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Cutting-Edge Precision
Published: Volume 21, Issue 8, August, 2013
Comfort, trust, value for money and a long-lasting experience. Alexandra Bennouna, CEO, Victorinox, speaks about the brandís focus on delivering quality

In 1884, Karl Elsener founded a cutlerís workshop. A short time later, he developed the now legendary Original Swiss Army Knife and the company grew from strength to strength. Today, in addition to pocket, household and professional knives, the independent family company Victorinox also produces and sells timepieces, travel gear, fashion and fragrances all over the world. Each product is an expression of Swiss quality. Alexandre Bennouna, CEO, Victorinox, chats about the brandís focus on quality.

Can you tell us something about your experience at Victorinox?
With an emphasis on delivering quality, Victorinox was set up in 1884 and has spent almost 170 years of servicing quality and functionality. When I joined the company, for me, the first major challenge was to build up an organisation that could continue to deliver quality and functionality. That kept me busy in the past years and will keep me busy until I retire because quality is something you can never fully accomplish.

How did your interest in timekeeping begin?
I got interested in the watch business because itís like schizophrenia. We produce instruments that measure time and we sell accessories. There is a contradiction Ė there are a lot of functions in the time industry which are of questionable needs. One of the major symptoms is that the younger generation is not interested in watches as they have the time on their mobile phones, and I think it is a big challenge for us to think about what the relation between the timepiece and its consumer should be, and how we can deliver those needs through all of our watches.

What is your experience with the watch retail market in India?
It dates back to 15 years to my first trip to India. I think India is a market with a very high knowledge about Swiss watch making and obviously specialised trade fairs contribute to that.

What should one keep in mind while buying a watch?
I think the main criteria should be value for money. Itís a future investment and so, you should get what you pay for. It is a mark of respect for our customer.

What was the special Baselworld launch for 2013?
The main launch is the one I have on my wrist it is the Chrono classic, which is also my personal favourite. It combines two functions with the perpetual calendar and the chronograph calculator that calculates 100s of seconds. It integrates the DNA of our brand in a subtle manner and offers quality and functionality at a price that remains very attractive.

What do you have for the ladies?
We have the Victorian which is for the summer and you can see itís very colourful, in two toned cases. We have two sizes 28mm and 32 mm and it comes in a satin strap. It is very attractive because of the price as well. Comfort and trust is what a Swiss time piece stands for.

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