January 29, 2019
“A stage for the entire industry”
Mr Ziegler, how long have you been coming to Baselworld? And how important are these visits for your business?
Joachim Ziegler: We have been present at the show with “Les Ambassadeurs” for more than fifty years. Baselworld ranks among each year’s highlights. I have been coming to Baselworld since the early 1990s. I can still clearly recall my first visit and how impressed I was. I invested my modest apprentice’s salary in two gorgeous tourmalines that I simply could not leave behind. I have repeatedly looked forward to discovering new things at the show each year since then.
What importance does the show have nowadays for your company, which operates five Swiss boutiques offering the leading watch brands?
Joachim Ziegler: For us as retailers, participation is indispensable because of several aspects. This show is the best venue for purchasing and learning all about the latest news and upcoming trends. Beyond that, we meet our brand partners here, cultivate and expand our network, and share ideas on industry topics. Another reason for Baselworld’s enormous importance is the fact that this trade show provides a unique platform for the Swiss watch industry. The entire watch and jewellery industry, with all its many facets, takes advantage of ample opportunities to present itself in its entirety to an international audience on Baselworld’s unique stage.
Baselworld is changing. Numerous innovations have been announced for the 2019 edition. What do you expect from the show?
Joachim Ziegler: An outstanding infrastructure is equally indispensable for visitors and exhibitors alike. The show should be a platform on which brands, retailers and consumers can meet and exchange ideas with one another. In this process, content will be publicized throughout the world – not only by journalists, but also by other multipliers, i.e. social media. Baselworld contributes significantly toward assuring that the topic of watches is communicated worldwide at this time and that watches are at the top of consumers’ minds. I also expect to find good value for the money: this applies both to Baselworld per se and to all services related to the show, for example, hotels and restaurants. Baselworld’s visitors have the right to expect superlative service at reasonable prices so that this event can continue to contribute to Switzerland’s positive image.
In your opinion, what will be the biggest challenges facing the industry in the next five to ten years?
Joachim Ziegler: I definitely believe that the biggest challenge for the short and medium term is to ensure that wristwatches remain desirable and relevant. Baselworld can and must make an important contribution to this now and must continue to expand its role in the future. Another central topic is distribution, which is currently undergoing radical transformation. As retailers, we work on a daily basis to create significant added value for our customers and for the brands. And, of course, digitisation is a key challenge, also for our industry. We must remain true to our roots while at the same time continually reinventing ourselves.
How do you attract the attention of new target groups and younger customers?
Joachim Ziegler: We are adapting to the changes, massively strengthening our online presence and connecting it to our existing offline world of Les Ambassadeurs boutiques. We augment and strengthen our boutiques through our webshop, which carries Switzerland’s largest online selection of watches. In connection with this, we invest heavily in our social media channels. We also get our youngest employees involved here: for example, our apprentices handle our Snapchat channel to assure that it is 100% target-group oriented.