Saturday, December 22, 2012

Catching Up with Patrick Kury

There is nothing more reassuring to the true watch fan than the knowledge that good work is recognized, and dedication and talent are not only appreciated but sometimes rewarded.  Patrick Kury  has been the CEO for Eterna for nearly nine months now.  And in that short time, Eterna is already showing signs of some truly impressive things to come.  I am fascinated by Eterna, because it occupies that rare "middle place" - not at the highest end occupied by the trinity of Patek, Vacheron, and "they who you will not read about in this blog".  By the same token, Eterna are not at the "median" point either - a place where companies crank out massive volumes of watches that have a clearly identifiable shelf-life.    Eterna designs, develops and manufactures their own movements.  And they produce watches that are interesting.  They are not manufacturing for what Frank Lloyd Wright referred to as the "mobocracy". And I think that it is a refreshing change to see a company headed by an actual watchmaker.  To be fair, this would not necessarily work at every company, but for Eterna, it would seem that Patrick Kury is the right man, in the right place at the right time.

Courtesy of Eterna
James Henderson - You've now got nearly 9 months under your belt as the CEO since your official confirmation on March 1st.  How is everything going so far?

Patrick Kury - Everything is going very well. We have developed interesting new products and calibers.  A strong part of our work has been focused on the image of Eterna.  We have developed a new Corporate Identity which can be truly communicated through our new website and a new advertising campaign.

JH - With the continued development of in-house movements, will Eterna continue to use supplies such as Sellita in the future, or will there be a push to have all Eterna products use Eterna's movements?

PK - Our plan is to continue to equip some of our collections with movements purchased from other suppliers.  We will certainly reinforce the production of our proprietary movements because it gives us some liberty.

JH - While you are moving forward with the production of movements, has the SWATCH group's tightening of supplies in other areas negatively impacted you - such as springs?

PK - Until now we haven’t had any problem. This is also because we accept the situation and we look for solution in advance. We try to always be a step forward. We have planed our needs in components and we know what we will get.

JH - What has been the biggest challenge you've faced so far in your new roll?

PK - Eterna possess an excellent know-how and sales good products with high quality movement; all that has to be known. The biggest challenge is to regain the public interest.

JH - What has been the highlight for Eterna this past year?

PK - The launch of the Eterna 3843 calibre which now equips the Adventic.  This was an important step for us this year.  The new advertising campaign and the new website were also two big highlights.

Courtesy of Eterna
JH - With the recent change of ownership there was a fair bit of talk about what impact a foreign based ownership group would have on the brand.  How has the transition been?

PK -  Strategically speaking the change of ownership hasn’t occur much changes. The owners have a full confidence in the team here at Eterna and they strongly believe in the power of the Eterna Swiss values. They are also convinced that we will be able to push the brand where it has to be. 

JH - What will the focus be for 2013?
PK - The focus would consist more of a global development of the company. We will come up with a new caliber line, interesting new models will be added to the current collections and the marketing activities will be reinforced. Moreover, we will come back in the US market.

JH - What is Eterna's strongest market right now?

PK - Today the strongest markets are still in central Europe (Germany, Switzerland, France) but the development of the Asian markets is fast and they will soon be stronger.

Courtesy of Eterna
JH - I realize that it might be hard to choose - but what is your current favorite Eterna model?

PK - For day to day wear,  the Madison Eight-Days with Eterna Spherodrive is my favorite.  It’s a very functional watch with everything you really need.  You only need to rewind it once a week and the power reserve counter tells you when it’s time to do so.  On top of that, it has a very useful big date display.

I also wear the new Adventic very often, I appreciate its 3 days power reserve because you can change watches during the week-end and on Monday your watch is still working.  I also like the Adventic when I travel because I always know what time it is at home thanks to the second time zone. 

JH - The Adventic is one of my current favorites - how has it been received?

PK - The impact has been very positive because of the mix between a very classical design with something very modern within it.  The public asked for this kind of product and I think we responded well to the demand with this watch.

JH - So with the benefit of nine months in charge, what would you say makes Eterna special?

PK - First of all Eterna has a long watchmaking tradition, it was very strong in the years 1950-1980 and very often people anecdotes or memories with me that they, or their parents, have with the brand.  That has an extreme value to me.

Today Eterna is a brand with strong know-how and impressive technical skills.  We understand the production of the watch from A to Z, we don’t merely assemble watches.  We develop the entire watch, movement included.  Being a former watchmaker I especially treasure this and it makes Eterna very special.

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