March 06, 2019
“Vital to our business”
What are the top reasons to attend Baselworld from your point of view?
Candy Udell: This show is vital to our business. It’s a key part of our business to attend, in order to see all the new products for the year. You really can’t source these watch brands – like Rolex and Patek Phillipe – anywhere else.
Mark Udell: The big brands expect you to be there if you are a major player in the marketplace, you need to go to Basel to see all the new introductions and get an idea of the trends and what’s going on. You can’t be in the business the way we are and not attend Baselworld.
What is the state of the watch industry?
Mark Udell: I think 2018 was an extremely good year. The result of luxury in America was very strong, including the stock market showing strong signs until the end of the year. There was a very high demand for timepieces. The watch industry has come back very strongly. The demands were so crazy that a lot of the brands had a waiting list. Customers had to wait 6 months, a year and even longer to get certain watches.
Candy Udell: People want luxury and they realise that a fine timepiece is highly collectable, something that holds its value, and can be passed to the next generation.
During the past weeks, Baselworld announced many new concepts and measures for the 2019 edition. What are your expectations of the show?
Mark Udell: We heard about changes with the city of Basel: the hotel prices and minimum stay, and the restaurants. There is a lot more positivity. We come to Switzerland to spend a lot of money, which makes us valuable to the city’s economy.
Candy Udell: We look forward to the show, to see all the innovations being introduced. We have good expectations because the watch companies seem to be doing well and I think they are going to put their best foot forward at Baselworld.
What challenges do you foresee for the watch and jewellery industry and the trade in the next 5 to 10 years? How do you cope with it?
Candy Udell: Perhaps the Internet (online selling) could be a challenge. But there is nothing to replace human touch and personal relationships, presented in a retail space.
Mark Udell: Over 92 years, our family has built trust in our community. Clients come to us because of their friendship, trust and love. You can never duplicate that. It’s integrity first always.
How do you reach the attention of new target groups and younger customers?
Mark Udell: Our children Randi and Scott and nephew Zachery are the younger generation taking charge of the business. They oversee the digital and social media, be it Facebook, Instagram, or digital advertising. We would like our brand partners to be more active in this area. We also have a team of digital specialists and are addressing this in a big way.
Candy Udell: Scott’s innovative Bridal Store concept is quiet successful and unique – the first of its kind in the country. It’s like the Apple store, but for bridal jewellery, which appeals to the millennials. If the younger generation starts by buying an engagement ring and if they have a good experience, they are going to be with you forever. Even our grandchildren 7, 6, 5 and 4 years old who love to come into the store are already learning by just watching. It’s remarkable.