Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann Gives Us A Look Into the Future of His Brand Within the Golf Industry
You wake up in the morning — what’s the driving passion in leading OMEGA?
The driving passion is to be the number one watch brand in the world, but when I wake up in the morning I usually focus more grounded things, such as how can I make sure this meeting is productive, or have we found a solution to a pressing problem.
What separate the OMEGA product line from others in the category?
The brand’s legacy, which is both long and distinguished, taking in everything from innovative watch materials and beautiful designs to Olympic Games timekeeping and space travel.
OMEGA has been in business for quite some time — what was the rationale in getting involved in the golf industry as a major sponsor with your product line?
Golf is all about precision and getting every detail just right, so it fits well with what we do. It also has an international following and a certain style or aesthetic. It’s a game played in beautiful locations by highly skilled people.
Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Michelle Wie are all key players using the product. What made OMEGA opt to forge a connection with them?
As players they epitomize OMEGA’s values. They are passionate, driven and conduct themselves with grace both on and off the course. They also had a love of OMEGA watches from the beginning. We didn’t need to convince them of the brand’s value.
There is also a sponsorship relationship with the PGA of America and its two showcase events — the PGA Championship and The Ryder Cup when played in the States. How did that relationship get started?
Yes, we’re very proud of these two associations, which were a natural result of getting involved at the ground level. Once we showed our commitment to the game, opportunities came our way and they continue to come our way.
OMEGA has stated a commitment in helping to push the game forward. Beyond the individual and event sponsorships what specific actions are either underway or planned to do just that?
We played a huge part in the return of golf to the Olympic Games, which was absent for over 100 years. As an Official Timekeeper we are constantly improving on thespectator experience of golf. We have also introduced an OMEGA Trophy competition for friends of OMEGA, which was a huge success at this year’s PGA Championships – and at Crans-Montana this year we are hosting our first ever Celebrity Masters.
Golf organizations around the world are looking for ways to “grow the game” — especially among Millennials, women and minorities. If you were asked to provide your counsel what would you suggest be done?
I think it’s about assuring people that golf is an accessible game, which is fun to play. It has an image of being very exclusive, and in certain settings it can be, but compared to some sports, it’s relatively easy for people of all ages and skill levels to get involved.
If you could change one thing in golf unilaterally — what would it be and why?
We have created a game called the OMEGA box challenge, in which a player attempts to chip a ball into an OMEGA watch box. Perhaps we could roll this out on the professional circuit and find a whole new generation of 9 iron greats.
What’s the biggest challenge for OMEGA — short and long term?
Short term, the biggest challenge is to be bold and try new things, even though on an instinctive level that feels risky in the current climate. In the long term, we need to turn young consumers into OMEGA watch enthusiasts. Not through gimmicks or fickle trends, but by telling our story in a way that’s compelling for a new generation.
Best advice you ever received — what was it and who from?
Dedication and passion are the keys to success!