CEO Speak – Isamu Kawaguchi

CEO Speak – Isamu Kawaguchi

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Eco-Drive is not just environment-friendly but also an icon, Isamu Kawaguchi, Managing Director, Citizen Watches (India) Pvt. Ltd., tells Mitrajit Bhattacharya

Would you agree that the sensibilities of a Japanese brand are very different from a Swiss brand?
Absolutely. our product concept is a fusion of technology and beauty. There are many beautiful watches from Switzerland but technology-wise, we are ahead.

Would you also agree that your technology is more relevant compared to the Swiss watches?
Yes, Japanese technology is very convenient for daily use. Swiss technology is complex but not very convenient to use. In terms of price range too, Swiss watches are priced higher as their technology is very complicated. However, our products are of mid-price range, which means that more people can use them.

You are just less than US $ 4 billion in turnover and that makes you a reasonably strong global brand. How do you compare yourself with Seiko, another Japanese watch brand?
Seiko has a long history, compared to Citizen. However, as far as the global watch market is concerned, Citizen and Seiko are on a similar platform, where both represent Japanese technology.

Do you think Eco-Drive has achieved the status of being an iconic product in watchmaking history?
Yes. Eco-Drive, which is now in the global market, is very much an iconic watch as people’s awareness about ecological issues is far greater today than it has been in the past.

How much does Eco-Drive contribute percentage-wise to your revenues?
Our total turnover is 80 per cent from Eco-Drive alone.

How much would it be in India?
It would be around 50 per cent.

What is your contribution from Japan, rest of Asia and rest of the world?
Japan and the USA are the biggest markets for us. We also have a big target for the Chinese market in the next three years.

Which would you term as a bigger market – USA or Japan?
Both the USA and Japan are almost the same.

You have been in India for two years now. Are you satisfied with the progress so far? Also, what are your future plans for the Indian market?
I am satisfied with the progress we have made. Our total turnover is not big but we are trying to build a good reputation in the market by introducing new models. The Indian market is receptive to technology like radio-control, which we have recently come up with.

How many points of sale do you have in India?
We have 550 points of sale in India, including company-owned outlets.

What is the starting price of Citizen Watches in India?
A simple analog watch costs Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000. The Eco-Drive range of watches is available from Rs 5,000 onwards. (Mr Isamu Kawaguchi, whom we met up during Baselworld 2010, is no longer the Managing Director of Citizen Watches (India) Pvt. Ltd.)