UK watch distributor Nuval is in the process of a brand reshuffle as it drops TechnoMarine and Carl F Bucherer in favour of new signings Porsche Design, Fendi and Davidoff.
The company will continue to work with existing brands Philip Stein, Bedat & Co, Ball Watches, Eberhard, Graham and Metal.CH, which has recently signed a deal to enter House of Fraser concessions.
Nuval chief operating officer Chris Bedworth said the exiting brands leaving the portfolio had struggled to find their place in the UK market. “With Carl F Bucherer for example the challenge is that in Switzerland it is very well known [where the Bucherer family also runs a chain of stores], but outside of that it is not an international brand,” explained Bedworth. “When you speak to retailers they want something that people will have heard of and know. When we looked at how much we have to invest in the business it just became uncommercial, it didn’t work. If you’re going to do it you have to do it properly, as the UK is one of the most mature watch markets in the world.”
While it has dropped two brands, Nuval has replaced them with three new signings: Fendi, Porsche Design and Davidoff.
Nuval has been working on signing a contract with Fendi watches, which is part owned by LVMH, for the past year and the partnership is now official. Bedworth believes that the brand will gain good traction in the UK. He said: “If you look at the female market, we can see that channel is flying, and Gucci is quite strong, but there is a gap and we felt that Fendi could do really well. It is a mix between fashion and high end but I still think it’s quite fashion and the price points allow it to be so.”
Bedworth said that the distribution strategy for Fendi will be a mixture of multiple retailers and key independents. He said an important line will be Crazy Carats, which has gemstone hour markers set on an axis that rotates when the crown is twisted to alternate between three gemstones.
Motor-inspired Porsche Design is another new signing for the company. The 30-year-old brand has entered and exited the UK before but Bedworth said the brand has since been through a “big transition”. It is not expected to be a mass-market launch but Bedworth believes there will be some doors in the UK where the Italian brand will work.
The newest addition to Nuval is Davidoff. At BaselWorld the brand told WatchPro it would enter the UK through Nuval in the next few weeks. The brand, which is inspired by the fashion house of the same name, which has also had huge success in the perfume market, has never tried to enter the UK since its 2006 watch launch but described it as an important step in its global expansion plans.
Nuval has also gone through a personnel restruc-ture in recent months. Last month former brand director Charlotte Cherrie left the business after five years to join Swatch Group as national account manager for Rado. She told WatchPro her decision to leave was based on personal career progression and that she took the job to add sales experience to her brand management experience at Nuval and retail experience from her days as a buyer for Aurum.
There will be no immediate direct replacement for Cherrie. Her duties will be shared among the existing team and Bedworth said that a new sales structure will help to ease the pressure created by her departure.
Previously Nuval’s sales agent structure had been defined regionally with one person representing all Nuval brands in an area but the new structure has its salespeople dedicated to a single brand. “By the guys running the brands they take total responsibility for it and become known as the guy who looks after that brand,” said Bedworth.
Nick Wiseman joined Nuval at the start of the year from Jaw Fine Products, a watch distribution company run by the owners of retailer Ogden of Harrogate. In this role Wiseman had previously been working with brands Fortis and Ellicott. Jaw Fine Products has been disbanded as the owners focus on retail rather than distribution.
Wiseman has been charged with building up watch brands Ball Watches and Porsche Design in the UK market. “He’s doing brilliantly,” said Bedworth. “He’s ready to drive the business and be proactive.”