Breitling boss extols Korean watch market

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Breitling boss extols Korean watch market

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Georges Kern, global CEO of Swiss luxury watch brand Breitling, gives a presentation to the Korean press on Wednesday in central Seoul. [THE M PUBLIC]

Georges Kern, global CEO of Swiss luxury watch brand Breitling, described Korea’s watch market as “fascinating,” both in terms of growth rate and future potential.

“Korea’s watch market is in the top five market in the world and one of the fastest growing,” Kern said during a press conference held Wednesday in central Seoul. It is his first dedicated visit to Korea.

According to Breitling, the value of Swiss watches exported to Korea amounted to 699 million Swiss franc ($712 million) last year, a 6 percent year-on-year growth. Domestic sales of Breitling products jumped by 87 percent year-on-year in 2017.

Kern said he is looking forward to striking more partnerships with local celebrities and TV productions after seeing a stiff sales jump when it marketed its products through the famous K-drama “Descendants of the Sun.” He added that Breitling had been reluctant to work with celebrities in the past in order to maintain its high-end brand image.

In line with his strategy to make the brand appear more friendly, Kern said that Breitling recently built its first flagship store in Beijing, complete with a watch bar, pool table and more to “make it look luxury, but contemporary” at the same time.

To cater to Asian customers who have thinner wrists, Breitling will launch products with shorter lugs and smaller watch cases.

At the Wednesday press conference, Breitling launched the revamped version of its Navitimer 8 collections for Korean customers.


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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