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How IWC is Making Mechanical Watches Work in A Digital World

During the Philippine leg of the Swiss manufacture’s 150th global birthday celebration, IWC Schaffhausen’s very own Stanislas Rambaud, Managing Director for Southeast Asia, sat down with Lucerne Luxe Magazine to talk about the brand’s advocacies, its consumers, and how it manages to stay relevant in a quickly digitizing world.

Lucerne Luxe Magazine (LLM): How do you think IWC, with its 150 years of history, manages to present its heritage while still reaching a younger, more digitally-inclined market?

Stanislas Rambaud (SR): I think it starts from the very beginning—it starts in our DNA. Just to give you a bit of a background, our founder, Florentine Ariosto Jones, was an engineer and watchmaker from Boston. His idea was to travel to Switzerland to combine his engineering skills with the savoir faire of Switzerland in watchmaking. I would say innovation is part of the IWC DNA, and has been from the very beginning. It is how we grew over the years: by being loyal to the heritage of our founder, to our products, and to this innovation. Our watches remain mechanical, but the way we communicate is embracing digital. We were the first to have a strong community on social media, we have been very advanced in e-commerce, and in all our partnerships, such as the 360-activation campaign with Bradley Cooper and many digital touchpoints. Digital is a great way to speak to our customers and to reach new, younger audiences.


IWC’s recent campaign with Academy Award-nominated actor and watch enthusiast Bradley Cooper broke new ground with the use of interactive technology.


LLM: What are the insights that you’ve gleaned from your audience and how are you going to integrate them into how the brand markets itself?

SR: That’s the beauty of digital and all this transformation: we get a lot more information compared to 10 years ago. Our role is to better understand our customers through social media, through digital. With all this information we understand what our customers like in our products, if our partnerships are in line with our customers’ values and expectations. You can communicate almost instantly with your customers and you can get almost instant feedback. That way, you can also adapt and react quickly. Everyone talks about multi-channels or omni channels, but today, there’s really no channels: you have to be everywhere. Brands will be able to sell products on their websites, their partners’ websites, Instagram, Facebook, through apps…Now, you have to make sure that you can reach your customer wherever they’re shopping. This brings new challenges. It is the challenge of the industry, ensuring a consistent and qualitative customer experience across all these channels.

LLM: IWC’s sustainability efforts are something to be very proud of. Is giving back something that matters more to and resonates with your audience now, compared to how it did in the past?

SR: It is all about giving back. Today, we are a successful brand and we believe it is important to give back. Part of our values—which include a passion for perfection and precision—is our passion for protecting the environment. Over the last few years we have forged partnerships with different organizations and people who support the same causes, and it’s not something that’s going to change in the next few years. We are strengthening our existing partnership with the Costeau Society, and the Laurel Foundation, and other foundations all over the world. We are giving back to society, and I believe we are the first watch brand to be carbon neutral—it’s a commitment and statement we made years ago. We are all responsible for the future of this planet and the future of our children. Everybody has to act—whether they’re an individual or a company—and IWC is a leader in bringing the industry in that direction.

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