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Audemars Piguet Managing Director Asia Pacific, Oliviero Bottinelli spills the bean on the Offshore 44mm in white ceramic to be launched in June while in conversation with Mitrajit Bhattachrya
Do take us through key launches this year.
Basically we have three key launches, the first one will happen in April onwards with the new 42mm Offshore. From 1993 till today the Offshore has changed a lot but with the same piece. Changes in tiny little details has made the piece better while the price remains the same.
Is it different in size now?
It’s the same size, it’s still a 42mm— the details are in the pushers, the crown, the dial, and the open back. We have four models in steel and two in pink gold, so totally six new pieces. The 42mm of today, will be phased out this year and the new one will come outsoon. In June, we will launch the white ceramic, solely made in Switzerland. There are three pieces in white ceramic, the Concept, the Diver and the 44mm Offshore. White ceramic is very difficult to make. It’s 7 to 8 times harder than black ceramic. And then we will finish the year with the ladies pieces. Two new ladies Offshore, 37mm so it’s a good size today for ladies and the main thing is its quartz. So, basically these are the three launches this year.
And what do we expect from Royal Oak?
A lot of people have still not seen all new launches we brought during the 40th anniversary of the Royal Oak in 2012. Hence, we will continue to deliver on our promises. We just have one new Royal Oak in full pink gold, extra flat, automatic, skeleton launched during the SIHH.
When we met your brand ambassador Sachin Tendulkar he was still playing and now is retired. So, what is your current expectation from the icon?
It’s not because he is not playing anymore, that we should not have the good relationship. He is a smart guy. He will do a lot of interesting and good things in his long life. He is still an ambassador and hopefully, we will do new and other things with him.
How has the previous year been for the brand?
2013 was a bit more challenging year because of China, but it’s a blessing in disguise. Our share in China is not as high as some of our competitors, so we were not affected with the slowdown. Hong Kong and Singapore were stable which is very good. And Japan is likely to be 30% to 40% up. Taiwan is very stable. In 2013, we’re talking about 35,000 watches globally, first time ever and in revenue, above 700 million CHF.
Any comments about India, how do you see the markets shaping up?
We are waiting for India to open a little bit more. It’s not that India is not important, because the Indian buyers travel and buy a lot but may not be always within your country. So we will continue building our image, which to me is the most important aspect for the brand.
What kind of changes are you seeing in terms of products which are doing well, those which are showing great promise from your stable?
I think the new 42mm Offshore is slowly becoming a classic. In 1993, it was the boldest thing ever but now it’s gradually considered an icon. I see Royal Oak getting a little bit more interest as a classical watch because there are people, who don’t want to wear such thick and big watches. Our best seller last year was a Royal Oak, and not an Offshore, so that’s very good. And then I’m happy about the performance of our two main Millenaries because they sell well from the boutiques. Millenary was a difficult watch to sell in certain countries, India being an exception as it just loved the Millenary. It is selling consistently in Singapore as well.