Ralph Lauren intends to capitalize on 22nd edition of Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in order to reinforce the brand’s unique DNA by expanding its three collections. For Ralph Lauren Watches, distribution has always been very selective, so it works with only the top and well-positioned retailers, allowing the match maker to build strong and long-term partnerships. At SIHH 2012, Ralph Lauren will focus on the brand’s iconic inspirations: The equestrian style of the Stirrup, the Art Deco influence in the Slim Classique and Ralph Lauren 867 watches, and the automotive world for the Sporting. Below are the company’s plans for SIHH
What kind of impact will SIHH have on a premium brand such as yours in the Middle East?
SIHH helps us raise awareness and reinforce the brand image by showcasing our products in an exceptional environment to a prestigious audience of the world’s top retailers and journalists. This exhibition debuts our annual novelties and really sets the stage for the coming year, both in the Middle East and our other key markets globally.
What are your targets at SIHH 2012?
The objective for this year is to diversify the three collections and also reinforce the brand’s unique DNA. We will continue to complement the existing range with timepieces that respect the tradition of fine watchmaking matched with Ralph Lauren’s unique and timeless aesthetic. At SIHH 2012, we will focus on the brand’s iconic inspirations: The equestrian style of the Stirrup, the Art Deco influence in the Slim Classique and Ralph Lauren 867 watches, and the automotive world for the Sporting.
What’ll be trends and directions in 2012? Any particular trend that your brand is particular keen on in terms of movement and or designs?
We have observed in these times that people are returning to fundamentals – seeking classic yet unique watches with the essential functions, quality, authenticity and a style that endures. These values can be reinterpreted through Art Deco influences, focusing on precious materials, simplicity and clean lines – making for an elegant watch with a genuine yet contemporary presence. These are timeless ideals that are as much sought-after today as they ever were.
What ‘star’ novelties will you introduce at the SIHH?
This year we are focusing on one of Ralph Lauren’s iconic inspirations: The Art Deco era. This inspiration celebrates clean lines, luxurious materials and elegance – design elements that have long been a part of the Ralph Lauren sensibility, and are also especially relevant for watches. The new Ralph Lauren 867 watches highlight this Art Deco style, with timepieces of traditional proportions that combine bold geometry, meticulous craftsmanship, elegant diamond embellishments and sleek silhouettes.
When will SIHH novelties be available at boutiques in the Middle East?
Deliveries of the SIHH 2012 watches will begin in early spring.
Which of Ralph Lauren’s models are the most popular in the Middle East and Why?
The sell-out of the three lines has been balanced and proportional with our collection architecture – with about half of sales coming from the Stirrup models and the other half shared between Slim Classique and Sporting. However, we have seen that in the Middle East customers are attracted to more diamond-set pieces – especially from the Stirrup collection featuring the brand’s iconic signature equestrian design.
What are the challenges under the current global and regional economical circumstances?
While crises are challenging periods they also generate opportunities by pushing markets and players to develop their creativity and reactivity. In terms of distribution, while in the past issues such as over-inventory, cashflow and over-distribution affected the watch retailer sector, today the situation is improving. Overall brands in the industry have been more vigilant, leading retailers to increase the quality of their environment and practices. For Ralph Lauren Watches, our distribution has always been very selective, so we work with only the top and well-positioned retailers. This allows us to build strong and long-term partnerships in the best interest for both our brand and their business.
Geographically speaking, the challenges industry is facing in some markets have been balanced by strong growth in Asia and the importance of international travellers from emerging markets and also the Middle East. While our watches appeal to existing Ralph Lauren ‘aficionados’ there is also a captive audience that is new to the brand – ‘watch connoisseurs’ and ‘art/design aesthetes’ attracted to Ralph Lauren timepieces for their fine craftsmanship and unique style. This is an overall trend observed across the globe, and especially in international cities.