Johann Rupert remains the richest person in the Swiss watchmaking industry with assets at the end of 2016 estimated at CHF 4.75 billion.
In a rich list report compiled every year by Swiss business paper Bilanz, Mr Rupert, chairman of Richemont was reported to have seen his family wealth decline from CHF 5.5 billion in assets in 2015 to CHF 4.75 billion at the end of December 2016.
In a torrid year for luxury Swiss watchmakers, Richemont’s stock price declined from CHF72 at the end of 2015 to a low of CHF 53 in the middle of 2016 before recovering to CHF67 by the end of the year.
Second on the Swiss watchmaker rich list was the Hayek family, which controls Swatch Group and had its assets valued by Bilanz at CHF 4.25 billion.
The private owner of Patek Philippe, the Stern family, was third, with assets worth CHF 3.25 billion, while Europe’s largest luxury watch retailer, Bucherer, contributed to wealth of CHF 1.75 billion to the Bucherer family coffers.
The Bernheim and Weil families, famous for the Raymond Weil brand, are said to be worth CHF 275 million, a figure that’s remained stable for several years.
Owning a family business for several generations is a key to climbing the rich list ladder, but there are notable examples of executives enriching themselves through sheer hard work and talent. Jean-Claude Biver, head of watchmaking at LVMH, which makes TAG Heuer, Hublot, Zenith and Bulgari timepieces, made into the Swiss watchmaking rich list at number 12 with assets valued at CHF 175 million.