One of the highlights of last year was Swatch Colour Code, with this interesting concept of wearing watches with the doubles and thesingles. What is your latest offering?
Yes, we started a new trend of wearing and combining different colours, that has been so widely copied, though not in the watch industry. In the shoes industry, the bags industry, and all over, people have started putting colours together, combining and clubbing them.
If you look at the Colour Code, it is 34 mm and in a classic size, not just for men but even for women. We wanted to have a more modern and provocative size. In October 2010 we launched the Swatch New Gent Collection (41 mm), once again in ten colours. Not just men, but even women loved it so much. For the time being we are continuing with the Irony Collection, which is also a part of our DNA. We launched the Irony Big collection in February 2011 with five different models.
Our association with American fashion designer Jeremy Scott has resulted in the Jeremy Scott Swatch Watch Collection, which is unique and stylish.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your association with Jeremy Scott?
Jeremy has created three watches for us. The first one was inspired by his own continued work on the iconic wing shape which has appeared in his collection since the very beginning. The second watch, the Opulence watch, was inspired by the baroque rococo art movement and the ornate frames that accompany it. For the bolt Swatch, Jeremy was inspired by the comic graphics of super heroes and lightning bolts.
Can you describe the evolution that Swatch has gone through?
We have seen the world changing with the arrival of Swatch in the watch industry. Swatch has changed people’s habit. Before Swatch, people bought watches for life but Swatch changed it all. It made watches affordable; people started considering watches as an accessory – this was very important for the watch industry. A watch is not only a timekeeper but also a fashion accessory, which you change like your shoes, belts and bags and you change it from time to time. Today, I guess people can’t think of being without a watch. Watches from ck and Swatch are affordable fashion items.
How does a Swatch stand apart?
One of the strengths is that it’s Swiss made. It is also a watch that you can wear wherever you are, with whoever you are, and never go wrong. With a Swatch, you can never make a mistake. Neither is it over the top, nor is it understated. A Swatch is always on the wrist of the most important people around the world like the Queen of Spain, who is a collector of Swatch.
Let’s change tracks and talk about Calvin Klein. Can you take us through the evolution of the brand?
It has been 14 years now, and we have created this brand from scratch. We have quickly gone up to being the number one, worldwide in our segment.
It is between $180 and $300. But we also have pieces which are higher than $300. The relation between quality and price is really important. We are not only a designer watch. We have been accepted as a watchmaker’s watch, Swiss made.
Over the last 14 years, has Calvin Klein been able to retain its simplicity?
When I met Calvin, he said we shouldn’t do something that is nostalgic or futuristic, but should stick to today. His motto has been modern, contemporary and simple.
The first product that we launched 14 years ago – ck dress – is still our bestseller. It has become a classic. We always thought it would disappear but it did not. People continue to like and buy it.
The evolution has been at addressing the men because at the beginning the brand was 90 per cent women and 10 per cent men. And now we are 60 per cent women and 40 per cent men.
Which is your favourite among the new collection?
We launch a new product every month. We started in January with a very feminine ck graceful, very simple and beautiful. Then we have in February, ck exquisite which is a bangle watch, and ck glow in March. ck glow is my favourite. Technically it is very difficult to do. In April we have ck treasure, which is modelled after a split pebble.
We have ck window, which is a pair watch, in May. It comes in two colours — black and white. At ck, you don’t speak about colours. It is always black and white. We do have a touch of colour from time to time, but we stay really simple.
For men, we have ck city, a simple, professional watch and the stylish ck exchange in high-shine stainless steel.
For me, there is no overlap between two ck watches. They are completely different. The only thing that is common is that they all have quartz movement.