We all hear it around this time of year: “New year, new me!” In one way or another, we all assess ourselves at the end of the year and reflect on what we’d like to change and what we’d like to stay the same. In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, Revolution asked the heads of your favorite brands to turn back the clock and look back on 2018, as well as the promising year ahead.
Marc A. Hayek
President & CEO of Blancpain & President of Breguet
We had various highlights in the Fifty Fathoms and the Villeret collections, but our masterpiece was definitely the Villeret Flying Tourbillon with jumping hours and retrograde minutes. It is the first time that we introduced these two complications in a Blancpain watch.
I loved the fact that we extended the Fifty Fathoms collection with additional complications in the Bathyscaphe line. The chronograph and the three hand timepieces are now complemented by three new watches: a complete calendar with moon phases, an annual calendar, and a vintage-inspired day-date model. Six or seven years ago, the Fifty Fathoms collection represented a few percent of our overall sales only. Today, we are over 30%. Widening our range of diving watches was thus logical.
I’m always excited about new technological developments. But for next year, I’m especially excited about the revival of the vintage. Getting closer to the original models on which our current collections are based is something I really like. This year at Blancpain, we launched a Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe inspired by the style of a ‘70s ancestor. In the near future, the beauty of the pieces from the ‘50s and the ‘60s will be highlighted through a special series of Breguet Type XX watches.
As I think the perfect watch doesn’t exist, my resolution, as usual, is to push the boundaries of watchmaking to take this art where it has never been before. I wish to see more investments in research and development. Too much effort is sometimes dedicated to marketing. I think the industry should find the right balance between these two areas. I love the fact that this industry is somehow unpredictable. You never get bored as things are always changing; years follow one another but don’t look alike.
Non-Executive Chairman of LVMH Group
This past year, I enjoyed the fact that my son at the age of 18 has decided to live alone and away from his parents. He showed incredible entrepreneurship and enjoyed freedom and liberty, although it was a shock for his mother and myself not having him anymore each day and night at home. Because of my health problems, I also realized that I was entering my 70th year and that the body would probably need some more respect — my New Year’s resolution is to give my body some rest.
In 2018, a highlight was certainly the Zenith Defy Lab, which revolutionized the Huygens Principle that has been the only and sole principle of the mechanical watch since 1678. I am also extremely excited to see the next generation of the Defy Lab in the Zenith collection and major innovations for TAG Heuer as well, and I am looking forward to the production of the exclusive Hublot Red Ceramic watch. I want to see a big proportion of the people who wear a connected watch commuting to buying a mechanical watch and transferring from “obsolete” to “eternal.”
CEO of Hamilton
We had a wonderful year celebrating our 100 years of timing the skies, with many events around the world. The message was very well received everywhere, and the association between Hamilton and the world of aviation is stronger than ever. The biggest success this year was the Hamilton Khaki Field mechanical. Hamilton is one of the only brands to believe in hand-winding movements and that confirmed that if you stay true to your roots and DNA and don’t make any compromises on style, you only get success.
My New Year’s resolution is to keep learning and keep enjoying being part of the Hamilton team, and work to develop bold and daring novelties, as well as online marketing activities using the American spirit of Hamilton. My understanding of the watch industry is that it is based on soft evolution and not radical changes. The evolution I believe in has already started: innovating in all segments of the digital strategy to inform and serve our clients in the best way.
Next year we have some very exciting projects coming up in cinema, our other main passion and source of inspiration. In November we had the 10th edition of the Hamilton Behind the Camera Awards, a ceremony taking place in Los Angeles in which we honor the talents working behind the cameras, such as the filmmakers, prop masters and custom designers. Then we have three very exciting projects for 2019, which are still confidential at this stage, but we can’t wait to tell you more about them!
CEO of Bell & Ross
2018 brought a wonderful reaction to our timepieces, especially the BR03-92 Diver Bronze and the BR01 Laughing Skull. These kinds of positive feedbacks always fuel us to keep pushing the limits in our designs and continue the growth of our company. In a globally uneasy economic climate, customers will be more likely to fall back towards more affordable and reliable watches. The challenge, now, is to keep on daring and believing in the product we create. And our latest example would be the launching of our highest-end timepieces exclusively sold online: the BR-X1 Skeleton Tourbillon Sapphire Black. Bell & Ross has always been a pioneer in digital and I believe that being a risk taker is the key to success while being faithful to manufacture techniques.
Highlights for me were our collaborations — working with other companies to create a special product to please our customers! Within the framework of our partnership with Renault Sport Formula One Team, we released a complete collection — the R.S. 18 chronographs — revisiting one of the key components of a Formula 1 car: the chassis. But we were also lucky enough to collaborate with the Revolution and The Rake teams to design the Vintage V2-94 El Mirage & Dusty chronographs, out in October.
We are very much looking forward to 2019, because we have strong novelties in our key iconic collections in Aviation and Diving — new innovative materials, but also a new content developed around it. And we confirmed our successful partnership with Renault Sport Formula One Team, so stay tuned! And last but not least, an entire new collection, which I believe will surprise. My wish and hope would be to give envy to the new generation who dreams of buying a connected watch, to keep appreciating the beauty of this treasured trade. We must consider the connected watch as a complementary product to traditional timepieces. We must figure out the perfect balance between technique and emotion. There is room for two after all!
Co-CEO of Oris
Thinking back on this year, I most enjoyed the many direct interactions with our consumers. Spending time with them and feeling their excitement about the brand and our products is really energizing. For the first time since luxury goods started to be sold outside the maker’s premises, brands are in direct contact with consumers on a broad, global scale. This new proximity opens a huge field of exciting opportunities that go far beyond e-commerce.
We had many highlights this year: from a product perspective, the re-launch of our Big Crown family that we brought closer back to the original from the 1930s but gave it some interesting colors; from a brand perspective, the boutiques we opened in Zurich, Amsterdam, London, Chennai and Guangzhou; and from a team perspective, to go through a year of exciting growth with many projects completed and having fun doing it.
For Oris, I am really excited about our new in-house movement presented later this year and a watch that will combine a few things that we have not done before. We will have some really interesting new models in the Aquis line. Around them, we will have a series of events to make people aware of the importance to keeping our oceans clean and addressing the world’s plastic problem. I think in the luxury goods industry we have a special obligation to make people aware to live responsibly. And a mechanical watch is a really sustainable product.
Next year, I want Oris to keep the momentum, focus, and enjoy. And for me, the same! Plus: make people smile.