Typically August is a somewhat quiet month for the watchmaking industry. And so, a brand buying one of the largest retailers in the world wasn’t on our bingo card for this month and yet Rolex has just moved to buy the historic Swiss retailer Bucherer that will give the Swiss giants a massive foothold in the consumer sales side of watchmaking.
While Rolex previously only owned one single retail location across the entire globe, which was a location in their home city of Geneva, the world’s largest watchmaker with over 9 billion Swiss francs ($10.2 billion) in annual sales will now have ownership of over 100 Bucherer locations worldwide. At the minute, 53 of those locations retail Rolex and 48 retail Tudor.
Bucherer also serves as an official after-sales service centre for both brands and was one of the first retailers to launch Rolex’s Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) Programme, so perhaps the writing was on the wall that these two historical brands would look to intertwine their watchmaking DNA even further at some stage in the near future.
It is also worth mentioning that Bucherer also owns US-based retailer Tourneau after their 2018 acquisition of the retailer which has 30 locations across the United States. As a result, Rolex will now go from having virtually no retail presence to having one of the largest retail presences in the industry where they can increase the profit they retain on their own watches and receive a slice of the pie from other brands’ sales.
Additionally, on that point, Rolex’s statement has said the retailer would remain independent within the group, and other official retailers in Rolex’s sales network will remain changed, however, it is hard to imagine that this won’t have exciting consequences for the industry. While retailers have purchased brands before in the past, a brand purchasing a retailer is certainly much less common, so this is exciting times ahead for Bucherer. In fact, we’d go as far to say that it’s almost just as exciting as when they collaborated with us on our TWS x Bucherer Watch Stands.