Designer brand Jos Von Arx will be showcasing its range of watches at this year’s IJL exhibition at London’s Olympia on 4-6 September. Sales and marketing director for the company, Richard Bulgin, answers WatchPro‘s questions about what it will be showcasing at IJL and the effects of Brexit on its business.
WatchPro: How has Brexit affected Jos Von Arx’s business, both here in the UK and in Europe?
Richard Bulgin: I think it’s too soon for us to feel any real effect on our business in the region. We are using Brexit as an opportunity to invest in enhancing our infrastructure, sales team and marketing initiatives in the UK.
WP: To what extent do you think these effects will be permanent?
RB: We believe that after a formal exit plan is in place it will be very much “business as usual.” The UK is an important economy within Europe so we are confident that the government can negotiate the correct exit terms to allow Britain to remain a strong and attractive market.
WP: What’s been the big focus for Jos Von Arx this year, both from a design point of view and a business strategy perspective?
RB: Our strategy through until the end of 2017 is to expand and enhance our watch offer both in terms of design and functionality. We set out to offer a better watch than any of our competitors in the same price bracket. A real distinctive feature and one our major design pivots is the watch dial; we aim to create detailed dials inspired by traditional Guilloché and other artisan techniques.
From a business point of view we are focused on value, both to the consumer and for our retail partners. We want to develop a cooperative model with our accounts to become a “house brand” in their stores. We are aware of just how competitive the UK watch market is but we are well placed with over 20 years of watchmaking experience to offer exceptionally competitively priced, high spec designer watches with the best retail margin of any brand I am aware of in the industry. We will support this initiative with extensive staff training from our full time sales team and targeted local advertising and staff sales incentives for our retail partners to raise awareness of our brand in their stores and local communities.
WP: How hard is it to remain relevant and distinctive in the eyes of watch consumers?
RB: In an ever changing watch market with hundreds of recognised brands it is so important to stand out in the eye of the consumer. We aim to pleasantly surprise and amaze our consumers with the level of design, quality, functionality and presentation of our watches in comparison to the retail price point they sell at.
All of our Jos Von Arx timepieces are designed to have a modern feel whilst retaining a sophisticated attention to detail, which is one of the hallmarks of our brand that sets us apart from our competitors.
The watch sector is by far the most competitive area in which we compete. At Jos Von Arx we are dedicated to providing our customers with the best possible watch at the fairest possible price. We feel that offering this type of value resonates with a large proportion of consumers, particularly in the current economy.
WP: What are the main ways in which the watch market is evolving, and how is Jos Von Arx adapting to these changes?
RB: We feel the watch industry is changing with many retailers looking to move away from the current paradigm of selling the same major household brand names as their competitors at unfavourable terms and low margins. We believe that more and more niche brands will enter and gain significant penetration into both the UK and European markets. At Jos Von Arx we are determined to work with retailers to offer them something new and exciting whilst preserving their margins and offering their customers a more attractive and better value equivalent to other brands.
WP: What can visitors expect to see from Jos Von Arx at IJL this year?
RB: At IJL we will be debuting our new range of entry-level price point Swiss movement watches. This range includes a variety of new movements to our collection including dual time, day date and chronographs. We believe that with these new models added to the range that we have a very strong collection of timepieces in the £100 – £500 retail price range. Our latest collections have earned a fantastic response from our distributors, sales reps and agents who have had a preview of the collection so we are very excited to get these models to market.