Raynald Aeschlimann joined Omega in 1996. Gauging the performance metrics of the company, his role as CEO and President of Omega since 2016 has met with impressive success. During the Omega Masters held in Crans-Montana, we were able to chat with him about the outlook for the brand and discover the new Seamaster Aqua Terra Ultra-Light.
Raynald, thank you for having us here in Crans-Montana. Can you tell us about the brand’s performance?
As you know, we are in the middle of the year and don’t really talk about our figures, but Omega is once again performing on a very good base and the base is already high. Omega has an incredible legacy and I think the success of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing was another milestone, showing that the Speedmaster is one of these incredible Omega collections, a true icon of the watch industry. The success that we have had with the Speedmaster, this anniversary, not only with the Speedy Tuesday community, is very important. We are celebrating a 50th anniversary but it is a modern watch that we are celebrating. From that point of view, for our image, this is an extraordinary year. And now, we are looking forward to James Bond and the Olympics. The evolution of the brand is dynamic and coherent.
On the manufacturing side, the brand has undergone a remarkable evolution…
Once again, we are well-known for investing in the quality of our watches. Customer satisfaction is a top priority. To buy an Omega is a choice. Omega stands for the highest quality and precision. Our biggest success is the pride of our customers. That’s why our dedication to product quality is essential, with the Master Chronometer certification for all mechanical watches, with our 5-year warranty. This is achieved thanks to our manufacture, our product development but also to the support of the whole group for all components of our watches.
With the Master Chronometer certification, the quality control is conducted independently from our brand and that means a lot.
Omega presented the Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional a few weeks ago and today, coinciding with the Omega Masters, the 55g Seamaster Aqua Terra Ultra Light. Can you tell us about these latest ‘extreme’ developments?
It was a fabulous project to create this watch with Victor Vescovo and his crew, going to the lowest point in the world, with such stringent conditions and under so much pressure. It is one of the highlights of our history. We are always trying to make technological breakthroughs. To reach our demanding standards for all of our Seamasters, you need these types of projects to push the boundaries.
Ultra Light is the same process. We wanted athletes, golf players to have an accessory for playing. An incredible luxury accessory they could use in the most demanding situations. These cutting-edge technical developments benefit all of our products. This is a very solid base for the Seamaster in the future.
It has been a phenomenal celebratory year with the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing and now James Bond and the 2020 Olympics…
Omega is a focused, continuous and coherent brand. James Bond is our DNA as much as the Seamaster has always been a watch for ‘extremes’. The Olympic Games are also part of our DNA. Once again, we’ll be able to showcase the different aspects and the strengths of the brand. This is really unique.
Distribution plays a pivotal role in the watch industry. How does Omega manage its distribution?
There has been a lot of coherence over the past 20 years of focusing on the best partners: the ones who know our brand and believe in our brand. We have reduced over 5,000 points of sales. We also opened franchised stores and corners. Today we have 155 boutiques in the world. Every single continent has Omega Boutiques and these are performing extremely well. People love to experience the spirit when buying one of our watches. They want the full service and the full experience. That’s why these pillars are very important.
And for the past two years, in the USA and in the UK we have e-commerce. It is as important as our own stores. E-commerce is being developed as an additional way of giving customers the opportunity to buy our watches. We are looking at many other opportunities but it has to be linked to a clear strategy, country by country. For now, we are very well as we are and we’ll take decisions step by step.
What is your take on Certified Pre-Owned?
We have been pioneers in vintage watches; ten years ago, we opened our first store with one of the biggest names in vintage watches, Somlo. Certified Pre-Owned is a specific way to deal with vintage watches, but our focus is on celebrating, supporting and providing the best service to people who buy vintage watches, watches older than 25 years.
There is so much pride in having a vintage Omega watch on the wrist, it is as important as having the newest one. I am very glad that people are exploring vintage watches more and more.
What are the main challenges for the brand?
We have a lot of challenges. The first is not to become an arrogant brand, being overly self-confident. We need to challenge ourselves. Our main focus is giving the best, the pioneering spirit. We need to continue to make people feel Omega is an inspiring brand. With all our departments, manufacturing, product development, marketing, service and distribution. This is the challenge we have to face. The pioneering spirit we demonstrated with Speedy Tuesday, with the incredible watches we have developed for Victor Vescovo. This is only credible if you have the spirit of getting to the next level. My team and I are very involved. That’s why we have staff who are very loyal. They continue to believe in the need to create and push boundaries.
More details on www.omegawatches.com.