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Cartier Regional Managing Director Laurent Gaborit on giving visibility to the brand and sharing the Cartier dream with prospective Indian customers, in a chat with Mitrajit Bhattacharya

Known as a jeweller extraordinaire do you now feel that you should also be considered amongst the top fine watchmakers?
We launched our first wrist watch in 1904. We have a collection of fine watches. Historically, since 1929, we have the Tortue monopusher, and then we had some minute repeaters years later. The current collection, launched at SIHH this year, has five new movements. In total, the collection has 37 movements. I think, the facts speak for themselves. We have the heritage, we have the manufacturing, and we have the collections, which I think make us.

 I think Cartier is a brand which has made probably the maximum step forward in terms of fine watchmaking in the past 10 years, in terms of developing proprietary movements. Are you satisfied with this escalating growth as a watchmaker?
We are more than satisfied. I am tremendously proud of what Cartier has achieved. There is so much passion, creativity and talent behind all these that I can be proud of and the collection is extremely successful. You can look at our boutiques. I mean the space dedicated in our boutiques for fine watchmaking speaks for itself.

There has been very serious investment in developing these movements. Do you also see as returns and other returns satisfactory?
Certainly the returns are satisfactory because the collection is extremely successful. That’s what Cartier was hoping for, and I think that the credibility of the Maison (French word) is extremely strong on these segments.

In the past four years, can you name some models which are the technological breakthrough for Cartier?
Well, I must say that the most impressive technological breakthrough are on the concept watches—IDI and ID2. Also, the astrotourbillon is a breakthrough and a wonderful piece.

How has been the watchmaking industry last year in terms of performance, in particular the region you represent?
Well, I think that the region I represent which is Middle East, India, and Africa is honestly, a very fortunate region because of continuing high growth and Cartier has a lot of affinity amongst the watch and jewellery lovers. Therefore, we have had a great performance, growth last year.

If you could just share with me a little bit about your retail strategy, are you really coming up with a lot more boutiques or shop-in-shops at this point of time?
Well, I think our strategy is to have the best possible customer experience wherever Cartier is present. Of course we are working hard on having beautiful boutiques where our creations are well presented and where service given is worthy of Cartier. Besides, with our partners, we are trying to support them, to have the right assortment and training. We are really not looking to expand the network. I don’t think luxury is about opening a lot of points of sale.

Can you throw some light about how you want to see this market and Cartier’s involvement in India in next few years?
India is obviously a very important market, everybody knows that. It’s a market of connoisseurs because there is a lot of knowledge on jewellery and now increasingly on watches. And Cartier has always had strong links with India. This country was always an inspiration for our creation and Cartier had historical clients like the Indian Maharajas. We’re present with an event Travel with Style in India to help restore the historical cars there. I think we need to share the Cartier dream with more people, giving more visibility to the brand, reaching out to more Indian customers.