< CEO SPEAK >
Mitrajit Bhattacharya talks to Laurence Nicolas, CEO of Dior, to know more about this Parisian Haute Couture house’s venture into Swiss watchmaking
What is the design philosophy of Dior? How does it extend from couture to watches?
Dior is a Parisian Haute Couture house, and its philosophy is to combine extreme creativity with timeless elegance, refinement and quality. A Dior watch always hides delicate and sophisticated details which are known only by its owner.
What role does John Galliano play in Dior?
John Galliano is one of the three amazingly creative Dior in-house designers, along with Victoire de Castellane and Kris Van Assche.
How has Dior Christal evolved over the years?
Dior Christal was born in 2005, right after the strategic launches of La D de Dior in 2003 and Chiffre Rouge in 2004, which corresponded to a real turn in Dior watch making history. Dior Christal has had the same DNA since the beginning: a watch with a wardrobe in different colours, thanks to crystal sapphires, which are used as decorative elements. But since 2008, after a first phase of quartz movement, Dior Christal comes with mechanical movements: automatic, Elite movement by Zenith, and even a Tourbillon calibre.
Basel 2009 was also marked by the launch of an extra large case of 42 mm, which enlarged the range of Dior Christal, by the reveal of a 1,000,000 euro tourbillon calibre in rubies and baguette diamonds, by the first Dior Christal mystérieuse with a mysterious movement in crystal sapphire disks.
Tell us more about the Dior Christal Tourbillon? How credible is the pitch for Dior to launch a Tourbillon watch?
The idea was to launch the first crystal- made Tourbillon time piece, where the bridges are made with crystal sapphire. In the Dior Christal Tourbillon collection, the Swiss watchmaking expertise must serve the aesthetic vision of a creative brand, not the opposite.
What is the status of your association with Sharon Stone? Any other associations Dior is looking at?
We wanted to have a strong personality for a strong aesthetic and at the same time, John Galliano dreamt this watch as a ‘Hollywood star’. We are not working on any other association.
How is a fashion brand like Dior trying to strategise to negate the effects of recession?
John Galliano recently said, “Creation doesn’t know crisis”. I think that ‘real luxury’ is better armed to be resilient: quality, elegance and timelessness, combined with extreme creativity are keys to success. We have accentuated this strategy in 2009, when we launched a 1 million euro timepiece, among other high jewellery pieces. This is part of Dior DNA to defy the economy.
What are the launches of the year?
In Basel fair this year, we presented three major creations in our three lines. Dior Christal 42 mm (which will be available by September) is the largest version of Dior Christal watch, as oversized as the proportions of the Dior ‘new look’ suits used to be in the 50s. The mini D de Dior (already available) is 19 mm and the first miniature watch in our collections. The Chiffre Rouge D01 and D02 are the diving versions of the Chiffre Rouge (to be delivered in May). In addition, Dior Christal proposed its first ‘mysterious movement’ done in crystal sapphire, a limited edition of 15 pieces Dior Christal Tourbillon with diamonds with an alligator bracelet; a unique piece of Dior Christal Tourbillon on bracelet, paved with baguette diamonds and baguette rubies, a limited edition of 10 pieces of Dior Christal, fully paved with baguettes diamonds among others.