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Corum Corum makes changes

A new management team, a repositioning of the collections and multi-brand synergies within the group structure

Corum was in the news last Baselworld when it was announced that then-China Haidian Group, now Citychamp Watches & Jewellery Group Limited, had purchased the company. The entire watch industry has been a little on edge since, and has been watching anxiously to see how the brand will develop with this new ownership.

Well, Corum was once again in the news when its CEO and president, Antonio Calce, was relieved of his duties. To get the straight story about why Calce was let go and what is happening at Corum, I went straight to the source, Group Communications Director Marie-Alexandrine Leibowitch.

Why was the decision made to remove Mr. Calce?
Corum has achieved its notoriety through the many years of hard work previously. Therefore, the reorganization of the structure was needed to help ensure the maximization of the brand value to all the various stakeholders, including the staff members, distributors, retailers and investors.
This was a decision taken by Citychamp Watches & Jewellery Group Limited (ex-Haidian) and was welcomed by the Corum team.

What specific things will be done to put Corum back on track?
Corum will continue to maintain its brand positioning in the industry but we will also make the necessary adjustments according to the market changes. This will include adjustments such as the product strategy & structure, the market & POS strategies amongst others. Nonetheless, Uniqueness, Creativity and Exclusivity will remain an integral part of our philosophy.

In terms of product strategies & structure, the 3 pillars of Corum will remain intact i.e. Corum Bridges, Admiral’s Cup and Artisans. However, there will be a horizontal repositioning of the collections whereby we will restructure it according to “Entry-level”, “Mid-range” and “High-End” categories. Therefore, one of the foremost tasks is for us to reduce the number of references and provide a more competitive pricing for our timepieces.

In order to do this, we will not only continue to enhance our in-house capabilities but will also increase the contribution of the current best-sellers through the extension of the product life-cycle and increased marketing efforts.

What are the plans for distribution in various countries?
We are very lucky that our Chinese owners have a very strong base in the Asian markets, especially China, Hong Kong and Macau and it is something that Corum will definitely be tapping into.

Additionally, our immediate focus will also be targeted at the North American (USA), Russian, Middle Eastern and Indian clienteles. Citychamp Watches & Jewellery Group Limited will also be working hard to develop a multi-brand synergy within our subsidiaries and distributors.

How will the product be impacted?
Our product range will definitely be more streamlined and coherent with the DNA of Corum. We have also set up an internal product committee that is dedicated to developing the short and long-term product strategy of Corum.

This will also be part of our long term strategy to have a horizontal repositioning of the product collections whereby we will also be launching certain timepieces that are more adept to the market needs which you will be able to see the fruits of this direction towards the end of 2014.

Is there a current product that represents the future of Corum?
The Corum Bridges and the Admiral’s Cup collections will always remain the mainstay of the brand. The Corum Golden Bridge has been an icon in the watchmaking world since 1980 and the Admiral’s Cup since 1960. These are deeply rooted in our Corum DNA and it not only represents our past, but also our future.
At the same time, our Artisans collection is also an important part of Corum as it is also the representation of our historically iconic creativity.

Who is driving the future of Corum right now?
There is an executive committee of five persons headed by our long time employee, Jacques-Alain Vuille (Executive Vice President) who is responsible for the management and implementation of the operations and strategies. Each of these members brings with them a wealth of experience in their respective sectors – Finance, Commercial, Industrialization, Marketing, and Communications management.

There were concerns over Chinese ownership when the sale of Corum was announced. How should the industry view the latest developments?
Since years now, many other brands have no longer been under Swiss ownership, and where the owners come from should not be the most important issue. In fact, the owners have long had an experience in the watch industry (they are owners of 2 of the biggest brands in China: EBOHR and ROSSINI). They are also committed to Swiss watchmaking as is clearly reflected in their portfolio with Corum at the high end, Eterna in the mid to high range and Rotary at the lower-mid range.

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Corum takes aesthetic daring to the heights of technical perfection. Through a number of collections, drawing on the fundamentals of traditional watchmaking, the manufacture continues to pursue its path free from the influence of passing trends.

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