may 2017
april 2017
march 2017

Vincent Perriard, CEO of HYT

Cut and Thrust

Laurent, here you are once again, embarking on an adventure with a young brand and a young CEO… Isn’t that a risky move?

 
LP:
Oh yes, with Vincent, there’s always a fair slice of risk and the unknown! (laughter). But now, in all seriousness, he’s a mature, stable man. The Vincent we used to know was very impulsive – and indeed that’s also one of his strengths. He was always very firm in his beliefs, but he’s always walked the talk, too. With HYT, we’ve reached a certain level of maturity. This move has been thought through, with a cast-iron business plan and a truly disruptive item.
 
VP:
Hey, stop making me out to be a wise old bird, or an old monkey! (laughter). It’s true, I’ve slipped around a lot in the past. I was fed up with big organisations. I was lucky to be in charge of great brands, with brilliant people. But when I couldn’t roll out the development plan I was recommending because I wasn’t given the resources, I had no other choice but to leave – even if I did make rather a fuss about it at the time.
 

So when all’s said and done, you do recognise your mistakes?

 
VP:
Of course I do!
 

So what were they? 

 
VP:
Wanting to go too fast. Wanting too many points of sale.
 

Ah yes, let’s talk about those: why Chronopassion? 

 
VP:
When you start a project of this size from scratch, you have to be able to talk about the project confidentially with top experts, people who’ll say very honestly “You’re heading for disaster, you need to start over,” or alternatively “That’s a good start, I like it, let’s carry on together”. You can count the people like that on the fingers of one hand. Laurent is one of them. That’s all there is to be said.
 
LP:
(Laurent thinks for a few seconds). Vincent, I have to admit that I wasn’t very enchanted with your project at first. I did like the ‘hydro mechanical’ concept, in fact I confess I was really enthralled by it. But what really won me over was the movement. It’s amazing, superb and highly technical.
 

But…

 
LP:
There’s always a ‘but’, there’s no such thing as perfection this side of heaven! (laughter). Personally, I’d have used the fluid for a function rather than for indication purposes. There are so many fun things to explore when you start playing with kinetics.
 
VP:
Either way, it’s a fundamentally innovative, breakthrough product.
 
LP:
Yes, but it’s received so much praise and acclaim, particularly with the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG), that it’s no longer the free, independent watchmaking that you wanted. Haven’t you somehow become mainstream, a sort of hip manufacture…
 
VP:
HYT, a manufacture? I don’t care! My goal is not to revolutionise watchmaking as it is currently thought of by manufactures. My goal is to achieve a disruptive breakthrough.
 

What about you, Laurent? If HYT goes mainstream and loses the charm of being exclusive and unique, will you call it a day?

 
LP:
No. I only stop when a brand becomes too sure of itself – so much so that it starts doing stupid things.
 

For you, Vincent, the whole of HYT is encapsulated in a single timepiece. Are you not afraid of being held prisoner by a single product? 

 
VP:
I don’t care, that’s not how I think at all.
 

What’s your point of view as a retailer, Laurent? After all, you’ve also played a large part in the development of the product; isn’t it rather embarrassing for your counterparts to be selling a product you helped see the light of day?

 
LP:
Perhaps it is, but that’s not my problem. Vincent and I have been partners right from the start. We do co-branding. The foundation stone is our relationship and our shared passion.
 

And if Vincent were to clear off, would that be bad news? 

 
LP:
I’m keeping a close watch on him! (laughter). Yes of course, joking apart, it would be. Vincent has had so much influence in developing certain brands that when he left it was the beginning of the end for them. Vincent, that’s not a criticism of you, by the way. I’m sure you thought that you could do better elsewhere.
 
VP:
Indeed I did. I used to be an employee. Now, I’m co-founder and co-shareholder. That makes all the difference.
 
LP:
Very often the reason firms stay on a sound footing is all down to the person that heads them up.
 
Journalist : Olivier Müller (11/2012)