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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 1:58 am 
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Breitling Newbie
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Hello all,

I recently interviewed Georges Kern for a new online magazine called The Insider. Pretty in-depth (almost 2,000 words) on how he's transformed the business since taking over. I realize not too much of this will be news to you aficionados, but anyway, if you're interested you can find it here:

https://www.glion.edu/magazine/history- ... breitling/

Cheers,

Martin
Editor, The Insider



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 6:00 am 
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This was interesting and enlightening. It explains a lot of his moves with the company that I have questioned. Still do not necessarily agree with everything he has done but at least this gives it context.
Frank.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 8:25 am 
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Personally i found Kern is killing Breitling history...

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 10:25 am 
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Interesting article/interview; thanks for posting it up.

I must say, while I appreciate Georges' honesty about his reasons for joining Breitling - "it was the chance to become a shareholder, pure and simple" - I think the romantic in me would've preferred an answer more along the lines of, "I've long loved the brand and I'm steeped in Breitling's long and rich history and I wanted to bring the brand back from the brink". :lol: That said, it's obviously good that he's got a vested interest in the company being a success, and he's clearly listened (at least in a substantial part) to "one of our most prominent collectors" (so that'll be Fred then!) and been prepared to delve into the history books and take a lot of inspiration from that.

I do personally think that care needs to be taken with making the brand too general as it'll then end up being akin to many other generalist brands out there, and a niche/USP is often hard to find and should be nurtured IMHO. But then what do I know! :lol: I'm not the CEO of Breitling, and thus far I've been (for the most part at least) very impressed with the new releases since Georges took over... so he's clearly doing something right!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 6:48 pm 
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I too like the fact that Kern became a shareholder. Means he’s invested for more than a check. As soon as you put your own money in the pile, you start making decisions with intent and focus.

Where is our boy WatchFred? Doesn’t seem to be a valid George Kern thread without him chiming in


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2020 9:22 pm 
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Nice interview and quite revealing even for a watch geek. Obviously the magazine is focussed on the business of luxury rather than watches so its unsurprising that the Q&A focussed primarily on management and entrepreneurship.

But for us watch geeks my takeaways were:

1. Like it or not Breitling has no desire to remain a niche brand.
2. That Breitling is focussing heavily on two things:
a. broadening its appeal (range/demographics) but drawing on strong historical precedents
b. managing itself well (distribution,marketing, product design - which was a really odd comment - had Pre-Kern Breitling outsourced product design?)
3. That Breitling is positioning itself as a new, more contemporary, version of luxury. Deliberately stepping away from long standing tropes of the Swiss luxury watch ideal.

For me that was mostly good but I totally understand that for others (particularly those that came to the brand in the 2000's) some or all of this is a disaster.

Personally what I didn't like is the emphasis on 'retro' designs. Im ok with some but I'd be concerned if Breitling became yet another brand re-issuing tired old designs over and over and pretending they are 'new' watches. Still, at least Breitling has broken away from endless mid century modern and is looking a designs from the seventies and eighties as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2020 5:27 pm 
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That was a very good interview. I am very new to luxury watches but from what I can tell, this guy seems pretty legit. I get the feeling that he truly cares for the brand and because of that he is willing to bring Breitling into a new era despite some resistance he is meeting. This makes me excited to see what kind of shifts they will make over the next few years. Sidenote: I dont think it looks like a jean store lol


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