Right after the SIHH, I headed to Lucerne for lunch with Sascha Moeri, CEO of Carl F. Bucherer. One of the “good guys” in the watch industry, I wanted to find out how Carl F. Bucherer was doing in the run-up to Baselworld.
How is business?
Last year was amazing. We sold 27,000 watches: an increase of another 10%. The brand grew globally in all the key markets. We have achieved 400 points of sale.
So many things happened in 2018 which were outstanding. In our anniversary year we paid tribute to our rich tradition with the launch of a limited masterpiece in New York: the Heritage Tourbillon DoublePeripheral Limited Edition. We extended our distribution network in the US through the partnership with Tourneau, and – after being accepted to the exclusive circle of excellent manufactures acknowledged by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) in 2017 – topped things off by becoming official partner of the FHH, supporting their goals and causes actively.
Another highlight was the opening of our new boutique in Hong Kong followed by an exclusive gala dinner to celebrate our 130th anniversary. Mr. Joerg G. Bucherer and Li Bingbing attended both events. I did a trip with Mr. Bucherer five years ago where I showed him where our brand could be and with whom we could work in the region. Experiencing together with him that all of that has come true was emotionally very special for me.
Are you thinking of moving to the SIHH?
We are showing in Basel in 2019 and we are very happy to do so. For us, Basel is always a true highlight every year – and it remains important in the watch industry. Our expectations of the show are especially high this year. We are excited to see how well the concepts and new ideas that the fair management has proposed lately will be implemented and perceived by the public.
What is your biggest challenge?
When I started with the company in 2010, it was the increase of production capacity. Then it was getting the assortment right, which we have successfully managed as well with a strong collection consisting of six unique product families, all distinguished by useful yet innovative complications and unique design. Now the biggest challenge is to maintain the direction and energy. We will continue to grow, but will always remain the status of an exclusive manufacture.
What are you excited about going into Basel?
The legendary morning runs together with you and your team, Keith (laughs.)! No, but seriously, we have so many great new, innovative products to show and interesting partnerships to talk about at Basel. There will be an addition to our Heritage line, which shows our tradition and the Bucherer legacy. I am also looking forward to an exciting extension of the ScubaTec family. And last but not least, there will be colorful and feminine new timepieces in our Ladies collection. So fans of the brand have every reason to be excited.
How will Bucherer’s acquisition of Tourneau impact CFB?
First of all, I am super happy and proud that Tourneau is part of the Bucherer family. The management is doing a fantastic job. For the brand, it’s an amazing opportunity. When we started to plan this acquisition, we knew we wanted to have our own subsidiary, so we bought out our US distributor. This gives us more quality stores, more brand awareness, and the access to one of the most important markets in the watch industry. We were already super strong in Europe and in Asia, and now with the US we have all the key markets.
You have been in a number of movies recently (Dead Pool II, John Wick, etc.). Is this a strategy of CFB?
I don’t just want product placement, it has to make sense and be part of the story. We love it and it’s good for the brand. Especially in Asia, if you have nice exposure, it really has an impact. In The Fast and the Furious 6, we sold out the model in Taiwan in two weeks when it opened there. John Wick and Atomic Blonde had an amazing exposure for us, it was the best product placement I have ever seen. It’s really about partnerships – for example, we just did a watch for Keanu Reeves, inspired by the design of his motorcycle Arch.
Are you having fun?
I have the best job in the world, I am blessed and privileged. What I have today, we may never see again – one owner who treats the company as a real entrepreneur. With a long-term vision, with the power and strength to act as a worldwide player. I am very honored and blessed.