What’s next for Tag Heuer? CEO opens up on brand’s future

Watches

As head of TAG Heuer globally now, Julien Tornare shares his thoughts about the future of the brand and what changes he plans to implement.
julien tornare
Julien Tornare, CEO of TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer, M Benamour

Recently, the LVMH Group announced changes in ranks for some of its brand’s leaders. LVMH Watches & Jewelry Division announced that the 29-year-old Frédéric Arnault, most recently CEO of TAG Heuer, would become CEO of LVMH Watches. That move left the TAG Heuer brand needing a new leader, and Julien Tornare, most recently the CEO of Zenith for the past seven years (and before that, 17 years with Vacheron Constantin) filled the vacancy. As head of TAG Heuer globally now, Tornare shares his thoughts about the future of the brand and what changes he plans to implement.

Question: What is the general plan for the brand?

Julien Tornare: “There have been a lot of developments that we need to continue, but for me it’s really to work on the organic growth, to upgrade the client experience, to gain more clients. And to really make it a global brand, you need to reinforce markets where you’re not the strongest. And, of course, in terms of products, you can expect that we’re going to upgrade them in the coming years. I’m more seen as a purist with all my years in two brands that are all about mechanical movements and I’m super happy to see that TAG Heuer is upgrading. A repositioning of the brand has already started because with aspects like the level of finishing, the developments on the movements, and new products like the new tourbillon. And that will be my job, to reposition the brand as a high-end watchmaker with movements and creativity. And also to reinforce the connected watc, which has experienced great growth since 2015.”

TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon
TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph Tourbillon

TAG Heuer

Q: Will we see product changes?

JT: “I think with TAG Heuer, we need really to continue the upgrade without losing the base of our clients, without losing who we are and where we come from. It’s a sport watch, very dynamic, accessible. If you look at the boutiques, for example, they’re very welcoming. They’re not intimidating and I think that’s very important. In terms of product, of course, I’ll be very much involved. I like products so much and I want to be sure that it’s the right level of finishing, of quality of ergonomics. When you create a product, it has to be perfect all the way to the comfort because I really believe that when you put a watch on your wrist, if it doesn’t feel good on your wrist, you’re not going to buy it. And I always said, and I will continue to say that today, if we want to still be appealing to younger generations, not only do we need to use the right communication channels, but also we need to show them that we continue to be innovative.”

Q: Will there be more complications?

JT: “You will see soon that we have developments in high watchmaking, as well. I mean, tourbillions are selling really well and we have more plans for complications [like the tourbillon just unveiled]. These complications should always be linked to the heritage of the brand, of course. We have quite big plans to introduce new complications at different levels. And again, we started with these tourbillons and a few other things, but there will be a lot more to come. I think it’s aspirational when you have pieces like that. Sometimes you cannot afford the tourbillion, but you want to be part of the brand, so you’re going to buy another watch. I think it’s more about the emotion that you create. Maybe a customer starts with an Aquaracer, for instance, and they go up from there and then they buy a complication one day. I think that’s part of the strategy. That’s also why we are investing a lot in making sure we give our clients a special experience from the different touch points.”

Q: Are prices increasing for the main collections?

JT: “The average price has gone up over the last few years and we’ll continue to slightly go up, but not in a crazy way because we need to keep our base clients that are expecting to buy a nice quality TAG Heuer at a reasonable price. So, I think we need to stay true who we are. And again, with the price increase we’ve had, for example, on some watches like the Carrera , it’s very well accepted by our clients because they feel the added value, they see the attention that’s put on the watch at all levels. And yes, it’s clear that upgrading the brand, bringing high end, high complications, starting at a slightly higher price point will help us to get our clients to grow within the brand.”

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