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Corum - Jérôme Biard’s big turnaround

Corum Jérôme Biard’s big turnaround

After just seven months in the job, Corum’s CEO has completely overhauled the brand. Here’s our interview.

You have achieved a lot in a very short space of time. Tell us more about the renewal of the brand.
I like to summarise my strategy by saying that I want people to see the spirit of René Bannwart, who founded the brand. This means moving slightly up range, improving quality and being a little bit audacious. With this in mind we have completely renewed the brand image with new colours, more refined lines and lighter showcases. I also believe that less is more, so we will decrease production, reduce the number of retail outlets and the number of references in our collection. At the same I want to add more value to the brand through the quality of its products and bring back some of the crazy creativity for which the brand has been known in the past. 

What has the initial feedback been on this renewal and the 2018 collection?
The first feedback came very quickly when we had our kick-off meeting before Baselworld. Our representative in Germany, who has been working with the brand for over 30 years, was impressed as soon as he saw the showcases. I have had similar feedback from journalists. Yet the team itself has not changed. One thing I appreciate is that we are a small team, but we do everything ourselves. We have talented people who have even produced our advertising images and our product packshots.

Le grand revirement de Jérôme Biard

Corum booth at Baselword 2018 © WorldTempus

You have some very interesting and very unusual brand ambassadors. How do you find them?
Some of them are unknown and unheard of, so we have to go out and find them! We already had some great ambassadors for the Bubble collection, but I didn’t want to have too much focus just on that collection. There was some humour, which was good, but it needs to be in addition to the serious side of things. So we discussed what we could do and we found Joachim Horsley on YouTube. We liked his original approach because it fits with the brand. We are different and so is he. When we contacted him he didn’t even have an album and was financing his first launch on Kickstarter. He has only just done his first concerts in Europe. 

The contact with Djibril Cissé came about in a totally different way. One of my sons noticed that in one of his posts on Instagram he was wearing a Bubble. He got in touch with Djibril through Instagram and he passed this on to his agent. They met in Lausanne and things developed from there. He bought his first Bubble in 2002 and he now owns several models and has already offered to do a lot for us. You can see some promotional photos we did with him that were shot against a plain concrete background in our building by our own in-house photographer.

Did you see any difference at Baselworld this year?
We had a lot of visitors and Baselworld is very important for us. But it’s also important that we are surrounded by the right brands. I’m not necessarily talking about price range but about creativity and innovation. We need to be among dynamic brands. 

Does that mean a younger clientele?
Not necessarily. You have younger people who act older and older people who act younger, so it’s more about a type of person than their age. That is what we need to find. 

Do you have any plans for e-commerce?
We opened an e-boutique as a test during Baselworld. We have about 30 models in it and we will have some exclusive models in this store. We must have a commercial presence on the Internet, because it’s the reality of today. People go shopping online after dinner for example. We have found an original way to do this with a “Bitcoin” watch. The Coin is an iconic watch at Corum and a bitcoin version is the perfect model for exclusive online sales. 

How does the bricks-and-mortar retailer fit in with this strategy?
I’m happy to help retailers who help us. If we see an uptick in online orders coming from a city with a retailer and we see that this retailer has been doing a good job, then we will find a way of rewarding him. But the data will also show us where the concept isn’t working. It’s important for us at this stage to be working with retailers who are prepared to invest in the brand. I’m not going to chase after retailers who are not interested. I would rather build up the notoriety of the brand and let them come to us in a few years’ time.

Jérôme Biard’s big turnaround

Hobo Coin © Corum


Take the example of Laurent Picciotto of Chronopassion. He goes far beyond just doing business and comes to me with proposals. We developed the Hobo Coin watch with him and he ordered 15 of them. He will be the first retailer to sell them and all other retailers will have them afterwards. He is more than just a retailer, he is an influencer. People listen to what he has to say. And as if by magic, retailers who weren’t interested in helping us are suddenly interested in the Coin watch. 

If you could only wear one watch in the 2018 Corum collection, which one would it be?
It’s the Admiral with the teak dial. It corresponds best to my personality and I can wear it easily in any circumstances. Without a doubt it’s my favourite. 

Le grand revirement de Jérôme Biard

Admiral’s Cup AC-One 45 Bois © Corum


Lecture 1 Comment(s)

16 April 2018
Lensselink Willem
Corum ....."take your time to make your choice out of the collection" No doubt it will be a "corum" My choice....admirals cup legend 47 worldtimer! Succes Corum! Willem

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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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