How would you define luxury nowadays?
When it comes to products, luxury is no longer just about quality or cost. Luxury today is about having something unique or personalized, an item that tells a story or offers an experience. Unlike many of the goods marketed as “luxury” that can be easily found in stores or online, true luxury is about having an item that’s rare or unattainable to most, and caters to the specific interests and tastes of the buyer.
Which do you consider as disruptors for the luxury watchmaking industry?
Disruptors for the watchmaking industry are anything that makes the timepiece rarer. For my brand, our main disruptors are the complications that we create, as well as the caliber of the setting of the stones that we feature in our watches. We have introduced new complications to the world of watch making, such as the triple axis gravitational tourbillon from our signature Astronomia Collection. We’ve also created some of the rarest watches in the world, using record-breaking numbers of GIA certified stones. Our clients come to us because they want the disruptors. They crave the latest innovations and the items that challenge the status quo.
How has your company performed in 2017, given the overall difficult international context?
Our company flourished in 2017 and our international presence is continuing to blossom. We pride ourselves on the dynamic pieces that we offer in our collections. We have items that appeals to every taste and style. Since we have such a wide offering of designs for both watches and jewelry, we can seamlessly meet varying consumer demands from around the world. Our global presence is also continuing to expand as we’re warmly welcomed by our international audience. In addition to our watchmaking headquarters in Geneva and annual exhibition in Sardinia, Italy (launched August of this past year) we have retail partners and growing relationships in regions including: Middle East, Asia, Russia and Europe.
What is the profile of your consumer?
Our clientele spans the globe. They are jetsetters with access to the best of what the world has to offer. They come to us because they have a discriminating eye, and are constantly seeking something new and never-before-seen. Their tastes are bold and daring and they typically don’t mind being the center of attention.
To what extent the timepieces you create are about imagination and performance?
Imagination is a key element of our brand and is at the foundation of all that we do. I love making pieces that I’m told cannot be done, that challenge my team to think outside the box and to push the boundaries of watchmaking as we know them. I believe that if we continue to pursue limitless imagination and creativity, the performance of our pieces will only continue to enhance.
How important are the watch collectors for your brand?
Since we are constantly striving to introduce groundbreaking complications and rare designs, many of the pieces that we create are limited edition or one-of-a-kind. With that in mind, watch collectors are of vital importance because they seek these truly unique pieces that we work hard to create. Collectors have a level of taste and discernment that we admire. They are often the target audience for our most celebrated designs, and and we are delighted when we’re able to pleasantly surprise them with the pieces in our collection.
Which are the most effective marketing & promotional tools for your brand?
Since its inception, our brand has had a robust and organic celebrity following. Our ability to create show-stopping pieces has grabbed the attention of performers, musicians, actors, designers, athletes and more, who promote our brand simply because they are captivated by the designs we create. We have always been grateful for the appreciation we have received, and continue to receive, from our high-profile audience – especially since so many brands pay top dollar for this level of exposure. These organic endorsements have helped grow awareness of and traction for the brand since we launched over 30 years ago. In addition to the promotional support we receive from our celebrity clients and friends alike, social media has been an amazing marketing tool for our brand. Our pieces have a striking and artistic aesthetic, which is great for generating awareness on highly visual platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
Your company is also diversified into other categories such as jewelry. Tell us more
Many of my international and watch collector clients tend to forget that Jacob & Co. started as a jewelry brand. I started the jewelry side of the business when I was about seventeen and the brand first rose to fame in the US market in the early nineties attached to the nickname “Jacob the Jeweler,” that I received from a few of my musician friends who mentioned me in their songs. At that time, I specialized in creating daring, and bold pieces that could often be viewed from a stage while my clients were performing. Since then, I’ve gone on to create countless fine jewelry lines, a full bridal collection, as well as a high jewelry collection that boasts with some of the rarest stones in the world. I still love designing jewelry and am always at awe with the quality and caliber of the stones that we offer. I often blend my passions for jewelry design with that of watchmaking by incorporating our rare stones and jewelry craftsmanship techniques into our gem-set timepieces.
What is your view on wholesale versus mono-brand stores distribution. What is your retail approach?
Since many of the items that we offer are incredibly rare and high-value, we often sell directly through our flagship boutiques in New York and Geneva. For the items that make sense to distribute more widely, we carefully select the right retail partners that we know will offer buyers the same quality of experience and service that would offer from within our brand. There are benefits to both monobrand stores and wholesale distribution. Monobrand stores allow us to ensure that our brand identity is maintained and that our clients can expect the same attention to detail in any of our monobrand stores worldwide. Nonetheless, our wholesale partners beautifully curate their offerings and we’re pleased to be amongst the company of the brands they select.
What should we expect from Baselworld 2018?
Baselworld 2018 will offer a continuation of many of our signature collections as well as entirely new designs in both our timepiece and jewelry divisions. We’re pleased to share that our celebrated Astronomia line will be adding a new piece to the collection – the Astronomia Maestro, and that we’ve developed a new complication for our Twin Turbo model, the Twin Turbo Furious. We’ll also be unveiling a timepiece collaboration with our new brand ambassador, soccer star, Luis Figo. As for the jewelry collections, you can expect to see exceptionally rare and record-breaking high jewelry designs, as well as a dynamic array of sophisticated yet playful fine jewelry pieces.
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