Mr. Voutilainen, during the past weeks, Baselworld announced many new concepts and measures for the 2019 edition. What are your expectations of the show?
Kari Voutilainen: In my opinion Baselworld is the number 1 watch show. It has maintained its unparalleled reputation for more than 100 years and this will also be the case in the future. I am excited about Baselworld 2019. More concentrated, the venue might be even better than before.
The industry is undergoing rapid changes. How do you perceive them? Where do they have the strongest impact?
Kari Voutilainen: Yes, it looks like nobody exactly knows where we are headed. Online sales, monobrand boutiques, all kinds of exhibitions and new means of communications such as Instagram are the challenges of the future. Despite all these changes, I think that the customers still desire to see the watch, touch it and get a feel of it. The relationship with the brands and a personal contact still remain crucial. The digitisation has changed the communication channels completely, much to the disadvantage of classic newspapers and magazines. In my opinion, this is one of the changes with the strongest impact.
How do you – as a very specialised high-end brand – deal with these changes? How can they be addressed and how is this reflected in your products and through your distribution channels?
Kari Voutilainen: I have not changed at all and I am not really connected. I am not engaging in social media and continue with exhibitions where we present our watches personally to our customers.
What can we look forward to seeing from you at Baselworld 2019?
Kari Voutilainen: We are working on a new model right now which will be probably ready just in time for Baselworld 2019.