Schwarz Etienne – Pandemic, Kari, Synergy: Schwarz Etienne takes off – People and Interviews – WorldTempus

Schwarz Etienne: an unusual look, very fine manufacture movements, around 300 pieces a year, reserved for avant-garde collectors. The brand remains confidential. It’s not just a question of positioning: it’s a house that doesn’t come to the collector, but the collector must go to understand his soul. At least until this year.

pandemic madness

Because Schwarz Etienne had its biggest boom 18 months ago. The whole world stood still, but the house turned, and very round: his collaboration with Kari Voutilainen gave him unprecedented limelight. Thanks to her, sales have exploded. The limited series of just over 100 pieces was only surpassed by the waiting list for one copy. “Kari is a partner, the man who makes most of our guilloches, but he is also and above all a friend with whom we sometimes share our free time as a family,” explains Mauro Egermini, CEO. “That’s the whole spirit of collaboration. Requests have far exceeded our capacity and expectations as this Roma synergy has brought the spotlight to the rest of our parts as well.”

Direct consequence: Schwarz Etienne expands internationally. And not just a little: USA, Middle East, Italy, Australia. The brand, which was directly distributed a few years ago, is now taking the lead in an international retail strategy. So that should inevitably lead to an increase in production: “We are currently at 300-400 parts per year and have the material capacity to double that. We have already recruited, but there are still vacancies.

Roma synergy © Black Etienne

side by side

The most revealing is the American market. Not so long ago there were few if any: a single outlet. All eyes then turned to Asia. But again, the Roma synergy created with Kari Voutilainen has whetted the appetites of North American retailers. “They are the ones who picked us up, both from the west and east coasts but also from the center, for a total of about ten outlets. In 2022 they will all be open – multibrands, but above all retailers who have a special sensitivity to independents. Nobody has to explain Rolex, Patek or AP. Schwarz Etienne, you have to go in there and you have employees who can sit at a table with a customer and spend 30 minutes with them.”

Pandemic, Kari, Synergy: Black Etienne takes off

Roma synergy © Black Etienne

Middle East: from palaces to boutiques

Openings in the Middle East show a different profile. Black Etienne used to take care of the palaces directly. These were therefore prestige orders, individual and largely personalised. The Manufacture will complete this ‘direct’ model with a deployment of retailers split across Dubai, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and then Oman – ‘demanding retailers who, like their customers, will go really deep into the brand’ . , specifies Mauro Egermini, who immediately opens markets in Italy and Australia. So many markets congregated for a few days in the Barton 7 area during Watches & Wonders Geneva where Black Etienne raised the flag.

Pandemic, Kari, Synergy: Black Etienne takes off

Roma Synergy, rear view © Black Etienne

The Vein of “Collaborations”

The play, co-directed with Kari Voutilainen, therefore caused both a commercial influx and an unexpected spotlight on Black Etienne, which sold more than any other season in 2020-2021, all amid COVID. An uncharacteristic observation but one that sets the tone for the future: more collaborations have already been announced to keep the flame going. Who when ? Mauro Egermini remains evasive. The ink is not dry. We are again talking about a friend of the house, but she is not yet working with her, as was the case with the Finnish watchmaker. A designer? A driver? Maybe someone who doesn’t come from the world of watchmaking? The CEO speaks of a revelation at the end of 2022 for marketing in the following months.

Pandemic, Kari, Synergy: Black Etienne takes off

Black Etienne x Voutilainen, know-how © Black Etienne

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