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Revaz Magalashvili: We’re seeing significant growth in the sales of MotoGP watches

Tissot brand manager in Russia Revaz Magalashvili kindly agreed to answer some questions for Motonews.ru, and he filled us in on how things are going for the Swiss brand in Russia.

How long has the Tissot brand been represented in Russia?
The history of Tissot in Russia started all the way back in 1866! Charles-Emile Tissot made his first trip to Russia that year. The purpose of the trip was to establish trade relations with the Russian Empire, and after just a few years, Russia became the main market for Tissot watches. It remained that way until 1917. By 1875, the Tissot trading house had produced a dozen pocket watches with a picture of Czar Alexander II and his son Alexander III.
In 1904, the company created special edition watches for officers of the Russian Imperial Guard. The dial featured a monogram of the guards with the inscription: “In the name of the officers of the Imperial Guard 1891-1904.” On the reverse side, the dial was engraved with the words of the Star Order, “Devoted to Faith.” The revolution of 1917 halted the sales of Tissot in Russia, and the Swiss brand was forced to leave the Russian market.
Then, in 1993, the doors to the Russian market swung open again for Tissot, and the company decided to return to the country that played such a significant role in its formation. Soon enough, in 2000, sales reached record levels, and Tissot became one of the major Swiss brands manufacturing watches in Russia.

How long has the brand’s sports line been represented? I mean, the watch models associated with motosports?
Model PRS516, which is designed to resemble the steering wheel of a race car, was released as far back as 1965.
Cooperation between MotoGp and Tissot started in 2001 and continues uninterrupted to this day. For over 10 years, Tissot has been producing various models, including limited editions. This year, we’ve introduced two limited edition models of T-Race MotoGP 2011 (with 2011 and 8888 pieces, respectively), T-Race Nicky Hayden 2011 (4999 pieces) and T-Race Thomas Luthi 2011 (999 pieces).

How have sales of the sports watches changed in Russia over the last year?
We’ll, we’ve definitely seen a significant increase in sales of the MotoGP series watches in 2011. This most likely stems from the release of new watch models and increasing consumer interest in motorcycles and motorcycle merchandise.

What sporting events does Tissot support in Russia?
We actively support hockey, basketball, fencing, cycling and motosport in Russia. In 2011, we were partners and sponsors for such events as the Tretyak Cup Hockey Championships, the World Play-Offs of the Champion League in basketball, the Russian Fencing Championships and many others. In 2012, we plan to increase our support of sporting events and individual athletes.

When it comes to motorsports, as you probably already know, Russia is set to host the international round of the Superbike championship in 2012, and we are planning a series of rallies in support of this important event.

How many stores are there in Russia now offering official brand products?
There are currently about 300 official Tissot points of sales in Russia.

How many of those are in Moscow?
There are 59 official stores in Moscow alone.

Does the company plan on increasing the number of stores? If so, where and when?
At the moment, we don’t plan to significantly increase the number of stores. Instead, we prefer to improve the quality of the sales points and boutiques in Russia’s key cities.

Ahead of New Year’s, it’s a time for gift giving, and watches make a great gift for any occasion. Do you have special offers to encourage customers during this season?
We don’t offer discounts to clients at retail stores in Russia, in order to support the strategy of fair competition. But in any of our 300 stores, you can buy a watch at our single recommended price.
I’d also like to point out that Tissot watches are not officially sold over the Internet.
Sales of Tissot watches must always be made in the actual store, where our experienced sales consultants will help you pick out a model and tell you about the advantages of this or that model, and also let you try on the watches that catch your eye. We believe that this is the correct approach to the sale of watches.

Do you follow sporting events yourself, the MotoGP, WSBK or Russian championships?
Yes, I’m a big fan of the MotoGP championship. I always keep up with the results of races on Motonews.

Revaz, do you ride a motorcycle yourself? Or maybe you have before?
Well, if we’re not counting a scooter, I’ve ridden a motorcycle once before. My friend had an Aprilia motorcycle and I gave it a try.

How do you imagine motorcycles will be in 10 to 20 years?
In my opinion, motorcycles will be even faster and more comfortable in 10-20 years. Just like in fantasy films. I think there will always be a great deal of attention given to the safety of motorcycles in the future.

And what about watches, what do you think could change in them in the next few years?
Swiss watches are sure to stick to tradition! There will always be classic models, replica models, and of course, we can’t forget about high-tech watches (like the unique Tissot T-Touch with touch-glass, which was introduced back in 1999 and still remains the only watch with a touch screen.)

For Tissot, "In touch with your time" is far more than an advertising claim. This phrase expresses the brand's DNA; its proven dedication to being perfectly in tune with the technology and tastes of each era. Tissot has been growing and developing its tradition of innovation since 1853. From the early days to the present, in its home in Le Locle in the Swiss Jura mountains, Tissot has translated craftsmanship and precision into stylish timepieces now sold in more than 160 countries around the world. Special materials, advanced functionality and meticulous design detail join forces to create the luxury of accessibility. Tissot is a member of the Swatch Group, the world's largest watch producer and distributor of Swiss Watches, as well as official timekeeper and partner of MotoGP, FIM Superbike, FIBA, AFL, CBA and the World Championships of cycling, fencing and ice hockey. With the latest innovations in its communication and product, Tissot presents impressive proof of its signature, "Innovators by Tradition". (www.tissot.ch)

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