The smartwatch revolution: How Swiss watches will stand the test of time

In Dubai to launch the newest RADO boutique, Adrian Bosshard, CEO of RADO, talks about Swiss watches make for an emotional consumption and timeless legacy


Somya Mehta

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Published: Thu 17 Mar 2022, 3:27 PM

The luxury watch brand, RADO, recently opened its sixth boutique store in the UAE. The newest addition to the retail group is located in the heart of old Dubai, on Al Fahidi Street in Meena Bazaar, chosen as a legacy location, being one of the most celebrated shopping districts for residents and tourists alike. “I’ve been to Dubai many times before but this is my first time here as RADO CEO. I’m really proud to be able to launch this new store, which beautifully translates the ethos of our brand into a physical space, cementing its place as a symbol of RADO’s legacy,” says Bosshard, in a conversation with Khaleej Times.

Edited excerpts from an interview:

People usually have quite a personal relationship with their watch. What’s your relationship with yours?

I got my first Swiss watch from my father when I was 12 years old. I got another one when I was 20 and had just finished my education and traineeship. I still remember the exact moment. I’ll never forget it, I still have those watches in my possession. They have a very strong emotional memory attached to them.

What are your thoughts on the smartwatch revolution? Could it be a threat to Swiss watches?

A Swiss watch is something that is much more than just reading time. You can also use your smartphone for that. It’s an accessory and it’s a person element, an object of inspiration and a piece of art, with its unique design and functionality. A smartwatch is an electronic instrument. Of course today, we see a lot of people with smartwatch but in the past we also saw a lot of people without a watch. I must admit, I prefer to see somebody with a smartwatch because one day, they will convert to a Swiss watch. I was born in a big city, where all the big watch brands hail from, including Swatch and Omega. I’ve spent my entire childhood learning about these watches, their speed, the type of competence, the type of artwork used. When you compare it with a smartwatch, which is an electronic gadget, it’s a completely different ballgame. A smartwatch is based on technology that is always changing. When there’s newer technology, the old models will become obsolete. It’s not a competition because it doesn’t carry the same legacy as Swiss watches.

So a Swiss watch stands the test of time…

A Swiss watch has roots in tradition and history and, of course, watchmaking competence, in both mechanical and quartz watches. The technology and the movements are not changing every few weeks, therefore, you have a product, which has spirit and relevance for years together. It’s a product for emotional consumption.

What are some of the key technologies or advancements RADO is looking to incorporate in its watchmaking?

We have been working on developing two key areas. One is the case for the watches. A big part of our collection uses the ceramic material, which is very light, scratch-resistant, and wear-friendly. So, the material is developed with ceramics in different colours to provide unique, new designs. The second area in terms of technology is the movement in the watch. It should be reliable, precise and anti-magnetic. Today, we are always surrounded with electronic gadgets, mobiles, computers, which use magnets. We have developed these springs inside the watch, to avoid magnetism, which is only possible due to the newer technology.

Who, according to you, is the Dubai consumer?

In Dubai, we have very different segregation of the customers. Of course, one part is the locals and the expats that reside here. There are Indians, Pakistanis, Europeans who are localised to this region. Indian expats make up a large part of the customer base. We are doing a little bit more than one-third of the business in Asia, around 28 per cent, in the Middle East and one-quarter of the business in Europe and Russia. We are also doing a fair amount of business in the US. We have a presence globally. That means we are also converting tourists. That is also a key segment of the population we target here.

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