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Sun 8 Dec 2019 10:16 AM

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Tag Heuer eyes growth in increasingly attractive Saudi watch market

Tag Heuer CEO Stephane Bianchi said that the company sees no threat to 'traditional' watch sales from the rising popularity of smart watches

Tag Heuer eyes growth in increasingly attractive Saudi watch market

As a sign of Tag Heuer's increased focus on Saudi Arabia, a green limited edition Aquaracer watch was made specifically for the kingdom's market.

The Middle East is an increasingly “fast moving market” for Tag Heuer, particularly Saudi Arabia, according to CEO Stéphane Bianchi.

Bianchi was appointed as the CEO of LVMH’s watchmaking division in November 2018. In his position, he directly leads the Tag Heuer brand. Additionally, the CEOs of Hublot and Zenith report to him.

Speaking to Arabian Business in an exclusive interview at the Formula E Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia – where the Tag Heuer Porsche team made its debut – Bianchi said that the company increasingly views Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East as a “very important market”.

“That is especially true in Saudi Arabia. We think this country will become the next big [market] in the Middle East,” he said. “We invest a lot in Saudi Arabia.”

As a sign of the company’s increased focus on Saudi Arabia, Bianchi pointed to a green limited edition Aquaracer watch made specifically for the Saudi market in September.

The 200 watches – each of which were priced at approximately $2,000 – quickly sold out, Bianchi added.

“Next year, we’re going to have another one [limited edition Saudi watch]. I can’t tell you about it, but it will be amazing as well,” he said. “We believe this is a fast-moving market and is going to get bigger and bigger over the coming years. For us, it’s strategic to be here.”

According to Bianchi, Tag Heuer’s largest markets remain the United States, UK, Australia, Japan and Korea.

Smart watch threat

In his comments, Bianchi said that Tag Heuer sees no threat to ‘traditional’ watch sales from connected ‘smart’ watches which have become increasingly popular over the last several years.

In Tag Heuer’s case, the company launched its first connected watch in 2015, and now has several different models.

“Connected watches will of course be important in the future, even if traditional watches remain the main [focus] for Tag Heuer,” he said. “But what we see is that people who buy smart watches wouldn’t have bought a traditional watch, so there’s no cannibalisation of customers.”

Additionally, Bianchi said that in about 80 percent of cases, buyers of Tag Heuer connected watches “get to know the brand” and then move on to buy other watches.

“It brings more customers to traditional watches,” he said. “It’s a very good match between these two kinds of watches.”

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