Ruediger Albers, President of American Wempe and one of the USA's most respected watch retailers, was born in Hamburg Germany in 1963. He started his apprenticeship as a watchmaker in 1979, finished it successfully in 1981 and worked as a watchmaker in his parent’s watch and jewellery store for two years. After completing his German military service, he went back to his job and school, becoming a Master watchmaker in 1987. He joined Wempe in Hamburg that year and went to New York as a master watchmaker/sales professional in 1988. He became General Manager of American Wempe Corp. in 1991, Vice President in 1992, then President in 2002.
“A fine timepiece is a work of art,” Albers says, explaining his love of watches. “As a master watchmaker I can appreciate the love and attention to detail that goes into the making of a fine watch. A watch is a solid product that can deliver reliable service, pleasure and retention of value over generations, hence justifying the investment.”
Albers loves what he does in part because he gets to meet an interesting array of people - CEOs, celebrities, Heads of State, you name it. “In December I had Robert De Niro call me on my cell phone before visiting me in my office,” he remembers. “Last week, John Travolta enjoyed an espresso as he was posing in front of the Breitling display just for the fun of it while waiting for his limo to pick him up.”
Albers is very optimistic about the future of the watch industry. “More and more people are discovering watches as a work of art and therefore as a form of self-expression,” he explains. “Our clients are particularly interested in quality aside from name recognition, longevity and price-value relation.
”The big issue in the future will be undoubtedly service,“he continues.”Today, it takes many brands several weeks to just get an estimate and even warranty repairs can take months. Few customers are willing to part with their one month old timepiece for longer than they were able to enjoy it."
Source: Europa Star April-May 2007 Magazine Issue