Eberhard & Co. Exclusive: Eberhard & Co. on Trial!
It’s a rare breed of person that has decades of service with the same company. Mario Peserico is one, having joined Eberhard & Co. exactly thirty years ago in 1992
After Ralf Tech’s sensational “trial”, Mario Peserico now takes the stand, giving the kind of frank and forthright answers we would expect. Silence in court!
Mario Peserico, at the head of Eberhard & Co., you are accused of putting all your eggs in the Scafograf basket.
Not guilty. The Scafograf made a welcome return in 2016 and it’s only in the past couple of years that we’ve put it in the spotlight. It’s true that it’s our top-selling model in number of units, but is that a crime? Hardly. As one of our six pillars, the Scafograf represents an important part of our history. I think the mistake would be not to give it the attention it deserves.
We have a duty to respect our origins and to keep moving forward. We’re a long way from having explored the Scafograf’s many possibilities. We’re progressing at our own pace which, may I remind you, is that of a 100% independent brand. We don’t have limitless resources but, on the other hand, we’re accountable only to ourselves.
Scafograf 300 MCMLIX © Eberhard & Co.
You are accused of having too many regular collections, sixteen in all, including some that are outdated or not really representative.
Guilty. Like I said earlier, our brand has six main pillars, not sixteen. It’s true we have some niche products which only have limited distribution, but they’re products certain retailers want. Sometimes it only takes a few dozen or a couple of hundred units worldwide to keep a collection going, in which case we have a duty to feature that collection on our website. But, yes, we will have to tighten our focus. In December we’ll be launching a more streamlined website.
You are accused of relying on the Italian market, which is overrepresented compared with other European markets.
I can’t plead guilty or not guilty to this. The Italian market does guide many of the choices we make but, once again, we’re a small independent business, and researching, opening and supplying new markets takes a lot of effort and investment. I admit we made some mistakes in the early 2000s. Then again, when someone opens a new point of sale, they don’t immediately think of Eberhard & Co. We have to convince them. In our defence, it’s extremely difficult to break into certain markets, such as the UK and France. Germany, on the other hand, is clearly a priority. It’s more open, with entry points in Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, etc. Outside Europe, Japan is a promising market.
You are accused of doing nothing to maintain the value of your historic products. Exhibit A is the very low price of your pre-owned watches, despite the Scafograf’s great backstory.
Not guilty. The average price of a pre-owned Eberhard & Co. is steadily increasing. An early complication Extra-Fort Rattrapante in good condition would currently set you back €50,000. This is something we see for ourselves when buying certain rare pieces for our museum.
As we gradually increase the average price of our new models, this should automatically lead to a corresponding rise in the price of our pre-owned watches. But the one thing you will never see us do is buy our own watches at auction in order to artificially inflate their value. It’s unethical and not something we do.
Scafograf 200 DLC Edition Limitée © Eberhard & Co.
You are accused of not making full use of your in-house movement which only equips a tiny part of your collections.
Guilty with extenuating circumstances. We introduced our own movement in 2020 with the intention of rolling it out across more and more references, particularly as part of our plan to increase the average price of our new models, as previously mentioned. There’s also the 8 Jours, which is a patented in-house movement on a Peseux 7001 base that was rebuilt to our specifications. Given what happened in 2020 and 2021, you can appreciate that not all our projects were able to go ahead as planned!
You are accused of not keeping pace with what the market wants: silicon balance springs, interchangeable straps, online sales. Plus your website hasn’t been updated in ages.
I’m going to say not guilty. I’m not sure we have the watches for that. We could introduce silicon balance springs but we would really need to check reliability and cost first. Plus I’m not entirely certain it’s what our customers want. We will look into it.
As for not selling online, it’s a decision we’ve taken. We’re not in the business of online retail. For the past 30 years we have worked with partners we trust and support, and who support us. That’s why, at the height of the Covid crisis, when the market shrunk by 30%, we only lost five per cent. It’s important for us to maintain this type of network. Customers like to be given choice and nothing can replace an objective, knowledgeable, multibrand retailer.
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