Ricardo Guadalupe, CEO, Hublot speaks to Mitrajit Bhattacharya on the brand’s performance, the success of Techframe and it’s association with the forthcoming Football World Cup
Tell us about the Hublot Geneva Days.
As you know we have two events now, one in Geneva followed by other in Basel, in March. In Geneva, we try to present the commercial lines while in Basel, the more innovative and technical novelties. This year, we have evolutions of our Sang Bleu edition, which was an incredible success. We have the pink and blue sapphire watches for ladies. We have new references of the Big Bang Ferrari and also the Golf watch that we launched in China some time back. We have a green dial on Classic Fusion, a very commercial launch.
You launched the Golf watch in Shanghai…
Yes, with golfer Dustin Johnson.
How has the past year been for Hublot?
It has been very good. I would say, globally everything is going good for everyone, so far. For us, it was even better than the industry standards. We are very positive about this year too.
Most of the top five markets have done well in the past 9-10 months for the luxury watch industry. What has been the Hublot story?
For us, the Greater China, Hong Kong and Macau markets have done incredibly well, giving us a 30% growth. Japan is our number 1 market and we grew by 5%, it’s a good achievement.
What about Europe and US?
Europe is a tourist market. We are growing, thanks to the tourists from China, the Middle East and even Brazil. The USA was more challenging. The market was minus 6-7%, I think, and we did plus five.
Moving on, how was the experience of your collaboration last year with Ferrari, Big Bang Techframe being a revolutionary product?
It was fantastic. It has been five years that we are with Ferrari, and have signed for another four years. So it’s going to be nine years at least together. As you are aware, Techframe was very well accepted.
It’s sold out, I think.
Yes, completely sold out and this year we have come up with new editions.
Has Techframe become a common line for Hublot now?
Not yet, but soon it will be. I think it has revolutionised the way of making watches globally. The case, for instance, is really new and innovative. We believe in future, we will need to explore more in that direction.
Where do we see Sergio Marchionne and you on the same stage? Last year I was there in Basel for the 70th-anniversary party of Ferrari, it was a great event.
This year I will go to Maranello to present the new model. The year 2018 is going to be of football for us. The World Cup is in Russia and our main theme is football.
Will there be a lot of activation around the Russia World Cup?
The kick-off event is going to be in Basel, the same place where we did the Ferrari event last year. We are going to organise a Match of Friendship with our friends, like Diego Maradona and other legends. During the World Cup in Russia, we will invite some 1000 people. We are still working on the logistics. It’s going to be a bit different from the Rio event four years ago, where we entertained our guests in our Hublot hotel.
What else is happening on the marketing front at Hublot? The new areas you are likely to associate with?
Art with Orlinski is new for us. We are involved with art a lot. We try to bring the art of the artist within the watch, and I think the result of this one is quite interesting. So, its art and music we continue to associate with.
Are you continuing your association with Charity: Water?
This is the final year. We will have to raise the money for Charity: Water. There will be a closing event in Latin America this time, in Mexico to present the cheque to them. We are doing unique sets of every single Depeche Mode had released so far. So, we will do 55 unique sets for 55 singles, and this will be sold and the money presented to Charity: Water.
Will these be unique pieces? Will sell it through boutiques or is it going to be auctioned?
Yes, plan to sell these through boutiques, and online.