Blancpain Baselworld 2014: Marc A. Hayek - Success in triplicate
Marc A. Hayek looks back on a successful year for the three Swatch Group brands in his charge – Blancpain, Breguet and Jaquet Droz – and talks to us about their latest products and his outlook for the year.
What are your impressions of Baselworld for the three brands for which you are responsible within the Swatch Group?
I am very happy with the performance of my three brands. All three have experienced growth in orders and sales here. They are even showing more growth than I expected, so I can’t complain.
How do you divide your time between these three brands?
I don’t divide it equally because it depends on the needs of the brands. I am currently spending a lot of time at Jaquet Droz for various reasons. It’s a smaller brand with fewer points of sale and it is present in fewer countries and has less marketing activities. Over the long term the rest of my time will be split almost equally between Blancpain and Breguet, although last year I gave a little more attention to Breguet. But physically I spend more time at Blancpain because it is the closest for me.
Do you also feel closer to Blancpain spiritually?
A little bit, but it’s more of a coincidence with the divers’ watches because Blancpain didn’t start making divers’ watches because I like diving! The brand has been producing them for a number of years and I got my first diving qualification at the age of 12.
The association with Lamborghini was also a coincidence. We were looking for a sports partnership that we could associate with mechanical watches and Lamborghini happened to be launching their racing series. It also went beyond mere cobranding and just producing a joint watch. It wasn’t simply because I like Lamborghini, although once I got behind the wheel of one of the cars it did help me to make the decision. But I didn’t look to create a story around it in order to do it. It should come naturally. I couldn’t have done the same partnership with Breguet, for example.
There is a big difference between the Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe model you are presenting this year and the X Fathoms model you launched in 2011. Is this Blancpain’s acknowledgement of a trend towards the more classical and understated models?
When we designed the X Fathoms model, we weren’t necessarily looking to produce a big watch but the challenge was to incorporate all the instrument functions that we wanted to and still ensure that the finished product looked like a watch. The original Fifty Fathoms has always been a classic watch that works very well.
What is your outlook for the coming year?
The world has been a lot more volatile over the past few years than it was, say, ten years ago. And you never know what is going to happen in the currency markets. Last year we managed to achieve growth in Swiss franc terms without any price increases. For the first three months all three brands have experienced better growth than the same period last year and there are no signs of this slowing down.
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