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Schwarz Etienne - Schwarz Etienne is flying high

Schwarz Etienne Schwarz Etienne is flying high

Mauro Egermini is a happy man: during the pandemic, Schwarz Etienne sold more watches than ever before!

Distinctive designs, top-notch in-house movements and annual production of around 300 watches that quickly find homes with collectors of avant-garde timepieces: Schwarz Etienne doesn’t go looking for customers, and not just as a matter of positioning. Customers come to it, wanting to find out more. Now that’s changing after the brand experienced its biggest boom in sales during the Covid pandemic.

All eyes on Schwarz Etienne

As the world came to a standstill, a collaboration with Kari Voutilainen thrust this insider brand into the spotlight. This limited edition of just over 100 watches sold out almost immediately, with a wait list just as long. “Kari is a partner. He’s the man who does most of our guillochage, but he’s also and above all a friend. We sometimes get together with our families outside work,” says Schwarz Etienne’s Chief Executive Mauro Egermini. “Demand has far exceeded capacity, not to mention expectations. The Roma Synergy collaboration with Kari has drawn attention to our other models, too.”

The brand’s international expansion — and we mean international, from the US to the Middle East, Italy and Australia —-is a direct consequence. A couple of years ago, Schwarz Etienne was selling all its production straight to collectors. It’s now developing a strategy of international retail which should automatically lead to an increase in production. “Currently we make between 300 and 400 watches a year. We have the material capacity to double that. We’ve already taken on staff and are still hiring.“

Schwarz Etienne is flying high

Roma Synergy © Schwarz Etienne

Coast to Coast

The US market is a telling example. When Asia was the centre of attention, the brand had just one point of sale there. Then the Roma Synergy collaboration with Kari Voutilainen put North American retailers on the scent. “They came to us, from the West Coast, the East Coast and the central states. Around a dozen in total, all scheduled to open in 2022. These are multibrand retailers who show a particular affinity with independents. No-one needs to have Rolex, Patek or AP explained to them, whereas you need to get into Schwarz Etienne. This means having sales associates who can sit down and spend half an hour with the customer.”

Schwarz Etienne is flying high

Roma Synergy © Schwarz Etienne

Middle East: from Palace to retail

Openings in the Middle East are of a different nature. Previously, Schwarz Etienne dealt directly with palaces on orders for prestigious and highly personalised watches. It now plans to complement this one-to-one model with a panel of retailers shared between Dubai, Bahrein, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, “all of whom set the highest standards and, like their customers, go deep into the brand,“ insists Mauro Egermini, who is also launching points of sale in Italy and Australia. All these markets could be found at the Barton 7 showroom, during Watches & Wonders Geneva, where Schwarz Etienne was one of the exhibitors.

Schwarz Etienne is flying high

Roma Synergy, vue de dos © Schwarz Etienne

More Collabs to come

As well as generating publicity, the collaboration with Kari Voutilainen thus sparked business opportunities for the brand which sold more watches in 2020-2021, at the height of the Covid pandemic, than ever before. More collaborations are on the cards that will continue to pique interest. Who? When? Mauro Egermini is giving little away: the ink isn’t dry yet. There’s talk of someone who already has ties with the brand but hasn’t yet worked with it (unlike the Finnish maestro). A designer, perhaps? Or a movement-maker? Possibly someone from outside the watch world? Mauro Egermini promises that all will be revealed at end 2022 with roll-out in the months after.

Schwarz Etienne is flying high

Schwarz Etienne x Voutilainen, savoir-faire © Schwarz Etienne


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Based in traditional Swiss watchmaking country in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Schwarz Etienne has a century of history in watchmaking but chooses to look to the future rather than the past.

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