Germany’s biggest luxury watch retailer, Wempe, which also has a landmark store on Manhattan’s 5 Avenue, has terminated its relationship with Nomos.
The decision was taken in response to Nomos appointing secondary watch market specialists Chrono24 and Chronext as official partners.
News of the termination first reached WatchPro during a trip last week to Glashütte, home to the watchmaking arm of Wempe. Nomos is its neighbour in the East German village.
It was confirmed today in a tersely worded statement from Wempe that accused Nomos of betraying 20 years of working in partnership for the sake of working with gray marketeers.
“Supplying products to Internet platforms that have not been licensed to date, and that primarily draw their product range from the gray market, is contrary to our marketing strategy,” says Wempe CEO Kim-Eva Wempe.
The statement suggests that Nomos did not even consult its long-standing retail partner before appointing Chrono24 and Chronos, both of which are also headquartered in Germany.
“Wempe has promoted the Nomos brand from Glashütte and its watches to many customers over the years. We are convinced that we have made a significant contribution to the Nomos brand’s success,” the statement says.
“We were very disappointed by the decision made by Nomos founder Roland Schwertner to recognise the Internet platforms Chronext and Chrono24 as official partners of the company. Nomos is the only watch brand to have done so. We were completely surprised by this decision, because it had not been discussed with us at all beforehand,” it continues.
“As a family-owned company with a long tradition, we have a concept of partnership that does not include such behavior,” Wempe concludes.
Nomos appointed Chronext and Chrono24 this summer, a signal that significant brands see these global digital platform as a route to market for new as well as pre-owned and gray market stock.
At the time, Chronext CEO Philpp Man told WatchPro that Nomos is one of 14 watch brands that have a formal agreement with Chronext as a retail partner, but none of the other brands have gone public on their association. “There will be announcements,” he said.
Roland Schwertner, founder and owner of Nomos Glashütte, said the agreement with Chronext as a way of serving a new generation of customers. “In addition to the significance of brick-and-mortar operations and the partnership with our jewelers, we recognize the importance of cooperation with a leading watch platform, especially from the perspective of customers. Particularly on an international scope, we would like to ensure that our clientele is well informed,” he said.