Australia today is one of TAG Heuer’s largest and most dynamic markets and remains one of the brands’ top priority markets. With over 100 points of sales including 5 mono-brand boutiques Australia-Wide, there’s no denying the sporty DNA of the brand has caught the attention of our very versatile country. Pierre Blouin, General Manager, TAG Heuer Australia & New Zealand sheds some light on the values that have led TAG Heuer to the forefront of the Australian market, and the innovations that will continue to lead them into the future.
How has the year 2018 been so far for TAG Heuer in Australia?
So far, 2018 has been a good year. 2017 was a record year for TAG Heuer in Australia. We are on track to meeting the same. I guess for a luxury brand, when you have issues and problems, the nicest one to have is to not have enough stock…and that’s what we’re facing! We do have this shortage worldwide. I’ve just learnt a while back that our UK counterpart has already placed their Christmas orders. Because of the shortage everyone is trumping on the stock we have. This is a good problem to have…is it not?
What is the focus for TAG Heuer for the rest of the year?
We launched a boutique-exclusive line; the Aquaracer Carbon Series and the Monaco Bamford. These timepieces are only available at the TAG Heuer boutiques and online. We also have a wide range of new exciting models coming later in the year.
Many sports watches have come and gone. But, with the Carrera, it just gets better and better. What has made it so successful and so enduring?
I think it is a beautiful design which is just right. I have been in this industry for decades, and I believe it is this factor that works for many watch brands. It can be dressed up or down. It is timeless as well. Moreover, the philosophy of “Don’t Crack Under Pressure”, is not just in marketing, but also in the manufacturing of the watch. We have some rigorous tests that are unique to the industry.
How does TAG Heuer manage to keep the momentum going?
TAG Heuer is a brand that is always active and looking forward. Things move fast in the industry and that’s a good thing. We are always looking at the younger generation…keeping steady as well…and sometimes also being hyperactive!
Your association with Dan Carter of the All Blacks.
Dan has been a longtime friend of the brand and in 2017 he joined the global network of TAG Heuer ambassadors. We did an event recently to support Dan’s iSport Foundation in New Zealand. A charity which provides much needed funding for promising young talent who show an interest in sports. I have seen something quite common between our ambassadors- all of them are down to earth, humble and grateful about their success.
Do you see an evolution of customer trends in watches in Australia?
It is growing in interest. More and more people are now willing to spend money on quality Swiss watches. The vintage renewal trend is also rising. I also think most people like to wear what they like. They like a practical watch with something different, such as a colour or some element that is unique. There are times when they go back to the blacks and the whites…But I feel that what you will like now you will like later! We do have a lot of value.
What are your observations about e-retail versus in-store sales?
People are not embracing e-retail fast. Most people go to the website for information however they like to go to the store and try the watch and put it on, or to talk about the watch and get more information. There is an emotional aspect that you do not get online. But, we do have strong sales of accessories such as straps and bracelets online.
Many watch brands have entered the second-hand market for their own watches. Your thoughts…
I am not too sure to be honest! It is a bit early to say. Maybe for some brands there is not so much of a need to do that. I don’t know if it is a financial or marketing decision for branding. But it is interesting to observe! With Sydney and Melbourne being leading cities for TAG Heuer, the brand is all set for some robust growth.