10Mins. With Jean-Marc Pontroue
By Yemisi Suleiman
Polo Luxury Group recently hosted Jean-Marc Pontroue, CEO of Roger Dubuis, on his official visit to the Polo Luxury Boutique in Lagos. Known for its skeletal designs, Roger Dubuis which is a Geneva lifestyle, sophisticated and mechanical brand, is designed for individuals with a flair for class and exclusivity. With over 160 dealers worldwide and Polo Nigeria as one of its dealers, Jean-Marc Pontroue , tells more about the high profile brand and its place in the luxury market.
What is principle behind the Roger Dubuis brand?
The brand was developed 21 years ago; the principle was to break the codes of traditional high end watch making. For many years, the more you wear high end brands, the more you’re classic, the more you’re open to price, the more you’re creative. Roger Dubuis was one of the very first operators to break these principles and has created very creative watches; watches that are also powered with very creative and very powerful movements. That is one of the pliers of our development today; the brand’s capacity to develop higher complications (that are) very creative with a recognised mechanical content.
Who is the ideal Roger Dubuis client?
It is targeted towards a league of young entrepreneurs; young, successful, very self confident customers who have proven themselves in their social and professional lives. Those that have a record of success in their businesses, in their social lives, political lives etc. and they want to have an exclusive accessory to make a statement.
The differentiation in what we’re doing is very important. The people we are selling products to are people who do not want to see others wearing the same thing. The level of exclusivity and uniqueness for them is very important. So this is the profile of people who know what they want; you don’t try to influence them. They know, very well, what they want in terms of cars, in terms of suits, in terms of shoes, in terms of hotels and in terms of travelling experiences. These are the same type of people who are very demanding in exclusivity because they know what our brand is proposing.
What sort of after sales services do you guarantee locally and worldwide?
We have normal standard of two years but we offer an additional year of warranty. As a brand, when you sell such luxury products at high prices, ensuring that the customer is happy is the most important factor. Why do I say that? Because the best advertising we have in the world are customers who are happy, who are influencing their best friends. We always remember that anyone who wears a Roger Dubuis watch could either be our best or worst ambassador. If you’re not happy with one of our products, you’ll say to your friends and family: “never buy this”. If you’re happy, you’ll say to millions of your friends and family members that this is the best brand you have. And so, to reply your question, we offer three years warranty on paper but, in reality, my key target is how to make sure that the customers who are selling our products are people who are proud; are happy to explain the brand to their friends.
Looking at the price, what investment benefits does one have in owning a Roger Dubuis watch?
First, today, the prices of many items are reduced because they make them in mass production. The more you make mass production, the more the price is reduced. In our business, everything we do in a watch is made exclusively for us. Beyond the price and value, you have the insurance that you are the only one or one of the only ones in the world to have this type of exclusivity. If you buy a Rolls-Royce, if you buy contemporary art, you buy it for the beauty of the eyes and you buy it also for the equation of exclusivity; to make sure that you’re one of the very few who own it.
It’s a feeling that is very difficult to express as long as you have not experienced it yourself. It is the beauty of owning something which has been made for you, not for hundreds of people; for you only and that comes with a price. We do that in very limited quantities according to Geneva seal principles and they come in very precious materials – gold and diamonds. We cumulate all the ingredients of a rarity and exclusivity and this has a price.
Who is a Roger Dubuis woman or man?
Who is he? Well, someone who has made or rather young – thirty to fifty years old – has made a success; social, theatre, movie, literature, real estate, banking, insurance, oil and gas, you name it! They have a business which is significant and they want to wear a watch that is in a class of its own. The Roger Dubuis man or woman is someone who has already achieved something in life and the accessory itself tells the story.
Personally, which piece is your favourite?
Well, the watch I like very much is the double Tourbillion Skeletal watch.
What is Tourbillion?
Tourbillion is a principle; when you move every day, either by running, jogging, jumping, playing golf or just walking. This has an influence on the precision of your movement and the way to compensate gravity has been to create a cage which frees the precision of the watch from what you are doing. When you have speed like that, this cage is protecting you or its movement from its precision. Roger Dubuis was the very first specialist to develop Tourbillion, Double Tourbillion. It is the first watch to put Roger Dubuis on the map. At the beginning, Roger Dubuis was a brand but suddenly because of the Double Tourbillion skeleton, the brand is on the map.
Apart from wrist watches, do you intend to go into other lines of luxury goods?
Well, in this business, if you want to make high-end sophisticated creative watches, it requires a lot of energy, a lot of financial empowerment. So before we jump on something else, we want to be very strong in what we do now and that will take me an additional thirty years to make it happen. So, perhaps, in thirty years, we will go for other products but in the next thirty years, we will stay on watches