Ulysse Nardin An interview with Patrick Pruniaux
“Ulysse Nardin innovates a great deal, as illustrated by five new calibers this year, as well as in terms of communication”
With regard to Ulysse Nardin, on which you have devoted a lot of energy over the past two years, are the results in line with your expectations?
As it so happens, they most definitely are! Ulysse Nardin has achieved a very good level of coherence and alignment between history, brand, product and distribution, which must continue to be fostered. In addition, it is a brand that innovates a lot in terms of communication as well as products, with five new calibers this year. These can be found in watches as different as the Mega Yacht Navy, the Freak X which appeals to Asians, the Skeleton X which is much loved American, and the Freak NeXt with its giant pivot-free oscillator. Our authentic, distinctive and modern message is very well received by end customers, retailers and the media, which are reflecting this image of a new dynamic. In order to reinforce the relevance of our communication in key markets, we have opened two stores in China and one in Geneva, making a total of twenty, but Ulysse Nardin does not aim to multiply them, as we are maintaining our distribution network of retailers. There are real opportunities and we have strong growth potential. Given that we only talk about half of what we do, we have a plenty of scope for expansion! Moreover, I am fortunate to be able to count on a team of talents who have great ambitions for the brand.
© Ulysse Nardin
Your site provides a chance to “Find your Ulysse Nardin” using a configurator; does this also provide you with useful information?
Absolutely. We have accelerated our digital transformation in order to achieve the right level of conversation with the consumer. For me, this is the crux of the issue. The consumer experience now begins online, it must be facilitated and done without any taboos. Benchmarks exist both inside and beyond the watch industry. We are all consumers and have no reason to act differently when buying a watch, a car, or other luxury goods and services. We must inspire but also top-rate practicality and then roll out this approach in stores so as to attract end consumers to see and touch the product. When the customer sees the watch, or visits the manufacture, all questions are answered.
Did the launch this year of your X factor shared by the Freak and Skeleton collections stimulate interest or blur the message?
This is a facet that strengthens the brand's message. The X factor expresses technical sophistication in a more modern way, it symbolizes the existing brand values in a single letter. For some people it rapidly enables a clear grasp of the brand’s technology and design. This is particularly the case for our Freak X Only Watch.
The maritime universe is part of Ulysse Nardin's DNA; does this source of inspiration help guide creativity as much as innovation?
Above all, it is a demanding and very often authentic universe. It nurtures reflection and can be both technical and poetic. We saw this once again this year with our Classico Manara featuring artistic crafts, but also prior to that with the Divers chronographs of the Artemis Racing created for the America's Cup challenger. We use their discoveries, for example in the foil, to achieve enhanced comfort, lightness and resistance, all of which are key parameters in yachting.
© Ulysse Nardin