The founder of Bomberg Rick De La Croix says that more than 1,000 units could be sold annually in Colombia over the next five years
Earlier this month, our CEO Rick de la Croix was interviewed by a prominent Colombian newspaper “La República”. Topics covered include trends in the Colombian market, the growing Columbian demand for luxury goods, and luxury vs. smartwatches. De La Croix also delves into his experience as a professional in the watchmaking industry and his journey with Bomberg. Read on to see all of the details in this translated version of the article. The original Spanish article can be found here.
If there is a word that can be associated with Pieric “Rick” de la Croix it is luxury. His life has essentially revolved around it, in businesses such as textiles, jewelry and watchmaking, always linked to brands such as TAG Heuer, Omega, Gucci, and Versace.
It was with this last Italian fashion brand that Rick de la Croix had his first contact with Colombia, establishing its Latin America distribution base in Bogotá, which is credited with the growth and future potential of Colombian demand for luxury goods. He points to this potential, claiming that his brand of watches could sell over 1,000 units in the country over the medium term.
CEO De la Croix told La República he’s convinced that despite the boom of smartwatches led by Apple, luxury watches do not compete in the same market because they offer a lifestyle and an emotional appeal.
How did you make the decision to create Bomberg?
I am 51 years old and have more than 30 years experience in the watchmaking world. I started my career with TAG Heuer and have worked in many product, marketing, and sales departments. Then I worked with Versace to distribute their watches and jewelry, and after working with other brands I made the decision to start something new. I went back to Switzerland and together with the president of Omega founded the Hublot brand which is now part of the Louis Vuitton group. Later, in 2014, I decided to create my own brand called Bomberg. The name comes from ‘Bombastic’ in English and ‘berg’ in German. It reflects the success in life of reaching the top of a mountain.
How many countries is the brand in?
55 countries. The company has 26 employees and manufactures 20,000 watches in Switzerland a year, in addition to more than 400 luxury goods.
Which market is your most important in Latin America?
Mexico. We have 120 points of sale there.
How many in Colombia?
We distribute to 15 outlets in the largest cities and the most important jewelry stores that sell Swiss watch brands.
Will this number increase?
It all depends on the growth of the economy. Competition in the world of luxury is intense and we don’t want to increase supply because it could dilute the value of our brand.
How much do your watches cost?
Prices range from $500 to $4,000 USD. We are a luxury accessible to 20-45 year old customers.
Have artisan watches lost ground to smartwatches?
There’s no arguing the fact that Apple is now the world’s largest watch brand. However, luxury watchmaking does not compete with Apple because the reasons for purchase are different. We offer a lifestyle and sentimental value, rather than connectivity. We are a symbol of quality over 300 years old.
How has the Colombian consumer evolved?
The Columbian consumer used to be local and is now national. Changes in communication and social networks have created the need for us to generate identification with the brand. Consumption of luxury goods is growing in Colombia and has a lot of potential. It did not used to be important to have a fine watch, but now Colombians can buy one in their own country.
You mentioned that you produce 20,000 timepieces per year, how many are sold in this country?
Less than 1,000, but with the potential that we see we think that in the medium term, the next five to ten years, that number will increase. It depends on the development of the economy.
What kinds of watches do Colombians prefer?
Male consumers tend to be sporty, they like large sizes, and sometimes do not care for discrete watches.
What news will watch brands bring over the remainder of the year?
Nicky Jam will be a Hublot Ambassador at a global level and will launch a special edition at the end of the year.
What advice can you offer people in choosing a luxury watch?
The most important thing is to choose a good jeweler. A special jeweler that offers a factory warranty. Trust is important.
Some New Items
Bolt 68 Racing
This watch offers a sporty look, combining a “Bullhead crown and Gusset fastening system with a sturdy medallion and a robust chain”. President De la Croix said that this type of models is ideal for the Colombian climate with its rubber strap, which gives it a touch of elegance and a classic style.
This is one of Bomberg’s latest releases, reflecting the “lifestyle that the brand seeks to offer” according to De la Croix. This model reflects the irreverence of the brand and has the option of switching between fabric, steel, and leather, with the intention of offering various styles.
Classic Fusion Chukker
The Hublot Classic Fusion Chukker is part of the brand’s latest limited edition. Inspired by the practice of one of the most exclusive sports in the world, polo, this chronograph has a power reserve of 42 hours and a leather strap that offers its wearer exclusivity with a unique design.
Spirit of Big Bang James Rodriguez
In the middle of this year the Hublot brand unveiled three new additions to the Spirit of Big Bang family, inspired by the soccer player James Rodriguez. It’s one of the most attractive designs in addition to holding a HUB4700 caliber inside a ceramic and titanium case.