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Richard Mille GM on fine watchmaking, Smartwatches and the Middle East

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On the sidelines of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), LuxuryMena sits with Daniel Bacardit-Stamm, Richard Mille’s GM for the Middle East, to discuss challenges and future projects.

Where is the premium/ultra-premium watch sector going?
Premium watches are more and more in demand as knowledge and appreciation for horological artistry grows. The number of enthusiasts and collectors is continuously on the rise and levels of technology and innovation are constantly being tested and driven onwards and upwards.

How prepared is the premium watch market for Smartwatches? Will they be an opportunity or a threat for Richard Mille?
It is a different market so not really a concern for us. Richard Mille watches have, in a relatively short time, been positioned at the pinnacle of watchmaking. The artistry, technical know-how and above all, cutting edge innovation places them in a different realm.

How has the global economy affected the luxury sector in your opinion?
In our case, for the moment, we have not had any direct problems with that situation and in fact, have even noticed increased sales recently. The thirst of clients for something new and innovative, and different, is what fuels our markets. The price positioning of our watches perhaps frees us from those issues because they are a true luxury products in every aspect and I think this separation from economies is the case with all true luxury products.

What are the challenges when creating brand awareness in emerging markets? How do you overcome these challenges?
A challenge for us is price point, but this challenge is in fact an opportunity – people need to know the Richard Mille brand before they justify a purchase. Richard Mille takes a no compromise approach to watchmaking, which has become widely accepted. It is the philosophy of the brand that has driven it to its successes. It is knowledge that overcomes this. That and that all of our clients are our ambassadors.

How large is the Middle Eastern market for Richard Mille?
It is one of our most successful markets and we look forward to continued growth and achievements. There is a real understanding for luxury and the watchmaking industry here and we have many clients in the region.

Does Richard Mille have any Middle Eastern-focused unique campaigns that we will see in the next year or two?
We will have some region-specific models that will be announced in due time.

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