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Old and new

Samantha Chiew
Samantha Chiew • 6 min read
Old and new
Tissot showcases its rich history and latest offerings at its annual Brand Summit.
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Tissot showcases its rich history and latest offerings at its annual Brand Summit.

SINGAPORE (May 20): Tissot, part of the Swatch Group, held its Brand Summit 2019 in Kuala Lumpur on April 3. Members of the media and watch retailers gathered at the Pavilion Hotel to view Tissot’s latest offerings.

(Main image: Tissot sign welcoming guests to Brand Summit 2019 at the Pavilion Hotel in Kuala Lumpur last month)

François Barrie, Tissot’s regional sales manager, gave the media a closeup look of this year’s Baselworld exhibits. Alongside the new watches, vintage pieces were also displayed to show the brand’s rich heritage.

We were given a formal presentation about the technical details of the new timepieces. To get to where Tissot is today, however, we must look back at its past. Tissot has been around since 1853 and is now a leader in the Swiss watch industry, exporting more than four million watches every year. The brand’s logo, the Swiss flag, symbolises the Swiss quality and reliability that it has exhibited since the brand was established.

According to data from Luxe Consult and Morgan Stanley Research, Tissot, with an average price of CHF750 ($1,015) a watch, recorded CHF1.05 billion in sales last year. Its revenue ranks the sixth highest among global luxury watch players and represents 4.1% of global watch sales.

This means Tissot’s watches are sold in very high volumes, since its average watch price is the lowest among the seven watch brands with a turnover of more than CHF1 billion. Nearly one in four traditional Swiss watches sold is a Tissot.

Brand Summit 2019 ended with a gala dinner in the evening, where we enjoyed the food prepared by the Pavilion Hotel and live music. The dinner was also a chance for Tissot to introduce 23-year-old Malaysian actress and TV personality Amelia Henderson as its first Friend of the Brand in Malaysia.

Getting to know Tissot

The Edge Singapore speaks to François Thiébaud, president of Tissot

This is the first year that the Swatch Group has broken away from the Baselworld watch fair. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages?

Adopting a new strategy was a move that was carefully thought out and the first responses from it were all positive. Not only does it give us the chance to spend more time with each market, helping us to better understand their needs, but it has also increased April’s sales results. Therefore, I believe, we have come out as winners, even though we might have a few adaptations to perform, as this was the very first time it occurred.

Do you think there is still a need for watch fairs and would they be relevant in the future, since social media is now on the rise?

Absolutely, watch fairs such as Brand Summits are necessary. A watch can never be displayed the same way on a screen or in a picture compared with seeing and touching one up close. One needs to have an idea of what it looks like in real life and what translates from it.

Tissot has been around since 1853 and has been with the Swatch group since 1983. What gives the brand its longevity?

The name Tissot itself can enable you to discover some of our strong historical assets: ‘T’ for tradition; ‘I’ for innovation and inspiration; ‘S’ for sports, sponsorship commitment and super products; ‘O’ for opening eyes and ears to the market; and ‘T’ for time.

Who are Tissot’s target customers?

As we are a multi-specialist brand; our goal is to meet our market’s each and every need. Therefore, our main target customers are composed of a wide pool of people. However, we have noticed a need for supplying more models for women, as well as for a younger audience.

What are your plans for the brand?

We will continue to move forward just like what we have been doing till today, because I believe that we have a huge potential.

A close-up view of three newly launched Tissot watches

First among equals

Standing by its tagline, “Innovators by Tradition”, Tissot has been a trailblazer in craftsmanship and innovation. It has launched many firsts in the watch industry, including the first nonmagnetic wristwatch, first watch made of natural stone, first tactile watch and first solar-powered tactile watch. Today, the Tissot T-Touch, the first tactile watch, is one of its leading products.

This year, the T-Touch, which has been constantly evolving, will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. In conjunction with the anniversary, Tissot will be launching the T-Touch Swiss Edition, a tribute to the resilience of the people living in the mountains of Switzerland.

The satin titanium body timepiece is crowned by a brown ceramic bezel, along with a strap that is cut from pieces of brown leather with beige-cream overstitching; the colours and materials of the watch are an allusion to old-fashioned climbing equipment.

Partners in sports

Sports plays a key role in Tissot’s brand marketing strategy. It has been named the official timekeeper and partner of several global sporting events, such as basketball with the NBA and FIBA; cycling with the Tour de France and the UCI World Cycling Championships; as well as motorsports with MotoGPTM and the FIM World Superbike Championship. Tissot is also looking to partner other sports such as ice hockey, fencing and rugby.

With its focus on sports, the brand has launched several limited edition pieces in collaboration with sporting events and athletes.

One example is the Limited Edition Tissot T-Race MotoGP Automatic 2019, featuring a special design with a black ring made of carbon fibre — a tough, sleek material that is highly resistant. The incorporation of the carbon-fibre components in the watch draws inspiration from resistant pieces of a motorcycle, while the impressive technical achievements that lie at the heart of Tissot can be seen through the caseback, which resembles a steering wheel.

Her heart’s desire

Tissot first started making wristwatches for ladies in 1910; today, it continues to offer a range of fashionable and classic watches for women.

This year, Tissot looked to the 1960s for inspiration and has updated the dainty Tissot Lovely Square, which oozes femininity with its delicate 2cm x 2cm dimensions and satin-smooth case. This chic wristwatch falls perfectly in line with the trend of small watches worn like jewellery

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