Caran d'Ache Interview with Carole Hubscher-Clements
The President of Caran d’Ache discusses the brand’s new watch-inspired writing instrument and the similarities with the Swiss watch industry.
What is the connection between Caran d’Ache and fine watchmaking?
The very fact that we are based in Geneva is one connection, but we also share a lot of common ground regarding some of the crafts we use. It was therefore quite logical to come even closer to the world of watchmaking with our 1010 Timekeeper writing instrument, in which our craftsmen pay tribute to the know-how of the Swiss watchmaker.
How important is the Swiss Made label for writing instruments?
It is seen in a very positive light. Our writing instruments are 100% Swiss Made by us in our own workshops. We master over 90 different crafts in house at our workshops. Under the same roof we manufacture what we call the “colour products” for artists and children, as well as writing instruments for everyday use and fine writing instruments such as the 1010 Timekeeper, all of which have relatively little in common with each other. This is something quite unique. We made a strategic decision a few years ago to remain in Switzerland and to ensure that we capitalise on this Swiss Made label, or even “Made in Geneva” because we also include the city in our logo.
1010 Timekeeper © Caran d'Ache
You offer a lifetime guarantee, which is also quite unique…
Yes, some people say that we are a bit crazy. But we are working in the field of luxury after all and for me luxury is something that can be repaired. It also shows our confidence in the products we sell. This applies to all the fine writing instruments that we sell.
Caran d’Ache used to be at Baselworld alongside watch brands. Given all the controversy surrounding this year’s exhibition, do you ever see the company returning to exhibit at Baselworld?
Things are changing a lot and it was important for us to look into our presence at exhibitions and decide whether it made sense for us or not. This year we have favoured a more exclusive approach with our own event in Geneva, which will be followed by other events around the world. It allows us to spend a more intimate moment with our customers.
There is a lot of talk in the watch industry about e-commerce. What is the situation for Caran d’Ache?
We have been involved in e-commerce for around five years. You simply cannot ignore it as a distribution channel and it is very important for us. It is also growing very rapidly. At the moment we are mainly present in Europe and we have recently opened up our first e-commerce site in the USA.