Georges Kern talks about scaling his iconic cheap Breitling replica watches brand in countries like China with redesigned collections.
How did the Cosmonaute come to become the first Swiss wristwatch in space in 1962?
The Cosmonaute was a watch which was requested by Scott Carpenter, the fourth American in space. When he was training in Australia, he saw the Australian pilots of the Air Force wearing 1:1 wholesale fake Breitling Navitimer watches and he knew it was exactly what Project Mercury needed for the upcoming orbital missions. He then wrote to Willy Breitling explaining that timekeeping was his specific responsibility for Project Mercury. He needed a reconfigured Navitimer to retain the circular slide rule for calculations. He wanted luxury UK replica Breitling watches with a 24-hour indication and also one that would read like an instrument in his capsule. Breitling then developed that timepiece which became one of the absolute classics of the watch industry and became the first Swiss wristwatch in space.
There’s another very famous Cosmonaute worn by John Glenn that was acquired by Gregory Breitling at an auction in 2019. Why was he keen to return it to the Breitling archives?
After Scott Carpenter’s journey to space, at least seven other prototypes of the same watch were built. They were produced for the seven astronauts who took part in the Mercury programme. The John Glenn watch was never in space, but it was Glenn’s personal watch and when Gregory Breitling heard that it was on auction, he decided to buy it. This [acquiring watches at auction] is something we need to do ourselves in the future because we want to build a museum and work on our history. We have a clear focus to buy special high quality Breitling copy watches that were once part of our collection, building a museum and publishing books around our brand. Gregory Breitling is very supportive of this initiative, as is Fred Mandelbaum who is probably the biggest Breitling collector in the world. Sooner or later, all these Breitling replica watches for sale will be available in the museum that can be viewed by our customers and collectors.
The Navitimer itself is 70 years old this year. Was its existence ever threatened over the last seven decades?
There are watches that are icons and which are commercially successful, and then there are watches which are icons, but which were commercial failures. The Swiss movements Breitling Navitimer super clone watches was always successful and the Navitimer’s existence as part of our collection was never threatened since it was always a commercial success. It is today, with the AAA Breitling Chronomat replica watches, the most commercially important line we have.
Give us a scale of your global operations.
Last year, CVC sold a minority stake to a private equity company. Today, we are present worldwide with subsidiaries. We will have roughly 250 boutiques by the end of the year. This year, we’re opening close to two boutiques a week. For the time being, the whole luxury industry is very resilient. We have seen revenge buying because people couldn’t go on holidays, and hence have a lot of disposable income which is why the luxury industry did very well last year.
You’ve previously said that Breitling is yet to achieve its fair market share in China. Have you capitalised on that?
China still represents a small portion of our business. We’re growing strongly but we don’t have our fair market share in China yet if I compare it to the US, Europe or the Middle East because we just started to build our presence there four-five years ago. We are opening 25 boutiques in China this year. We have the locations, but it would take three-four years for us to be at the level where we want to be. You don’t have an established distribution network of retailers in China like you might have in Dubai with Seddiqi, for example. We don’t have a strategic problem as much as a tactical problem in implementing the strategies that we implement in our other markets around the world. We will have roughly 60 boutiques in China, but we should be able to quadruple that number.
How important is the Middle East market for Breitling?
The Middle East is an important market. It’s a high-end, sophisticated and cultivated market. As a region, it’s smaller than Europe, but it’s growing and is a substantial market. For us, the key markets are Europe, the US and the Middle East. We have joint ventures in Saudi Arabia where we have opened a huge boutique in Riyadh earlier this year and are opening more boutiques in the kingdom too.
Why did Breitling decide to unveil the new Superocean?
We had in the 1960s a diving watch called the Slow Motion which was very much an instrument for diving with big hands and big indexes. So, we took the Slow Motion and added modern features to it, but kept the same broad design elements including a ceramic bezel and the square blocks on the hands. There’s a certain similarity to the look of most dive perfect Breitling fake watches, but the Slow Motion always stood out from the crowd.
What are your plans for the second-hand and vintage watch market?
There are important vintage replica Breitling watches shop online like the Navitimer Cosmonaute from John Glenn acquired by Gregory Breitling. We work with auction houses to address that market. We have plans to address it with much more focus than we did in the past. The second area is the certified pre-owned watches which are traded on certified pre-owned platforms where we aren’t involved. And then there are watches that are no longer produced as part of our collection, and here we buy back the stock from the retailer and sell them through our factory outlets around the world.
What are some of Breitling’s plans for the short- to medium-term?
We have now launched the 2022 China fake Breitling Superocean watches, but we have more products in the pipeline for the remainder of the year. As for the mid-long term, we have changed strategies four years ago and we now have a proven concept. What we’re doing now is scaling the business in countries like China with our repositioned brand and redesigned collections.