Breitling’s chief executive Georges Kern has been in the role since summer 2017, and said earlier this year that he intends to find new ways of communicating with its retail partners, distributors and press.
The company will exhibit at Baselworld in 2019, but after that Mr Kern (pictured top) wants to keep his options open, and in January this year said he particularly liked hosting events around the world in order to be closer to different markets.
Today in London a new format was used for the first time: the Breitling Summit, which was used to present an update to news released at Baselworld to around 200 journalists from Europe and North America.
“I am particularly pleased that this event is taking place in London, a city known around the world for its remarkable energy. I cannot imagine a better place to stage this first Breitling Summit,” Mr Kern said in a welcome address.
The event recapped on what has been achieved in the first year since Mr Kern and his team took over at Breitling. The focus remains on simplifying the product line into the four categories of Land, Air, Sea and Professionals, with new watches announced for each.
A partnership with Bentley, which has been running since 2002, has been renewed, Mr Kern revealed. The extension will be marked with the launch of a Premier B01 Chronograph Bentley Racing Green.
The Premier brand name has been given to a whole new family of fashionable urban-styled watches that are now appearing in retail. The name was first used by Breitling in 1943 as the company expanded its range to include simpler stylish watches alongside its dominant tool watches, 2018 Premier watches come with a choice of Breitling’s inhouse B01 chronograph movement, the Valjoux chronograph the company calls the Breitling 13, a day date or an automatic.
For Breitling’s aviation watch enthusiasts, the company has unveiled a Navitimer 8 produced in conjunction with Curtiss, an aircraft company best known for its WWII P-40 Warhawk fighter jet that is painted with a shark’s mouth under its nose. The watch, which comes with a camouflage green dial, will be launched in Q1 2019.
A new store concept will be unveiled later this year at Breitling’s Paris boutique. Visuals of the showroom show a masculine Manhattan loft apartment style complete with a Norton motorcycle, classic car art, a pool table and a living room area with leather sofas, brick and concrete walls and timber floors. “We call it modern retro,” Mr Kern said.
Considerable time was given to talking about Breitling’s more female-friendly image, although all of the product except a unisex 38mm Navitimer looked like it was aimed at the company’s traditional Alpha Male audience. The Paris boutique certainly looked like an upmarket bachelor pad.