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QUICKFIRE Q&A: Swiss Watch Brands’ CEO eyes new dawn for vintage brands

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Swiss Watch Brands says it hopes its work can be the beginning of a new era for all watch lovers.

SWB has a portfolio of Swiss watch brands and trademarks with history and with what it describes as a turnkey solution, many promising business opportunities are now accessible for watch enthusiasts.

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WP: Martin, what is your background with watches?

MH: In the 1980s I created my first watch brands. These fashion watches were Swiss Made and distributed mainly in Switzerland, Germany and Austria through retailers and department stores. After working in various other industries, I returned to the watchmaking industry 15 years ago. Since then I work with historical Swiss watch brands.

WP: Has the recent growth of the secondary market allowed your business to progress?

MH: Yes, a lot. Consumer demands are changing towards circular economy, sustainability and luxury experience. The growing secondary market reflects these demands.  Our buyers profit from the secondary and primary watch market at the same time. By launching a brand they can use a sustainable business model and contribute to a circular economy.

Our documented watch brands with history offer authenticity and reliability, basic values in a time of uncertainty.

WP: How can ecommerce and the move online truly benefit watch lovers?

MH: Consumers are generally more online now, buying and trading via social media more than ever before.  Business has shifted very much to the internet, this also applies to watch buyers. Ultimately, watch makers also benefit from a stronger interest in buying online. Some manufacturers offer their new watch models exclusively online and via social media. Also, collectors do not have to show up at watch auctions in person anymore, it is all online now.

WP: Can you explain a little bit more about your turnkey solution?

MH: Our turnkey solution offers a unique historic Swiss watch brand with fulfilment. It comes fully equipped with everything. So buyers can immediately start to sell watches online with their web shop. Not only perspective entrepreneurs, also collectors’ profit from our turnkey solutions. They may use the brands’ website as a service and knowledge platform for likeminded collectors of lesser known watch brands. Last but not least, with the specific knowledge by brand’s owner, second hand watches could be certified.

WP: What does SWB’s portfolio consist of?                                        

MH: Our portfolio is a cross-section of Swiss watchmaking history. From brands that were on the market only for a short time to brands that existed for more than a hundred years. Some of them actually made watchmaking history.

WP: Can you tell us more about the additional services you provide?

MH: Depending on the brand’s legacy, our services for the brands cover a wide spectrum in terms of consulting and manufacturing of watch models. For example, we offer a whole range of services for the production of quartz watches off the shelf, chronographs and also tourbillons as unique pieces.

Our customers have very different needs based on whether they are already in the watch business, or completely new to it. On request, additional services include establishing an operational “brick & mortar” company in Switzerland.

WP: How has COVID affected business for you?

MH: In the beginning of the pandemic, things were a little more quiet than usual. However, the new situation was a blessing for us as we were able to shift a lot of our business online and adapt our digital strategy.

WP: You must have your eyes on enjoying more growth with the secondary market boom, what plans do you have in the short, medium and long term future?

MH: We will continue to expand our offers and make them even more attractive by making use of the latest technologies like blockchain.

I’d also add that the new owner can experience his own watch brand with an untold history. Surprisingly, there are still truly undiscovered treasuries awaiting.

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