The unsung heroes of any industry are the agents. Sometimes unheralded, often unvaunted and occasionally unjustly unloved, they should be neither underestimated nor unnoticed.
Paul Kustow is a perfect example. You simply won’t ?nd anyone with more passion for their brands anywhere in the industry. His infectious ardour outstrips that of many designers and even brand owners.
The reason is that to him both of his key watch brands, MeisterSinger and Nomos Glashütte, are his discoveries, unearthed gems. The ?rst mined from the deep sods of BaselWorld soil, the other encountered when travelling from Basel to Lucerne “by a combination of networking and luck”.
However it happened, he is now responsible for two of the most interesting and best looking brands on the UK watch scene through his own company Alexander Collections. And under the likeable Paul’s guidance both are making real progress.
He says Nomos should reach its target of 20-plus retailers by the end of the year, and meanwhile he persuaded MeisterSinger to produce a limited-edition watch celebrating both the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation and the 1738 single-hand clock gracing the northwest tower above the west doors of Westminster Abbey.
“The exquisite dial and single-hand are faithful representations of the clock dial and 50% of the edition of 60 watches sold out at the launch in BaselWorld this year.”
It’s all a far cry from where he was 19 years ago when he founded Alexander Collections as a high-end gift distributor. But as much as he adores these two brands, Paul says that his greatest hurdle has been simply getting retailers to look at them.
But he is that most effective of things – a man with a theory. It runs like this. “I perceive the watch business being made up of three broad product areas: major brands, me-too brands, which try to emulate a major brand, and original niche brands. I have been offered more me-too brands over the years than I can remember and I have always turned them down.”
Needless to say, MeisterSinger and Nomos Glashütte are a bit more special and Paul’s ambition is to achieve a legacy for them. “When the time comes for me to relinquish MeisterSinger and Nomos and retire, I want them to be even better established, respected, loved and fast selling than they are now.”
Nomos Glashutte & Meistersinger UK distributor Paul Kustow was a CMJ Brand Champion in the WatchPro Hot 100 2013 in association with The Company of Master Jewellers. To read a digital version of the book in full online, click here.