Chronoswiss New Leadership
— #wtbasel/Oliver Ebstein, new CEO of the German-Swiss brand, explains some of his vision for the 29-year-old marque he has just taken over in this first interview.
WT: Do you have any previous ties to the watch industry?
OE: No, only my own joy in watches, which I have enjoyed for a long time. As a Swiss citizen, watches have accompanied me for as long as I can walk.
What caused you to become interested in taking over Chronoswiss?
Our enthusiasm for the brand and its tradition, the timeless design, our respect for Mr. Lang's lifework, and also the operative integration of our own management capacity into the company, which represents a very exciting combination. We have searched out an authentic family company, and we found it in Chronoswiss.
What is your main business generally and why the sudden detour into watches?
In the past, we have been in the world of finance, business consultancy (including restructuration management), and were active in different mid-sized manufacturing companies. In principle, Chronoswiss is a manufacturing company in which the managerial tasks will be especially fun thanks to our enthusiasm for the product. For this reason, I would like to underscore the long-term basis of our commitment.
What do you plan on doing differently at Chronoswiss?
We certainly have a lot of catching up to do, above all in the areas of supply chain management and marketing, which will be the subjects of our initial attention. Basically, we are interested in continuing and expanding this brand so rich in tradition, not in radical change.
What will your focus be in terms of the collection?
It is perhaps somewhat too early to answer this question. We are very proud of the collection as it stands; it receives good feedback from the market for both design and its demanding technical aspects. Generally, we can already say that the DNA of the Chronoswiss brand will always be part of our future models and collections and that in terms of quality there will be no compromise, even in the future.
I see that this year's Basel is about resuscitating the Kairos collection, one of the first building blocks of this company more than 20 years ago. Can we expect to see more along these lines?
Since Chronoswiss will celebrate its 30-year anniversary next year, we are working on a beautiful anniversary watch from this collection. Chronoswiss was always an innovator and will continue to have innovation flowing into its collection in the future.
Who will now be the actual head of Chronoswiss, making the decisions and leading the day-to-day business of the company?
I, Oliver Ebstein, will be taking over the function of CEO for the group. I will be making decisions together with Karlo Josef Burgmayer, who will continue to manage the sales. Without the experienced and competent team already in place, management would not be worth very much. We are happy to continue to count on employees who have long been in the positions they are.
One main question will certainly be on the lips of all who are familiar with this brand: Chronoswiss was so deeply intertwined with the personality of its founder, Gerd-Rüdiger Lang, that it is hard to imagine it could remain the same brand if run by someone else - particularly someone who has not gone through the quartz crisis, experienced the renaissance of mechanical timepieces first-hand and was only in his early teens when this company was founded. How do you intend on convincing the skeptics?
With sustainability and consistency. We do not have to reinvent the wheel, but we do have the honor of continuing to restore and expand a great brand and a fantastic product with a remarkable history. Additionally, we are lucky to continue to have the founder and creative genius Gerd-Rüdiger Lang to advise us even in the future. We value his continued commitment very much. Finally, I would like to say that the technical know-how in the company will continue to remain in place.