back to the late 90’s were watch lovers. They were wearing expensive watches and went to the TechnoMarine universe because the brand was cool. It was not about money. A little bit like SWATCH in the late 80’s. You can be wealthy and drive a mini. You still look cool. TechnoMarine is not about money, it’s a state of mind. And we will recreate this State Of Mind…

TWL: How do you communicate and connect with your customers? Large watch companies are often criticized for not fully understanding and utilizing the internet and social media to market and promote their products. How do you plan to address this issue at Technomarine?

VP: The watch industry has been always afraid to enter into the electronic era… When a manager in the watch industry says “my company invests on the internet”, he says he is investing 10 to 15% of his budget online… and he buys a banner, that’s it.

We, at TechnoMarine, we are preparing a real online offensive strategy where VIRAL marketing takes place. We are producing around 120,000 units a year. Our reach is much wider than many watch companies. The internet is much more direct, more interactive, gives more creative opportunities. If you’re looking to buy a watch today, what is your reflex? You go online to see what the community says about your selected brand. Today, everybody goes online.

We want to strongly invest on the internet because it is much better to “own” one channel and to “treat” it in a very efficient way.

TWL: What does the future look like for Technomarine? Can we expect to see any major changes in design or functionality?

VP: Yes. We are working on disruptive concepts that no one has seen so far… But this is for 2011. We just started. In fact, remember that I started on September 1, 2009, 3 months ago. But you’ll be already surprised in 2010… I hope.

TWL: Finally, what is your favorite piece from the current collection and why?

VP: The CRUISE because the color of the watch can be changed in 10 seconds: new strap, new cover which makes your watch unique and following your mood. This watch is cool. It’s not a question of money, but a state of mind!

Tom MulraneyInterview With Vincent Perriard, New(ish) CEO of TechnoMarine

24 Comments on “Interview With Vincent Perriard, New(ish) CEO of TechnoMarine”

  1. Tom Mulraney

    Thanks for your preliminary comment Forrest, what did you think of the interview?

  2. forrest

    The length of the interview is just nice, i would also prefer it to touch (additionally) more on Mr Vincent Perriard personal view about the watch industry, his comments after all this years in the industries.

  3. Drew

    Good interview, I am looking forward to Basel 2010. Do you know what model he is wearing in the picture?

  4. Tom Mulraney

    Hi guys, thanks for your comments!

    Drew, I am not sure what model he is wearing in the picture but I will find out for you asap!

  5. Tom Mulraney

    Hi Forrest thank you also for your comment and feedback. I will see what I can do for you! :)

  6. Vincent Perriard

    Hello everyone.
    Thx for all comments. Usually I am faster to react, but I was back and forth between London, Paris and Geneva. We are now pitching with our new advertising partner…
    I am wearing the CRUISE AUTOMATIQUE, a US$ 600 watch with interchangeable strap and cover so I can make the watch look “black” or the other day “red” if I want.
    I would be pleased to answer more on my view on the industry. But I would enjoy if the question(s) could be a bit more specific (low end / high end / geography / etc…).
    Keep in touch!!
    Warmest regards from the Airports!!!
    Cheers,
    Vincent

  7. Drew

    Vincent, thank you for your response. I have a couple of questions for you. Right now the trend for watches seems to be to go large. Are the new models going to go with the trend or stay moderately sized at say 39-44MM?
    How soon will the new models be available after they are revealed on your site and/or at Basel 2010? Thanks in advance for your response. It’s really cool that you are connecting with the watch community.

  8. forrest

    Hello Vincent thanks for your reply.

    I would like to know your point on certain watches selling at at outrageous prices using just movements from ETA. Sometimes i was thinking is it due to craftsmanship? Branding? (based on the fact that we could get a nice german watch with ETA movement under USD700)

    Thank you.

  9. Vincent Perriard

    Hello Everyone,
    Back from Paris, where the snow created massive mess all around the city… including the Airport shut-down!
    Back in Switzerland.

    Let me answer your questions:

    1. For Drew: I personnal think the size of watches is not really a trend. It is a fact and a reality of consumer tastes evolving. In 20 years the evolution has been quite substantial! A watch man used to be 40mm in the late 70′s… 42 in the 90′s… 44mm in 2000′s and we start to see sizes going up to 47 or even 50mm theses days! It is not a trend. A trend goes back and forth… This is an evolution of taste.

    2. For Drew: In BASEL 2010, we will present 104 new references with 5 lines. The watches will be available at retail level within the following months (depending the line, the first new line the CRUISE SPORT being available in June, then in August with the CRUISE STEEL, etc…).

