Flavio Pellegrini, President of Ebel and Concord, shares his insights into the latest offerings from the brand and what to expect for the future.
As President of Ebel and Concord, Flavio Pellegrini is responsible for driving all sales and commercial activities for the brands. Originally from Switzerland, Pellegrini grew up in the watchmaking industry but he moved to Australia to pursue a career in the automotive industry. In 200,3 Pellegrini moved backed to Switzerland and joined the MGI Luxury Group SA and held a number of positions before reaching the title he holds today.
Pellegrini has a method of combining his strong brand building skills and business knowledge and applying them to the Movado Group watch brands. He has a specific interest in The Middle East market which he is responsible for advancing business development of all Movado Group brands in the region. Last year Ebel celebrated the anniversary of its iconic watch the Sport Classic and this year they will take that further with new launches under the Sport Classic umbrella but putting new elements and innovations onto the classic piece.
When we met with Pellegrini in Davos he was keen to present this and all the latest novelties from both Ebel and Concord. We discover what is to come from the coming year.
The concept of exhibitions is changing – what message is Ebel sharing for this year?
First, on the exhibitions, I think people living in the digital world we are in today are looking for a more authentic connection and this summit is really offering us the right engagement and qualitative time to offer to our partners very unique moments and spend these with them. I think we did the right thing last year and we have proved it again this year.
Our message for Ebel today is that Ebel is back. The brand is really growing fast, especially in The Middle East. We have been able to enter the Middle East market through some prestigious doors like Rivoli and the response is great. Ebel is back because the sport classic is back and it really is our icon. If you close your eyes and think about Ebel you will see this bracelet and this is the message we really want the consumer to understand – that Ebel is coming back even stronger. It is an iconic and authentic brand and I think people are looking for that.
What can you tell us about the watches you are presenting for this year?
Starting with the green dial on the sport classic – it is a galvanic olive green which goes extremely well with one of our strengths – steel and gold. Eight out of ten best-selling watches are steel and yellow gold. With this green dial, I was looking for something that matches perfectly with this and I think we found it. The olive green has a yellowish feel to it but it’s very warm. We really believe strongly that green is a trendy colour for this year and we believe this so strongly that we launched it in three different references – with and without diamonds and also in a mini size. It’s a beautiful execution and we’re very happy about it. The electric blue dial will launch in the summer. It’s very wearable and versatile. We will continue to keep the same codes of the sport classic but play with it.
Talking about an icon that we can play with – we have the full polished version. It has a very minimalist dial and comes in rose gold. It’s more modern. This will launch this year as a capsule collection. It comes in Mother of Pearl with a diamond bezel and a galvanic white.
And what can you tell us about the new offerings for men?
For men again we have iconic pieces. We kept the codes but played with them and we have a beautiful, full titanium, sun-blasted matte design with a rubber bezel to give more of a sporty look. It is a limited edition of 200 pieces and people really like it. We are playing with our icon – same shape and codes but interpreted in a different way. We have a second collection – Discovery. Ebel has always been famous for having sporty yet elegant chronographs. We are relaunching this with an easily exchangeable strap system.
What are the challenges you face this year?
I think the challenge we have is that we have a lack of resources internally in terms of manpower to tackle all the initiatives that are offered to us. From a market standpoint, we are still a small brand and we have a lot of opportunities to grow. So the opportunities are there but from our side, we don’t have the manpower to do it. We are perfectionists and we only take on a project if we can do it in a good manner. Sometimes it can be frustrating and we have to say no because something cannot be done in the manner we want to do it in. That’s the challenge we have now but hopefully next year the team will get bigger so we can tackle it.
What do you think the consumer is looking for from a watch today?
I think after crazy years of what I call ‘fake brands’ and brands where people were looking to change their watch every month, the new generation today is looking for something that is more authentic and they are looking for the brands that have been around for years. I think that’s the key element. Good brands with a good name will always remain and I think it’s a good time in the industry. I think people are looking for timeless icons, not the craziness that we had a few years ago anymore.
Women are becoming more and more educated in watches and going beyond the traditional feminine watch – is this something you are more open to explore?
I think we will stick to our DNA which is more about sensuality, elegance and softness. There are other brands that can play, brands who are really about mixing materials and technology but for us, it’s not about that. On Concord, we are playing much more with that but for Ebel, it’s the opposite. It’s very risky to go outside of your territory.
What can you tell us about the Brasilia watch?
Brasilia was launched for the first time in 2007 and the ambassador to support this watch was Gisele Bundchen. This year we decided to position the watch as a rectangular shaped timepiece with the perfect curve. I don’t think there are a lot of bracelets in the market like this. In the past, we had a larger sized case and we wanted to test that again this year.
What’s so special about the Beluga watch?
Beluga is the name of this launch and it is inspired by caviar. This is the most jewellery like the piece we have in our collection, there’s no bezel, it’s really about diamonds. It was originally launched in 1986 only in gold but now we have it in steel with four different dials.
What is something you would still like to achieve at Ebel?
There are so many things but I think first of all I would like the brand to be recognised a lot more as one of the iconic watch brands in the industry. It was in the eighties and I would be really happy to bring that back and be recognised in that way, especially by the trade press. We are taking baby steps but it is very solid and sustainable.
How would you describe the universe of Ebel?
How would you describe the universe of Concord?
Attention to details.
What is something you would still like to achieve with Concord?
To launch the brand properly in The United States.