Breitling USA “had its best year ever” in 2004, says Marie Bodman, president of the U.S. office of the popular Swiss luxury brand best known for its precision aeronautic watches. Business was up 38 percent over 2004 figures. “We’re harvesting the results of all our good efforts in marketing, ads, and customer support,” Bodman says. She also cited Breitling’s “strong products and strong retail partners.” The brand’s marketing includes working with all of the major flight teams such as the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds. Breitling also is the presenting sponsor of the Reno Air Races.
In addition, Breitling has established closer ties with the affluent car sector, whose consumers often are avid fans of fine watches as well. Those projects include high-profile events like sponsorship of the Concours d’Elegance (for car collectors and enthusiasts) in Pebble Beach, Calif., and the “Breitling for Bentley” collection (and publicity in the past year about the partnership with the luxury car and its racing team). Such projects are building the luxury client base for the watch brand.
Bodman launched Breitling USA in 1989, which means the brand’s growth has occurred within a shorter timespan than a number of other prestigious watches. Breitling has a U.S. distribution network of 315 retailers.