Pierre Dubois tells us that “no matter the marketing campaigns, a watch must work properly” in the increasingly competitive timepiece market.
As Luxury Society welcomes a new Corporate Member, Swiss watchmaker Pierre DeRoche, we would like to take the opportunity to introduce Pierre Dubois, CEO and founder. Launched in 2004 by the fourth generation watchmaker, the business ethos is firmly rooted in the cultivation of rarity, unique savoir-faire and clearly targeting core luxury consumers and connoisseurs. Mr Dubois suggests that ‘choosing Pierre DeRoche is not an empty gesture, but rather a desire to display one’s uniqueness by wearing a timepiece that is truly exclusive’.
“Pierre DeRoche manufactures watches in truly limited editions, only 21 pieces for the gold watches”, in keeping with Dubois’ personal vision of luxury as extraordinary. “For me, luxury is the opposite of the notion of mass or big quantity. The movements of the watches have been developed exclusively for the brand and the business operates on a small and highly customer focused scale, we are definitely in the luxury segment of the horology market,” remarked Dubois. Testament to this, merely a few hundred watches leave the brand’s workshop each year.
“ to be able to wear my own watches remains everyday, something I’m very proud of ”
His own passion for timepieces can be attributed to a gift received from his grandfather on his sixteenth birthday, “a Heuer, not yet TAG Heuer, Montreal watch, with a blue dial and the 1st worldwide automatic chronograph movement developed by my father inside. 35 years later this watch is still working and I love this watch as precisely as all the watches we have created through Pierre DeRoche these last seven years. “
The first three collections were presented in Baselworld in 2005, just one year after having started the brand from scratch. Although conscious of the challenges presented by such a mature and saturated market, Mr Dubois was always confident that there was a segment in which his values and focus on craftsmanship would appeal to.
TNT Royal Retro
“If you remove 50 brands with the highest notoriety, the remaining 250 brands are obliged to be different. For Pierre DeRoche the brand name is not enough to sell a watch, however we find that our core customers are educated enough about watches to understand why Pierre DeRoche is different. The customer who wants to purchase a watch driven by technique, detail, technology and craftsmanship, more so than marketing, is likely to choose a Pierre DeRoche watch.”
But Mr Dubois admits that this is still a difficult market for the smaller players, citing distribution as a key pressure point for the brand. “It is still very difficult for us to reach distribution partners, wholesalers and/or retail spaces. As far as the retailers are concerned, the major groups monopolize the retail floor and almost finance the multi-brand boutiques, resulting in less and less opportunities for the small brands.”
However, at Pierre DeRoche, this is viewed as more of an ongoing battle than a defeat, where the business will continue to focus on high-end segmentation and quality, as the watch world returns focus to reliability and less eccentricity in technique. “At the end of the day, no matter the brand ambassadors or the marketing campaigns, a watch must work properly.”
“ the customer who wants a watch driven by technique, technology and craftsmanship is likely to choose Pierre DeRoche ”
Going forward, the brand is looking to expand distribution “and be represented in the top 15 worldwide markets.” Technically speaking they will focus on ‘open face’ watches: watches with visible movements as in the TNT collection, the latest of which was launched at Baselworld 2011.
They have also recently launched iPhone and iPad applications to forge a presence in the digital space, a platform Mr Dubois explains as ‘the future’. Users can get the latest news updates in real time, find their closest retailer and explore the range in technical and visual detail. “Our children live with these technologies, this is where communications is headed. Moreover it is a less expensive way to be visible on an enormous global scale. Moreover the content of such applications can be much bigger and more interactive than a paper advertisement.”
As trends in the greater industry signal a return to old world service, custom design and true exclusivity, Pierre DeRoche is well positioned to flourish in the emerging core luxury climate. Whilst the brand is still theoretically young, no one can deny four generations of watch making heritage.