For this high horology head, the product is a journey into a realm of rarefied experiences.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

For this high horology head, the product is a journey into a realm of rarefied experiences.

Offering clients unique experiences such as manoeuvring a Lamborghini over ice in the Italian Alps, high-end Richemont Group-owned watch brand Roger Dubuis is one of the horological names most associated with experiential luxury. This shows, even in the smallest ways: In a chat with The Peak at the opening of the new Roger Dubuis boutique at Ion Orchard, Nicola Andreatta – the brand’s CEO since last December – demonstrated an unusual method of watch appreciation.

Running his thumb over the sporty 45mm Excalibur Aventador S – one of a limited edition of eight pieces – on his wrist, the eloquent Italian-Swiss national explained: “When I’m shown a watch, the first thing I do is feel the curves and the angles. From feeling it and operating it, I can tell how good its quality is.” He would know – Andreatta’s family has been involved in various aspects of watchmaking for three generations, and he has wide-ranging industry experience, most recently as the head of Tiffany’s watch division, prior to joining Roger Dubuis. Here, he shares his roadmap for taking the brand to the next level.

As the former head of the watch component-making company Timeo, your father once made cases for Roger Dubuis. What has it been like for you to be on the other side?

It was fun because my father came to [the major Genevan watch fair] SIHH this year to see me. [Laughs] He was quite proud. When you go behind the scenes of something that you used to only see from the outside, there’s always more to discover. Everything I’ve seen at Roger Dubuis has exceeded my expectations – my team is very proficient and professional, and very creative.

Your predecessor, Jean-Marc Pontroue, laid the foundation for a disruptive approach to selling watches. What are your plans?

Innovation is not just about products. It’s about a mindset and different perspectives. Working with Lamborghini is great because by approaching watchmaking from a different perspective, sometimes you see things that you would never have seen. Within the company, I might present a design to my CFO and ask what he thinks – and in this way, he’s almost functioning as a potential client. Or I might ask the head of HR about a marketing campaign. It brings a different way of seeing things to the table.

How will you balance the exclusivity of Roger Dubuis with building brand equity?

That’s my biggest challenge – to make the brand more and more renowned, while keeping it exclusive. We don’t need awareness everywhere. We need awareness among our target clients who connect with the brand because of what it represents. Everybody talks about experiential luxury, but that’s exactly what it is. Our world is connected to adrenaline, to this powerful way of living life, and to hedonism – seeking pleasure in everything you do. We build experiences around that. You come to us and eventually, the watch is a sign that you’d like to live in a different way, the Roger Dubuis way.

You’ve said that you will streamline the brand’s key collections, Excalibur and Velvet. What else is on the cards in terms of product development?

We have been focusing on motorsports and adrenaline, but we are going to rediscover a second territory of Roger Dubuis that will connect us to our beginnings, when it was all about complications and watchmaking. We will redesign the Excalibur case, and revamp our traditional complications, including the single tourbillon, double tourbillon, minute repeater and perpetual calendar – but always with a twist that is Roger Dubuis.