Tissot Bella Ora Piccola

Tissot was one of the Swatch Group’s many brands to set up residence in New York for the early portion of New York Fashion Week. Swatch isn’t participating in this year’s Baselworld show and sent many of its brands to Manhattan in lieu of presenting at the Swiss expo.

Tissot, in particular, had a mission while in New York — to boost brand awareness and increase sales in the U.S. market.

Global president François Thiébaud told WWD, “The U.S. market is unfortunately not our first market, it is a market that should become one of the best.” The Asia-Pacific region, led by sales in China, is Tissot’s largest market. Europe holds its second biggest consumer base.

Four years ago, Tissot signed an agreement with the NBA to become the league’s official watch provider and timekeeper. Thiébaud said this has helped grow brand awareness in the U.S. — contributing to double-digit regional sales increases over the last two to three years.

“Out of 25 million Swiss watch exports, Tissot is exporting more than four million. This is why we have to do something. We are number one in many, many markets and not here, so we have to correct that,” Thiébaud said.

The brand’s watches typically retail from $300 to $1,200, with the average sale ranging from $500 to $800.

In addition to leveraging its NBA deal, Tissot plans to expand its foothold in the U.S. by promoting its 166-year history of innovation and European panache.

It will also boost its e-commerce and social media efforts — compensating for the closures of independently owned third-party retailers across the country.

“Unfortunately a lot of small stores have closed here and we have to replace them,” Thiébaud said. “We have to serve the people who would have shopped there. We are supporting existing retail stores, and where there are no retail stores we will fill in with e-commerce. It’s something we are working on and communicating more with social media.”

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