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Favre-Leuba - Interview with Thomas Morf, CEO

Favre-Leuba Interview with Thomas Morf, CEO

Technical innovation and value for money are the watchwords for the revival of the historical Favre-Leuba brand.

Tell us how the new Favre-Leuba collection was born and how you plan to take the brand forward.
I’ve known the brand since 1972, when I was eight years old. I had always admired it alongside some of the other big brands. Everything we do now is basically the same as what made the brand big in the early days and that boils down to three things: strong design, unmistakable innovative technology and perceived value. It’s very simple and many brands make claims along these lines, but few of them can actually back it up. The brand’s achievements speak for themselves and we are trying to build a bridge back to the brand’s heyday.

We first saw the new collection in Baselworld, but since then you have been taking it around the world. What has the response been?
In general people appreciate what the brand did for the Swiss watchmaking industry. They also like what they see. We’re not coming with something ordinary and we are demonstrating that we have gone the extra mile. If you look at our catalogue and packaging you can see that we take everything very seriously. This is something that separates Favre-Leuba from other brands. We cannot howl with the big wolves yet, but maybe in 20 years or more we can get there. I think with the direction we are going it will work..

As you are starting the redevelop the brand, the entire retail and distribution paradigm is shifting. How do you plan to tackle that particular challenge?
We need a hybrid solution. On the one hand we need bricks and mortar retailers who can amplify our message. On other hand we are not closing our eyes to online. We already have strong retailers helping us and as soon as they started stocking the Bivouac, it sold, which is a really positive sign. We also want to use online channels to a certain extent, but first I want to build up the brand’s image. I think then sales will come afterwards..

Interview de Thomas Morf, CEO

Bivouac 9000 © Favre-Leuba

Favre-Leuba has a rich history. How much actual historical material do you have and how do you plan to use it?
We have a decent amount of information about the brand’s history. But we also gather a lot from museums and even individuals. We have people knocking on the door of our offices who used to work for the brand and in some cases they are in their nineties. Furthermore we still have access to members of the Favre family who can provide a lot of information. They are proud that the brand is back and they can see the ambition behind it. We also buy back certain watches and we repair any watch from the brand’s history that we receive. We are at the service of the customer and we want to keep customers loyal to the brand.

Will we see Favre-Leuba in Baselworld given all the recent changes?
Yes! We are a traditional Swiss brand and we support Baselworld. I’m not going to spend millions on a three-storey stand but we will be in Les Ateliers again with the same stand. I don’t dislike the fact that Baselworld has reduced the number of exhibitors because I think it improves the quality of the show. These shows are expensive but they don’t happen every day. Maybe we could change it to every two years. Why do we have to launch new products every year? Do people really expect this from brands who are relatively conservative by their very nature?

The brand

Favre-Leuba is the second-oldest Swiss watch brand and traces its origins to the workshop of Abraham Favre in Le Locle, which was first officially mentioned in 1737.

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