QUICKFIRE Q&A: Orient’s UK grand plan continues to grow

Owned by the Seiko Epson Corporation, the brand is continuing to grow around the world and has recently made its first foray into the British market.

Orient and Orient Star are brands revered around the world but until recently, they were not available to the UK-based consumer.

Owned by the Seiko Epson Corporation, the brand is continuing to grow around the world and has recently made its first foray into the British market.

WatchPro caught up with Wiebke Bird, the Senior Business Manager at Epson responsible for the Orient brand, to find out more:

WatchPro: What’s the history of Orient and Orient Star as brands?

Wiebke Bird: Established in Japan in 1950, ORIENT is appreciated throughout the world for its reliable and durable timepieces, featuring its own high-quality, in-house designed and manufactured movements. Emerging in the post-War era, ORIENT developed a global reputation for its meticulous approach to watchmaking, from traditional mechanical timepieces and quartz movements to creative complications and case designs.

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Wiebke Bird

Orient was founded on the principle that quality mechanical watches, created with traditional techniques and experienced craftsmanship, should be accessible to all. Today, this ethos is visible in a broad range of timepieces that place equal importance on style and substance.

In 1951, Orient Star was born with a shorthand for innovation, watchmaking prowess and elegant simplicity. Traditional design and classic case shapes surrounded the brand’s own calibre F6 and F7 movements, designed to ensure a lifetime of reliable and accurate timekeeping.

WP: Which markets have performed best for the brand within its history so far?

WB: Orient and Orient Star have historically performed best within Japan, but Europe is now the leading global region for sales and growth. We have seen strong growth in Germany, Poland, France and Spain but awareness is gradually building in all markets. As Orient and Orient Star have just launched in the UK for the very first time, we’re very excited to see how the brands perform in this new market.

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WP: Why has the UK been late to the list of prominent markets?

WB: Historically, Orient and Orient Star have not formed a partnership with any UK distributors, however, the great interest we’ve received from UK watch enthusiasts has been hard to ignore. We are trialling the first direct-to-customer web sales in this market, which gives us the opportunity to introduce ourselves properly and then who knows! Watch this space!

WP: What does success look like in terms of the UK market?

WB: Our main goal is to provide the first authorized source of genuine Orient and Orient Star watches for the UK market, and to bring awareness to our brand story. The collection of watches available in the UK will continue to grow, and we are excited to introduce models exclusive to the UK market in the coming months.

WP: How is this achieved?

WB: Success in the UK market will be achieved through continuing to raise awareness about new model launches, brand news, and exclusive collections through UK media outlets. We will also be using our @orienteurope Instagram page to engage with this new market, and receive feedback on our website and new launches. And of course, we’ll be working with a number of consumer lifestyle and fashion influencers to help us spread the word.

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WP: What is the plan in the UK and beyond in terms of growth in the next 3-5 years?

WB: Orient Star is set to grow in the UK as well as all over Europe over the next few years. It’s our main focus for growth, globally.

Orient Star deserves to be our main brand in coming years, with further developments to enrich the collections. We want to bring Orient Star to more watch enthusiasts, as well as casual wearers, and to be the first name people think of when they look to add the next high-quality, out-of-the-ordinary timepiece to their collection.

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1 Comment

  1. Good to finally see a UK outlet but also the main issue with Orient is the dyer after sales with acquiring parts &/or fixes so as much as its good news this is the area they NEED to take a better stance on or they just become disposable watches. Looking at the pictured image of the Orient Star seems a bold move I can only guess trying appeal to a younger demographic ,not my cup of tea but good luck to them, the concern is quote ” we’ll be working with a number of consumer lifestyle and fashion influencers” … hmmn this could prove tricky to folks initial perception on introduction to the brand but let’s see what happens eh.

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