John Travolta flying down to India to launch the New Navitimer 01 is old news now. But his coming here proves one thing, than Breitling is taking India very seriously. Serious enough to place one of its watches in a Bollywood movie as well!
By: Lorraine Rodrigues
Posted on: 10 October, 2010
John Travolta flying down to India to launch the New Navitimer 01 is old news now. But his coming here proves one thing, that Breitling is taking India very seriously. Serious enough to place one of its watches in a Bollywood movie as well!
Aviation horologer Breitling has made its intentions to woo India’s eager luxury consumers loud and clear with the launch of the New Navitimer 01. The biggest draw at the launch was, of course, star pilot and brand ambassador for the Swiss luxury brand, John Travolta, who made a brief appearance to mark the world premier of the New Navitimer 01.
Ben Balmer, Marketing Director, Breitling stated that choosing Mumbai was a way of emphasizing the company’s focus on this burgeoning economy as an important customer base. Currently, India does not figure on the list of key markets (that list includes the UK, USA, Germany and Austria).
Mathieu Brunischolz, who oversees the Indian sales for the brand, explains that the decision to re-launch the Navitimer in its new avatar comes from their firm belief that mechanical watches “would not die” (Breitling, like all other mechanical Swiss watchmakers, underwent a crisis in the 1970s due to the rising popularity of quartz pieces and the dominance of the American and Japanese industries).
However, he admits that the recent focus on India is part of a business move to predict “where growth will come from next.” He is vague about the figures expected to be generated in this market over the next year, saying, “We are emotional in terms of planning the business, and our aim for the watches is to ‘sell them well’, so success in measured in terms of quality of service, not just numbers.”
Breitling first stepped into India in 2004, though its presence and activity have not been as frenetic as other brands. Brunischolz disagrees that ramping up operations later than their competitors will dent their impact, “We are looking at a long term strategy, not immediate figures or volume. India is not one of the biggest markets right now but will be in the next ten years.” Their biggest Asian customer base currently lies in Japan.
Breitling puts out just 150,000 and 200,000 pieces a year, and Brunischolz says that their “faithful” patrons form an important percentage of their customer base, along with the younger affluent generation they wish to appeal to, “There are many young customers who grow up with the brand,” and who develop a bond with their timepieces.
Currently there are 12 points of sale in India with a retail outlet planned for next year. Brunischolz adds, “We have learnt from mistakes that we and our competitors have made in the past when expanding, one of which was - not being selective about distribution.” He explains that it is important for the brand to be understood, by those who are part of the network that reaches out to select, discerning consumers.
Brunischolz also adds that like the Hollywood thriller The Taking Of Pelham 123 which featured an embedded Breitling timepiece worn by Travolta, Breitling is planning a product placement in a Bollywood movie next year, thought he will not to reveal the name of the film, or the ambassador.
The New Navitimer 01
The Caliber 01 self-winding movement comes with a 1/4th of a second chronograph and a 70 hour reserve. Each piece must pass rigorous tests conducted by Swiss Official Chronometre Testing Institute (COSC). The chronograph has been released in a limited series of 2000 steel pieces and 200 red gold pieces.