August 11, 2010
The Versace brand is many things; extravagant, flamboyant, glamorous, diverse, and above all, luxurious. In addition to the lavish lines of designer clothing, Versace began creating stunning jeweled watches in the mid 90s, marking the start of even further diversification of the infamous brand.
Meticulously crafted, every piece is a work of art that stands as a testament to the fashionably luxurious spirit of Versace. Striking a perfect balance between the classical and the modern, these gorgeous timepieces are a combination of only the best materials, the finest precious stones and exquisite diamonds.
Wearing a Versace watch truly makes a powerful statement of a daring, unique sense of style, individuality and a definite taste for luxury at its finest. Paolo Marai, President and CEO of Vertime, talks to Today’s Outlook about the uniqueness of the Versace watches collections for men and women, and the adaptability of the brand to the different markets and ever-changing customer needs. We are also offered insights into Versace’s operations in the Middle East, their strategy for sailing through the global economic crisis, and what it is that makes the brand tick…
How do you operate within the Middle East market?
I would say that the Middle East market is tremendously important in the sense that our brand be very well perceived there. We always strive to find the right kind of product for this market and our distribution partners are very active; they do not sit back and wait, they take a much more proactive approach by closely working with us and offering suggestions with regards to shape, size and color.
So customizations are possible?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, we have a number of limited edition items created specifically for the Middle East market, so a good portion of our business is based on made-to-order items. While it is true that a brand should be global, and maintain its identity so that it is easily recognizable, a brand must also be flexible enough to adapt to the specific needs of a certain market and this is what we do for the Middle East.
You are predominantly targeting the female market, why is that?
As a fashion brand, it is quite natural that Versace leans more towards catering to women than to men. When shopping for a watch, women tend not to fuss with technical details like the type of movement that powers the watch; they want something attractive that works. There is also more variety because women choose watches they can match with their outfits, so there is much more creativity and innovation that goes into the design process.
What is the one distinctive quality that differentiates Versace watches from the other brands?
It would definitely have to be our always innovative approach to design and the different materials we use. Of course, no matter what we do, we always aim to produce a watch that carries the brand’s signature style; one that is easily distinguishable as a Versace. This can many times be easier said than done because we need to find creative ways of incorporating certain permanent elements such as the Medusa face, which is like touching something sacred that must not be changed, so we need to find ways to work it into a particular design – it’s actually a lot of work!
Many brands have launched more affordable watches in light of the economic situation, has Versace done the same?
I think this kind of move is open to different interpretations, but when some brands start to extend their price range in that direction, it could mean good things in difficult moments but it would also be a risk because it could potentially create some confusion regarding positioning. We have enough variety in our price range that has kept us affordable to our customers without having to compromise on the brand’s identity and positioning nor having to make a move that could send the wrong message.
Which new design do you expect will be the bestseller this year?
I think it’s a little difficult for me to predict which watch it will be this year, but last year we introduced the Eon collection, and we were aware that technically it would be a big success. This year, we have further expanded the collection and we are quite sure it will continue to be successful.
What kind of watch are you wearing today?
I wear five different watches every day! I believe that only by wearing your product, do you discover what works and what doesn’t, where its flaws and weaknesses are so you can correct and improve them.