Roger Dubuis and its new CEO, Nicola Andreatta, is reaching out to a global audience from a new boutique on Old Bond Street in London. In conversation with WatchPro’s Alex Douglas, Mr Andreatta explains how he is in a trade-off between visibility and exclusivity but remains set on making a mark and expanding in the US market in the coming months.
MrAndreatta took the helm at Roger Dubuis as CEO seven months ago and has made an instant impact. This month the brand opened its independent boutique on Old Bond Street in London, a move which forms part of Mr Andreatta’s master plan to make Roger Dubuis more recognizable around the world.
That is not to say Roger Dubuis is aiming for mass market appeal. The challenge is to strike the right balance between visibility and exclusivity. The strategy appears to be working. Just ten days since it opened its London boutique, the business has already made several watch sales, Mr Andreatta was happy to report.
And, having improved its positioning in UK, Roger Dubuis wants to crank up its operations in the United States as well.
“We already have three stores in the US. We have one in New York, one in Austin and one in Los Angeles. We definitely need to expand our presence in the US. We are talking about eventually relocating the Madison store in the next few months and I think I need a presence in Miami. So we are exploring possibilities but for sure, we will continue expanding,” Mr Andreatta tells WatchPro.
“With the New York store, it is just a current situation with the landlord so, knowing we have to move, we are trying to see what will be the best place in the New York landscape. We have the north of the city which is very classic in a way, very conservative. I see ourselves in the more hyped part of New York so maybe Soho or downtown Manhattan will be the place where we are in the future.”
Monobrand boutiques in the correct locations in global cities are key to the brand, Mr Andreatta explains. “We are exploring different concepts. Retail is evolving and everybody talks about experience and that is really the thing that we need to make sure we give to our clients so why not come in with a different kind of experience and especially in New York where it is a place where you explore possibilities more than anywhere else. So, we are thinking and we will see.”
The Roger Dubuis CEO made it clear that expanding into and being successful in the US market was a task that asks different questions than doing so in other countries.
He sees Miami, and its different clientele, as a place in which he can see the brand doing just that.
On why he seems Miami as such an attractive retail destination, Mr Andreatta responds: “Miami is a place for Latin American people to shop, most of them go to Miami to buy and I consider the US for us as a region with three different markets.
“You have New York which has a very specific crowd, LA is a completely different type of client and you start to have Asians as well, and then Miami, which is again a different type of market. We do have a presence with partners in Miami but I think it’ll be great to have our own presence there.”
Mr Andreatta brings a wealth of experience to his new role from both inside and outside of the industry; his family had been involved in watchmaking for ten generations and made components for a lot of the well-known brands. He tells WatchPro that his father had not wanted him to get into watchmaking so studied finance and worked around the world in that sector.
After that period he decided to start his own watch brand which was called NOA, none of the above.
It lasted ten years and was a journey which he described as an ‘amazing ride.’ He sold NOA to an American investor and joined Tiffany to look after its watch division.
After what he calls “another amazing journey” at Tiffany, Mr Andreatta is now CEO of Roger Dubuis and he doesn’t think there could be a better time to be in the role.
He shares: “This opportunity popped up and I keep saying I’d been training 20 years to be here in this position, and it is a brand I love and did before I joined. There couldn’t be a better moment to be joining Roger Dubuis. We just closed our best year last year, the brand is growing and it is a place where we can express ourselves in a very different way and it is a very disruptive and different brand and I think there couldn’t be a better brand that fit me better than Roger Dubuis.”
He also addressed the brands tagline of ‘Dare to be Rare’ which alludes to the fact the brand is brave enough to be a rare commodity, something Mr Andreatta wants to keep up during his tenure.
He refers back to his trade-off between having that all important exclusivity while continuing to stay visible and how he is keen not to increase production.
Roger Dubuis’ CEO says: “I’m not planning to increase production and I go back to what I said, this has to be that kind of a secret brand where you can find amazing things and the more you dilute the equity by going with mass, the less you remain exclusive.
“That said, we need to be known so I have that trade-off between exclusivity and visibility and we need to manage it in the right way in order to have that message.”
Looking ahead at what he wants to achieve in the foreseeable future, Mr Andreatta has set out to do more of the same, just better.
He predicts: “Well, I wouldn’t say I want to dramatically change things, I think my predecessor did an amazing job in designing the path but I now want to do things even better. I want to make sure we keep innovating, we are creating a specific part of our factory which is dedicated to innovation, constantly.” Concluding: “It will be a virtual and physical place where people can meet to share ideas, to invent, come with craziness and that will be really the driver to our future creations. Again, I don’t think it changes much from what we have been doing in the past, but we will just try to do it better.”