PATRIK P. HOFFMANN : The Legacy Lives On

 “What I did in the United States was only possible because I had the support from Switzerland.”

“I really came at the right time to the right place really at the right moment,” he said. “It was a growing market for that segment at the time, and it was really around the time when we found our reach and our way with our collection. When I came over there it was just myself and one additional [person.] It was two people. I think the product started to be just right at that time. The market was very small for [UlysseNardin] and it could really start from scratch.”

During this time, he dedicated himself to building the brand, traveling, opening new accounts, nurturing existing accounts and working with trunk shows.

“I can really say it was a completely new start,” he said. “It was very exciting.”

Hoffmann soon realized that his new home was much different than Switzerland.

“I realized in America things move faster, sometimes things might not have to be that perfect, but many times they say do it, let’s try it, and then we can make corrections on the way,” he said. “In Switzerland for example, we plan sometimes forever and then we don’t get it done.”

But Hoffmann obviously knows how to get it done. In the more than a decade since he has been with UlysseNardin, the company has grown exponentially, gaining notoriety from Beverly Hills to the East Coast to Miami.

Hoffmann, however, is reluctant to put an exact percentage on the company’s progress.

“I couldn’t even give you a number how we grew because it’s a percentage which is outrageous,” he said. “But what is more important for me to look at is we gained market share every single year. Of course, the market grew in total, but we gained market share every year, even in the years 2008, 2009 that the crisis hit, we gained market share.”

With that growth comes respect.

“I still remember 10 years ago, 11 years ago over and over and I walked to stores and they had no interest, they didn’t see the potential of UlysseNardin,” Hoffmann said. “Today, they knock on our doors.”

But he remains humble.

“I have to say that’s not just my doing,” he said. “At the end, it’s the product. If you want to be successful in the long term, it has to be the product. And I also believe if you want to be successful, you cannot be really successful in just one market.”

Hence UlysseNardin’s expansion across the globe, something Hoffmann himself directly influenced.

“What I did in the United States was only possible because I had the support from Switzerland,” he said.

As for what’s next for UlysseNardin, Hoffmann has a few things in mind.

“The watch industry is actually very old-fashioned,” he said. “I think the way things are being put together are still the same, but the materials we work with have a lot of potential. You know, in the past you had the time where everything had to be complicated. The more complication you could put in the watch, the more proud you were. Today, I think it’s going back to simplicity.”

This simplifying state of mind can be noted in the recent wave of thin watches that have inundated the market.

“A lot of companies are going to go thin,” he said.

But UlysseNardin will keep its feet firmly planted in each market, serving their needs and wants respectively.

“One thing that is a very healthy aspect of UlysseNardin is the distribution is mixed very equally. So the Americas, Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia,” he said. “The growth is going to be in India, in the Eastern European countries, it’s going to be in China. And Brazil is a place where luxury is going to have a big place in future.”

But UlysseNardin still counts the United States as one of its major markets – a fact Hoffmann has a personal stake in.

“The United States was the biggest market for UlysseNardin for many, many years, even in crisis it was still the biggest market, because we didn’t give up. We kept investing in the marketing and now we benefit.”