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Interview with Head of Glycine, Daniele Andreatta
On behalf of the many Glycine watch fans and buyers at the world’s most visited watch forum Watchuseek.com and the ultimate website for vintage Glycine watches Glycintennial.com, I took the opportunity to ask a few questions to Daniele Andreatta, Managing Director, Glycine Watches SA. Fellow Glycine fans certainly will enjoy the read, I would like to thank Daniele for his time taken to answer our questions.
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Managing Director, Glycine Watches SA
Daniele, we hope and wish the Glycine family is safe and well in these difficult days and we appreciate taking your precious time to answer our questions.
Q: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and how did you get involved with Glycine?
DA: First of all, I would like to thank you and all of the Glycine fans and owners around the world for this opportunity to introduce myself and discuss Glycine. I have been part of the Glycine family for more than a year now, but it seems like I have been involved for decades because there is such a rich history associated with the brand. I appreciate every single day being able to lead Glycine and the Glycine team. I love our brand and most of all what it means to our collectors around the world. The heritage which comes with our watches and the story that our watches tell over the history of the brand is something very special which only few brands can display. All of you are familiar with our history, so I will introduce myself a bit better.
I was born in Como, Italy in 1976. My great grandfather was a pioneer in the watch industry during the late nineteenth century, and this tradition followed through four generations to me. I was surrounded by watches since my birth and became passionately interested in the world of horology at a very early age. For my entire career, I was involved in the watch industry. Most recently, I was working as a freelance designer for several Swiss brands as a consultant and developed several models for different brands. During this time I collaborated and designed several timepieces for the Invicta Watch Group. In late 2018, the owner of Invicta, Mr. Eyal Lalo, approached me with an opportunity to get more involved with Invicta as the Director of Glycine. I already knew the brand so it took me just a few minutes to accept the offer. I moved to Biel and immediately began to lead the brand.
Q: Invicta Watch Group being the roof company of Glycine Watches now, how do you see these two brands benefitting from each other and what changed with Glycine since Invicta Group has taken over?
DA: Regarding what has changed with Glycine since it became a part of the Invicta Watch Group, I can give you feedback based on the opinion of my team at Glycine. Some of these employees have been with Glycine for over 20 years. The biggest changes that came to Glycine occurred when the Swiss conglomerate, DKSH, took a controlling interest in the brand in the early 2010’s. At this time the watch market was suffering the effects of depressed demand for luxury watches, especially in Hong Kong and China, which together account for a quarter of Swiss watch exports. This, combined with the strength of the Swiss franc, exacerbated the slowdown and the brand had to adapt by resizing and adjusting the collection to a different demand. Glycine shifted away from more complicated movements and focused on lower price points while maintaining the high quality and DNA that is associated with the 100 year history of the Glycine. DKSH offered financial stability for the brand, but I think the brand may have lost some of the passion that only comes with a family owned business.
When Invicta bought the brand in 2016, the passion of a family owned company returned and the financial condition only improved. Invicta gave Glycine a boost of liquidity and a strong willingness to invest in the brand, its story, and tradition. The first time I sat down with Mr. Lalo to discuss Glycine, I was amazed by the passion that he has for Glycine and the idea of adding Glycine to enrich his Group’s offering.
We maintain Glycine as an independent brand within the Invcita Watch Group. We gain the benefit of Invicta’s strong finances and distribution network, while maintaining the strong tradition and DNA of a storied watch brand with over 100 years of history.
Q: In respect to Glycine’s 106 years of continuous watch manufacturing heritage, how will you enhance it and what do you plan to add on?
DA: When we talk about Glycine’s heritage and history we are talking about the history of Swiss Watchmaking, innovation, tradition, and the pioneers of timekeeping. It’s hard to keep up with that. We already have such a great story and archive of timepieces here in Glycine, it would be quite hard for me to invent or design something that was not been done in our 106 years old history. My idea is to concentrate on what has been done so well in the past and re-think it with today’s approach and technology. This way we stay true to our DNA and to our fans who are the main reason this brand is successful and producing amazing watches.
Q: Invicta’s sales and pricing strategy seems to differ from Glycine’s earlier distribution and sales practices, how will this synergy affect Glycine’s pricing and market presence? Do you plan to keep the two brands apart or will they be in the same platforms for sale with same pricing and discount strategy?
