< CEO speak >
Antonio Calce, CEO, Corum tells Mitrajit Bhattacharya that though known as a fashion brand it’s no more so
Take us through the big launches of this year.
It has been an incredible year for Corum because after seven years our product structure looks pretty mature. For example, we have the Admiral’s Cup Legend 42 Chrono, an incredible watch. It’s automatic and has a fantastic base. In the Legend collection, we have one case, one dimension, one size and four different movements. We also have a masterpiece this year, the Admiral’s Cup Legend Minute Repeater 46mm. It sounds totally incredible because of its four hammers.
You have had a wavering product line, could you take us through the journey of bringing about this major change?
Between 2000 and 2005, Corum was known as a fashion brand. We are not a fashion brand anymore. We have a lot of legitimacy in the high-end watch industry. Since 2005, my job was to relaunch the brand and to put Corum in the right place in the watch industry. After seven years I am really happy because Corum is a brand, with a lot of creativity and watch making content.
What kind of change are you witnessing in the consumer profile and will that affect strategies of luxury watch brands in the future?
Ten years ago, the design was enough for the brand. Today, if you don’t have a strong content people ignore your product. It’s a lot of work to work by function, not just by design.
Markets, like Asia are contributing to a large growth for most of the luxury brands. Is it the same with you?
Yes. All the BRIC countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India and China are building strong qualitative visibility. If you don’t, it affects all the business in the world.
Are these pockets demanding different kind of products and designs?
Our strategy is not to have different strategies in different countries because then you lose your identity. I don’t like this opportunist approach. But, we adapt a little bit. We feel what is really important for this market, but we have only worldwide strategy. This is why I think we have a strong position in the market.
How are you addressing the issue of scalability in terms of number of units being produced every year?
In the next three or five years we need to reach a right size in terms of maturity. Even in next 10 years, I don’t want to produce 1,00,000 pieces every year. Being a niche brand, we at Corum will have around 25,000 pieces per year. The maturity of the brand is not only quantitative, but also qualitative.
In India, Golden Bridge Automatic went onto win a design award in the Watch World Awards last year. How has been the success and what’s your comment on the same?
I am really happy because the design is always important, but in this case, you have the design and the watch making content too. This is perfectly Corum. Receiving the award was an honour for me because people understand the quality and coherence of the product, which I appreciate.