Exclusivity at any price
Innovation, strategy, a future of luxury: Daniel Riedo clarifies the ambitions of Jaeger-LeCoultre during the SIHH 2016
Daniel Riedo CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre
Daniel Riedo has been at the helm of Jaeger-LeCoultre for 3 years, where he has promoted the modernization of manufacturing, notably by integrating new technologies of production and communication. Viewing the future with serenity, he is convinced that the spirit of the Swiss firm’s tradition will continue to captivate, even the new generation.
Pluris: Where do the ideas for your new collection come from?Daniel Riedo - We have 3 sources of inspiration: our clients, our heritage and the factory. We get our inspiration internally as well as externally, through meetings and discussions with stakeholders. Our connoisseurs come to us from time to time saying “You made this model in this particular year, why not take it as an inspiration and revisit it?” Indeed, we hadn’t seen this opportunity. As for the rest, it is our craftsmen and engineers who take over the task. Inspirational sources are not a problem, the real problem is prioritizing and canalising these ideas.
Where can we spot innovation in your production method?Technology makes it possible to advance. Last year we were the first to integrate a new generation of lasers that make it possible to cut with micron precision. We have also introduced a sweeping electronic microscope that allows to go down to a tenth of a micron to perceive defects in the materiel, structures or movements. We also use high speed cameras that take 15 000 images a second. These technologies, such as infographic 3D, allow for a better prototype and anticipate the eventual problems that we could have. But despite all this, we cannot control everything as it still remains a manual profession.
Which strategies do you put in place regarding communication and distribution?Ways of communication have undergone great changes. Social medias have a phenomenal power, as compared to other ways of communication. In China, for instance, our ambassador Chow Wei has 16 million followers. A traditional publicity campaign takes a great deal of time whereas here, the impact is immediate. We adapt to this change of paradigms by mobilising internal teams dedicated to this issue. As for distribution, I don’t believe in a unique model. Boutiques themselves are very important as they allow the announcement of the brand’s message to the client. In Japan, for example, where we are going to open our boutique, there exists a clientele of connoisseurs who wish to learn about our history, our roots. This will allow us to control our image and avoid depending on retailers, who can only offer us a weak representation.There also exists a clientele that does not wish to be focused on one brand only, so there is a necessity to be present in the multi-brand sector. Finally, nowadays the e-commerce is of paramount importance. So balancing these three channels is a good strategy
The new generation may define luxury differently: They question the very idea of ownership and the importance of inheritance, while aspiring for more modern concepts. What do you think?Rented luxury does not exist yet, or at least it barely exists.I am not sure that it is the spirit of possession that is important, but more so the image that we wish to transmit, the wish to dream and to be noticed. I am often told that the youngsters of today wear connected objects and that they are detaching from the mechanical and craft aspects. My answer to that is that the youngsters of today will be the elders of tomorrow and that when everybody will be wearing more or less the same watch, many will wish to have something else. Luxury is exclusivity. Besides, all our networks request special editions; limited or boutique. So, something that is not accessible to everyone, not so much for the price, but simply for being different.
Crédits photo : DR