China, the Death of True Luxury and the emergence of New Luxury

Posted on December 20, 2010


Christian Bedat graduated from the HEC business school in Lausanne in 1987 before starting work in Hong Kong for Eco Swiss China Time where he stayed two years.

To say this man is not new to the luxury watch industry would be an understatement. The man practically lives and breathes what must be very green very crisp air of the Alps. After all, it was only 4 years ago that he left Bedat & Co, a firm he and his mother jointly founded in 1996 (to immediate success I might add). Christian Bedat was a man whose visionary designs, culminating with the W1 collection at Raymond Weil, followed by his No. 3 and No. 7 watches at B edat & Co, make him not only a creative talent, but a man firmly in touch with the desires and wants of his high end clientele.

Not only that, when GUCCI Group buys your company out and one of the world’s premier luxury group tasks you as brand CEO and Creative Director of GUCCI Group watches, you can be pretty darned sure that Christian has his finger on, if not in, the very pulse of what beats within the heart of haute luxe.

On the Swiss watch industry

Christian Bedat: When we speak about the watch industry, we have to understand that certain basics apply to the industry: For it to embody high craftsmanship, luxurious, upscale and pretentious, it has to be mechanical. These are all dictated by the CEOs. I decided I could use the internet and create a lifestyle brand. All these years (20 to be exact) in the Swiss watch industry and it’s always been about selling the most luxurious and the most complicated and I’ve always thought- why is it we never create affordable luxury?

Jonathan Ho: Affordable luxury is a contradiction of terms isn’t it? I buy $10,000 dollar croc skin shoesbecause I can?

Christian Bedat: Let’s use this for an example. Crack resistant glass and aluminium body, the iPhone 4 is a new paradigm in the phone industry. A phone with more features than any others but by design and marketing, is by definition a luxury item. People queue for it, crave for it and without a telco plan, it costs as much as a netbook- it IS a luxury item. Yet, almost everyone has one.  I’ve dreamt to producing a watch that could have great style and yet be affordable so that you didn’t necessarily have to spend 5 to 10 thousand dollars on a product to put you in the right circle of society.

There’s this big explosion of bigger and bigger luxury boutiques now because people want to have a piece of it (luxury) and be able to show it off to their peers. – Christian Bedat

Read the rest at

Posted in: column