DA: I like to concentrate attention on the design and quality of the product and not on pricing or sales strategy. The way Glycine produces its watches, its suppliers, and production partners have not changed since INVICTA’s purchase of the brand. The quality and effort we put in every single timepiece is the same or better. What has changed is the distribution process and “world market”. As you mentioned, Glycine had used a more traditional distribution system in which discounts were given to wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. There were 3 to 4 steps in between Glycine and the final consumer. What Invicta brings to the table is a much more efficient distribution network which lowers the cost to the final consumer while quality and design remains as strong as it ever has been in Glycine’s 100 year history.
Q: Tribute to vintage models is an increasing trend across the watch industry. Does Glycine have plans to manufacture more watches from its vintage models? Any plans to bring back some unique selections like the triple date watch or the mechanical hacking mechanism at Airman and Combat models?
DA: As mentioned before, at Glycine we are lucky that we are able to rely on such a large amount of historical models and ideas explored through the years. Our archives are full of beautiful styles and important pieces. Our idea is to celebrate some older models true to our DNA, with a current approach. You mention the triple date as an example, but I would also add the BIENNE, LAGUNARE, SST, ACQUARIUS and many others. You will see some re-editions or evolutions of these models and at the same time we will integrate with some new models to enlarge our audience and customers.
Q: Case sizes are always a big discussion in forums and Glycine was a pioneer of the large size watches since late 90s. Even though these trends change and we see more 36-40 mm watches nowadays, how does future models of Glycine look in this matter?
DA: As you mentioned, Glycine has been recognized through the years for being a pioneer in large size watches. At the moment 90% of our collection is probably composed of cases bigger than 42mm. However, down the road we will probably propose new dimensions as well. Historically, Glycine was well known for women’s watches of 30mm or less. I don’t think you will see a Glycine watch that small in the near future, but will likely see a 39mm case design or even a 36mm case.
Q: We have seen some changes in the last years back and forth in the logo. Did it finally settle or do you plan further changes?
DA: Prior to Invicta’s involvement, it was decided to add wings to our historic crown logo as a celebration of our 100 year history. This was a great homage to our history, but I think we better preserved the history of our brand and the DNA by going forward with the crown logo instead. The winged logo remains a special honor to our centennial, but it will not move forward with the brand.
Q: There has been many variations of Airman and Combat models in the last decade (Airman since many decades actually, maybe 25 executions). Will the manufacture continue on these two model’s diversification or are you planning to enrich Glycine with different models?
DA: The Airman is definitely our DNA. I love the original watch, the history, and all its variations. I’m more oriented to the slim look of the Chief but the idea is to keep on producing 2 types of airman watches which are oriented to different customers. The vintage collection (such as the chief, purist, DC4) will continue and we will adapt and correct some details. The same goes for our contemporary collection- bigger and bolder cases which are designed for younger and sportier audiences -which willbe developed further.
Q: Where do you see Glycine positioning in the watch market in 3 to 5 years?
DA: It’s hard to predict, especially during these hard times. In my opinion a lot will be based on how the market recovers from the COVID-19 virus. We have seen a reduction in demand for luxury accessories and the financial strain affects the entire watch market. But I believe Glycine is uniquely situated to get through this successfully. Currently, the impact of the economic downturn has not been too detrimental to Glycine. I anticipate a strong recovery for the economy in general and strong growth for Glycine over the next 3 to 5 years. We plan to maintain our market position of offering quality watches at affordable prices.
Q: Are there any hints and plans you could share with fans regarding upcoming models?
DA: We have quite a lot of new models and projects that we are developing. We have seen success with bronze models as well as smaller diameter pieces. We plan to develop these concepts further.
Q: And finally as Head of Glycine, what would you like to say to Glycine fans?
DA: The main thing I want to say is thank you for your passion and love of our brand. I really appreciate being the managing director of this brand and I’m proud of being on top of such a prestigious firm. I would like to ensure all of our fans that the brand is going to stay true to its tradition. With such wonderful history, it would be a shame and a mistake to make radical changes in the brand’s direction. I would like to invite everyone who is interested in learning more about GLYCINE to come to Biel and visit us. We can show you our headquarters in the historic Maison Glycine building and we can give you a tour of the Glycine museum which celebrates our long and well-known tradition. Please consider yourselves part of the Glycine Family and let us know when you plan to visit so we can be ready to host you at our best.
Q & A conducted by Emre Kiris, Glycintennial.com