When we met Jean-Marc Pontroué in early 2012 he was a man full of vitality and a mane of black hair , Over the years, the energy level has remained the tireless chief executive, while his coronation has earned its Clooney-like salt and pepper strokes. Roger Dubuis who was appointed to the top position at the head of Roger Dubuis inherited a suite of challenges that he has since overcome in a true Arthurian manner. Jewel in Krone, there is no greater victory than a milestone, an event that changes history – a noble marriage like the old ones.
The Need to Create an Easy-to-Understand Icon Without the Luggage of Lengthy Explanations Pontroue's Strategy of the Depth The partnership between Lamborghini and Roger Dubuis lifts commitment beyond mere arranged marriage, but instead heralds a new one Era for the empire while preserving familiar traces of descent and legacy.
See New Avalon: Roger Dubuis CEO Jean-Marc Pontroué Discusses the Future for the Makers of Excalibur
If you need to write two pages about why the partnership works, forget it. It's like marrying, if you have to explain why you are in love with a lady, you should forget it. – Why Roger Dubuis collaborated with Lamborghinii
Why did Roger Dubuis choose Beijing?
It is important to select countries where the brand has depth and meaning; We worked with FFF, a Chinese racing team for Lamborghini, and decided to use the underground car park of SKP, the leading department store in Beijing, for a cool party. The nice thing is to find places that are not the usual areas, we hate restaurants and hotels, Roger Dubuis is positioned to be unpredictable. It also follows our big opening event at Sant'Agata Bolognese, Emilia-Romagna, where we had cleared the machines to place tables so that over 100 people could eat in the factory hall with the super sports cars.
There is a clear direction for motorsport for the brand, how did that become an important angle for Roger Dubuis?
It was a strategy of envy. We made dinner with customers, where they revealed to us that their favorite cars were Lamborghinis. This revelation kept coming up, so we decided to meet with the automaker to see what we could do together. At the time we were not looking for a partnership, we've never had one. First, we learned about the FFF, one of the leading Chinese teams in the Super Trofeo Championship, and we partnered with them in 2016, our foot in the door of motorsport. Second, we teamed up with Pirelli and Lamborghini. These are the three key elements to building a true motorsport collaboration: Special Lamborghini Editions to Inspire on Special Calibers and Models Pirelli for the Belts on Specific Models and Finally an Authentic Racing Culture Supported by Racing
Do you know Lamborghini lovers who do not yet own Roger Dubuis watches, and do you see special features in them?
We have had 15 events with Lamborghini in places like USA, Japan, Switzerland, UK and France and we have found out that the Lamborghini owner is the same kind of animal. The profile is mostly male, young and people who want to lead an extraordinary life. For them, a car is not about driving from point A to point B. If they want to say time, they will go with something cool like a Roger Dubuis. They have a heart and an opinion for something special and unique and not through advertisements like the "most viewed" brands; Roger Dubuis is not a mainstream watch and Lamborghini is not a mainstream car.
We are two small brands in two company giants, Lamborghini in Volkswagen and Roger Dubuis in Richemont, we are very agile, very creative and extremely forward-thinking, with no barriers to history. There are no rules. We create things that do not exist in the industry. The price does not interest us, we just want to know that this was not done before. We are not in a competitive environment. The Prime Directive creates something for us that does not exist in cars and watches. The typology of our two listeners is very close together – a love for crazy products and a lot of personalization and others with a similar drive and passion to meet.
If you're a young brand, one year of development counts as a lot of history. If you are 300 years old, what is a year? Roger Dubuis always wanted to create a new generation of watchmakers, he did not want to create a classic high-end brand, the market is saturated; The successful brands are today high-end and disruptive. – Pontroue on the design of Roger Dubuis strategy and message
Roger Dubuis himself was known for his sympathy bi-retrograde calendar, and now we see many watchmakers involved with carmakers in a collaboration, meaning people who do not understand the brand There may be a sensation that design is over-emphasized, do you feel that it detracts from the efforts and advances that the brand makes?
