Days after the closure of Watches & Wonders the first online edition of a trade exhibition which comprises several major international luxury watchmakers, CPP-LUXURY.COM has had the privilege to interview exclusively Jean-Marc Pontroué, CEO of Panerai, one of the luxury watch brands which has been enjoying an exceptional evolution and growth, both in terms of awareness and innovation as well as global expansion and sales.
He expressed his satisfaction about how the online exercise of Watches & Wonders was executed, mainly because it would offer a glimpse at the latest collections not only to a wider audience which would not be watch connoisseurs but also to those watch connoisseurs or collectors as well as trade which would need to travel a long distance to Switzerland, this being an issue when the luxury watch industry would be split between two different events, the SIHH in January in Geneva and Baselworld in April. Mention must made that the digital ‘exhibition’ was opted for due to the cancellation of both SIHH and Baselworld cause by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Regardless of whether and how the traditional trade exhibition form would take shape after the pandemic, Mr.Pontroué said that such online initiatives (virtual exhibitions) may be a most effective way in reaching out to consumers and thus building and maintaining a relationship with existing or potential future customers. It allows to fast explain the process of designing and putting together the mechanism, while still maintaining an aura of desirability. In the case of Panerai, digital exposure allows for creating very detailed descriptions in such a way to highlight potentially innovative materials too.
In both mature and emerging markets, wealthy consumers would be motivated in their purchases by the ‘show-off’ factor, which is also the case of Panerai, the shape and design being recognisable from a distance. The fact that such consumers would have little or no knowledge about the craftsmanship of the mechanism behind the watch. In time, these consumers are likely to be drawn by the values of Panerai, which will further boost the power of the brand. According to Pontroué, it is this desirability which is feedback the counterfeit market, which Panerai is following very closely, ensuring not only patents but also being able to react fast from a legal point of view.
Speaking about competition Mr Pontroué highlighted Panerai’s unique heritage which is a sophisticated mix of Swiss heritage, mostly in terms of craftsmanship and Italian from the point of view of design.
He also mentioned the recent Panerai Luna Rossa Collection which is named after the name of the Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli sailing team and boat which competes in the prestigious America’s Cup. For this particular initiative, Panerai is collaborating with Italian luxury fashion house of Prada which is one of the main sponsors of Luna Rossa. Mr Pontroue revealed that 12 select Prada flagship stores in the world are now also caring the new Panerai Luminor Luna Rossa watches.
Addressing the topic of collaborations, Mr Pontroué firmly stated that he believed there are far too many such ‘collaborations’ and in the case of Panerai, any partnership or collaboration must be meaningful and relevant, especially when sharing the same values. However, he would not rule out a possible future collaboration with luxury brands or companies from other luxury sectors (i.e. luxury hotels or fashion).
As for retail development is concerned, Mr Pontroué pointed out that about half of the Panerai mono-brand boutiques globally are directly operated by Panerai while the other half is operated together with local partners. Mono-brand boutiques are the perfect opportunity to experience the universe of the brand, no technology being able to replaced the touch, feel and sound of a mechanical watch.
Lastly, speaking about the current pandemic, he said that production has been restarted gradually and that he expects close to full operations to be in place by the end of the month. He also expressed optimism about the near future and the current global distress.
Celebrating the Year of the Luminor, PANERAI impressed with several spectacular new launches including
Panerai Introduces the Luminor Marina Carbotech PAM 1661 (2020 novelties)Panerai Luminor Marina Titanio DMLS PAM01117
Panerai Submersible EcoPangaea Tourbillon GMT PAM01108
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