Chronograph was the first store in Armenia and the region to offer customers high-class watches and jewelry from world-famous brands.
Gabriel Avetisyan, the general manager of the store, notes that although the presented products are mostly luxury, the store also has “affordable luxury” products that are more affordable in terms of price.
Prior to moving to Chronograph, Gabriel worked in a number of other companies of Galaxy Group of Companies.
In an interview with Banks.am he spoke about working in different fields, the importance of the team, combining the “positions” of the father of three and the manager of the company.
The director is not the person who sits in the office and gives instructions
Since 2006 I have been working in various businesses of Galaxy Group of Companies which makes already 16 years. I started with Megafood, then moved to other companies working in both gastro and telecommunication sectors.
Naturally, it is not easy to always move to a completely different field. It takes months to visualize the business and the market. In terms of management, of course, the model is largely the same. But for me, the manager, the director, is not the person who sits in the office and gives instructions. He/she should be fully versed in the nuances of the industry.
In any case, I think that if a person has the desire and ambition, he/she can learn everything and understand the nuances of business by working with a team.
Many passed by Chronograph as if it was a museum
The founders of Galaxy aimed to create a watch store in Armenia that would have a strong position in the market due to its exclusive offer and high-quality services. At first it was very difficult to familiarize the market with the products we have and bring them to the store.
Many people passed by Chronograph as if it was a museum, not realizing that there was a wide variety of products inside affordable for different segments. Due to years of work and proper marketing, we managed to create a strong relationship with customers and today we are one of the leaders in the Armenian market.
If to talk about the price range of the assortment presented in the store, we have an offer starting from 30-40 thousand drams to very high cost. Sometimes we jokingly say: “here you will find the most expensive product you want” (smiles-ed.).
It is very important that over the years in Chronograph we started presenting many “affordable luxury” brands, that is, luxury products at a more affordable price. For example, we have APM Monaco, Rebecca, Rue des Mille and Style Avenue jewelry brands, which offer very suitable products for gifts. The price range and assortment are so large that anyone can choose something affordable.
Gold coins of Armenian production
At Chronograph we do not have local products, the only exception is gold coins with the letters of the Armenian alphabet. We worked with the Central Bank to create them.
At the same time, we have Armenian-themed products created by global brands specifically for the local market. For example, we had pens with the Armenian alphabet from Montegrappa, there were watches with bird letters on the dial or with Mount Ararat. We always target the Armenian theme.
To be honest, the difficulties of recent years have not largely affected this business, on the contrary, an interesting trend related to luxury products has been recorded in Armenia and all over the world. In particular, after the coronavirus pandemic, purchases of luxury products have grown in almost all countries.
I was reading an interesting study about China. It said that the market for luxury products has grown in this country. The explanation was as follows: luxury class products are mainly intended for people with high and middle income.
Even during the lockdown, these people continued to earn money, they did not suffer serious financial losses, but instead their daily expenses were reduced because there was simply no place to spend money. As a result, people have made some savings and in order to get out of a difficult psychological situation, “self-satisfaction” trend launched in the world, that is, people tried to satisfy themselves in some way with the accumulated money, to make themselves happy by buying expensive clothes, cars, jewelry or watches. This is one of the reasons why no major upheaval was recorded in this market.
Another important reason is that the business representing luxury products is mainly based on the local market and has little dependence on tourist flows. Most tourists come to the country with slightly different interests. People prefer to be in the sights, try the local cuisine. The decision to buy an expensive item is rarely made on the spur of the moment. Thus, the absence of tourists almost did not affect the results.
Our strategy during this period was also very important. Unlike other businesses that took a break, in these two years Chronograph has introduced five new brands, implemented active marketing campaigns, believing that now it is time not to be silent, but to be more active.
Luxury and taste
It is clear that stores like Chronograph not only represent exclusive brands in Armenia, but also shape the taste in some way. Many times when choosing this or that brand, we realized that it does not meet the demand of the Armenian market and may not be accepted, but we were guided by the sense that sometimes we need not to look at the market demand, but try to change it with the right offer, to develop that demand. Such stores often have to dictate taste themselves.
Of course, it is very difficult and requires proper work with the client. Let me bring an example on cars – in Armenia, as we know, black Mercedes is very relevant, but imagine trying to bring a red Volvo to this market. However, over time and due to consistent work, today we already notice a change in demand. We have received a very positive feedback from our customers, and very often they listen to our professional opinion and advice.
You can’t but be a team player
Outside of work, my number one interest, my hobby is sports. I have been playing football for many years, recently I participated in the futsal tournament organized by Galaxy. I also like to read, listen to music and, having three children, naturally find free time and spend it with them.
Teamwork is very important to me both in sports and at work. Over the years, I have got convinced that if you can create a good team with healthy atmosphere and warm relations, the business will go well for sure. You cannot but “play” in a team with your friends and colleagues.
The formula of time management that really works
As I said, I have three children and spending time with my family is very important to me. When you are just transitioning from one industry to another, it is pretty complicated. Then, when both you and the employees become skilled, the need for your direct participation reduces, giving you some free time.
I remember a few years ago, one of my professors voiced an interesting idea, he said: “There are many books about time management, you can read dozens of them, but there is one simple truth: you can have free time only when you learn to say “no” to people, nothing else helps (laughs-ed.).
So, I try to combine and properly manage my time, because I highly value being with my family.
It is a success when a person loves coming to work
I do not think there will be anyone who will say: that’s it, I can stop now, I have achieved success. Needs and aspirations change, and after reaching a certain point, you continue your way and form new goals. But as of today, the primary and greatest success for me is my family, and in terms of work, the smooth and stable operation of the business.
It is a success for a manager when his teammates love coming to work. In that case, they do an effective and appropriate job, which positively effects the organization.
In the last two years, despite the epidemic and the war, we have always been trying to find the positive, work and form new partnerships. We have already started cooperation with five new big brands.
This year three more brands have been added to the list: OMEGA watch brand, Baume & Mercier and Rue des Mille. By the end of the year, we will present another pleasant surprise to our customers. So, we try to keep going and work harder.