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Australian watch brand Christian Paul Sydney used this year's Baselworld to launch the Breakaway system
Australian watch brand Christian Paul Sydney used this year's Baselworld to launch the Breakaway system

Aussie watch brand gains Baselworld attention

Following a swift rise in the Australian market, the founder of watch brand Christian Paul Sydney has used Baselworld as a launch pad for an innovative concept.

Christian Paul CEO Timothy Caruana – who founded the business in July 2015 and was a first-time Baselworld exhibitor this year – introduced the Breakaway system at the annual watch and jewellery show.

Timothy Caruana, Christian Paul founder and CEO
Timothy Caruana, Christian Paul founder and CEO

Breakaway arguably takes the interchangeable watch strap concept to another level; it is based on a three-part system in which the fashion timepiece is sold as three separate components – the face, the band and the buckle.

Each of the 86 components is treated as an individual stock keeping unit (SKU), with consumers being able to mix-and-match the parts to create their own combination.

Caruana told Jeweller that exhibiting at Baselworld had met all expectations and that the response to the new concept, which he claimed was an industry-first, had been extremely positive.

“The feedback at Baselworld couldn’t be any better,” he said. “The test was whether the concept could be easily communicated and understood, and by all accounts, distributors are not only grasping the idea but saying ‘this is what we need’.”

Caruana confirmed that distribution was secured for the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands during the fair.

He added that discussions regarding potential distribution took place for other markets throughout Europe, several Asian countries, the Middle East, Canada, the US and South America. 

Retail benefits

The Breakaway system was said to ‘empower’ retailers on a number of fronts, with inventory versatility being one of the most significant.

“There are 86 SKUs offering at least 1,400 different watch combinations,” Caruana explained. “This is massive considering that it’s common for bigger brands to ask retailers to hold up to 100 SKUs of individual watches.”

John Rose, West End Collection general manager
John Rose, West End Collection general manager

John Rose, general manager of Christian Paul local distributor West End Collection, stated that the roll out of the Breakaway system was scheduled to commence across existing stockists in mid-June. Going forward, all watches will be sold using the three-part SKU model.

Noah Gattea of Gattea Jewellers in Sydney was at Baselworld and explained that he had been ‘testing’ the Breakaway system at his store for the past six months.

“It’s definitely a unique offering that has been well received,” he stated. “With that system we can cull a lot of SKUs, so for a retailer like myself it’s a lot easier from an inventory point of view.”

Caruana said he was confident the business could handle the increased production and distribution required for international expansion. 

“I don’t think you can ever be 100 per cent ready but we’re prepared as best we can. We’ve got the systems in place and we have some great distribution partners – we will be strategic in terms of roll out and not going out too hard too fast,” he explained. 

“We have our own warehouse in Hong Kong and manufacturing is done in China. I haven’t once sat back and thought ‘we’re not ready’.”

The three-part system is for watches with leather bands. Mesh and metal link bands work on a two-part system, given that the buckle is attached.

Christian Paul is stocked in approximately 250 stores located in Australia and New Zealand.

The 2017 Baselworld show took place from 23 March to 30 March.


The breakaway system


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Wednesday, 16 October, 2019 10:40am
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