Jaw Fine Products has signed a deal to distribute the recently revived Swiss watch brand Venus in the UK.
Venus has previously operated in the UK but dropped out of the market in the 1980s, though Nick Wiseman of Jaw Fine Products said the La Chaux-de-Fonds-founded brand will still be remembered for the movements it supplied to other well-known watch brands in the past.
Venus was relaunched last year after it had been kept to “under guardianship” for several years by its new owners, which felt that 2011 was the right time for a renewed market push. It is now operating from Geneva.
Venus head of commercial development Maurice Spiri said that the Swiss-made timepieces offer price points that he believes the Swiss watch industry has been neglecting. “Our objectives with the re-launch of Venus is to propose a Swiss Made product of quality, but with a price positioning that has been, in a way, abandoned by Swiss brands, which tend to increase their prices regularly,” he said.
The new Venus collections include men’s and women’s watches with contemporary designs but technical features that Spiri said are “often seen in upper segment watches” such as sapphire crystal, screw-in crowns and deployment buckles.
The brand has enjoyed some distribution in the UK previously, but Spiri said that it was some time ago and that he has had to rebuild his library of former contacts and stockists of Venus.
Wiseman, who oversees the distribution of Fortis and Ellicott watches in the UK through Jaw Fine Products, said that the re-launch in the UK will be moderate to begin with.
“I’m aiming to open between five and 10 accounts over a 12 to 18 month period and I’ve already had a couple of bites from my existing accounts,” he explained. While the brand might have plans to start slowly, Spiri envisions reaching 30 doors within three years, with an initial focus on London followed by Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
“I’m going to be very flexible [with a view to new stockists],” said Wiseman. “It’s not a big investment – about £5,000 to get a collection of Venus timepieces in store.”
Jaw Fine Products said it already has samples of several key Venus designs for retailers interested in seeing the offer.
“Concerning the marketing activities planned we are studying the possibility of getting fully ready for the last quarter of 2012 and into 2013,” says Spiri. “Our activity will include advertising and events participation.”
At present the hero timepiece in the Venus collection is its limited-edition Genesis collection automatic chronograph, of which just 250 pieces are available, while its Chroma collection has been pushed for summer owing to its colourful designs that include bright orange silicon straps.
The timepieces retail from about £380 up to £2,000 for designs in the Genesis range. All of the watches are Swiss manufactured with quartz and automatic movements. Its women’s collections also includes diamond-set chronographs.
“It’s only one year old [in its new incarnation] and I like it when you can take something and its fresh and new but it’s got the history,” said Wiseman.
Spiri said that the brand is perfect for customers looking for a timepieces with interesting movements but a reasonable price and that it has already won some global interest. “We have already obtained results in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Japan, Greece and Latin America [which] shows us that we have the right product, at the right time and the right price,” he said.
Venus was created by master craftsman Paul Arthur Schwarz and his wife Olga Etienne-Schwarz in 1902. It has previously won prizes at the Basel fair and by the mid-1960s had global distribution and a collection that offered more than 100 timepieces.
This article was taken from the September 2012 issue of WatchPro magazine, out now.