Sascha Moeri, CEO of Carl F. Bucherer, on his brand philosophy, relations with the distribution networks and growing in a period of economic instability.
WE KEEP THE GOLDEN WHEEL TURNING WITH OUR NEW MOVEMENT A2000
What do you expect from 2016?
I think it will be a very exciting year, because we already have a fantastic five years behind us: we have quadrupled our figures since 2010. This year will be challenging and tough due to the current economic conditions, the wars and a difficult market environment in key markets. But we are very well prepared with a great package of novelties that we are launching at Baselworld. The Patravi TravelTec Black is just the beginning… There is much more: the key is Carl F. Bucherer’s new manufacture movement. Its name is CFB A2000, an entire new calibre family added to the CFB A1000 family. The beauty of it is that we are not only talking about one calibre, but a concept, a whole family that opens up new horizons: each year, we will be able to come up with new models drawing on versions of this homemade peripheral calibre.
What is today’s proportion of models equipped with your own calibres? And how much will it increase with the new movement?
The goal is to steadily increase the proportion of models equipped with our own calibres. Yet we are proud to be able to offer very interesting models in the entry price segment of mechanical watches, so the new calibre family will mainly be incorporated in the higher and luxury watch segment. In addition, the new caliber family allows us to implement the peripheral rotor calibers also in Ladies watches. An important development for us, as we strongly believe that also ladies watches more and more convince with outer design and inner values. A concept that drives all our creations. This strong development is supported by the establishment of our new state-ofthe- art manufacturing site in Lengnau where we are substantially investing.
But does it mean that the average price of your watches will increase, hence that you are heading more and more towards Haute Horlogerie?
In 2010 we produced and sold 6,500 pieces over the year. Last year, we sold more than 25,000 timepieces! This is a huge growth thanks to the variety of collections that we propose. To answer your question: on the one hand, the luxury segment will of course grow immensely with our new in-house movement with existing Haute Horlogerie timepieces; on the other hand, we have also increased the quantities in the entry-level segment. Overall, the balance will remain the same and we will stick to our current retail prices.
Are your expanding the range of collections or rather strengthening the existing ones?
Strengthening them! We have five collections and in almost all of them will we be presenting innovations. The first watch with our new in-house movement will be the Manero Peripheral, in reference to the peripheral oscillating mass, which is the DNA of our calibres. A Flyback will also be introduced in the Manero line, a beautiful chronograph in a very classical yet exciting design. I am especially proud of these innovations in the Manero collection. In the Patravi collection, beyond the already mentioned TravelTec Black, there will be the Patravi TravelTec II, a bold variation of the existing model in rose gold. Among ladies’ watches, we will unveil two Haute Joaillerie timepieces in the Pathos collection to underline our long-standing jewellery expertise – the Pathos Swan.
What were Carl F. Bucherer’s bestsellers in 2015?
Our key pieces are in the Manero and Patravi family. Yet every market has its preferences. In Asia, where they favoura classical taste, it has been the Manero timepiece in its various versions, Perpetual, ChronoPerpetual or Tourbillon. It’s a similar situation in Europe. While in the US, the Patravi TravelTec and the ScubaTec are more in demand. In Russia and in the Middle East, you find the same two bestsellers as in the US.
- Sascha Moeri
- Object: ZAI SKI
The Swiss ski producer Zai is our cooperation partner with whom we share the love for exquisite materials and craftsmanship. They mastered to incorporate stone and carbon in their skis and thus created very exclusive products. Similar to Carl F. Bucherer the production process is fully handmade with a wanted limited output. And the joy of racing down the slope with Zai skis – incredible!
You have been quite active on the boutique side, opening lately in Interlaken and Dubai. What is the strategy, compared to the channels via traditional retailers?
We have our own approach and it is a very important part of our philosophy: we never want to open a stand-alone boutique on our own. There are many distributors and retailers who have helped build the brand in recent years and we highly value their support to this day. We don’t intend to offend them by taking all their margins away from them. It must be the right location and the perfect local partner – only then will Carl F. Bucherer open a boutique. Take for instance Rivoli, our distribution partner in Dubai, or Bucherer of course in Interlaken. Building a brand takes enormous efforts, financially and emotionally. We will never take an aggressive approach towards the partners who helped us so much. Our group is family-owned with family values.
Are you able to identify a general profile of the Carl F. Bucherer buyer?
As I said before, customers in the US or in China have different preferences. Hence it is very important to us to follow the DNA of the brand. And thus it is one factor of the brand’s DNA that attracts all of our customers: the fact that we are very exclusive. Indeed, very few people will possess one of our watches: in 2016, we will serve a community of only 30,000 people. It is this exclusivity, together with the pursuit to express one’s individuality that mark the Carl F. Bucherer client.
What is the entry price at Carl F. Bucherer? Can we buy it as a first watch?
We do offer interesting mechanical watch models in the entry-level segment, yet someone who wants to purchase his or her first mechanical watch will most probably go for what their friends buy. Once they have become an aficionado, and have learned about manufacturing qualities, movements and other details, the educated and experienced watch enthusiast will go for a Carl F. Bucherer. Then he or she will want a watch that not everybody else has on their wrist. We’re addressing these people - they do not follow trends but set the trend and have their own style.
What is the split between male and female customers?
The split today is 60% men’s and 40% women’s watches. Ladies’ watches have always been an important part of our history as we launched the first Art Déco ladies’ collection back in 1919. Lately the new Pathos collection has further strengthened this segment.
What do you think about the arrival of connected watches?
It is a very important market and I am happy to see so many Swiss brands investing a lot in R&D. That way the Swiss watch industry stays strong, innovative and competitive. There is certainly a market need for these products. However, our customers are looking for different values in a watch such as sustainability, handmade details in materials and also simply beauty of watch design. They might already possess a connected watch but do not expect one from Carl F. Bucherer. It is rather the opposite and they would even be disappointed if we follow a trend. Moreover, if we were to do something in the connected area, it should be really unique. We should not copy anyone.
Source: Europa Star February/March 2016 Magazine Issue