GRANDES MAISONS - CARL F. BUCHERER: Assertive but measured expansion

March 2014

The Lucerne-based brand presents its new Patravi ScubaTec at BaselWorld. Europa Star caught up with the company’s CEO, Sascha Moeri, to talk about this new launch and the brand’s development.

Sascha Moeri, CEO of Carl F. Bucherer
Sascha Moeri, CEO of Carl F. Bucherer

Europa Star: When we spoke last year, 40 per cent of your sales were coming from Asia, but the biggest increase in sales was from Europe, and you were targeting the US market. How has the situation evolved since then?

Sascha Moeri: I won’t beat about the bush: we’ve been doing extremely well, and sales have exceeded all our expectations. Generally speaking, we’ve remained on course for assertive, but measured expansion. Asia remains a very promising market for Carl F. Bucherer products, and we have plans for additional stores and points-of-sale in various Asian countries, including India. We’ve also entered into a new cooperative agreement with Cortina Watch, a major distributor in Thailand, which has further consolidated our position in Asia. We remain strong in existing markets like Europe, thanks mainly to our own distribution network, and it is vital that we continue to build on our position here. I’m delighted to report that our strategy for building a stronger position in the U.S. market is also beginning to bear fruit. We are very happy with the progress we’ve made in the Middle East, where consumers are big fans of the Patravi TravelTec but also tend to go for more traditional, classical models with sophisticated complications, like the Manero Tourbillon. There’s a lot going on for Carl F. Bucherer, and the future looks very bright.

You “pre-launched” the ScubaTec in the US, which suggests that this market remains a priority. How was the new model received, and was it developed specifically with the US market in mind?

SM: We launched the ScubaTec in the maturing US market because there’s an enormous demand there for big masculine watches. The ScubaTec is an impressive timepiece with an outstandingly striking and sporty design, and American buyers went overboard about it. The response was incredible! To answer the second part of your question: no, it wasn’t designed with a specific market in mind, but to appeal to watch enthusiasts all over the world. So, this year, we’ll be making it an integral part of all our markets.

Patravi ScubaTec by Carl F. Bucherer
Patravi ScubaTec by Carl F. Bucherer
Stainless-steel case, 44.6mm diameter, with screw-in crown and automatic helium valve, sapphire crystal, unidirectional rotating bezel with dive time indications, luminescent hour markers and hands, self-winding CFB 1950.1 chronometer calibre with 38-hour power reserve, water resistant to 500 metres.

Earlier this year you announced two new Indian ambassadors for the brand, both models. Does this mean we can expect a marketing and/or product offensive in ladies’ watches this year?

SM: We are naturally very honoured that these two wonderful women, Lisa Haydon and Puja Gupta, wear our timepieces. But it’s important to remember that Carl F. Bucherer already has a long and rich tradition in the creation of outstanding ladies’ timepieces that combine intriguing design with high-grade technology. Take the models in the Alacria line: they are examples of exquisite jewellery making skills and a perfect tribute to feminine grace and beauty. The response to our ladies collection has been tremendous, and 40 per cent of the Carl F. Bucherer product range now consists of ladies’ watches.
This year, we will further consolidate our position in the ladies’ segment with the unveiling of the Pathos line: a totally new ladies’ collection featuring some breathtaking design. Its appeal lies in the elegance of the filigree garland running around the outside of the dial and the side of the case, and the reliable mechanical movement inside. We believe that our collection of fine ladies’ timepieces is very special, and a wonderful tribute to the jewellery maker’s skill.
As a tribute to our distinctive ladies’ watches, the theme of our library at this year’s BaselWorld is “Dedicated to the ladies”, and it will feature a display of many outstanding historic timepieces. They tell us a lot about our past, and it is amazing to see how much they have evolved over time. As different as the individual models may be, they all have one thing in common: they were always brilliant works of art.

Is the fact that both of your new brand ambassadors are Indian just a coincidence, or do you have strategic designs in this market for the future?

SM: Puja Gupta and Lisa Haydon are strong, independent women, who, like Carl F. Bucherer, go their own way with confidence. We are deeply honoured that they love our timepieces and wear them to express their own outstanding personalities. Their commitment helps strengthen our position in India, which is an enormously important market for us, and is developing very encouragingly.

What are your main objectives for BaselWorld this year and for 2014 as a whole?

SM: BaselWorld is the biggest event in the watchmaking calendar and lays the foundations for a successful year. It brings together most of the world’s great watch manufacturers, who report on the progress and advances they have made and define important milestones for the upcoming year. Participation at BaselWorld is crucial for us, and we attach enormous importance to presenting our new highlights in a way that expresses our brand values.
Carl F. Bucherer has come a long way in recent years. Our CFB A1000 calibre established our position within an elite and exclusive group of watch manufacturers who design, develop and produce their own movements in-house. We have raised brand awareness to unprecedented heights, and our sales figures go from strength to strength. In a hotly contested market, we posted yet another record year in 2013. And no matter what the future holds, you can rest assured that we will continue to uphold the values and qualities that define us: independence, technological leadership and progress in the art of watchmaking.

Source: Europa Star April - May 2014 Magazine Issue