Jean Christophe Babin is the Italian-French CEO at Bvlgari. Born in France, but with an Italian heart, his DNA is global. Being an avid traveller since he was 21, he spent a sabbatical year in Asia. From mountaineering in the Himalayas to exploring Indo Chinese cultures, he spent his time in India, China, the Tibet Autonomous Region, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan. For this very reason, India is very close to his heart.
In a virtual interaction, Jean Christophe Babin spoke his heart out among many other finer aspects of Bvlgari, and the factors that distinguish Bvlgari jewellery from other brands.
Jean Christophe Babin is an Italian-French citizen. Born in France with an Italian heart but with a Global DNA. An avid Traveller at 21, Jean Christophe Babin spent a first sabbatical year in Asia between mountaineering in the Himalayas and the discovery of Indo Chinese cultures, exploring India, China, the Tibet Autonomous Region, Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan for almost a year. India and Indians are very close to his heart.
In a virtual interaction Jean Christophe Babin spoke his heart and mind out among many other finer aspects of Bvlgari and the factors that distinguish Bvlgari Jewellery watches from other Brands.
Q: How has been the response to Novelties 2021 from all markets?
Fantastic! Our friends and customers have not been able to touch and try the new product so in the coming weeks we will be organising Trunk shows for our customers and media to touch feel and try the watches in their own city and country.
Q: How has been the response for Watches & Wonders 2021.
Watches & Wonders was an interesting platform this year as Brands organised their presentations, interviews etc. from their own location. This was different to the previous year’s wherein everyone came together and were physically present. It was a different experience for the brand as well. It is always great when brands come together, whether it is physically or on digital platforms. We already experienced a digital exhibition last year with LVMH Watch Week and we continued that for 2021. For me, Watches & Wonders 2021 was a continuation where we showcased novelties. The Geneva Watch days at the end of August this year will also take place physically as well on a digital platform. We look forward to welcoming partners from August 31st to September 5th, 2021. We will expect partners from the US to attend the physical platform including Europe and some parts of Asia. Wherever there are travel restrictions still in place, we will offer the digital platform.
With Digital events we have a lot of flexibility and cost savings. Flexibility to change dates around like during the pandemic. With physical events, we are more restricted when it comes to the dates, and we also incur higher costs.
Q: Indian audiences love Bvlgari. What according to you is the secret?
If I compare the cultures and lifestyles of Italy and India, I find a lot of synergies. India and Italy have a lot of history and monuments. In India everything is big and larger than life. India has always been an inspiration for jewellery. Bvlgari has revived an old gem shape with the Takhti cut in its Mvsa collection – a soft, curved rectangle imitating the shape of roof tiles on Rajasthani palaces.
Q: What is your take on Gender Neutral Watches?
When it comes to ladies watches only, jewellers are crafting them – unlike what we see in the marketplace where in the men’s watches in smaller sizes and modifications like Mother-of-Pearl Dials and diamonds are offered as ladies watches. With Bvlgari, you can observe with the Serpenti, Lucea, and Diva – they are not unisex watches but particularly designed for women.
It is not uncommon to see ladies wearing men’s watches. Ladies can borrow a big watch from their husbands or friends for a day or for an occasion but ladies would never actually buy a big men’s watch.
At Bvlgari, we offer creations that were made especially for the ladies watch segment. We are jewellers and prefer to have ladies watches rather than unisex. We offer Lucea, Serpenti, and watches with extreme high jewellery like the Cleopatra. We feel like the ladies watch segment has been underdeveloped and there is a much larger potential there.
Q: Craftsmanship, colours, sustainability were all over Watches & Wonders 2021. Your views
Bvlgari is a master of colour in High Jewellery and High-end watches like Cleopatra. In the future we will have a mix of coloured gem stones and complications in the watches. We developed the watches with coloured gemstones as it is comparatively easier to create watches than jewellery.
During the pandemic I have seen customers have increased authenticity towards the brands. Customers are sure about the brand name, quality of products, material used etc.
We have used AR and created an app for customers to digitally try the products to enable them to decide on their purchase. Novelties 2021 for Women:
Misteriosi Cleopatra – 103519-18kt rose gold Serpenti Misteriosi High-Jewellery cuff watch made of hexagonal scales set with snow-set diamonds and decorated with 8 facetted hexagonal stones: citrines, amethysts, aquamarine, tourmaline chrome, tanzanite and peridot.
Left: DIVAS’ DREAM DIVISSIMA EMERALDS – 103505 – 33mm white gold case set with round brilliant-cut diamonds and mobile petals set with round brilliant-cut diamonds.
Right: ALLEGRA PINK GOLD – 103493 – 36mm 18kt rose gold case set with 82 round brilliant-cut diamonds and a mix of faceted and cabochon gemstones: citrines, amethysts, peridot, cabochon-cut blue topaz, and rhodolite
Novelties 2021 for Men:
Left: OCTO FINISSIMO PERPETUAL CALENDAR
Right: OCTO FINISSIMO PERPETUAL CALENDAR PLATINUM – 103463
160-piece limited edition: OCTO FINISSIMO
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