Casio has enjoyed a phenomenal year in the UK with the launch of its women’s range Sheen, the opening of its premium pitched concept store in Covent Garden and, ultimately, its fourth successive year of double-digit growth.
The man in charge is Hiroaki Kubo. Appointed managing director in April 2012, he was formerly the brand’s senior planning manager. The last year has, he says, “been full of adventure”. As well as the store openings, launches and growth, Hiroaki has steered the company through exciting projects for Casio and G-Shock watches, with the latter now in its 30th anniversary year.
“Our Toughness Awards at the end of 2012 kicked off the celebrations and we have continued to commemorate our anniversary year through the release of limited-edition watches and collaborations. One of my favourite projects was the successful launch of the RAF Aviator model, where we worked closely with the RAF to design the perfect timepiece for the extreme conditions experienced by fighter pilots.”
Another of his personal favourites has been the introduction of G-Shock’s new Bluetooth technology. “We brought the first watch capable of communicating directly with your iPhone via Bluetooth to the market and have seen it do very well.” It notifies the wearer of calls or messages, tells them if they have dropped their phone and even helps them find it if lost. It is just the sort of revolutionary product that keeps Casio exciting to the tech geeks.
Meanwhile, at the more glamorous end of the scale, plenty of industry eyes have been on Sheen. It launched in H Samuel and Casio’s Covent Garden store and Hiroaki has pledged to expand distribution significantly.
“[It] is progressing well. I was very happy with the launch and the use of Claire Danes as our ambassador has been a real success. The product looks fantastic and offers something new to the market, using Swarovski elements with a simple yet elegant design.”
The future of Sheen is bright with the use of new materials such as the titanium ceramic being used in the new collection.”
If Hiroaki can keep on keeping it both geeky and glamorous, then Casio UK is set for much more success.
Hiroaki Kubo, Casio UK, was selected as London Watch Show Power Players in the WatchPro Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.