    3. For Forrest: The movement does not always reprensent the principle component of the cost. In the high-end range (+ 10,000 $ watches), the material and the complexity of the case construction brings the price up. Therefore, you can find an ETA watch for aound 100 $ today (SWATCH). Of course. But all other component are really simple (plastic for SWATCH of course). I don’t think there is a ripp-off from any watch companies. Why? Because if it was the case this company would be already gone. This is the basic principle of the “competition sytem”. People are not stupid anymore. They read, the see, the talk. Usually a watch company apply always the same mark-up system of x6 or 7 from the cost price of the watch. This “x6″ system covers your margin (to make a living), covers your marketing (to make your product visible), covers the merchandising (to package your watch) and covers the employees/watchmakers. This is always the same system for years. Nothing new. If someone goes above this “x6″ system, he will automatically be out of business because the consumer will see it, compare it and will then “kill” it in a second.

    Hope you’re all ok. Have a great w/end
    Vincent

  10. Tom Mulraney

    Hi Vincent, glad to hear you made it back to Switzerland safely and thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule and coming online to answer some reader questions. And what great questions (and answers!) they are!! I can’t speak for anyone else but I personally really appreciate the honest and insightful answers you are giving, as often these sorts of issues lay shrouded in mystery.

    I have a question to, if I may please? What do you think are the biggest challenges faced by brand when trying to sell the same or similar products simultaneously into multiple different geographical, and to an extent demographical, markets? And how can these challenges be overcome?

    I look forward to your response and thanks again!
    Tom

  11. Vincent Perriard

    Tom, it is a big challenge to launch a brand internationally. Therefore, ususally you decide to focus on priority markets such as the US, Europe (some markets only at the beginning), South East Asia, etc… You cannot “afford” to launch a new brand everywhere, especially if you want to penetrate the Chinese market that requests substantial marketing money to make you visible.
    With reagrds to a particular product sold in multiple zones, I believe you can always design something “universal” that will match people taste globally. This is what happens when you drink your Coke in New York or in Tokyo or in Mumbai.
    In the watch industry there are some “rules” yet. One being that it is quite hard to sell big/heavy watches in China for instence. This market is the most intersting market today but at the same time, the market is not a trend leader, on the contrary. There is a delay of around 10 years. in 2009, Chinese want flat, classical and small watches (2 tones as well). So you do have differences in market places, but less and less, since the world goes global, internet speed up the process.
    V.

  12. AP

    Hello,

    Thank you for the opportunity to ask questions, I hope that I am not too late into the picture! Just two quick ones -
    1. You say that at Basel next year, TechnoMarine will have around 100 new products – do you think that with so many new products there’s a danger of the consumer being simply flummoxed with too much choice and some of the lines/ models being overshadowed by others? Or will the new products be introduced selectively into different markets?
    2. With the planned “rebranding”, as it were of TechnoMarine, will a $300 – $3,000 retail price range be maintained, or will you tighten it up a bit? In terms of the types of people who buy $300 vs $3000 watches, in my experience they are very different!

    I look forward to seeing what the recreated “state of mind” is! :)

  13. Vincent Perriard

    Hello,
    A watch brand ususally “manages” between 100 to 150 SKUS (references) split in different collections. What I say is that we will revamp the 100 references of our collection (split in 5 collections). So technically, the CRUISE collection comes with different movement (chronograph, 3 hands, etc…) and different sizes (34mm, 40mm, 44mm, etc…). The number seems high but it is not! You will frind brands such as CHOPARD with more than 600 active references!
    The core business of TechnoMarine has always been 300 – 3,000 $. We keep it. We don’t not change anything. But we bring much more content into the watch (design + function + material). The price braget 300 – 3000 is not so big. TAG Heuer, just to give one expample goes from 500 $ to 25,000 $ !!
    Cheers,
    Vincent

  14. AP

    Thank you so much for your response! Ah okay, I think I must have misread (it was 1.30am :) ), I thought that you were introducing 100 plus *more* models!

    Ah yes TAG, I actually think they have a HUGE price bracket, which from purely a personal point of view, I find a bit too broad. It does lead to some of the more hardcore watch enthusiasts I know not thinking much of the brand….That all being said, there is no denying their success! In Australia, I believe they are the top “luxury brand”!

  15. Karen Sidney

    Hi Vincent,

    Can you tell me if Technomarine will release more of the Maori designs? I am searching for a mens Maori with Diamond to replace one that has gone missing – and genuine Technomarine Maori seem impossible to find on the net. There are also not many licensed dealers for Technomarine here in New Zealand/Aotearoa,
    with thanks,
    Karen

  16. Vincent Perriard

    Hello Karen,
    Thx for the interest. Yes, MAORI collection has been discountined but I think I can help you.
    Can you send me an email directly to my attention that I will be able to answer you via email again? My email is vincent.perriard@technomarine.com
    I will make sure we can help you.
    Warmest regards,
    Vincent

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