When you think of Roger Dubuis, you undoubtedly think of their tourbillons and stunning skeleton dials. With their bold design codes and supreme levels of finishing, their creations never fail to spark conversation. For the month of July, Roger Dubuis is hosting a pop-up at Harrods on London’s Brompton Road. On the occasion, I managed to sit down with CEO Jean-Marc Pontroue for a quick catch up.

Jean-Marc, I gather you’re into marathon running?

I have been running for 30 years! So when I joined Roger Dubuis, I said: ‘Let’s do the New York marathon’; we wanted to set ourselves a crazy goal. One that would bring us together as a team as well as test us. We knew there would be the obvious physical challenge, but also knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get access to. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the ticket allocation, but the way it works is that each country has an allocation of tickets, and Switzerland has a relatively high allocation in relation to the size of the country. You have 1,500 for France for 16 million people and 500 for Switzerland for eight million people. So strangely enough, the five people that applied for tickets from Roger Dubuis all got them. When you live in Switzerland, we are blessed to have some wonderful countryside to run in. There is no excuse for not getting out there.

Tell us a bit more about the ‘Made with Love & Precision’ event here at Harrods? 

We are only targeting a couple of cities in the world, of which London is one. London is key when it comes to visibility, business, prestige, relevance and credibility. We have to be here. Curiously enough, when we had the opportunity to negotiate with Harrods for this space here, I didn’t realize it was so big! But it looks great. If we look internationally, we already have four stores in Hong Kong and another four in Macau. London has taken longer; the number of competitors per square meter is unlike anywhere in the world. And that’s not limited to watches. That being said, we have been offered sites here in London, but not the right place. In retail, you always learn the hard way. You have to have the right people, in the right place, at the right time.

What are the characteristics of a Roger Dubuis buyer? 

Someone who has everything. Someone who is curious; who wants something that they won’t see anyone else wearing. For many of our watches, we are in a fortunate position where we don’t have to put a logo on our watches. We have a strong aesthetic that you can easily distinguish. I would also say our customers are generally younger, between 30-55. They are the sort of people, who if they were told that a certain location is the place to visit, they would instead choose to go elsewhere.

Which piece would you suggest to a first-time Roger Dubuis buyer and why? 

It would be this one [pointing to his wrist]. It’s the Excalibur 45 Skeleton Double Flying Tourbillon. This IS Roger Dubuis. This is it. This is our DNA. When you look at the watch, it’s a skeleton but in a very aggressive way. You either like it or you don’t.

It’s bold. It’s polarizing. It has a star, which acts as a platform to support the bridges. It’s a tourbillon, which is one of our specialties, but it’s no ordinary tourbillon. It’s a double tourbillon and we are proud to be the first to open the double-tourbillon business 10 years ago.

As I’m sure you are aware, we find ourselves in uncertain political times here in the UK. Do you anticipate that Brexit will affect your investment in London at all? 

Not at all. As I say, London is one of the most important locations in the world for us. It is multicultural, educated and forward thinking. One of the great cities of the world. We are looking to build a strong business for the long term here. We need to have a long-term vision.

How do you feel it will affect consumer spending in London? 

I would imagine there would be the initial uncertainty about what the process of leaving the EU will look like. But once the markets settle and plans are in place, I don’t believe our investment and consumer spending in London will be all too affected.