CEO Speak – Antonio Calce

CEO Speak – Antonio Calce

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In an interview with Mitrajit Bhattacharya, Antonio Calce, CEO, Corum, talks about the Golden Bridge turning automatic for the first time and more…

When we met last, you talked about consistency and exclusivity, both in terms of product offerings and distribution. Have you been able to achieve the same?
I’m happy that today we are at the right place in the watch industry, and strong in terms of credibility and perception of the brand. It is a big achievement indeed.

Your product lines are fairly distinct and cater to different audiences.
We have three different segments, namely the Extreme, the Sport Chic, and the Elegant. Between them, the Extreme is the happening category. If you are talking numbers, Admiral’s Cup constitutes 70% of our business. The Admiral’s Cup, along with the Golden Bridge, comprises our main two pillars. These are totally different offerings, catering to different classes, one being a sports watch and the other, a highend watch.

Can you take us through the newlylaunched Golden Bridge Automatic?
It’s not difficult to develop higher complications, if you have the right people. But that’s just not enough forme. If I develop newer functions and complicated watches, I need to be in agreement with my history, with my DNA. That is why the Golden Bridge Automatic is a fantastic piece, because for the first time in our baguette movement we have developed an automatic function. Converting the Golden Bridge movement from manual winding to automatic proved quite a challenge because of the linear effect of the design. It’s a big achievement because it’s totally unique, but still boasts of a 30-year-old movement.

You have started making a lot of inhouse movements. What is the effort that goes behind this exercise?
It is most important to be strong enough to survive. For this, you need integration in production and movement. At the end, we need to secure our business. I have a very strong technical department for further developments in movements and products. This is necessary if you want to secure the brand and want to build a longterm business.

How long did it take to conceptualise, design, and finally come out with the Ti-Bridge Automatic?
When I started in 2005, I was very clear about what we needed for Corum and what the next step was going to be. It’s a long-term business strategy. For me, the most important thing is real value. It is most important to be strong enough to survive. For this, you need integration in production and movement. At the end of the day, we need to secure our business. I have a very strong technical department for working on movements and products. This is necessary if you want to secure the brand and build a long-term business.

How do you see the next few years shaping up for the industry?
Notwithstanding the issues in the Middle East and Japan, I feel very comfortable because we have a huge opportunity to market. India, for example, has a huge potential. Brazil and China too have a huge potential. In Asia, every year I have a 20% increase, which is incredible!

In terms of distribution, how many points of sale do you now have in the world?
To be precise, it is 575, along with seven subsidiaries. The goal is really to reduce the points of sale, especially in Europe. The right size for us would be a little less than 500.

What are your views on marketing through newer platforms like digital and social media?
New communication modes like the iPad and social media are the perfect platforms to promote the brand and the watch industry. At the same time, brand training is the key because it’s the real link between retailers and subsidiaries or retailers and agents. Our tool is may be one of the best currently for brand training and it’s really important because clients need to know about the history and philosophy of the brand they are purchasing.

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