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Eberhard & Co. - The four secrets to Eberhard & Co.’s longevity

Eberhard & Co. The four secrets to Eberhard & Co.’s longevity

In the watch industry, it’s pretty rare to stay in one place for 25 or 30 years. But at Eberhard & Co. it’s not at all unusual. WorldTempus dipped a toe into the company’s fountain of youth, to find out what makes people want to stick around.

He is one of the longest-standing managers in the watch industry, his longevity equalled only by his discretion. Mario Peserico, Managing Director of Eberhard & Co. (picture above, with Barbara Monti, CEO) has been with the company for more than a quarter of a century. And he’s far from being the only one – some members of the workforce have been happily employed there for over 30 years. So why do people stay so long with Eberhard & Co.?

Respecting heritage

First, there’s the company’s highly unusual history. It is one of the last remaining historical brands that is still 100% independent. It has three sites, in Biel/Bienne (headquarters, production), Lugano (sales and marketing) and Milan, the company’s only branch in the Italian market, which accounts for approximately 40% of sales. The company’s workforce is spread between these three sites, which means everyone can work for the company while remaining close to their own culture. And the result is remarkable stability.

The four secrets to Eberhard & Co.’s longevity

In 1887, Georges Eberhard founded Eberhard & Co. in la Chaux-de-Fonds

Stable management

Then there’s Eberhard’s management. You won’t find the usual game of musical chairs, where every new board brings in a whole new suite of managers and consultants. The brand has been run by just two families: the founding family (Eberhard) and the Monti family, which still owns the firm today. After a tragic car accident in November 1962 left the company without its president, a Montandon took the reins temporarily, before the Monti family finally took over the family firm. The Montis already had a strong connection with the watchmaker, as they were in charge of the brand’s Italian distribution. This continuity helped to ensure job security for the employees.

Ahead of the curve on gender equality

Another notable feature of the firm is gender equality at management level. “But even then,” states Mario Peserico, the company’s Managing Director, “I think if you counted up exactly the number of men and women, you’d probably find more women!” The company has always had women in management roles (Danielle Eberhard was the last representative of the founding dynasty, up to her accident in 1962) which gives it a unique sense of balance. It’s a good example of equality being synonymous with longevity, as in the case of Caroline and Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, who have led Chopard since the 80s.

The four secrets to Eberhard & Co.’s longevity

Danielle Montandon (née Eberhard) and her husband, André, died in an accident in 1962

Short decision chain

And finally, there is a very short management chain, which contributes to two things. First, all employees remain close to Eberhard’s management. “Everyone has my number. If anyone has a problem, they know they can call me directly and we can sort it out together,” explains Mario Peserico.

Then there is reactivity. When Eberhard needs to act or react, there are just two or three people who need to be consulted, and decisions can be taken immediately. “That’s impossible to do in a big group, with decentralised management. And that’s without even bringing shareholders into the equation,” notes Mario Peserico.

Eberhard brings together all the necessary elements for longevity: balance, equality and a critical size – the three reasons behind the loyalty of its workforce, many of whom have been with the company for more than a quarter of a century, and have absolutely no intention of moving. 

The brand

Since 1887, Eberhard & Co. has been synonymous with passion, innovation and attention to detail and design. These values have defined the Maison ever since it was founded.

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