Olivier Cosandier, vice-president (sales) of Rado watches, speaks about the brand and its strengths. He was in the city for the launch of Rado's new collection at Malabar Gold showroom on M.G. Road. Excerpts from an interview with the suave Swiss…
Rado seems to be rapidly expanding in India. Is this expansion a result of the robust growth in the luxury watch sector?
Absolutely. Based on our tradition and history in India, we are a brand that is strong in India. And now with the booming economy in India that is helping the middle class, lots of people want a luxury product at an affordable price and Rado is at a good price point (Rs. 50,000). This price point is of course relative and is a lot of money but when people buy a watch it is not just a watch – it is an accessory and a status symbol. Due to the high technology materials used by Rado, our watches don't get scratched and look the same 30 years from now in terms of material.
It has become a recognisable brand in a comparatively short period of time…
Rado is quite a young brand, established in 1957. Many Swiss watches play on tradition but we are not past-oriented and look ahead to the future by using high tech materials such as ceramics, sapphires and diamonds, Our pioneering spirit extends to distribution and we are one of the first luxury brands to come to the Middle East [West Asia], China and of course, India. We have sold several watches to Indians in the Middle East and when they came home, we wanted to provide them with our service and we opened almost 30 service centres in India in the 1960s. We have both ‘monobrand' boutiques as well as collaborations with multi-brand stores. Till date we have 14 monobrand stores and 170 multi-brand collaborations in India.
Have sales been affected by the recession?
I don't think Asia or India have been affected. Our sales in Europe and America were affected and 2009 was a difficult year but in 2010 we brought the business back. In India, we've always had a continuous growth.
Are you hoping to translate or extend the Malayali passion for gold into a passion for luxury watches?
Yes. We have unveiled our special high-end collection in the city. The wedding season is very important in India. Watches are part of the gifting process. We wanted to unveil a collection that will appeal to a certain segment. The collection begins at Rs. 5 lakh and goes to Rs. 35 lakh but for those prices you not only have a great Swiss time piece but a great combination of high tech material and diamonds.
Your niche segment?
We cannot put a single face to our target segment. We have different watches in different segments. For instance the Centrix range starts at Rs. 30,000. We don't study demographics and reach out to people. We reach out to everyone.