Alpina is a heritage Swiss brand. It is of the same vintage as TAG and Breitling. Alpina and Frederique Constant is a family-owned watch manufacturer based in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva. Since its founding, the company is involved in all stages of watch production, from initial design, to final assembly and quality control. It’s an example of a unique Swiss Watchmaking success story, and today one of the few watchmaking companies which develops, manufactures, and assembles its mechanical calibers entirely in-house. After the success of Frederique Constant, it seemed logical to introduce a truly Swiss premium sports brand to the Indian market, Williams Bessee, its sales International Director informs S&A’s N Bobo Meitei.
Alpina Vs major Swiss brands
Alpina is a heritage Swiss brand. It is of the same vintage as TAG and Breitling. It has its genesis in the community of Alpine watch makers who took great pride in their craft. They even organized themselves into an association of sorts and called themselves the Alpinists. So it is not just a watch brand. It is a part of Swiss watchmaking history.
After the success of Frederique Constant, it seemed logical to introduce a truly Swiss premium sports brand to the Indian market. It appeared that the Indian market was looking for a change from the existing brands, so Alpina would have a nice niche to address.
Alpina has a range of very tough quartz pieces as the entry-level offering. It has a range of mechanical timepieces which are also powered by in-house manufacture movements and a range of Smart watches with two different dial sizes which could be considered by men and women.
The biggest challenge is getting “shelf space”. A lot of retailers would want to have the brand, but they have a constraint of shelf space. The next big challenge is limited numbers of trained staff who understand such watches and can effectively present them to customers.
Indian watch market
India is a huge market and one that is growing. Accurate figures to support these statements should be available online. The growth of a brand in such a market, however, depends on a number of factors which may not all be directly linked to the market potential. Brands need to be built and those that have well thought through strategies succeed.
Srategy for India
Retail strategies are highly confidential, and therefore cannot be shared. Regarding a stand-alone store – This is a very sensitive business decision, wherein one needs to assess investment in respect to sell out and brand visibility. Very few brands have an image that is strong enough to stand alone in the market and sustain over an extended period of time.
More investment in retail space by retailers, and more organized training for retail staff.
In 5 years
5 years is a long time in the watch trade, so it is difficult to predict. However, over the next 12 months, Alpina should more than double its current number of points of sale.