Antonio Calce is a man of conviction who has spent the past five years endlessly repeating that Corum’s strategy is based on one principle and one principle alone: “coherency, coherency and more coherency.” The self-same coherency that got lost somewhere in among the Bubble collections that left retailers and customers equally perplex. No matter. Since Antonio Calce took the reins, Corum has focused its efforts on righting the brand by building on fundamental values, derived from the four Artisans, Admiral’s Cup, Corum Bridges and Romvlvs collections, and with the ultimate aim of attaining the rank of Manufacture.
Filling the order books at Baselworld
This new face finds fitting illustration in Corum’s presence on the expanses of Lake Geneva. As joint sponsor of the Bol d’Or Mirabaud, the biggest international lake regatta, and sponsor of the Okalys-Corum team, whose helmsman is Corum ambassador Loïck Peyron, the Corum name is at the heart of the regatta season. Indeed, the Okalys-Corum team is competing in the Challenge Julius Baer whose final event is none other than the Grand Prix Corum. “When we do something, we do it 100%,” Antonio Calce declared. “Why put so much effort into a sport that doesn’t pull the crowds? For the simple reason that we are a brand renewing with a legitimate past and sailing is, without doubt, a part of Corum’s history.”
The brand is making its presence felt beyond Switzerland too. Last year, it took direct control of the Mexican market and brought activities in the United States back under its wing. “We’d been experiencing difficulties in both these markets for a number of years,” Antonio Calce continued. “These proved to be the right decisions, as orders taken at Baselworld showed. Personally, I was expecting 18% growth: we were actually up 30% on 2009.” With this under its belt, Corum is already forecasting a profitable 2010 while substantially increasing marketing budgets. These will have a part to play in consolidating the brand’s presence in China. After Hong Kong, a second Corum store will open this June in Shanghai, where 70 million people are expected to visit World Expo.
“This year we are concentrating on building Corum’s international presence without any recourse to outside financing. Obviously this will weigh financially but we’ve fallen behind. We must press on with our construction phase with a view to the long term. A double milestone year for Corum, with the 50th anniversary of the Admiral’s Cup and the 30th anniversary of the Golden Bridge, 2010 will contribute to this.”
And the signs are positive, with commemorative watches flying off the shelves. Originally planned as 133 in titanium and 66 in black, sales of the T-Bridge Flying Tourbillon already exceed 200 and 100 respectively. Ditto for the Admiral’s Cup Deep Hull, 2,000 of which have so far been sold versus the initial series of 555. As for the Golden Bridge Tourbillon, it has outstripped its initial 33, selling 75 to date. “I think retailers have understood our message,” observes Antonio Calce, soberly.