Q. What's the synergy between Bulgari's jewellery and watchmaking departments?
A. Each division has its own general manager and creative director who have specific objectives, but there is a lot of synergy. The different divisions are constantly communicating with each other. For example, [the theme of] our latest high-jewellery collection is Italian gardens, and the motifs are interpreted in our watch collection. Our jewellery codes are visible in our watch collections, as well as leather goods collections, but we also make sure that the codes are not interpreted in too many different [product categories] to ensure consistency.
Q. What is the impact of smart watches on the luxury watch industry?
A. I've tried a few smart watches, and I'm not sure that they are in competition with luxury watches. Luxury is quality, craftsmanship and timelessness, which is quite the opposite of smart watches. Bulgari comes into the market with the concept watch Diagono Magnesium, which is Swiss-manufactured for its timelessness, beautiful craftsmanship and value-added service that no smart watch can provide. Our brand makes daring moves to embrace the latest technology without compromising luxuriousness or jeopardising the Bulgari image.
Q. Bulgari just celebrated its 130th anniversary. How do you balance heritage and innovation?
A. With 130 years of expertise, we have developed a lot of masterpieces that inspire creativity for new designs. Our iconic serpenti motif, for example, was first introduced in the 1930s. We are not reproducing archival pieces but introducing [modern] technology such as the tubogas system to enhance comfort of wearing. Heritage inspires designs of the future, and technology differentiates us from our competition.
Q. What has been the single most effective strategy you've implemented since you took over as CEO?
A. The most important [strategy] is to rebuild confidence in Bulgari teams - to know that we could be the best jeweller in the world in terms of creativity and commercial success. We build confidence - not arrogance.
Q. Bulgari has a diverse spectrum of product offerings, from jewellery to perfume and hotels. What's your take on further expansion?
A. My only decision is to keep it as it is. With so much growth potential in jewellery, watches, accessories and hotels - we are going to open hotels very soon in Shanghai, Beijing and Dubai - why would we invest time and energy in finding a sixth business category? We should first [let existing categories grow further].
Q. What's your strategy to tackle volatile currency exchange rates?
A. Worldwide, we've adjusted prices for weaker currencies such as the Japanese yen and euros while keeping prices stable with currencies such as Hong Kong and US dollars. We try to maintain a reasonable price spectrum. I think we should be focusing on the domestic market rather than on travel retail. Travel retail is important, but a brand should first develop the domestic market.