Traditional Swiss company Victorinox has opened its first store in Mumbai’s Phoenix Palladium mall. Known for its iconic red army knives, travel gear, watches, and fragrances, the latest store is bringing the best of the brand to the city. We catch up with the Victorinox India’s MD Colonel Chandhoke to discuss the brand’s presence in India, the new store, and the way forward.

MW: How has Victorinox’s journey been so far in India?

Colonel Chandhoke: We are in a very attractive spot when it comes to pricing and positioning right now in India because the premium segment is the largest growing and fastest-growing segment in India. We are not a luxury brand, and for the last five to six years, we have been present in a multi-brand form with our various products, like watches. Our travel gear is multi-brand with 40 to 50 point sales, and we have gotten a lot of love from our Indian customers for our products. 2020 was when we were to launch our first brand store, but we all know how that went, so now, 2022 marks the launch of the store. This is important for us because we see the maturity of the brand in our country, and now, we think it’s time to invest in this new brand format grid, and take it to the next level.

How did this store come about?

Over the years, we saw a level of maturity in each of our product categories. We believed in 2016 that in the next four years, 2019-2020 would be the right time to launch a profitable model, a large store as per global guidelines, to capitalise the maturity of the brand in the country. We were observing that year after year, our repeated customers and fans of the brand were building up. To be honest, we didn’t decide when our store will launch, our customers decided that. It’s such an emotional discussion, sometimes I sneak in the store wearing store staff uniforms just to be near the customers and listen to them, their stories, some of them have been with us for 30 years. We are privileged to play such an important role, and that’s when we realised this is the right time to launch the store.

According to you, what are the travel gears that people should have, from a style perspective?

My personal favourite is the Spectra series, the Spectra 3.0 that is launched right now. So Spectra 2.0 was our global bestseller, it was like an iconic product. Our users just love it, including me. I have been a Spectra consumer for the last seven years. It spoils you. It stays with you through thick and thin, it takes the rugged experience moreover, it is a classy looking piece that adds to your personality. We have relaunched Spectra 3.0 in a new avatar.

How do you plan to attract the new-generation customers?

What is unique about Victorinox is that we have something to please every heart. We are not a fashion category brand in any of the categories that we do. In fact, we are very excited because the Victorinox store is being opened in a very Gen-Z kind of way. We have pocket knives, which are also available in DIY and customisation format. You can choose the body of the knife, the scale, and the colour, and we will assemble that in front of you.