Marking The Hour With Antonio Calce, CEO Of Greubel Forsey On Audience Segmentation, Growth Plans & More

Marking The Hour With Antonio Calce, CEO Of Greubel Forsey On Audience Segmentation, Growth Plans & More

THM Desk
4 Mar 2024 |
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Uncompromising commitment to precision, innovation, and artistic expression could identify as the pillars of Greubel Forsey. From groundbreaking tourbillons to exquisite finishing touches, Greubel Forsey watches represent the pinnacle of Swiss haute horlogerie, coveted by discerning collectors and connoisseurs worldwide.

Known for creating highly complex, innovative mechanical watches with tourbillons, inclined balances, multi-axis tourbillons, and other complications, their timepieces are made in very limited numbers, often less than 100 pieces per year, and can cost over $500,000. Greubel Forsey builds each watch by hand in their workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Every component is made in-house according to very high-quality standards. The brand has won many awards for its exceptional craftsmanship and technical innovations.

Karishma Karer, Founder Of The Hour Markers & Antonio Calce, CEO of Greubel ForseyWe caught up with CEO Antonio Calce to discuss the evolution of the brand, newer trends, and way forward!

THM: You’ve mentioned a lot about the evolution of the brand and I personally have seen a brand staying strong with the DNA. But we're seeing the evolution with the size and materials that you use. Talk us through this along with a few accessible Greubel Forsey timepieces.

Antonio: This kind of an evolution is important as Robert’s goal has always been to create something new in the watch industry. Robert is really the brain behind the brand and ofcourse everybody knows Stephen Forsey. I'm really very proud because when we met Greubel Forsey was an idea and today it’s a brand. We have a hundred and fifty people at the brand which attributes strongly to the vision and strategy behind the brand not only in terms of product but also in terms of distribution. Thanks to this move today we have reached another size and we can build a strong distribution network. This is also based on the new offerings - a new size, new materials, new price segment, strong design, and strong identity. At the end of the day, it's important to treat some rotation in the products and also to change. I told you before between mono and multi-brand retailers, we are always clear with partners and are today building with a clear vision about the evolution and the distribution of the product.


THM: In terms of design and styles, you're also targeting now or going to be talking to a younger, newer audience. Do we stick to the same styles and designs or are we looking at a brand new collection?

Antonio: I think to explain this the perfect example would be the Balancier 3. We were at the Dubai Watch Week a few months ago and for the first time, we were really happy and impressed that we had a connoisseur who was 28 years old, a first for us. Thanks to this new collection, the watches are really wearable and comfortable on your wrist whilst beeing highly qualitative. It's a beauty at the end. However to this new clientele you need the global product offer. I think today we are, for the first time, we have the Balancier 3 attributing to 60- 70% of our business. We have a master plan for the next 10 years because sometimes you need two, three, four years, or even five years to create and develop a new caliber. This is why we need a long-term vision.

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Tourbillon CardanAlso, thanks to this long-term vision, we can build the right mix of products. It entails having the right business model. It means that 60, 70% of our allocation in the markets has to be between USD 150,000 to 280,000. And maybe around 20% of the business, the allocation will be between USD 300,000 to 500,000. And the 10% are crazy timepieces like the hand-made.

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Balancier 3THM: But what’s the reason behind this allocation model?

Antonio: We want a 100% sell-out before we create a new product. The goal is really to be the end point of connection for the collectors. Before we launch the production we should be able to gauge how many pieces we can put directly on the wrist of the collector. Last year, we produced a little bit more than 200. Today, they are on the wrists of collectors and connoisseurs. And this is really the approach we want to take forward.

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Balancier Convexe CarbonTHM: You have around 150 people working and producing 200 watches. Are we seeing that figure going up now that you're also looking at different audiences?

Antonio: If we find the right people, our production will increase. It is impossible this year to reach 300 but maybe it would be around 250-240. But, we have to find the people. It's not only about watchmakers, it's also about the decoration which is the key aspect of Greubel Forsey. The main pillars are innovation, inventions, handmade, and hand finishing.

Handmade is made by hand, like hundreds of years ago with a conventional machine. And with finishing, we have 24 people dedicated only to it.

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Greubel Forsey AtelierTHM: You’ve built a brand in 4 years. What’s the way forward for Greubel Forsey?

Antonio: It's really about value creation and brand awareness. You have to push the boundaries to the next level in terms of finishing innovation and inventions. We have to be the best of the best of the best and at the top in the watch industry, always. This is the mission of the brand.