Tissot is one of the oldest brands in the portfolio of Swatch Group. Founded in 1853 by Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son, Charles-Émile Tissot, it was acquired by Swatch Group in 1998 and positioned as a manufacturer of robust yet affordable watches with a sporting soul. Hugely benefitting from the Group’s resources, Tissot relies on its extensive archives to create appealing watches at accessible prices. In recent years we’ve seen some strong offerings, like the Heritage 1973 Chronograph, the Seastar 2000 Professional Powermatic 80, and the smash-hit PRX Powermatic 80. All the more reason to sit down with CEO Sylvain Dolla.
Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME – You took the helm at Tissot as CEO a few months ago. What surprised you at Tissot?
Sylvain Dolla, CEO for Tissot – When I arrived at Tissot, I was amazed by the amount of archives the brand has been collecting since its beginning in 1853 and how it has taken advantage of these to release reissues of models that have marked its long history. For example, this year, we released the PRX, a reissue of a 1978 model. This is what contributes to the richness of the brand because Tissot is oriented towards the future by putting forward its rich past.
Tissot has a powerful presence in the accessible luxury watch market. What makes Tissot watches stand apart?
As I mentioned, one of Tissot strengths is the rich history that allows the brand to assert itself through its years of expertise. On top of that, Tissot is known as the leading Swiss watch brand in terms of volume, and we are capable of creating products ranging from pocket watches to quartz watches and from mechanical to connected models. The reason why Tissot is so special is that when you combine the history of the brand with the many categories it offers, you get exceptional watches.
What has been your strategy regarding the brand’s products?
My role at Tissot is not to change the entire brand strategy and provoke a revolution. Tissot has been extremely successful under Mr Thiebaud’s leadership. So regarding the strategy behind the brand’s products, we continue to offer products with a very attractive quality-price ratio, putting forward reinterpretations of some of the most iconic Tissot watches that have marked the brand’s history. We are also listening closely to the feedback of our customers. In addition, it has also been decided to reduce the amount of new upcoming watch collections to better focus on the development of beautiful details, which ornament our watches.
The PRX is certainly one of the brand’s recent highlights. What is the story of the collection?
First, it is a reissue of a model released in 1978. The mission was to retain the retro, cool and chic aspect of the period when the watch was made, a period marked by great social and cultural changes. People in the 1970s wanted to differentiate themselves from others through music or even clothing. We wanted to translate the joyful, free-spirited mood of the late 1970s and convey emotion through a product.
What values does this collection embody?
The values of this collection are multiple. As mentioned, we want to pay tribute to all those people who allowed society to evolve by highlighting the free spirit of the 1970s. Confidence and self-assertion are also messages that this collection wants to convey.
What are and will be the focus points for marketing?
We are constantly analyzing the best way to meet the expectations of our customers. We make every effort to highlight the iconic pieces of the brand, pieces that are very much appreciated by our customers and which characterize the Tissot of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
What synergies are leveraged with Swatch Group, in particular with regards to manufacturing?
Swatch Group brings a great level of expertise in many fields to the table. The group’s industrial companies invest heavily in research and development, driving the steady expansion of Swatch Group’s leading position in materials and technologies in product design and manufacturing. Also, Swatch Group engages in significant development activities in microelectronics and micromechanics. So the synergies are very beneficial for Tissot.
What are the main challenges for the brand?
We are in the midst of a global health crisis, and like other brands, Tissot has had to deal with many changes, including the increase in online sales. However, we were one of the first brands in the industry to have invested in our E-Commerce Platform six years ago. The fact that the crisis we are going through just accelerates what we were forecasting for many years makes us much more confident. It is important for Tissot to continue to evolve in line with the evolution of society.
What customer feedback have you received since the launch of the TTCS?
I am glad to tell you that we have received a lot of positive feedback from our customers about the T-Touch Connect Solar. Features like touch-screen technology, solar power and intelligent Internet connection make it a Swiss-made masterpiece, surprising and delighting people worldwide. After many years devoted to developing this product, we wanted to ensure that the outcome was a watch that the owner is proud to wear. We can assure you that so far, this is the case!