How do you assess the situation a year after taking over the management of Jaquet Droz?
First of all, I’m very happy with the teams’ sticking to the new strategy, because without a cohesive team we can’t move forward. At Jaquet Droz I have found an exceptionally benevolent climate, thanks in large part to my predecessor, Christian Lattmann, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. It’s important that everyone pulls together as the brand has taken a radical turn. We defined this principle JD 8.0 A Disruptive Legacy with the Hayek family and the Swatch Group. This goodwill was even more necessary in the destabilizing context of Covid. However, the vast majority of employees got into the project with enthusiasm, which is observed by visitors to the manufactory, who see their joy in working at the workbench. In addition, we have an average age of 31 in the workshops, which is young in a factory. The majority of our sales partners share this wish, for whom the rules of the game are also changing drastically.
The second satisfaction therefore derives from the results of our first actions taken last winter, resulting in a 250% increase in the average price of high-end watches (over CHF 100,000.-) and a doubling of product sales by six figures led. This enthusiasm can also be seen at auctions, not just Only Watch but three others in its wake. Jaquet Droz is considered a very high-quality exceptional brand, as it originally stood at the courts of Spain and England or at the Forbidden City in Beijing almost three centuries ago. . At this level, the brand is in the process of repositioning itself.
Alain Delamuraz, CEO of Jaquet Droz © Jaquet Droz
Your new slogan is reminiscent of Jaquet Droz 8.0: “A Disruptive Legacy”, what does it consist of?
From 1738, Pierre Jaquet Droz was so groundbreaking and innovative with his automatons that he was already disruptive for his contemporaries. He was even nearly imprisoned because his ability to create objects that sang, wrote, or played music made him suspected of making a pact with the devil! I wondered what he would do in our time. Pierre Jaquet Droz was clearly a pioneer. To respect his legacy, it was necessary to break convention, take risks and lead the way. To stay a great brand you have to be followed and not a follower and therefore break the codes. Our heritage is six digit and automaton art watches, so we removed anything that didn’t fit into that category. Some brands have an average price of 100,000, our watches start at CHF 150,000 and will never go below CHF 100,000. They are therefore aimed at customers who no longer go to the store, which means that all our points of sale will be closed. We focus our relationship with the end customer, through ambassadors and people, not places, in a circle in which the end customer feels comfortable. Our only point of sale becomes our factory, where our customers interact directly with our artists to personalize the pieces almost permanently. The 8.0 is a nod to just-in-time Industry 4.0, but our craftsmanship and automata go well beyond that, hence the 8.0, which also refers to our double dials that reproduce the 8 of our heritage. . The questioning extends to the products, of course, but also to looking after our customers and those well beyond the sale of the watch, which is just a halfway step in the relationship.
I banned 3 sentences: “we’ve never done it like this”, “we’ve always done it like this”, “this is not Jaquet Droz”. My travels to the Galapagos Islands have given me a better understanding of Darwin’s theory of evolution, according to which the species that survive are not the strongest or the most intelligent, but rather those that adapt best. Today, more than ever, you have to be very flexible. Jaquet Droz must not forget its roots, embodied in animal motifs, the idyllic or the romantic, but must also question itself and know how to offer new materials such as sapphire alongside the remaining gold cases, but also offer alternatives to black alligator straps such as recycled fishing net or more colorful materials. With the average age of Chinese billionaires being 33, Jaquet Droz needs to project itself into a new emotional universe close to their passions. At the same time, we will pay special attention to our ecological responsibility, because those who have the means must set a good example.
What goals are you pursuing in the medium term?
There are several aspects to these goals, all of which follow our philosophy of JD 8.0 A Disruptive Legacy. Let’s respect the brand’s roots by bringing some machines from yesteryear up to date. With the explosion of digital and virtual, the need for authenticity grows and it’s almost reassuring to see a creaking vending machine. Watch the astonished children’s eyes in the circus in front of trained horses! We must protect and preserve the know-how of our artisans before it disappears. Who but Jaquet Droz could give work to an artist who assembles dials from quail egg shells? Jaquet Droz is characterized by its manufacture of around fifty artisans who are fortunate to have the support of a fantastic group committed to preserving heritage and promoting craftsmanship.
Of course, this must remain compatible with the profitability of the company. We are therefore increasing the number of individual pieces and are ultimately aiming for an average price of 400,000 per watch for a hundred customers in the first year. I want to know them all personally before entrusting them to our artists. Our watches are works of art, and their cases will also be works of art.
Is your Tourbillon Skelet Saphir the new face of Jaquet Droz?
A brand needs strong faces and beautiful assets to rely on to move forward, and this watch is one of the future stumbling blocks for Jaquet Droz. It embodies the basic principle underlying its creation: when we choose to create a sapphire case, we create super Swiss quality. We are the only ones designing a 100% sapphire case, 100% machined and assembled in La Chaux-De-Fonds, with no screws in the case, enlarging an 8-day tourbillon. These new materials and colors perfectly represent the more modern and playful JD 8.0 A Disruptive Legacy. These modern technologies can be spectacularly combined with the ancient techniques of sequins or transparent opal, it’s an absolutely unique offer! Of course, thanks to our configurator, we can also cater to customers who like it more classic.
At the same time, we preserve this historical stumbling block made up of automatons like our dragon drawn by John Howe, the artist of The Lord of the Rings. The customer can choose the material of his case himself, which can be sapphire, gold or titanium, for example. Eventually, other collections will follow, which are already being explored, especially around women.
Tourbillon Skeleton Sapphire © Jaquet Droz
What changes does this mean for crafting?
It’s becoming our business, and we’re opening it up even more than before. Customers discover our craft there, it is the place we travel to. We also equipped it with a very sophisticated professional video studio with high definition cameras aimed at the drawing board, the workbench and the craftsman who can thus work remotely with the customer on the progress of his part. . It has an access code, make an appointment with our artisans who take the time to do it and personalize it as if it were physically with them. This customer loyalty also requires a very successful after-sales service. In the customer’s journey, we want to accompany them before, during and after, and with their friends! No one remains indifferent to our craft, but the unpacking ceremony is sublimated: an experience (optional) accompanies each sale in the universe of each customer’s favorite, at the top of a mountain or on a yacht, but with his three best friends. Marketing is guided by the customer’s DNA, Jaquet Droz adapts to it.
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