Panerai CEO Talks New Replica Products

We know that Jean-Marc Pontroué is hardly a stranger to the luxury world. He acted as sales manager for Givenchy from 1995 to 2000, then went to Montblanc from 2000 to 2011, where he finally became executive vice-president for product strategy and brand development. In the latest interview with Luxury London, the seasoned exec discusses various topics that show he is more than ready to meet the challenges facing a fake watch brand, which has sometimes seemed to be stuck in the 1990s, despite having developed a cult following. The Q&A session shows that some of Pontroué’s strategies, including offering special experiences together with limited-edition pieces, have paid off.
The headline news is that the brand plans to release many new products next year across its iconic Luminor and Radiomir lines, as well as the more professional diver-focused Submersible, and the thinner-cased Luminor Due range. “All luxury brands strive to create an iconic product family, whether they’re in eyewear, telephones, watches, or handbags,” Pontroué says. “We had two families, now we have four. We have no plans for new products, but next year could be the biggest year of its kind — new size, new dial, and new strap.”
The brand has recently been making forays into distinguished colored dials, so we expect more of that across the different collections in the coming future. Who’s in for a purple dial Panerai?
U.S. retail sales of Swiss luxury replica watches jumped by double digits in the first half of 2018, and Panerai seems to be riding that wave – with caution. “The price isn’t really the issue; it’s how much-added value you bring to your product,” Pontroué opines.
“The price is a cocktail, how many ideas you can bring, how many limits you can bring. We want to maintain an exclusive brand; No increase in production for five years; Business growth will come through innovation: new materials, new sports, more complex things.”
Panerai is a brand of content – it’s expressive, with a bold product, bold performance, and an association with high-performance and extreme sports. As long as we have that, we have a voice on social media and in e-commerce.” Panerai’s plans also include new retailing strategies, such as e-commerce. “I totally believe in e-commerce because e-commerce and social media is about content – product is what you get at the end,” he says. “Content is what provides your brand with relevance.
Expect more replica watches bundled with exclusive experiences, as those did well for the brand in the past year. “We would like to offer customers access to more than just watches,” Pontroué says. “We are running three experiences in the next six months, allowing customers who order certain fake Rolex watches to dive alongside French free-diving world champion Guillaume Néry; accompany extreme explorer Mike Horn to Svalbard; Or two days of training with Italian navy commandos. This is an experiment, to be honest because we don’t know what the reaction is going to be; But it was a huge success. One of our customers has taken all three replica watches.