Having previously served as the Worldwide Marketing and Communication Director at Audemars Piguet and the Vice President of the Swatch Group, Vincent Perriard is a well-known figure in the luxury watch industry. As one of five partners of independent watchmaker HYT, Perriard helms the company as its CEO.
After spending three years in New York and six in Paris, Perriard is now based in Switzerland, but the executive spends much of his time in Asia. “I come to Singapore nearly every two months,” reveals Perriard. “Technically HYT’s strongest market is South East Asia (S.E.A.: Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia).” Over lunch at Mezza9 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Singapore, Haute Time spoke with Perriard about the latest developments at HYT.
What’s new at HYT?
Earlier this year, we presented some novelties including the H3. For the first time, we decided not to present everything during Baselworld, so we kept some novelties for the second semester. So, now we launched those ‘surprises’. The worldwide launch was held in Portugal earlier this month.
HYT continues its immersion in the world of sailing, partnering with Alinghi, one of the greatest sailing teams from Switzerland. The H4 Alinghi is a piece equipped with a light source. When it’s pitch dark, with the help of the LED light the skeleton architecture of the timepiece comes to life. This is one of the coolest features we are adding to the collection. The source of energy is purely mechanical. Starting with a blank sheet is what we know. That’s how all our models have been created. But here, with the light complication, a new challenge was set: we had to start using our own existing calibre as a complete, functional basis. We basically had to add a piece to a puzzle which was already finished.
Do you think S.E.A. and especially Singapore watch collectors are bold and daring in their taste for unique timepieces?
In the nineties, we had the same type of collectors in Italy as we see today in S.E.A. The Italian collectors were the trend-setters. If something was a success in Italy, it would be a success in the rest of the world. That is what we said in the nineties. Now, it’s completely different. Italy has become a very small and boring market today, and it has been replaced by Singapore. Singapore is exactly what Italy was 15 years ago. So, in that sense, it is different. It has become the home of the craziest collectors. Crazy in the sense that they collect a lot, and they are not afraid to collect some crazy pieces from independent brands like HYT. So, HYT and other independent watchmakers are successful in S.E.A. because people here are more in tune with that type of watchmaking. So, it becomes very important for us to do well in Singapore.
The conjunction of a small market, lots of money, great education and being very open-minded makes the country attractive. Singapore became rich in a very short period of time, like in the last 30 years, It’s not like Switzerland which has been rich for over 100 years.
Describe your recent partnership with Sincere Fine Watches
I have known Ong Ban for many years and there is no one else I would rather HYT to partner with than Sincere Fine Watches. (On October 8th, an exclusive cocktail party was held in Singapore at the Sincere Haute Horlogerie boutique at the Hilton Shopping Gallery, in the presence of On Ban, CEO of Sincere Fine Watches and Vincent Perriard)
Will you be showcasing at SIHH 2016?
That was the surprise of this year! Normally, a company is only invited after 100 years of activity, but we were invited after just two. You need to be invited to the SIHH by the Foundation. You cannot just go and pay for it. We were approached in May this year and the contract was signed in July. It gives us a lot of credibility because if we attend the SIHH, it means that we are on the right track for our network of retailers and clients. Historically, brands outside of the the Richermont Group, like Parmigiani, Greubel Forsay and Richard Mille gained a new level of prestige after participating in SIHH.
We see ourselves as a cool, independent brand growing very fast. We are up 45% in sales compared to last year, so our business is very good. With the economies of Hong Kong, China, Russia and Ukraine experiencing periods of struggle, it’s going to be very challenging next year, but we are doing the right things so far.
Thus, we are very excited to be in SIHH. The standard is very high and the quality of people is high. The show itself is in the right place. Everything is perfect. It’s a great opportunity for business.
Photo Credit: HYT and Sincere Fine Watches. For more information, please visit the official HYT website. Follow Haute Time on Instagram to catch all of the new releases as they happen.