Vacheron Constantin has recently appointed Louis Ferla as its new CEO. Ferla joined Richemont in 2001, as area sales manager for Alfred Dunhill in Hong Kong, and has devoted his career to the group, taking on international roles for Cartier in Taiwan, the Middle East, and China, before joining Vacheron Constantin in 2016. Most recently, Ferla has served as Vacheron’s managing director of sales and marketing, before taking on this new responsibility and leading the brand into an optimistic future.
What is your vision and the direction you are having for Vacheron Constantin?
When I first took on my new role, I spent time traveling to listen and speak to colleagues, clients, and partners. What I learnt from this was that Vacheron Constantin is a Maison that produces beautiful haute horlogerie and we agreed together that we would keep on achieving that. Vacheron Constantin is steeped in history, and although it has been faced with ups and downs over time it has succeeded because the Maison has constantly innovated. So, while we need to respect the tradition, we also need to continue with innovations. If you compare Vacheron Constantin to a tree, it is a very big tree with long deep roots and we have a lot of stories to tell, and to do so, we keep turning back to our DNA while opening some doors for people to enter the world of Vacheron Constantin.
To what extent is storytelling important in the world of fine watchmaking and luxury?
I think this is key, as although it is expected that we create beautiful watches, engaging in the communications and living a passion is equally important. There is a very famous quote, ‘people often forget what you say, but they don’t forget how you feel,’ and we look to follow this with the experiences that we provide.
How do you aim to achieve a strong outlook for 2018?
I have always been a strong believer of what is called the virtuous cycle, where good news and a positive outlook brings on more good news and positivity. This creates motivation amongst the team.
What is the main message you are relaying this year to your clients?
Vacheron Constantin is a brand of its time, and we are continuing to create beautiful haute horlogerie, mixing tradition with innovation while at the same time remaining elegant and investing plenty of thought into details, making us unique.
What is key when looking to satisfy your existing loyal clientele, together with attracting new customers?
Exceptional watches pushing the boundaries of fine watchmaking with high-end mechanical complications in uncompromising designs will always remain at the center of Vacheron Constantin DNA. They appeal to both existing clientele and new customers. Because you don’t come to our Maison by chance. Our loyal clients or new ones seek excellence, history, legitimacy, authenticity and know-how. They already are connoisseurs.
Can you tell us about the strategy that you took to bring a new freshness to Vacheron Constantin?
For us, it is not a question of reach, but is more about the engagement. We are looking to share the level of passion in what we do with people who will grow with the brand, and the average age of our customer is under forty years old which has certainly surprised me.
Tell us about what we can expect to see in the Overseas collection?
We have a beautiful, ultra thin perpetual calendar in pink gold, a timepiece that reveals its technical complexity while exuding an aura of understated distinction. It houses an ultra thin mechanical movement and comes with two interchangeable straps. We are further presenting a chronograph with a black dial, that is very assertive in its identity as both: A sophisticated design object and a piece of contemporary fine watchmaking. The dual time – a sporty watch with a practical complication – rounds out the collection. The steel version is coming in either a deep blue or silver-tone dial.
Where is the Vacheron Constantin woman this year?
We don’t have many new timepieces and will just be continuing our current offerings. Our approach this year was to not launch too many references, and instead be very smart with a clear message.
What is your opinion on over-communication reducing the desirability for a brand?
That is not our strategy at all, as for us we are not about reach and are instead focused on engagement. You can see that we don’t work with celebrities, as we are Maison of connoisseurs and for us what matters the most is to do what we do and do it well. We don’t plan to increase the number of watches that we produce, so this isn’t a direction that we would take.
Tell us your thoughts on e-commerce, and to what extent is retail and human interaction still important?
We believe that today you don’t have one typology of client, with our clients all having different demands and wants. They don’t have one journey and they take many different avenues before making an informed decision. These people are very often connoisseurs and experts, as it is very rare that you come to Vacheron Constantin by chance. I think it is our duty to facilitate the journey of the client through different channels and platforms, but the majority of our clients prefer a human interaction to see the details before making a purchase.
How important is your history and heritage in today’s communication?
If you are a new brand starting, you would dream to have the heritage of Vacheron Constantin. We started in 1755 and are constantly going back to our incredible archives to stay true to our DNA.
How would you like to see the future of Vacheron Constantin?
I really would like Vacheron Constantin to continue being recognised as a beautiful Maison of haute horlogerie in 10, 15, or 20 years from now. There are two things that are extremely important for me, one is that we create beautiful watches, and second is that our client enjoys visiting us and their experience with us. We will continue promoting a gesture and a culture and I like to engage our client to do that. Finally, it is also important that our team takes pleasure in what we are doing too.
How would you sum up Vacheron Constantin?
Understated yet elegant.
What motto do you live by?
Doing better if possible, which is always possible.
What would you promise Vacheron Constantin for the upcoming year?
To continue taking pleasure with what we do, enjoying the interaction with our clients together.