On the eve of the 2016 BAFTA weekend, WatchPro speaks to Pierre Bernheim, founder of 88 Rue Du Rhone, the official watch and timing partner of the BAFTA Film Awards.
Why launch and develop a brand like 88RDR when the economy has not been strong since 2012 ?
The brand was launched in 2012 at a time we thought the economy would rise again. However, it didn’t but we have pushed the brand further anyway, today reaching about 35 markets.
How has the brand developed worldwide into a recognised brand from unknown four years ago ?
It has been long and hard work selecting the best partners. We had to sign with those who found a niche and a need in the brand. We had to work with people who believed in the brand and that were not only ready to show it in stores, but to push and work it.
What has been successful/ unsuccessful for you as a brand?
Our success is our distribution. But opening a retailer, a new market is rather simple. What matters to us are replenishment orders. That means sell-through is happening.
But in the first four months of the brand, back in 2012, we didn’t apply the right thinking for the brand of this price point. We were certainly influenced by our history at Raymond Weil (the co-founders of the brand are also Raymond Weil’s grandsons) where we think of luxury differently. But this is corrected and we are now heading to the right direction.
What are the USPs of the product and how does these set you apart from your competitors?
88 Rue Du Rhone’s USP is “quality, affordable, classic – yet contemporary timepieces – for men and women”. In a way, that sentence makes us unique. It’s very hard or nearly impossible to find any brands which are offering such products.
Who is 88RDR targeting as its primary target customer?
88 RDR is aiming to be the first watch for post-graduates but also for anyone willing to spend £400 on a qualitative and elegant watch which, by definition, has to last forever.
What is the vision for the brand and product over the course of the next five years ?
Our vision is simple. We will keep maximizing the ratio of quality-to-value. We will work hard on refining our dials, incorporating new materials and scheme. Also if we can continue to increase our volume, we believe we will be adding more features on our watches for unbeatable prices.
What changes to the business have you made since launch that have improved business internationally?
When you launch a watch brand, there are many required elements you need to meet to fulfill your partners’ expectations. In the beginning, we were spending a great deal of time making sure we had everything. Today, I realise our partners understand it’s a new venture which needs time. It might not sound like a big change, but we started to prioritize things and focus ourselves on clustering areas where we had to improve. Rome wasn’t built overnight and this can be said as well for a watch brand.