Last month, Jean-Marc Pontroué, CEO of Geneva-based watchmaker Roger Dubuis, visited our campus as part of the latest edition of the Les Roches Leadership Series, dedicated to bringing industry insights and analysis to our students and the global Les Roches community. His presentation focused on the topics innovation and creativity in the watchmaking industry.
Disrupting a traditional industry
Mr Pontroué introduced the attending students to the unique world of Roger Dubuis, a rather young watch brand that combines hand-built calibres and complications with skeleton designs and a strong contrast of materials and colours to create unique timepieces. Creativity and product innovation are instrumental to differentiate a young brand entering such a traditional industry as watchmaking to gain attention and make a name for itself.
Roger Dubuis is part of the Richemont Group and from its manufacture and flagship boutique in Geneva creates and markets spectacular timepieces that are distributed through a global network of stores and dealers.
Luxury and hospitality
Before joining Roger Dubuis in 2011, Mr Pontroué spent over ten years with Mont Blanc after launching his career in the luxury industry at Givenchy. At his network of stores, he believes in providing the highest quality of personalized service and is especially proud of Roger Dubuis leading the Richemont Marketing Survey ranking for best client experience for the third consecutive year.
An aspect he thinks the hospitality industry could learn from luxury brands is how to differentiate a service and make it stand out in comparison to one’s competitors and the industry standards; or in other words, how to go the extra mile.
Words of wisdom for future entrepreneurs
Mr Pontroué had some interesting advice for Les Roches graduates and who are looking to leave their mark in global hospitality and luxury businesses as entrepreneurs.
1. Motivation: Find your calling and the industry you feel most aspired to. Be it in lifestyle hotels, luxury cars, or fine watchmaking, you have to love the industry you want to enter.
2. Opportunities: Carefully analyse the sectors, markets and technological innovations that are forecast to show strong growth and try to anticipate any arising business opportunities.
3. Social intelligence: Due to the international study environment and the transformative education at Les Roches, graduates have the unique advantage to understand cultural differences and better work in teams.
Or according to an African proverb: “If you run a short distance, it’s best to run alone. But if you are in for a long race, you better surround yourself with a strong team to help you reach the finish line.”