In conversation with Jean-Sebastien Berland, the Regional Brand Director for Middle East and India, for Roger Dubuis.
Jean-Sebastien Berland, the Regional Brand Director for Middle East and India, for Roger Dubuis, is a long time specialist, when it comes to watches and luxury. He was earlier the brand’s Managing Director for North East Asian operations, and did stints before that with the likes of Ralph Lauren, Richemont Fashion Department and Cartier. He spoke to MW about Roger Dubuis’ plans for India.
You have been coming to India frequently over the last two years. How do you view the Indian watch market?
I think the Indian market is still in the transition phase, moving from a family-run business to a lot more shops in shopping malls like in other countries. If you see the DLF Emporio Mall in Delhi or Quest Mall in Kolkata, this is very much what I believe we will see in the coming 10 years, in more and more in cities in India. I see a constant evolution from street level family businesses to more corporate, more distribution business.
What are your plans for India both in the short term and long term?
We will go for quality and exclusivity whether it’s for the product, communication or shopping experience for both clients and distribution. We want to partner with the most professional partners in India and of course we select our distributors very carefully, measuring them in terms of visibility, location and ability to access the right clientele. We are very cautious when it comes to opening new doors, or else we could have opened in 10 other cities very easily. We receive requests on a regular basis to partner with us. Like we are careful and patient with production of our watches, we also do the same for the development of our distribution network.
How do you view the Indian market as compared to the Asian market?
The way I see it it’s still in a transition phase in terms of distribution. In terms of clientele, India is a vast market with a growing population with a thirst for luxury. We already have a good image in India thanks to Viraal Rajan and his father who are at the forefront in the introduction of Roger Dubuis in India. More and more people are keen on acquiring their first Roger Dubuis timepiece in India, or outside of India as well. India for us is a very positive market and we are very hopeful for the next 10 years.
Roger Dubuis has been celebrating 2015 as the Year of The Astral Skeleton. Tell us about the kind of activities you have done in the past year in this connection.
There have been many events across various countries to celebrate the Year of the Astral Skeleton. In September there was the Watches & Wonders show where we presented a new skeleton , a pocket watch that has been extremely well received. Thus we had two major launches, at SIHH and at Watches & Wonders. In between we had smaller celebrations whether over cocktails and dinner, or bigger launches like the opening of a store, as we did recently in Geneva. We are opening in New York as well. It gives us an opportunity to share our novelties with existing clients and potential new ones.
Is there a similar theme for next year which you are in a position to talk about?
I have seen the drawings. I am sure you will love it like you did over the last four years now. Roger Dubuis will surprise you. Only thing I can say is be patient. Wait and see.