In the month before his 70th birthday celebration, Stephen Urquhart has retired as the President of Omega, the Swatch Group’s leading brand, which is estimated to account for 30 per cent of the Group’s sales. Urquhart leaves after 17 years as President. Some highlights from his leadership include rolling out anti-magnetic technology across Omega’s range (a key feature of the new ‘Master Chronometer’), introducing the Ladymatic model to entice women to automatic timepieces and weathering several ‘crises’ in the industry, including the recent surge of ‘smart’, or ‘connected’ watches. He will also be remembered for aggressively expanding the brand’s own network of boutiques, opening over 200 in his time as President. The outgoing President of Omega will be remembered by the Time+Tide team for giving us some truly memorable quotes to report, as well as for his canny wit and warmth. According to a press release from the Swatch Group, Urquhart will remain connected to the Swatch Group as a consultant and will work on “special projects”.
Urqurhart will be succeeded by the VP of International Sales of 15 years, Raynald Aeschlimann. Aeschlimann joined Omega SA in Bienne Switzerland as Sales & Marketing Project Manager in 1996. Drawing on his MBA in Economics and five year experience as an investment consultant, Raynald Aeschlimann has contributed to the Group’s record levels of growth. Extending his expertise beyond Switzerland, Mr. Aeschlimann became Director of Omega and Blancpain Spain in 2000, Director of Omega U.S.A four years later and Swatch Group Coordinator for the Indian Subsidiary in 2010. Since 2001, he has served as Omega’s Vice President International Director of Sales, Retail and Distribution and has been a Member of Swatch Group’s Extended Group Management Board since 2013.
Aeschlimann will succeed Urquhart as the President of Omega on June the 1st, 2016.
We interviewed Urquhart only a matter of weeks ago. See both videos below. We wish Stephen, a first-name familiarity he insisted on in the following interviews, all the very best.