Mark Hearn on why relationships work two ways

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Patek Philippe MD says brands should not dictate terms to retailers.

Patek Philippe’s UK managing director is advising retailers to distance themselves from watch brands that dictate all the terms of their commercial relationships.

In a pre-BaselWorld interview with WatchPro, Mark Hearn, MD for Patek Philippe UK, alluded to ‘trophy brands’ that don’t develop true partnerships with their retailers.

“The days of ‘trophy brands’ are very definitely numbered. I would advise [retailers] to focus on key relationships with suppliers. Work closely with those who really understand their business, but start to distance themselves from companies that just dictate to them what they have to do.

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“It has to be a real partnership. If it is not, then they are better off without those suppliers. They may contribute to their business today, but it will not be like that in a few years time if it is not based on mutual trust and respect,” Hearn urged.

Patek Philippe will launch its 2012 line up at Baselworld, but Hearn hints that it will not be a year for extravagant new models. “I think that 2012 will be another year of consolidation for the watch market, as it is still a very tough economic environment, so real technical developments will be fairly rare. Having said that, every year Patek Philippe launches new products at Basel with several new patents, and this year will be no different,” he said.

“As for trends, I think that they will again be very conservative, the economic climate dictates that there will not be too many extravagant pieces launched this year. Very classical, traditional and complicated pieces will dominate in my opinion,” he concluded.

Read the full interview with Mark Hearn in the March issue of WatchPro, along with a history of the Patek Philippe brand that reveals the roots of its founder, 200 years after his birth.

 

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