The association with Jasper Morrison is here to stay, says CEO, Rado, Roland Streule,who also represents the Swatch Group on the Executive Board ofthe Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, in a frank talk with Mitrajit Bhattacharya
We shall start with your r5.5 design by Jasper Morrison. How has the association with Morrison been?
Rado shares a very good relationship with Jasper Morrison. His philosophy is very much similar to that of Rado; he believes in a minimalist and clear-cut design.
Do you see more work coming out from that association in the future?
Yes, we have just signed a new agreement for two projects, which will carry the collaboration into 2012.
Is this something that you are announcing now?
No. One project will be announced in 2011 and another one in 2012.
On a slightly sadder note, your ambassador in India for the last 10 years, Lisa Ray, is going through a very tough time personally. And I think even in these times her resilience truly embodies the value of Rado to some extent.
Lisa is really fantastic and she is doing a great job in spite of having been through tough times. Perhaps another company would have ended the collaboration, saying we cannot use somebody who is unwell. She needs this association now because this
gives her the power, the conviction, and the fighting spirit to battle her ailment. So, we feel there is also a human angle.
Are you involved in any design events globally?
We have the Radostar. We have the Rado young design prize. Also, there is Zona Tortona. We also have a good association with the National Institute of Design in India.
Rado has been growing over the years in India at an extremely fast pace. But it was a very tough 18 months globally. What lessons have you imbibed?
Basically, we cannot change such a situation. We know that the Swatch Group brands are stable financially. So, we didn’t panic. Some markets were in big trouble like the USA but other markets, even in these difficult circumstances, were performing very well. We had a fantastic opportunity to gain market shares and we continued to invest in marketing, advertising, improving our distribution network, developing new products, and developing new technology. As you can see from the Swatch Group annual report, we haven’t dismissed people like most of the emerging companies. Our group management decided this is an excellent opportunity to retain good talent, and at the same time hire good talent because that is an investment for the future. We have a rather long-term strategy. I think, frankly speaking, we are coming out of this crisis, as a group. I always compare such a situation with nature. Look at nature especially here in Switzerland, when we have a very harsh, cold winter, some of the animals and plants die, but those who survive will be stronger when springtime is back. That applies also to any industry.
What are the key launches of this year?
We have two new product launches. One is called C2 and the other one is A2. These are the two new product lines. C2 is in the lower price segment, targeting the youth, perhaps more femaleoriented. A2, which uses the ceramics, is a little higher priced, but still not very expensive, also targeting the younger consumer, mostly male.