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Photo Courtesy Christian Bedat
Interview

CHRISTIAN BEDAT

11.06.11

Christian Bedat launched RED8WORLD.COM in 2009 to offer customers a unique approach to shopping for watches. He grew up in and around the Swiss watch industry under the influence of his mother, Simone Bedat, who founded Raymond Weil. Christian founded Bedat and Co. in 1996 and sold it to Gucci Group in 2000.

Interview

Did you always know you wanted to follow in your family’s footsteps and work in the watch industry?

Not really, but growing up in the industry, I forged an appreciation and a passion for watches. I had the chance to be immersed from a very young age, travel the world, get to know some key people, visit factories etc. It was my decision to join the family business. I never had a feeling of going to work. Of course when I started my own brand, the pressure became very strong and the challenge was huge as none of our competitors wished us success. The exception was the chairman of Swatch Group, Nicolas Hayek, whom I respected and admired.

What was the inspiration behind the concept for RED8WORLD?

The idea, after spending a long time in the traditional luxury Swiss watch industry, was to bring an alternative to the market, something more affordable yet exclusive and with its own character. Selling exclusively online was part of the whole idea as well.

How did you come up with the name?

The name had to be simple and easy to remember, like a color and a number.

Can you tell us a bit about how the site works? To what extent can a watch be customized?

The website was designed and created in Korea, and is very easy to use. We are on version 2.0 now and we also have a mobile site. The site was created for our users/members to have fun and be part of the RED 8 world.

For obvious production constraints, we cannot offer a tailor made product to individual clients.

What is the turnaround time once an order has been placed?

It is usually very quick, within 2 to 5 business days. To the USA it is very fast, 1 day to the East Coast.

Have the watches been more popular with men or woman?

We are selling more to men than women, but our offerings are also more male dominated. We are also active with certain charities to help those in need.

RED8WORLD offers a more sporty watch, very different from the aesthetic of Raymond Weil or Bedat and Co., the other brands your family has had a hand in founding. To what do you attribute the change of direction?

My two previous companies were different and came at different times. Raymond Weil was founded by my mother and Raymond Weil in 1976. My mother was a pioneer at her time and created a totally new trend with gold plated watches. When I joined that company in 1990, we were already slowly evolving towards white color/steel. The company had a very high worldwide penetration. I left Raymond Weil in 1996.

I founded Bedat and Co. with the help of my mother, Simone Bedat, in 1996, and officially launched in 1997. I immediately positioned our product in a higher segment. We created exclusively steel and later on gold as well, and we pioneered setting diamonds in steel long before it became very trendy. We were not internationally known, but the USA and Japan were really strong markets for us. I left the company in 2006.

I founded RED8WORLD.COM with my wife as a totally new project after a three year break. With this new venture, there is no race to be better, more upscale, more luxurious, more Swiss than the Swiss, or whatever the challenge may be. I am just creating a fun product which I try to make with the best possible quality at an affordable price. I use an Asian supplier and I do not intend to compete with anyone, particularly the Swiss watch industry that I still highly respect. The designs are a reflection of what I like today. Easy to wear, fun, not pretentious, but still with a touch of style and class.

The collection is currently only available through your site. Is there a possibility that will change?

I hope not. The magic lies in the way we sell it too. It limits my business hugely, but why not. Online is even more exclusive, don’t you think?   We could see one watch here or there on another site if it made sense, but zero plans to do that as of today

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