There is a counter-culture vibe at graham, which knows that it has to make a statement with every watch it designs in order to survive in a world dominated by the big groups. having addressed a problem of oversupply in the market, the company’s managing director Patric Zingg is ready to grow the brand again.
WatchPro: For those not familiar with the brand, how would you describe Graham?
Patric Zingg: A statement brand, saying “not like any other”. It started with being the first Anglo-Swiss eccentric brand (Swiss made) to be successfully relaunched in an industry dominated by traditional Swiss brands. Products like Chronofighter and Swordfish amplify our aim to do things differently with positive provocation, yet always respecting the highest quality standard.
Being an independent brand, allows us to have our own interpretation of the industry. When others Zig, we Zag.
WatchPro: How has the brand evolved over the years?
Patric Zingg: We continue to Zag after several challenging years. This is the usual challenge independent brands experience.
To stop the loss and enable Graham to grow again, we had to implement a step by step approach focusing on having the right people for the task, and an in-depth reinforcement of our core products – Chronofighter & Swordfish (below); a price realignment and a reduction of the numbers of markets while increasing our presence in the remaining ones.
WatchPro: What are the key markets for Graham across the world?
Patric Zingg: North America South East Asia. And now China with our own subsidiary and management
WatchPro: How significant is the North American market for the brand?
Patric Zingg: North America is an important market for all players. No brand can be successful without being present in the USA and Graham is no exception to that.
We have been here for more than a decade and have experienced ups and downs like anyone else. The regained enthusiasm generated by the 2016-2017 collection drove us to amplify our attention on the market. Having offered good value products, we needed to realign our human resources to rebuild our foundations.
Since our reorganization, North America represents about 20% of our global business.
WatchPro: What is Graham’s retail/wholesale strategy in its key markets?
Patric Zingg: In a nutshell, Graham is all about POS, POS, POS, which we define as pride on site as well as point of sale.
Depending on concentration of our POS, local habits and the “cost of doing business”, we adjust our approach to deliver our watches to the end consumer’s wrist.
In the US, Graham is working with traditional retailers for its brand experience and development, while collaborating with an online platform to help the POS move their old inventory and create a win-win situation.
A place like Malaysia, with an extremely high density of retailers in KL, leads us to vest our efforts on generating traffic at the POS.
While in China, our organization is geared towards a dual model; retail and online. The first one generates experiences for our consumers and turn them into KOC #keyopinionconsumer,
and the second one accelerates our visibility country wide including tier 3, 4 or 5 cities.
WatchPro: And how are these channels to market changing over time, if at all?
Patric Zingg: I don’t believe retail will disappear. It will merely evolve. All these prime locations currently “for rent” will trigger landlords to reassess their “price tag”; hence generate opportunities for smart retailers or brands to create experiences — whether pop-up stores, showrooms, mono-brand stores, you name it. Together with digital presence.