Renowned for its Swiss origin and heritage with a strong British influence, Rotary Watches has a vision to create timeless watches for the modern world. Rotary Watches is an award-winning worldwide brand of classic timepieces and in this month’s Supplier Spotlight we interviewed Sergio Alberti, head of sales at Rotary Watches to find out more about the brand over the past 12 months, its new structure and plans for the future.
How would you describe Rotary as a brand?
Rotary has a broad range of superbly designed classic watches, aligned into family names reflecting the brand’s British roots; Windsor, Oxford, Cambridge, Henley, Kensington, Greenwich and for 2020 Rotary introduced Heritage, a nod to the brands 125th anniversary. The brand originated in Switzerland in 1895, but we migrated to London over a century ago, our watches are all designed in London and we are proud to display British Design on our dials. We have always prided ourselves on offering the consumer unbeatable value for top quality product – we use sapphire glass and 316L stainless steel. We support all of this with our 2+1 guarantee, and our top notch service offer. Our retailers can expect excellent margin performance, super-fast delivery in the UK to the trade, and a parts and service offering that prides itself on quick turnaround and great value.
How have the past 12 months been for your business?
Like all businesses, we have felt the impact of the pandemic. At Rotary Watches, we quickly learned to pivot and focus our attention to online sales for the obvious reason that all non-essential retail was closed for a large proportion of 2020 and early 2021. The pandemic has also prompted Rotary to build a brand new website, which will primarily serve as a brand platform to showcase new watches and offer hints and tips about buying watches.
Many retailers may have an outdated view of the brand – how has the brand evolved and what plans do you have for the business?
As a business that has stood the test of time, we have evolved considerably over the past 18 months. We have reviewed our current processes, and improved practises, especially when it comes to our customer service. We have recently entered into an aggressive recruitment drive, which will further support the growth and development of the business. We have strengthened teams within customer service, product design, marketing, and sales. Rotary has also appointed a new watch designer who has design agency credentials working with the likes of Tag Heuer and Zenith.
Rotary restructured its business over the course of the pandemic – can you tell us what the new structure looks like and what retailers can expect?
National account manager, Emma Duckworth, has left the business after 5 years of excellent service. The sales team has been restructured – I was promoted from international sales manager to head of sales and international business, whilst Julian Bishop takes over the role of national account manager. Sergio joined the team 3 years ago from an extensive luxury watch and jewellery background that spans over 17 years.
Julian is a long standing Rotary sales professional, promoted from area sales manager and has been with the business over 10 years.
In addition to this we have recently appointed; a new customer service manager, customer service supervisor, product design manager, e-commerce sales manager and graphic and marketing designer.
We believe that by strengthening our core teams with exceptional experts in their fields, will further enhance the current Rotary offer to our valued customers.
What sort of marketing support can you offer independent retailers?
Rotary maintains a loyal consumer following with whom we interact through engaging marketing, social media and PR campaigns, all of which help to strengthen the brand’s presence within the watch marketplace – however we believe that the prime engagement for the watch buying public is in a store – where they can touch and feel the quality of the watch, and benefit from the expertise of the retailer to make the right choice.
Rotary’s RTVM field team are a constant support to all retail partners, they provide product and sales technique training and visual merchandising support in store. Our new branded display options have rolled out nationwide along with retail training initiatives for store staff in addition to our usual plethora of motivational incentives which will be run throughout the year.
We heard from several CMJ retailers that they struggled to get hold of anyone at Rotary over the various lockdowns. With the new company structure in place, how has customer service been improved?
We are sorry to hear this. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, we were operationally restricted with a reduced workforce whilst strictly adhering to government guidelines. As a result all of our support teams were impacted, creating delays to communications and service related work. We are not alone, many other businesses have experienced similar issues during lockdown, and we are working extremely hard to get back up to speed. Our communication response times have resumed to pre pandemic levels.
As mentioned previously we have appointed a new customer service manager and a customer service supervisor, along with this our focus is to improve current processes and turnaround times as soon as possible.
Rotary has recently launched a new ecommerce website, can you tell us more about that?
We are thrilled to launch a new brand platform which will allow us to showcase new watch ranges. The new site reflects Rotary’s branding and is easy to navigate. We will implement a new sales strategy, which will protect our independent partners.
With the Christmas period approaching, what exciting things can retailers expect to see from Rotary?
We are thrilled to announce new launches as well as an exciting charity partnership.
An iconic flagship family within the Rotary portfolio, the Cambridge collection embodies classic sophistication. Over the years, Cambridge has developed a reputation for delivering watches that are inspired by the past but look to the future, achieving timelessness in style and quality.
This season, the collection welcomes eight new ladies watches that honour the classic look and provide an elevated effect through sophisticated design. Featuring the signature hidden crown that is used throughout most of the Cambridge collection, these new arrivals are stunning occasion watches that are powered through a precise quartz two-hand movement.
Embrace a cool and contemporary look with the newest addition to Rotary’s Greenwich family. With a minimalist use of colour that expertly showcases the intricate detailing of the exposed dial, this watch is one for those looking for a truly modern accessory.
Established in 1895, Rotary and its creative team are of course constantly in awe of a century’s worth of design and inspiration. This nebula of archival excellence reaches a peak in the brand’s staple Heritage collection, a treasure trove of nostalgic pieces that draw inspiration from Rotary’s history.
Bring forth uniqueness… Regent, one of the latest additions to the core Rotary family, has rapidly gained a fan base thanks to its striking geometric case and use of brushed stainless steel. Launched in early 2021 as a premium sports watch with a twist, the Rotary Regent benefits from a choice of different dials, leather straps and bracelets, all of which complement the stunning faceted case. For the autumn/winter 2021 season, the Regent family sees some exciting additions to its existing design, along with the unveiling of two ladies watches for diversity in size.
Eternal elegance and nostalgic design, the Windsor collection from Rotary’s portfolio of classic watches is an ode to the romance of a bygone era. Known for exuding sophistication with a versatile appeal, the Windsor has seen new life breathed into it for the autumn/winter 2021 season.
Finally, we are thrilled to announce a two year partnership with the UK’s largest men’s health charity, Prostate Cancer UK. Rotary supports, and stands with all men and their families who have been affected by the disease. To mark Prostate Cancer UK’s 25th anniversary and all that has been achieved within this time Rotary Watches has created a limited edition chronograph watch. Rotary will donate 10% + VAT from the sale of every watch to support Prostate Cancer UK in their mission to stop prostate cancer being a killer.
What sort of retailer partners are you looking to work with?
We are open to working with all CMJ members. Our friendly sales team are on hand to meet if members are keen to learn more about Rotary Watches and our strategy moving forward. Please feel free to email a member of the area sales team: firstname.lastname@example.org.