Photo: Courtesy of Liviani

 What do you think about Indonesia?

There are so many amazing places here that unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to visit yet. As for the watch business, we believe that Indonesia has a huge potential not only because of its large population, but also because of its growing population of consumers preferring luxury timepieces.

Where are you based currently?

I am currently based in Dubai where I just moved from Hong Kong five months ago. The good thing about being based in Dubai is that it is well-positioned between Switzerland and Asia, facilitating my travelling back and forth between both places.

How was Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Geneve (SIHH) 2018?

We really enjoyed SIHH. Ever since its first inception, we have been among the eight invitees to join SIHH. The good thing about SIHH is that it is a very professional event, so everybody you meet there is a professional in the watch industry starting from the press, retailers, and end users. The event also helps us to build brand awareness so we consider it as one of the key salons for us.

What about preparations for Baselworld 2018?

It is coming too fast [laughs]. We are working hard for it and we will be launching some new novelties there as well. It is actually interesting because a lot of the work we do in SIHH often pays off in Baselworld. Some people that we meet in SIHH will end up buying our timepieces after seeing us again in Baselworld.

Aside from quality and rarity, what do customers look for when they buy H. Moser & Cie?

We believe that they don’t buy a product when they buy our timepieces. They are buying stories that speak for themselves. It is a key part of our customer relations, because our clients like the entrepreneurial and family story behind our brand. It is what attracts a lot of customers to buy H. Moser & Cie.

Are there any other attributes that differentiate H. Moser & Cie from other watch brands?

If you hire a good watch designer, you can make a good watch but can you guarantee that it will be a success? Not always. You must be an expert in explaining the passion behind the watch that goes beyond the mechanisms and look of the piece. People buy H. Moser & Cie not just because of the rarity, they buy our watch because they don’t want to be like everybody else.

What are some challenges that H. Moser & Cie faces when it comes to manufacturing?

I think the biggest issue is the Swiss-made label. In the last few years, there were many discussions to make the Swiss-made label stronger. After fighting for it several years, all the government did only results in minimal changes to the regulations regarding Swiss-made label. So, we decided to remove the Swiss-made label and made the campaign called #makeswissmadegreatagain.

That’s interesting!

Yes. We even made a unique piece in cheese that we sold in an auction to make a strong statement that we don’t believe in the Swiss-made label anymore. At the end of the day, if you make the watches somewhere else and put a Swiss-made label on it, what is the point of having all those watchmakers from Switzerland?

H Moser & Cie is known to manufacture everything in-house. Are there any reasons for doing it that way?

We make all our components in-house except for the straps, because crocodiles are not often found in Switzerland. However, every part of the watch movement is manually crafted by our expert watchmakers. To make our casing somewhere else will reduce the price and let us to sell more, but we will not get the same quality. Additionally, it is not who we are. Great watchmakers in Switzerland are very expensive but we pay for the value and their hard work goes into the quality of the watch.

How do you incorporate your business model to the new age of e-commerce?

Right now, in China, we have physical stores in several key cities, but we also partner with JD.com because the market in China is ready to purchase luxury watches through an online platform. Another reason is that China has so many cities that to get into every corner of China is quite difficult. JD.com is also a trusted platform, which is why we trust them to carry our brand.

Why do you think such system does not work in other countries?

In Indonesia, we don’t have a complete grasp of the customer preference and situation yet. We are not sure whether they are ready to spend money on luxury watches through the Internet platform. In Europe, clients still want the experience of coming to a watch shop and trying several models before deciding to purchase our watch or not.

Are you worried about counterfeit products when it comes to online platforms?

JD.com is considered as one of the biggest retailers in the world. They can help us control the distribution of fake products and give us guarantee that only authentic products are purchased on their platform. So if people tried to buy from another website, then they are taking the risk upon themselves.

In your mind, who is the ideal customer of H. Moser & Cie?

Interestingly, we are getting the younger population to buy our watches. The ideal client in my mind will be entrepreneurs who are confident people that want to stand out among their friends. They are people who want something different than the usual watch people wear.

Okay, here is a fun question. If there is a movie made about you, which actor/ actress will you choose to play your role?

[laughs] It’s not my opinion, but I heard some people say that I look like Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

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Tags: Bertrand Meylan, CEO, H. Moser&Cie, Watchmaker