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Carl F. Bucherer: Haute Horlogerie in central Switzerland

Carl F. Bucherer: Haute Horlogerie in central Switzerland

Thursday, 15 November 2018
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Christophe Roulet
Editor-in-chief, HH Journal

“The desire to learn is the key to understanding.”

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6 min read

Based in Lucerne and backed by one of the world’s largest retailers, from its first watch in 1919 to the fully integrated manufacturing site opened a decade ago, Carl F. Bucherer continues its ascension. Chief Executive Sascha Moeri answered our questions as the brand becomes a partner to the FHH.

This year, Carl F. Bucherer is celebrating its 130th anniversary. Do you think the public is aware that you have such a long history as a watchmaker, as distinct from Bucherer AG, one of the leading watch and jewellery retailers?

Sascha Moeri, CEO, Carl F. Bucherer: We are proud to be part of Bucherer AG and therefore under the same roof as Europe’s largest and best-in-class retailer. This gives us many advantages and a direct connection to the sales front. But we are also very proud of having our own history as a watch manufacturer. Our origins lie in Lucerne, where our founder Carl Friedrich Bucherer opened his first boutique for fine jewellery and watches in 1888. We have gone a long way since then. We are still strongly connected to Lucerne and its “terroir”, and inspired and driven by this rich heritage of 130 years; at the same time, we are developing and producing ingenious in-house movements such as the T3000 at our own state-of-the-art manufacturing site. We have a very unique approach to design and technology and yes, people are recognizing Carl F. Bucherer as an independent brand with a strong history.

When and why did you take the decision to develop the manufacturing side of the business and become a fully integrated manufacture?

Carl F. Bucherer’s plan has always been to build completely in-house developed movements. In 2008, we were all set to bring this plan to fruition and start production of our first movement, the A1000, at our own manufacturing site. Having our own manufacture enables us to expand research and development, come up with innovative complications and really integrate the different processes involved in making such fantastic timepieces as our new Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral with a floating tourbillon.

Was it a difficult process and has it been worth it in terms of increased sales?

Opening our manufacturing site was not a difficult process; it was the logical next step. Through our manufacture in Lengnau, we have built a center of excellence with a modern infrastructure, and are all set to not only continue the history of making our own movements but to establish a truly integrated production process which meets the highest standards in the field of Haute Horlogerie and puts us in a very competitive position within the industry. Customers reward those efforts and the spirit of innovation with their trust and esteem for our watches.

Opening our manufacturing site was not a difficult process; it was the logical next step.
Sascha Moeri
Your first in-house calibre, the CFB A1000, was a big success. What new dimension has it brought to the brand?

With our first in-house developed movement we set the course for the strong position we now have in the watch market. The A1000 was the world’s first serial-produced movement with a peripheral rotor. It set new standards within the industry and established our role as pioneers in the field of peripheral technology.

Carl F. Bucherer was among the interesting surprises at the last Baselworld with its Heritage Tourbillon Double Peripheral. Can we expect to see more and more complicated pieces from the brand?

Let me just say that the DNA of Carl F. Bucherer is made of our long history and the character of innovation, hence customers can expect innovative technologies, highly functional complications and outstanding design paired with unique tradition in the future!

What are the advantages of being a family business in a world dominated by publicly listed groups?

Being a family-run company allows us to think outside the box, to build and pursue a continuous long-term strategy, and act independently. This comes with certain dynamics: decisions are made quickly and executed fast, which enables us to work in a highly efficient way. It’s an enormous privilege and a big advantage compared with the rather static situation of many other brands.

Has the situation for the sector improved in the United States since the takeover of Tourneau by Bucherer?

The current market situation is really exciting, especially in terms of distribution. The partnership with Tourneau enables us to offer our excellent watches to a wider audience throughout the US and by doing so increase brand awareness, which is an important step in our long-term strategy within the American market.

Geographically speaking, where are the best opportunities for Carl F. Bucherer and with what products. Also, what is the strategy regarding online business?

The Asian market currently stands for 40% of our sales, right alongside Europe. But Asia, especially Greater China with Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China, has become a very important factor for the growth of the brand globally. The rest is split between the US and other regions, where we have also been growing strongly in the past months.
E-commerce will become more and more important in the upcoming years. In the future, the most successful brands will be the ones that are able to orchestrate online and offline touchpoints all together in a well-balanced way. We recognized the trend towards online sales and purchases a while ago, which is why we are very proud to have recently opened our first digital boutique with JD.com in China.

You've joined the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie as a partner-brand. What prompted such a move?

The FHH brings together the best watch brands in the world. We are proud to have been listed among the top manufacturers recognized by the FHH for some time. With our official partnership, we are strengthening this commitment and look forward to making an important contribution to upholding the traditions of Haute Horlogerie and the exchange of information in the sector. This is a prestigious position to be in, all thanks to the excellent work of an outstanding team in Lucerne and Lengnau – our CFB-Family, which I am proud to be a part of.

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