Luxury watchmaker Roger Dubuis will reintroduce women’s timepieces to its lineup as part of a new branding strategy.
This story first appeared in the May 2, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The seven-piece Excalibur Lady Collection — including two limited edition styles (only 88 pieces will be made of each) — will hit stores next month, ranging in price from $12,600 to $73,500 for a completely pavé piece.
“Women’s watches have always been part of the history of our company, and we felt that we needed to do something now because it’s such a large part of the watch market. There is huge potential and we want to tackle it,” said George Kern, chief executive officer of Roger Dubuis, whose goal is to achieve equal sales for men and women’s watches in the company within the next three to four years.
The 16-year-old brand dabbled in the women’s market several years ago, but since acquired by Compagnie Financière Richemont in 2008, men’s timepieces have been the primary focus. Introducing a full women’s collection with slimmer and sleeker designs is part of the company’s recent rebranding initiative, with expanded offerings slated to hit stores in January 2012.
Starting the collection at a more approachable price point was a conscious decision on behalf of the company, whose opening price is nearly 50 percent less than it was previously. Even though a steel automatic ladies’ timepiece that began $18,000 might retail for under $13,000 now, the brand maintains its philosophy of adhering to traditional Swiss watchmaking techniques. This means that every movement is Geneva Seal certified and made in-house.
“Our customer is someone who looks for something really different and something very limited. We are a niche brand; we aren’t a mass market brand. This is definitely not a standard product, it’s for somebody who is looking for a unique piece,” Kern said. “It’s a big watch. When you put it on the wrist it’s clearly recognizable. We aren’t making small watches, even though the movement is quite thin. It’s a very specific piece.”
The brand also will launch a fine jewelry collection next year, according to Kern.