Swiss watchmaker Claude Bernard has signed a UK distributor.
Mark Kane, a retired oil futures trader in the City of London, took three years to convince Claude Bernard’s owners to enter the UK market after discovering the brand’s watches, but secured distribution in 2015 and is now actively marketing the collections.
He has already signed up seven retailers in the UK, but aims to make the brand as big in this country as it is in France, Germany and Switzerland where Claude Bernard has hundreds of points of sale.
Mr Kane believes the privately-owned brand’s history of assembling watches in the Jura Mountains of Switzerland, coupled with extremely low prices for quality quartz and mechanical timepieces, will help Claude Bernard stand out in the crowded UK market.
Its best-selling men’s automatics, many of which use ETA movements, are retailing for under £500. Quartz watches are priced as low as £165.
Ladies’ quartz watches in gold-coloured cases with gold Milanese bracelets sell for £255.
Claude Bernard is owned by Edox, and its watches are made in the same factory in Les Genevez. Edox wound up its distribution in the UK when its former distributor retired, but Mr Kane hopes to bring the brand back in 2017 and re-establish it with the 40 retailers that previously stocked the brand.