With a focus on special editions and gender-neutral timepieces, CEO Adrian Bosshard says India will continue to be a crucial market
Adrian Bosshard is relaxed, sitting in his office in Lengnau, Switzerland. Behind him is an artwork of the Swiss Alps, and in front, a selection of Rado watches. There’s one from the Integral collection that his wife gifted him 30 years ago, and a new model from the Captain Cook collection that he wears daily. Both highlight the Swiss brand’s high-tech ceramic, which, as he says “is a material that is fully proven because we see that more and more brands are starting to use it, like Blancpain, Omega, Longines, Hublot”.
The CEO adds that it is a sign that the material has huge advantages. “As Master of Materials, Rado has the highest experience in this field, and we are a step ahead in using it,” he adds, sharing that the brand is currently focusing on new colours, though R&D continues. “As with a sport, when you are winning, you cannot stay and rest, you have to work to stay on the winning level.” The former motorcycle racer would certainly know.
The colours have found their way into new pieces, like the recently-released True Square designed by multi-disciplinary artists Thukral and Tagra. Last year, Rado worked with up to five artists/designers on collaborations, though, going forward, they plan to have two a year “in order to celebrate the collaboration and to communicate it on a longer scale”.
In India — where Rado recently completed 10 years of its association with brand ambassador Hrithik Roshan — it is sustaining its popularity. “In our price segment [the entry level is around ₹60,000, falling into the premium bracket], Rado is the strongest; it gives us a lot of expectation and ambition to keep its strong presence in the country,” says Bosshard. Recently, the brand was in the news after Baahubali star Prabhas gifted Rado timepieces to his team members after finishing shooting for his debut Bollywood movie, Adipurush.
No second-hand charm
- World over, luxury watch brands are taking a keen interest in the secondary market. But Rado is an exception — because market research has shown that most people hold on to their Rado watches. “The demand would be there,” Bosshard says, as he lifts up the Integral watch. “But the offers to sell such watches would be limited.” So Rado is focussed on new designs.
Stating that India is a crucial market (in the top three), he adds, “We have an amazing market share in gent’s watches, and we are also seeing an important potential for ladies’ watches. And if this segment is developed, we believe a right ladies’ testimonial [brand ambassador] could be a good opportunity.” Given current trends, he believes there is a definite move to break the segmentations that define men’s and women’s watches. “More and more ladies are buying bigger gents watches.” The newly-launched 43mm Captain Cook (₹2.78 lakh) is a favourite at the moment. Rado is also investing in limited-run, special-edition watches that will be on sale for six months to a year — a collaboration with Ashleigh Barty, the woman’s tennis world number one, was released last December.
Meanwhile, Rado’s success in India translates into better visibility for the watchmaker and its ability to communicate with its customers. While internationally, there is a push towards lounges that educate and serve as brand immersion points, here, Bosshard says, “We have the intention to improve the quality of stores, to strengthen the mono-brand boutiques.” With a push towards more brick-and-mortar boutiques, they plan to up the number (from the current 27) in the next two years.