We caught up with Katharina Mack, marketing director, A. Lange & Söhne, to talk about the brand’s new releases and its plans for this year.
Can you tell us more about Triple split, which is the highlight of your 2018 collection?
The Triple Split is the highlight complication timepiece for us. We mean to really improve in terms of pushing the boundaries of fine watchmaking, without neglecting the brand’s DNA. The brand is about functional added value of each and every watch. Plus, there is always an engineering speciality. The Triple Split is so interesting because no one ever thought that you would be able to develop something like that. It’s crazy enough that you have a rattrapante and a chronograph. There is a functionality, which to do something for him, to develop the watch he always wanted and with the jumping seconds. That was the nicest thing we could do for him. I think really that it was a nice to give him the complication he always wanted to have, and to do what he wanted to do to help people. So that’s the other part of the brand. It’s very human and very emotional.
What are the interesting new trends that you predict for men’s watches in 2018?
I think it’s interesting to see how the digital watches are going to influence the mechanical watches, whether it’s going to remain in the straps or are they going to integrate it in the dials etc.
Do you think there are brands that are heading in that direction?
One important trend is to go back to the roots in a way. I think the key question is how would we address the next target audience, what will happen in terms of new materials, not only in terms of technology, but also what kind of materials would brands use inside the movement with functionality, dial materials, strap materials. And the question is also, what does craftsmanship mean to millenials? The millenials are an important target group for all of the brands. And all of them are trying to figure out what this new generation of customers wants to have, wants to wear around their wrists in the future.
You launched the sixth watch in the Handwerkskunst collection in the form of the 1815 Rattrapante Perpetual Calendar Handwerkskunst edition in September last year. Can we expect one in 2018 as well?
You never know. It really depends on how far we proceed in our developments, because it’s never for the sake of doing a Handwerkskunst. It’s the art of craftsmanship. If there is an idea and if we bring it to perfection, yes it can happen. If not, then we’re going to wait.
Marketing wise, what more could we expect from Lange this year?
One of the key questions is how to transfer the contents that we already have, meaning craftsmanship, into the new way of communication in the digital world. You need to adapt a very complex theme into a world which is superfast, artificial or superficial. What you can expect from us is that we’re going to stick to our brand’s key values, as you can see on our Instagram account, it’s for people who are design oriented and who love fine watches. We’re going to stick to our core values, but we want to expand our reach. It can mean that we already start with a very aesthetic presentation of the brand or product, but after that there needs to be a little story that dives deeper. You need to drive people on your channel to give them the contents they want, and therefore we are going to prepare a new website with a journal, where we are going to prepare and provide some more in-depth content about the brand.
What is your forecast for the international watch market in 2018, particularly Asia?
Consolidation. We do have a lot of customers in that region, but we are not yet able to connect with them really well. We want to create more opportunities to meet with them, because as you know, we are a very niche brand, and sharing the secret with people even in Asia is going to be one of our challenges and targets for the next year. Nevertheless, as I said before, we are not going to do the big awareness campaigns. We want to help them to get to know us and to have more interaction points.
Where does India fit into your overall international marketing strategy?
I wouldn’t make a difference here, because if you say that the people who are interested in the brand have to have a certain point where they interact with the brand, and have the opportunity to do so, whether it is in a digital way or via meeting people or brand representatives, it does hold true for the whole world, including India.