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Zenith, one of the most awarded watch brands in history

“If you are in the business of selling emotions, you can’t be in rush,” says Jean Frederic Dufour , president & CEO, Zenith Swiss Watch Manufacture, adding that selling a luxury watch is similar to selling emotions.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 03, 2010, 05.17 AM IST
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GREENWICH: “If you are in the business of selling emotions, you can’t be in rush,” says Jean Frederic Dufour , president & CEO, Zenith Swiss Watch Manufacture, adding that selling a luxury watch is similar to selling emotions.

After taking over the reins of the company in June 2009, Dufour has been instrumental in bringing the company back on track with a growth percentage of 50% over the last year. The numbers maybe impressive, but launching 60 watches in a year and making sure each of the timepieces have a unique place in history is a tough task.

But this is not the first time Dufour is facing an uphill task. He's been used to challenges of a similar nature at his stint at Chopard, the Swatch Group and Ulysse Nardin.

In the world of luxury watches , Zenith falls on the mechanical side of the business that contributes 80% of the revenues. The other 20% comprise quartz watches, viz. watches running on battery, but according to Dufour quartz watches are not watches, “they are just accessories showing time, it’s made by machines, it’s not a piece of art,” he exclaims.

This obsession with the brand and the product comes from the rich past that mechanical watches have. Zenith’s history sets the brand apart from its contemporaries. With a 145-year history to boast of Zenith is one of the most awarded watch brands in history .

One part of Zenith’s history is even linked to Mahatma Gandhi . A 1910 Zeinth sterling silver pocket watch that was gifted by Lord Mountbatten and was a part of Gandhiji’s daily use. The watch was recently bought by Vijay Mallaya in an auction for $1.8 million making it the most expensive Zenith watch ever.

While Zenith has been in India since a long time, it is now looking at the market in a new light. Print is the medium of choice for advertising, but going forward even point-of-sale will be the ice-breaker .

“When consumers come to shops, they may come in with an idea of what they want. But it is the job of the salesman to educate them to make proper choice. Point of sale is very important and we focus a lot on it,” says Dufour.

(Preethi Chamikutty was in Greenwich to cover the launch of Zenith Christophe Colomb watch on the invitation of Zenith Swiss Watch Manufacture .)

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