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INTERVIEW: Jean-Christophe Babin

Jean-Christophe Babin

Jean-Christophe Babin, Chief Executive Officer of TAG Heuer, talks business in the region and ‘dramatic’ press reports.

July 3, 2012 4:55 by

In many coun­tries we have a dual system, so that some boutiques we may own directly because we found the location first. To me, there is no pride in owning or not owning a bou­tique. The pride is in what we offer the consumer. You can own a boutique that is totally mismanaged, and you can have a boutique that you don’t own, which is perfectly managed. So, what is important is to guarantee customers a true, unique extraordinary experience.

What challenges do you face after the re­cession, in the GCC market especially?

You know, the recession, at least for me, seems as if it was a long time ago. The fact is, the industry and TAG Heuer had very good times in 2010 and 2011, and it looks like 2012 will be another good year. How good? It’s too early to say, and perhaps [I’m being] a bit over optimistic, but at least the first quarter started very well, so I think we [have] come from a brutal crisis, global fi­nancial crisis into a new world, where you have question marks, especially on Western countries.

There was debt before 2008, the difference is that today the media is covering it much more intensively and dramatizing it, but nothing has really changed.

The fact is most people are work­ing. The number of employed people is more or less the same as before, and the number of people who want luxury is the same as before, even more so, because every year you [attract] people. So, eventually, the overall environment is dramatized by the media, but the overall environment is no better or worse than it used to be before the global financial crisis. I mean, most countries had heavy debts, lots of people, and no idea how to find pensions.

Because of the dramatization in the press, people, when they look at their bank account, they see they have some money left to indulge in a little luxury. It can be a watch, a trip to an exotic is­land, whatever it is, at a certain point, you know you are fed up with certain bad news, because you read bad news and your life is good. So there is a kind of discrepancy, and so eventu­ally if the brands do a good job, I mean in coming up with attractive products, innovative products, desirable products, people buy.

What we’ve seen since 2010 is that peo­ple have massively come back to the luxury market, not only watches. Across the board, luxury is booming more than ever.


*First published on Trends

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