Monaco Madame: Why is Charriol not better known in Europe?
Mrs Charriol: My husband, Philippe, started the company 30 years ago in Geneva and Hong Kong, first of all with watches, then jewellery, perfumes, glasses and bags. He is an adventurer, unafraid to stray far from his roots in Marseille.
He has always been forward-looking as, at the time, the Hong Kong and Asian markets were not as they are today.
What is the profile of your brand?
Charriol is a mid- to upmarket brand, aimed at the upwardly-mobile middle classes, particularly in China. We produce beautifully-made watches at affordable prices.
What are your plans in Europe?
We have one boutique in Paris and I have been working to expand the difficult French market. We need to showcase our products in France and Monaco, so we have now appointed a local sales representative. We were sponsors of the Monte-Carlo Television Festival last year.
At the Cannes Film Festival, some famous faces wear our pieces and these days the Chinese love France and Monaco, which represent important showcase opportunities for us.
And what about Charriol’s association with polo?
My husband was already involved in this sport but I wanted to take up the challenge of bringing the brand of Charriol into women’s polo. We have put together one women’s team wearing our trademark violet colours and we compete in four tournaments – Saint-Tropez, Megève, Paris-Bagatelle and Geneva.
And the Cannes Film Festival?
We approached the actress, Laura Weissbecker, at the Shanghai Film Festival and she accepted to wear our creations at Cannes. She recently made a film with Jackie Chan and is a star in China. We also have a sponsorship agreement with the organisers of Miss France; and I am taking part in the next Princess’ Rally.
You seem to be focussing on women
Yes, targeting the female market is a priority because the brand already has an established male profile. Charriol has just created our first automatic women’s watch and we are very proud that it has been short-listed for the Grand Prix de l’Horlogerie watchmakers’ award in Geneva.
Charriol is also a patron of the arts…
My kind-hearted husband set up a charity in Hong Kong to help Chinese artists; and we also support the Red Cross and the charity magazine, “Rose”.