The farewell of George Kern to the group Richemont arrived after 17 years of collaboration with Johann Rupert's multinational luxury company, but especially a few months after his appointment as head of the group's watch division, it was one of the most sensational events of this year in the world of watchmaking.
As we revealed to you a few months ago, Mr. Kern is now in charge of the historic maison Breitling recently passed 80% to the British investment fund CVC after long years of farsighted family management by Théodor Schneider.
Over the past few months, there has been a lot of talk about the future of the Grenchen and the contribution that the new capital and the new CEO will bring to the brand preferred by aviators. Will there be a change of direction in marketing and communication? Will the models be revolutionized to open up to a wider clientele?
The newspaper leTemps, always updated on the world of elevetic watchmaking, had the exclusive right to interview the new CEO of Breitiling, which has answered many questions that have animated the world of watchmaking.
George Kern says he spent the last few months completely immersed in Breitling history, meeting collectors and sellers of the brand.
"The watches I discovered are a great source of inspiration. Many anecdotes about the history of the brand were unknown to me. Participation in cycling, boating, skiing, motoring or diving competitions. Breitling has an important story that needs to be told!"(Source: leTemps.ch)
In fact, in these few months, Mr. Kern has noticed that Breitling's history has not been well valued ...
"Reading and rereading 'Breitling, the Book'I realized that the brand's DNA goes far beyond what we have communicated so far. Our customers know only 5 or 10% of what Breitling really is. Let's let them discover the rest too! "(Source: leTemps.ch)
From these words it can be deduced that there will undoubtedly be a change of course in terms of communication.
His years at IWC perfectly show the kind of path Breitling should follow. Kern has worn Schaffausen's watches on the wrists of the most important Hollywood celebrities, as well as among some of the most successful sportsmen of our time, reaching millions of people thanks to well-tested synergies, capable of attracting interest from different types. of customers.
Breitling on the contrary, it has remained somewhat closed in its world, perhaps remaining too anchored to the world of aviation and undoubtedly reducing the audience to which it can turn.
Some signs of change in this sense are already visible, see the end of the collaboration with the team Super Constellation and the questioning of the partnership with theSion Air Show. THE too many sponsorships according to George Kern they would have little return on investment, which is why it is more geared to focus on few initiatives but with a greater impact on international customers.
"Breitling has made significant marketing investments to date. The challenge now is to understand how to place the resources at our disposal for our geographical development, especially in Asia, or to communicate going beyond the theme of aviation"(Source: leTemps.ch)
In this regard, it intends to further develop Breitling's presence on the Asian market, which is currently almost absent.
"Asia accounts for about 50% of the business volume of the luxury industry. It is good to not ignore this factor and start making watches capable of capturing the interest of this type of customer, for example rmaking smaller and more classic products.. "(source: leTemps.ch)
Beyond the target customers, it is a point that I feel I can share. In recent years there has been a reversal of trend by many brands regarding the size of the cases, which have become more portable for us Europeans and beyond, in addition to the types of timepieces offered.
There is a common tendency to draw from the past to offer decidedly more harmonious timepieces with a retro charm despite the sporty connotation. See Omega, Tag Heuer .. to name a few. The new CEO is not mistaken in saying that there is a past to be brought to light. Why not make the most of it ?!
I will repeat myself, but I am convinced that George Kern will be the right man to bring Breitling in a new era and his first words as CEO confirm this, the 'route' is the right one. Good work Mr. Kern!