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Roger Dubuis - Interview with Nicola Andreatta, CEO of Roger Dubuis

Roger Dubuis Interview with Nicola Andreatta, CEO of Roger Dubuis

Roger Dubuis, sitting at the top of the Richemont group pyramid, has established itself as the “Hyper Horology” brand. Nicola Andreatta, CEO since 2018, talks about finding his tribe, supercharging the brand

What has changed for Roger Dubuis, since your arrival in 2018?
I didn’t make any fundamental changes to the brand because my predecessor did some good work, particularly in terms of the partnership with Lamborghini and Pirelli. But we have developed some aspects. For instance, we’ve clarified our field of expression in relation to this exceptional partner. Because we were highly dependent on tourism we have also rebalanced our distribution network, while establishing good relationships with points of sale around the world. In parallel, we have also doubled the number of boutiques in China and we’re continuing to grow there. As far as products are concerned, I decided to do away completely with the entry level, where Roger Dubuis is not competitive. Our prices will now start at CHF 45,000. We’ve strengthened our positioning in the haute horlogerie sector by focusing on our Hyper Horology concept, which adds an element of contemporary expression. Roger Dubuis is now the leader in the skeleton watch category, because all our watches are skeletonised.

The pandemic was an interesting time, because everything stopped. We chose to take that time to think about what would happen once it was all over. All these changes implied a need for adaptation, to ensure the brand was ready. Clearly, we accelerated our digital transformation, and today we sell watches online to people who have never held them in their hands. The e-commerce channel represents a significant distribution pillar. It encompasses fewer retailers than the 150 we currently have, and relies on genuine partnerships. We have completely overhauled the brand on the basis of our values; we’ve reviewed how we communicate and clarified what we do, why and for whom. The results are already there, because we wrapped up the last financial year in March with better results than 2019, before the Covid crisis.

Interview with Nicola Andreatta, CEO of Roger Dubuis

Nicola Andreatta, CEO of Roger Dubuis © Roger Dubuis

In what respect is Roger Dubuis a disruptive brand?
In every respect! When we started working on our brand values, we realised that the word that best defined Roger Dubuis was excess, from the Latin ex cedo, to go beyond. However, for some people, excess can easily evoke the dark side of strength, which we do not want, and that’s why we have associated it with three concepts: freedom, madness and pleasure. This conceptual trilogy accompanies everything we do. ‘Going beyond’ has become the leitmotif of Roger Dubuis; our teams are constantly seeking to push limits and imagine new possibilities. We operate in the field of Hyper Horology – a field we have claimed as our own by trademarking the term – which implies building on the tradition of fine watchmaking to reinvent it from an aesthetic and technical point of view. This might, for example, involve looking for new designs and materials and creating new calibres, as the brand has always done, but accentuating this novel approach. The brand’s disruptive spirit is also reflected in its choice of partners, who are also disruptive in their own spheres. Take Lamborghini, which not only designs supercars but also enhances the concept with a characteristic extra touch of audacity, especially on the aesthetic side. The same goes for contemporary art, and artists who think outside the box and revolutionise their disciplines, such as graffiti artist Gully and tattoo artist Dr. Woo, who has reinvented his art, to name just two members of our growing tribe.

You didn’t showcase many new launches at Watches & Wonders. Why was that?
It was deliberate. Watch fairs have changed, they attract fewer retailers and more collectors. We chose to avoid unveiling everything at the same time, preferring to showcase each product when it’s available, over the course of the year. Above all, we wanted to focus the attention of our clients and the media on the third pillar of the Excalibur collection, and showcase the trilogy effectively. It was born as a double tourbillon, then came out in a mono-tourbillon version, and now it’s available in an automatic skeleton model. They form a whole, and they represent the Roger Dubuis style. This trilogy was complemented at Watches & Wonders by Hyper Horology, expressed in our new Knights of the Round Table limited series, with its 12 legendary figures sculpted on the dial in a highly contemporary fashion, around a central tourbillon. For us, it was important not to dilute attention. This principle also applies to our boutiques, in the sense that the display cases don’t reveal everything all at once. We present a few watches in a high-quality setting, and we take the time to talk to the client, to discover more about their personality and which model would suit them best. That’s how we define exclusivity. Roger Dubuis is a destination brand, not a high-traffic brand.

Interview with Nicola Andreatta, CEO of Roger Dubuis

The Excalibur Knights of the Round Table © Roger Dubuis

What are the other highlights of 2022, for Roger Dubuis?
There are many! First of all, there are the Lamborghini Super Trofeos, virtually every month. We accompany all of their launches with a product of our own, as we did at the Pebble Beach event. In the second half of the year we will also welcome some new members into our tribe of urban artists, who will provide their own interpretations of the brand. Starting with the tourbillon and the star of our skeleton dial, they’ll provide their artistic perspectives on this architecture. I think there’ll be some surprises! And finally, we’re also creating some models exclusively for our e-commerce platforms. In total, we’ll release around 20 new watches, spread out over the year. We’re working on a very ambitious project for 2023.

Which model, in your opinion, represents the best of the brand today?
It’s always difficult to choose one model, but I’d say the Spider Huracán and the Excalibur Automatic Skeleton represent the quintessential Roger Dubuis, and they’re well positioned in terms of price because our exclusive positioning makes the brand relatively inaccessible at watchmaking’s very high end. We’re continually ramping up production of the Huracán but we’re unable to keep up with demand. Given that motor sport has occupied a significant place in our communication in recent years, we will soon focus more on our Hyper Horology, to show what we’re capable of. We will be pushing the brand’s exclusivity even further, and we’re making progress on some cutting-edge developments in design and techniques, with lots of new ideas on the horizon. Roger Dubuis is working on something quite revolutionary!

Interview de Nicola Andreatta, CEO de Roger Dubuis

Excalibur Spider Huracán © Roger Dubuis

 

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The Roger Dubuis Manufacture was founded on the desire for independence and watchmaking excellence. With remarkable dynamism, Roger Dubuis quickly ignited the world of Haute Horlogerie and has developed over thirty completely original in-house movements. Striking a fine balance between traditional watchmaking expertise and avant‑garde design, the Manufacture became a specialist in architectural skeletonised movements.

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