After four years of growth in the European and Asian markets, French watchmaker FOB debuts in Dubai with an exclusive partnership with Harvey Nichols and soon to be rolled out at Cities in Galleria Mall and Dubai Mall thereafter.
What works for FOB is the amalgamation of history with innovation blended with superior craftsmanship, bringing old into new in a way that’s not been done before.
- Could you describe your brand aesthetic? What is the story of FOB?
FOB PARIS is a French watchmaking studio that conceives each piece of its collections as a creation.
FOB PARIS designers draw their inspiration from both techniques and aesthetics, from the past and from their fascination for the future, to create pieces that are not only watches, but pieces of jewelry; that do not only give time, but a physical representation of time.
The brand was created in 2012 by three close friends, engineers by training, who found in watchmaking the perfect mean to combine their passion for creation and their love for technique. It started in 2009, when one of their friends came back with his grandfather’s pocket watch. The encounter with this fascinating object was the starting point of the designers’ story.
For women and men, all FOB PARIS watches are fitted with automatic movements, made in France, and share the same aesthetics, mechanical, geometrical and sophisticated, inspired by a modern reinterpretation of the pocket watch.
- Having been launched in Dubai for a few months, what has the audience engagement been like so far?
We are very happy and proud of the turn our Middle Eastern development is taking.
We have been starting with key locations in Dubai (Mall of Emirates with Harvey Nichols, Dubai Mall and Galleria Mall with Cities), and have been approached by major players from Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia.So commercially, we can say the feedbacks are tremendous.
What is at least as satisfying is to meet the customers and see their reactions to what we are bringing with FOB PARIS.
We have had amazing feedbacks. People enjoy our aesthetics and creativity. We feel a really eagerness here for creation and novelties. We see it with the development of FOB PARIS, and it is really consistent with the dynamism and freshness we see here each time we come.
So far, people have been buying from the whole range of our collection: pocket watches, wristwatches and cuff watches, in a very balanced way. Which means for us that our brand has been well understood here and is finding its audience.
- Apart from the Middle East, what are some other important markets for FOB?
Our historical market is of course Europe, with a strong presence in France and Italy, but very quickly, we have been expanding to the East. Today, China is our biggest market, with retailers in several major cities. Japan is also a very dynamic market for us, expanding very fast.
Besides from Paris and Florence Fashion Weeks, we do now take part to Shanghai and Tokyo, to support our Asian development.
- What are your plans for further expansion in the Middle East, if any?
The launch event in February is only the first step of our expansion plan in the Middle East.
We have had a tremendous welcoming onto the market, and we are sure there is a lot for us to do here. Two of us have Middle Eastern origins and we are all the more happy to have identified our strong potential in it, and are working on a strong expansion plan.
The growth in brand awareness will go along with a commercial expansion, with Qatar and Kuwait starting in April 2017. Saudi Arabia and Lebanon should be next.
By Pavan Premaney