Sacha Moeri, Carl F Bucherer
Angus Davies interviews Sacha Moeri, Carl F Bucherer.
Angus Davies chats to Sacha Moeri, Carl F Bucherer and learns much about the company he has deftly managed since 2010. The interview provides an insight into what makes this Swiss watch brand special, its plans to create limited numbers of vintage-style timepieces, the company’s approach to design and the impact of Bucherer’s acquisition of Tourneau.
In recent times, several watch brands have branched out into retailing. The Bucherer family have been associated with watch manufacturing and retailing for many years. The company’s expertise in both spheres of commerce is very impressive.
Founded in 1888, Carl F. Bucherer has become a byword for luxury watches. Each timepiece harnesses fine materials and eye-catching design. While the company’s timepieces are positioned in the high-end segment of the watch market, they proffer incredible value. Indeed, over the last few years, I have worn various models from the brand, witnessing first hand the impressive quality of its products.
While many watch brands belong to large luxury groups, Carl F. Bucherer remains a family business. Despite the Bucherer Group being a family-owned firm, it clearly has plentiful resources manifest with its continued expansion and recent acquisition of Tourneau in the US and The Watch Gallery in the UK.
Recently, I spoke with Sacha Moeri, Carl F Bucherer and learnt more about the company he has led since 2010.
Interview with Sacha Moeri, Carl F Bucherer (SM) by Angus Davies
AD: What makes Carl F. Bucherer special?
SM: Firstly, we are a family-owned watch manufacture, founded over 130 years ago by Carl Friedrich Bucherer. Today, the company is owned by the founding family, with Mr Jörg G. Bucherer at its helm. He owns 100% of the company, there are no banks involved and the company is self-financing. Clearly, this is a very unusual situation.
Sacha Moeri and Mr Jörg G. Bucherer
There has been continuity, with the company passing from father to son and, subsequently, son to grandson.
Also our location is unusual, we are the only watch manufacture in the heart of Switzerland. Most of the major players are located in Geneva, Le Locle, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchâtel, Biel/Bienne. Of course, there is another great company in Schaffhausen, but in terms of the heart of Switzerland, where the country was founded in 1291, we are the only watch manufacture located here and that is very special.
In my opinion, it is this combination of being a family-owned company along with great values, such as looking after its employees, caring about the environment and helping the local community, that makes us special.
Vintage Bucherer gem-set watch
We do not spend each day worrying about the share price. Bucherer has a long term vision, with sufficient resources to expand. For example, the group recently acquired Tourneau in the US and The Watch Gallery in the UK.
AD: Your company has made some very impressive watches in recent years, including the Manero Peripheral, Chronoperpetual and, most recently, the Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral. Can you provide any clue about future complications you may offer?
SM: We have a clear strategy for developing and producing our own in-house movements. In addition we are also working on high-end complications with our partners. It is our objective to surprise both our customers and watch aficionados. Indeed, we have a nice circle of consumers who collect our timepieces.
We are not about mass production, our annual capacity is 25,000 pieces, hence supply is limited and very exclusive.
Currently we are developing new complications for Baselworld 2019.
AD: Carl F. Bucherer is a family business. What benefits does this provide the watch-buying public?
SM: Mr Bucherer often wears Carl F. Bucherer watches. For example, he wears a Scubatec when on holiday or, alternatively, when he is on business he frequently wears a tourbillon. His grandfather’s name is on the dial, so he has an emotional connection with our company’s watches. Therefore, there is a huge emphasis on quality. We never compromise on quality.
When we are sourcing a dial, we may receive 10 samples. We do not look for the cheapest. While a lay-person may not spot any difference, if we detect one dial is superior we will choose that option. Our decision is based on the best dial for our brand. There are no compromises in terms of cost. This is a different approach to many companies and a key benefit of being a family business.
AD: Carl F. Bucherer has a rich history harking back to 1888. Are there any models from the past that you would like to revisit? For example, I know you made some gorgeous Art Deco timepieces back in the 1920s.
SM: The name of Carl Bucherer watches was changed to Carl F. Bucherer in 2001 and the company repositioned itself to the premium, high-end segment of the watch market. In the last few years, we have focussed upon making new collections, for example, the Manero, the Patravi etc.
Carl F Bucherer Heritage Tourbillon DoublePeripheral Limited Edition
However, now is the time to benefit from our 130 year anniversary. We are soon to launch our first anniversary edition. This will be based on the Manero Tourbillon Double Peripheral, but with a vintage appearance. For example, it will have an old case, box-glass sapphire crystal and a beautifully decorated movement with some references to Lucerne. Thereafter, we will launch a vintage line, which is not necessarily in our existing collection, allowing us to have the freedom to create period watches which inspire us. These watches will be very limited and, as a result, very exclusive.
AD: In recent years, Bucherer, your sister company, acquired The Watch Gallery in the UK and Tourneau in the United States. How have these acquisitions impacted on Carl F. Bucherer?
SM: If I focus upon Tourneau because this has had the biggest impact on Carl F. Bucherer. Prior to the acquisition, our major markets were Europe and Asia. In Europe, we enjoyed much success because we had our own retail network and benefitted from tourists visiting Europe. We have focussed on Asia for some time and have our own affiliate in Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.
Bucherer watch circa 1920
In addition, we use Ron Stoll in the US to distribute Carl F. Bucherer watches. This company has built up a network of 80 independent retailers. This is a substantial number of outlets and includes some very prestigious names. Now, with the acquisition of tourneau and its 20+ AA stores, located all over the country, the distribution of Carl F. Bucherer is complete. We will actually be acquiring Ron Stoll in the next few weeks and I am pleased to report that Ron Stoll himself, along with his team, will remain on-board.
I have met with Tourneau personnel and they are delighted to have their own brand of watches (Carl F. Bucherer).
The acquisition of Tourneau has had a huge impact on Carl F. Bucherer. It is a game changer for our brand.
AD: What are your aspirations for this business?
SM: We have come a long way since 2010, when I joined the company. At the time we made 6000 watches per year and now we produce 25,000 pieces. Our target is to increase this to 30,000 watches.
You will never see Carl F. Bucherer making 300,000 or 400,000 watches, this is not us. We want to be very exclusive. With our current infrastructure we could probably even make 35,000 watches, however, 30,000 pieces is our next target.
Capitalism can strike a grotesque pose. Many multi-national companies pursue profit without any consideration to the wider implications of their actions. Some companies fixate on the prevailing share price and the needs of institutional investors without due consideration of their employees, customers or communities at large.
It is clear that Carl F. Bucherer is defined by the principles of the company’s founding family. Evidently, the Swiss firm cares about its staff, suppliers, customers, the citizens of Lucerne and beyond. Its long-term outlook is not encumbered with thoughts of share prices, rather the health of the company in decades to come. This philosophy is manifest with the high quality components used. Indeed, the word ‘compromise’ does not seem to be part of this company’s parlance.
Speaking with Sacha Moeri, Carl F Bucherer revealed that the company has enjoyed significant growth since his arrival in 2010. Furthermore, the company hopes to grow in the future, however, it does not envisage growing so large that it loses the exclusivity its clients have come to enjoy.
With its array of differently styled collections, there is much choice for the discerning watch buyer. However, a couple of off the record comments revealed there are some interesting models in the pipeline and I, for one, can’t wait.