On the road ahead for Girard-Perregaux
AC: We started to redefine the strategy of the brand three years ago. To me, what is important is a commitment to reconnect the brand with its heritage. We have more than  years of history, and my goal is to take good care of that heritage. Since 2015, we’ve taken significant steps to redefine the product strategy and, fortunately, this company has some very iconic products; we are not a mono-product brand.
We have the 1966, the 1945, the Laureato… and we also produce every year a few hundred pieces at the real high-horology level. It’s really two different business models. [At one point,] it was difficult to understand, “Who is Girard-Perregaux?” Now, the product strategy is very clear, with five pillars. We have the Heritage pillar; the Classic pillar, with the 1966 and the 1945; the Three Bridges pillar, also with Complications based on the Three Bridges; the Cat’s Eye pillar for the ladies, and finally, the Laureato pillar.
On the development of the Neo-Bridges collection
AC: The Three Bridges, of course, is a signature product of Girard-Perregaux, which everybody knows. In the past, the only model we had at the high horology level was a Three Bridges tourbillon. Today we’ve redefined the Three Bridges product strategy, with the goal of [creating] a real product family around this signature piece, in three different price segments, and with three different functions.
The Neo-Bridges is the first one, and it’s meant to be classic and contemporary. Its case is always in titanium or in gold. The titanium Neo-Bridges debuted in 2017, and in 2018 we will have it in gold. We’ll also have a new, basic complication based on the Three Bridges collection. In 2019, we’ll have a “middle” complication. [The reasoning is that even] if you have one of the most iconic products, you can’t really capitalize on it if you’re only producing tourbillon pieces.
The Neobridges line will have three, sometimes two, sometimes only one bridge. We are already more or less ready with the middle-range model in this collection, and it will have only one bridge. It’s a very nice complication, one based on the Three Bridges signature, but we didn’t have enough space to include three or even two bridges. We’ll play with different numbers of bridges. The goal is to always have always the same signature, the same code.
On stream-lining the collection
Five pillars in the collection is a lot. The most important thing to realize is that we do not develop products because Antonio Calce likes the product. It’s all about what the brand needs for its future. We had, in our history, an iconic product called the Laureato and we had never focused on the development of this product, which has always had a strong personality, a strong identity.
Between 1970 and 1975, the Golden Age of the luxury sports watch, it was one of three iconic products, with the Audemars Piguet Royal Qak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus. In 2017 we have finally built a real family around it.
On expanding the Laureato line
We are only at the beginning of the development of the Laureato, and it’s a little bit early for me to talk about strategy, but I can tell you that the goal is to create different levels in Laureato, not just to play with different dial colors and straps. In 2018, the brand strategy will be focused mainly on the Laureato and the high-horology pieces.
The Laureato strategy specifically will concentrate on establishing three different levels — core collection, middle range collection, and high-end complications, all based on the Laureato design. We are hoping to both enrich the collection and to create a lot of value.
On moving to SIHH from Baselworld
90% of our clients come to the SIHH, whereas maybe 60% of our clients attend Baselworld. At Baselworld, you can find not just luxury products but products priced as low as $10.00 – $15.00. I think the positioning of SIHH is perfectly in line with our positioning. We are in our garden, as they say. And don’t forget, Girard-Perregaux was one of the founding brands of SIHH. We’ve really been there since the beginning, and it was a natural business decision to come back.