With the Swiss watchmaking industry coming out of a difficult period, the DeWitt micro-manufacture has developed an aggressive action plan for 2018, a plan that was communicated to us via a letter. In addition to its noteworthy participation at the SIHH 2018, the family company is taking a new approach to promoting its watchmaking creations from its base in Geneva. The brand is going back to basics, to its DNA: a man, a vision, an uncompromising passion for inventing mechanical machines.
Behind the DeWitt is an exceptional man: Jérôme de Witt – a descendant of King Jérôme of Westphalia, brother of Emperor Napoleon I who has been shaping the destiny of the company since 2003. In 2005, DeWitt won the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie de Genève for its emblematic watch, the Force Constante. Sales soared and turnover came in at close to 40 million Swiss francs. But 2009 saw the beginning of a difficult period for independent brands and the beginnings of a change in fine watchmaking, one focused essentially on distribution.
As fate would have it, there was a changing of course in 2012. Viviane de Witt – wife of founder Jérôme de Witt – took over at the helm of the company and became the new CEO. With her steady hand she guided the micro-manufacture in a new direction, an approach based on complete transparency. “Our adventure is human, above all,” she notes. “I work every day with the preoccupation of preserving the exceptional expertise of our master watchmakers and dialmakers and their invaluable artistic crafts.”
After three difficult years for the watchmaking industry, 2018 presents DeWitt with the opportunity to get back to basics. The message is simple: smaller collections, three times fewer models, and a need to emphasise key pieces and distinctive characteristics, such as, for example, the famous imperial columns. And as a crowning touch, there could be no better way to start the year than by figuring in a magnificent showcase: DeWitt is participating at the SIHH in 2018.
The brand’s new strategic plan for 2018 takes a three-pronged approach:
- Developing a new way of reaching the client thanks, in particular, to digital platforms
- Accelerating its presence in certain markets, essentially Asia and then the US, where the brand is not sufficiently present
- Developing new ways of communicating with the client
- Making interactions between the client and the Manufacture more dynamic
- Creating a central theme that draws from the entire DeWitt collection
- Creating exceptional pieces that symbolise what has been essential about the brand since its beginnings