Roger created the brand with two principles: to create crazy moves in crazy designs. When Richemont acquired the brand, we worked to rebuild the brand and improve the efficiency of the movements. Now we believe it's time to bring more creativity to our events and products. I think it's still the same brand that Roger Dubuis created, and while he focused on movements and body shapes, we've added materials to the equation. If you are a young brand, one year of development counts as a lot of history. If you are 300 years old, what is a year? Roger Dubuis always wanted to create a new generation of watchmakers, he did not want to create a classic high-end brand, the market is saturated; The successful brands are today high-end and disruptive. Lamborghini sells 3-4 years in advance worldwide, we are in the same business, Geneva (production) can not produce 10,000 pieces tomorrow. We produce 4,000 a year, which makes us exclusive.
Before you decided to collaborate with Lamborghini, have you studied the other failed partnerships, like those with Ferrari? Did you learn something from their mistakes?
In the field of corporate partnerships, there are more failures than successes. We studied many industries and learned that a partnership only makes sense if you do not have to explain it. If you need to write two pages about why the partnership works, forget it. It's like marrying, if you have to explain why you are in love with a lady, you should forget it. It applies the same principle – it is a love story.
First, customer experience – we wanted to add value to Roger Dubuis' customers by giving them something out of the ordinary. What can we offer Lamborghini customers beyond the thrill of a new car? A clock start is similar to any other watch start, but adding the Supercar Touch brings a different perspective. For Lamborghini, a new complication that is closely linked to the Supercar architecture brings something new to the equation. Second, we also did not want to have a branded product. The watches are not brand Lamborghini, what the other failed collaborations have done, is an existing product taken and just dressed them with a logo and then write two pages to justify the partnership. For Roger Dubuis we have no other trademarks than the novelties of the Aventador collection, which you will not find in any other Roger Dubuis product. If you want this caliber, you will only find it on the Aventador S edition. The innovations of the Huracan edition presented at the SIHH 2018 will only be found in this line. It creates the ultimate customer experience and the combination of creative applications from the same materials used in motorsport technology to inspire the concept and creation of our watches.
You do not have to explain a great partnership. I've met customers around the world who tell me that everything makes sense, even without knowing our brand first. There are over 700 watch brands in Switzerland and only two to three brands according to typology, architecture and price level, which correspond to the level of Lamborghini.
Can you tell us more about the original? Idea for the clock was born and what is the charm for a Lamborghini driver?
When we started the discussion, we turned to Lamborghini engineers for the roots, ingredients, and specifications for the Lamborghini. The sound was obviously difficult to inject into a clock and so we turned to the principles and values of a Lamborghini. We've found the motor bars, the structural pillars, the tilted impellers like a V12, the materials of Sant'Agata, all of which show a unique mix of materials rooted in supercar manufacturing and not in aircraft or yachting define. We will work deeper with the Lamborghini team in the future to see how we can create future caliber with even deeper reference to Lamborghini. To date, we have access to all new Lamborghini products planned for the next 5 years, and we will be planning our collections in the same line. Having access to all this information enables us to prepare our assortment for the future.
Certainly, not all of your brand strategies will be based on motor-inspired watches.
The partnership business will represent less than 50% of the brand's range, but communication will be 100% partnership based, as these touches have an impact on people's minds. We want to teach research and development, avant-garde calibers that communicate specific values for our brand and Lamborghini – but these values can be found throughout the brand.
From the point of view of Lamborghini What is the task of designing a Roger Dubuis watch?
First, it should be spectacular and influence all assets of Roger Dubuis, such as the Excalibur design codes. This assortment is the leading collection for the brand and for the next three years it will be the focus and the icon for the family. Secondly, the movement has to be spectacular, it is not just the mechanism to tell time, but it has to be part of the design, the movement is the added value of the product, it has no dial. Most of our products today have no dial. After all, it has to be special in a limited edition and through the use of exclusive materials. After all, every new watch has to be a world premiere.
Does this mean a departure from the way of telling the swords and sorcery associated with the Excalibur?
Excalibur is by far our number one family. It's not just an end to the fantasy element, it's better defined by motorsport. You can expect 100 new products in the Excalibur line, including women's, high-end, high-jewelery and motorsport editions.
Are there considerations after the death of Mr. Dubui to renew the legacy to celebrate his legacy?
We do not intend to associate a limited edition with Roger, but we have many customers asking us about this type of product, and we are currently investigating how we can develop something for the market. However, no concrete plans for the next SIHH
Editor's note: Mr Jean-Marc Pontroué has taken over the position of CEO of Panerai with effect from April 2018
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