Marai has been with the Timex Group Luxurious Division since its basis in 2005, initially composed of licensed fashion-oriented properties like Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Valentino, and finally including area of interest luxurious manufacturers just like the Italian auto-racing-inspired CT Scuderia, the high-end, artisanal Swiss atelier Vincent Bérard, and, in 2019, Teslar. While Marai recognises that this is tough time globally given the pandemic, it’s still business as usual.
“We don’t stop and I want to recognise the contribution of all my employees that despite smart working have all well-adopted to the new way of living/working. Everyone has delivered their job as in normal times,” he adds.
Things are getting back to normal, but Marai says that it will take some time before everyone can get adjusted to the “new normal.” “Working from home can now be considered the “new normal” and we might decide to keep doing it at least partially. This would allow to save commuting time, reduce individual cost and social pollution as well. Such unprecedented times teach us all how to find new ways of adapting and just show how intricate, yet advanced today’s world is in terms of developments,” Marai elaborates.
And in the new normal, he’s got an added appreciation for tech: “The current situation has taught me how important technology really is and how it has facilitated a complete paradigm shift in today’s work culture. Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp have all contributed significantly and immensely while virtually reducing distance. They have enabled frequent communication which has helped everybody to still feel part of a team,” he says.
While Marai says that the impact of the lockdown is of course going to affect the luxury market, he and his team is optimistic. “With the pandemic still developing, it is difficult to predict accurately its full impact on the luxury industry and watches specifically especially when its evolution and duration will depend on the response of individual governments and populations.”
However, Marai says that while consumer behaviour may change, it may also look deeper. “Luxury brands will have to focus more on experiences, storytelling around purpose and values, heritage and authenticity to remain relevant to the customers. Some markets could experience stronger recovery, while others will have more prolonged impact. I believe that the medium-term market will globally grow maybe even more with significant polarisation between reach and normal people,” he says.