Swiss watchmaker Graham is concentrating its firepower on the United States, having opened an office in New York last year.
The company’s managing director, Patric Zingg, told WatchPro at CoutureTime in Las Vegas last week that the American market, along with Asia, is key to securing strong and sustainable growth for the brand following two challenging years.
“We moved from Los Angeles to New York because it is easier for us logistically, and is also more vibrant when it comes to the watch industry and the media,” says Mr Zingg. “We are restarting and rebuilding,” he adds.
Graham recruited Robert Emmons last year as managing director of the New York office. Mr Emmons is a veteran of the watch industry who completed a 26 year career with Swatch Group in the USA as president and CEO in 2009.
Mr Zingg joined Graham three years ago and has been working through a turnaround plan that was needed as sales have softened since a peak of around CHF 50 million in 2004.
Prices had become too high, particularly during the boom years of sales to China, Mr Zingg says. “We had too many products at too high a price. We need to focus at the CHF 4500 to CHF 6000 price point and we need a simplified product line with more depth,” he adds.
There has also been an over-supply problem within Graham’s retail channel that the company has been trying to resolve through phased buy-backs and replacement with faster-turning models, Mr Zingg describes.
“The bottom line is that in the past one to two years, Graham has grown, we have reduced costs and stopped our losses. Shareholders are reassured that the bleeding has stopped,” Mr Zingg concludes.