As part of a Winter series dedicated to luxury watch and jewellery Maisons, CPP-LUXURY.COM has recently interviewed exclusively Mr Vartkess Knadjian, the CEO of London based watch and jeweller Backes & Strauss.
In a growingly competitive haute joaillerie timepieces sector, which are your competitive advantages?
I will say the principal advantage we have is a group of master craftsmen who through years of experience can create wonderful haute joaillerie timepieces for Backes & Strauss.
The background of Backes & Strauss as a diamond company gives us also an added advantage in that we know diamonds better than anyone else.
An additional advantage is that we are a small company backed by a big group with very important manufacture capabilities- this gives us the opportunity to be creative and offer a very special bespoke service.
Where do you see your company evolve in the next 5 years? What challenges and opportunities do you foresee?
I would like to see the Brand awareness increase- we consider our products to be uber-luxury and do not envisage a big growth in our production. We have seen the average price of pieces sold rise rapidly over the years and we want to maintain this trend.
Most of your jewelry products are closely linked to watches. Do you consider launching high jewelry pieces without a connection to a certain timepiece?
We do have plans in place to launch a high jewellery collection for the Brand in the coming few years.
To what extent your brand related to luxury lifestyle? What is the basic portrait of your most loyal consumer?
Our clients are very discerning- they are looking for a product that is aesthetically beautiful, crafted by the most experienced craftsmen using the best materials available.
On top of that there is a geographic diversity in the client base.
With pressure mounting on retailers, especially in major emerging markets such as China, do you consider opening mono-brand boutiques?
Not immediately – we are working with partners who recognise the need to give the Brand the right platform to showcase the products.
Which are, nowadays, the most efficient communications channels for your brand?
I am not sure that I know what the most efficient communication channels are – having said that we do use both traditional and digital channels.
You recently launched an App which allows your clients to custom design their watches. To what extent you would create a distinct watch for a certain client, which would not be drawn to any of your existing icon pieces?
On the iPad app customers can create their own watch with components that are readily available. The bespoke service is completely different- this is where we sit with the client with our design team and see how we can craft a truly unique piece for the client.
In high jewelry, what makes a British made / designed product different from a French one?
The British heritage and style is very different from the French. The British have always had a very special style made by some brilliant craftsmen- it has however not captured global attention unlike the French.
We therefore want to pursue this excellence and introduce this craftsmanship through our cliently globally.
What are your future plans in terms of retail?
No immediate plans but when the opportunity arises we will definitely want to have our own flagship stores in key global capitals.
To celebrate our 225th birthday we are going to open a showroom in London- which is not going to be a retail space but will showcase the very top creations of the brand.
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