Bucherer, the biggest luxury watch retailer in Europe, has bought America’s largest fine watch business Tourneau for an undisclosed sum.
The deal gives Bucherer an immediate network of 28 stores across 10 states and a fully integrated e-commerce business.
Tourneau’s has been owned by private equity firm Green Equity Investors for several years, and rumors of its imminent sale have been growing louder throughout the past 12 months.
“With over a century of expertise as the preeminent purveyor of fine watches in the U.S., Tourneau provides an exciting opportunity for the Bucherer Group to establish a footprint and extend our offering of fine watches and jewelry to the United States,” says Guido Zumbühl, CEO of the Bucherer Group.
“With this acquisition, we will immediately introduce the Bucherer brand to millions of potential customers in one of the most important global watch and jewelry markets,” he adds.
Bucherer has dramatically expanded its reach in the past year. The Swiss-based business bought The Watch Gallery in the United Kingdom in March 2017. The Watch Gallery operates the fine watch department of Selfridges, one of the most iconic department stores in the world, as well as two standalone boutiques and a Rolex-branded store in London’s ultra-affluent Knightsbridge neighborhood.
The UK acquisition gave Bucherer an instant platform to ramp up sales of its Carl F. Bucherer watch brand and its Bucherer Fine Jewellery.
Mr Zumbühl says Bucherer will be doing the same in the United States.
“This is a great opportunity to firmly establish the Carl F. Bucherer brand in the US and introduce Bucherer Fine Jewellery into the North American market,” he describes.
The American market for luxury Swiss watches is entering a new era in 2018, with European giants taking a major stake.
In October last year, Aurum Holdings, which has around 165 retail points of sale in the UK, bought Mayors with 16 stores in Florida and Georgia for $106 million.
Earlier this month Aurum announced that it has taken over the running of the huge Rolex boutique and a multi-brand luxury watch store in the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas. The group has also revealed plans to open two Watches of Switzerland destination stores in New York, and says it will open a third in California.
Aurum Holdings CEO Brian Duffy told WatchPro that it will generate sales of around $1 billion this year.
Tourneau’s business in the United States remains considerably larger than Aurum’s, and its chief executive Ira Melnitsky, intends to keep it that way.
“Bucherer is a dream partner for Tourneau. A Swiss company with 130 years of history in the industry, Bucherer understands fine watches like few others, making them the ideal partner for Tourneau. As our business continues to perform and grow, this is a natural next step for the company.
“With the backing of one the world’s leading watch retailers, Tourneau’s customers, business partners and employees will benefit from Bucherer’s expertise, innovation, unmatched product selection and services. I am extremely proud to be joining the Bucherer ‘family’ and look forward to an exciting future with our team,” he says.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF BUCHERER (IN ITS OWN WORDS)
In 1888, businessman and entrepreneur Carl-Friedrich Bucherer and his wife Luise opened their first watch and jewelry store in Lucerne at placid Lake Lucerne and thereby laid the foundation for the successful family-owned enterprise.
Even at that time Switzerland was a popular destination for guests from all over the world and enjoyed an outstanding reputation for its art of watchmaking.
Today, Bucherer is the largest provider of watches and jewelry in Europe. Steeped in tradition, the company has been fostering the art of making watches and jewelry for decades, and is proud to be able to offer its international clientele a broad range of luxury watch brands including what is arguably the most comprehensive range of Rolex watches. Bucherer’s collaboration with Rolex began as early as the 1920s and is one of the company’s most important cornerstones to this day.
The Bucherer retail brand is present in 33 exclusive locations in Europe, with 16 points of sale in Switzerland, 10 stores in Germany, 1 flagship boutique in Vienna, 1 boutique in Paris (the world’s largest watch and jewelry store), 1 boutique in Copenhagen, and since 2017, 4 stores in London. The company is led in the third generation by Jörg G. Bucherer, and employs over 1,750 people. Today, the Bucherer headquarters is still located in Lucerne.
Bucherer is much more than a watch retailer today. In addition to retail stores, Bucherer sets itself apart with its Carl F. Bucherer watch manufacturing brand and a separate jewelry line under the brand name Bucherer Fine Jewellery. The rich tradition and world-class quality of each of these lines speak for themselves and the competency of the Swiss house.
In fine Swiss watches, the Carl F. Bucherer name has been synonymous with quality, innovation and passion since 1888. Founded in Lucerne, it has become an internationally renowned global brand characterized by its founder’s pioneering spirit and the cosmopolitan esprit of its home. Carl F. Bucherer is one of the few remaining family-owned Swiss watch manufacturers.