Bucherer Blue Editions: When A Retailer Becomes A True Luxury Brand
Limited editions for a multi-brand retailer? Who would have thought? Bucherer, the famed retailer from Lucerne, is the only name who has successfully ventured in the territory. Today’s outcome is a beautiful 2019 vintage. We take a look back on a unique strategy.
Great watch brands regularly re-edit their emblematic models in limited (and attractive) series, available only in their boutiques. Bucherer, the watch retail giant, employs the same strategy, behaving as a brand in its own right. This is the power of the number one retail group!
The Power of BLUE
Bucherer launched the collection in 2016. At that time, blue was becoming fashionable in the watchmaking landscape. This was a stroke of luck for the world’s largest watch retailer whose iconic color has been a distinctive royal blue since its creation in 1888. With its strong ties to numerous watch brands, Bucherer convinced 9 manufactures to produce special limited editions only available in their stores thus the Bucherer BLUE collection was born. This rocked the watch world because while most brands were refocusing their distribution on their own boutiques, Bucherer was demonstrating that retailers had their own strengths.
Exceptional, Limited, or Special Timepieces
The first edition saw prestigious brands join this exceptional BLUE offering: Audemars Piguet came with two icons, a Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph and a Royal Oak Tourbillon Extra-Thin; IWC with a Portugieser Chronograph; Jaeger-LeCoultre with a subdued Master Control Ultra Thin Date; Panerai with a highly sought-after Radiomir 1940; Piaget with a unique Altiplano; Longines with a Master Collection; as well as Chopard with an iconic Happy Sport; Carl F. Bucherer with a splendid Manero Peripheral; and last but least, H. Moser & Cie with a Venturer Small Seconds completed the initial lineup.
Most are, of course, long gone. Others are still available with some luck, like the TAG Heuer Formula 1 with its characteristic intense blue. This piece is only available through Bucherer’s online store.
Building on this success, the collection added two new references the following year. Tudor offered a highly notable Black Bay Bronze Blue and Baume & Mercier delivered a rapidly sold out Clifton Club Shelby Cobra Chronograph. At this point, savvy collectors started to seriously take notice of this collection.
This trend continued in 2018 as new prestigious brands came on board: Vacheron Constantin arrived with superb BLUE iterations of its Traditionnelle – one classic and one small version with a diamonds studded bezel – and a stellar 14-Day Tourbillon; Piaget joined the ranks with a Polo S; and, Blancpain introduced an unmissable Fifty Fathoms with a unique blue rotor adorned with Bucherer’s name. As the Bucherer BLUE collection grew, it confirmed that collaborations between brands and a true retailer partner could be efficient, beautiful, and, henceforth, sought-after.
Additionally, Bucherer pushed the concept even further that year with a unique, ultra-exclusive creation that lay outside the realm of watchmaking. It was, of course, the Harley-Davidson Bucherer BLUE. This one-off Harley Davidson boasts the iconic Bucherer blue, incorporates diamonds from the jeweler, and integrates a unique Carl F. Bucherer timepiece. And, for CHF 1.888 million (an homage to Bucherer’s founding year), this work of art can be a collector’s grail piece.
Triple The Success
Bucherer has succeeded in creating a new way to communicate – co-branding – and sealed long-term partnerships. Now, in 2019, this young collection is only 4 years old yet attracts ever more manufactures. Moreover, the BLUE collection excites collectors’ desires becoming an annual rendez-vous to satiate their appetites for exclusivity, differentiation, and blue.
This year, IWC returns to BLUE with another iteration of the Portugieser Chronograph – all blue and white – fresh, elegant, limited to 365 pieces, and a very enticing price tag of CHF 7,900. Glasshütte Original makes its presence known with a Senator Excellence Perpetual Calendar with a unique midnight blue dial. Strictly limited to 50 pieces, it is aggressively priced at CHF 19,800. Longines is also back with a gorgeous Master Collection Chronograph sporting blue and silver tones. With 500 available timepieces, more modest budgets can afford its CHF 2,700 price tag.
Breguet joins the BLUE collection with a special Marine 5517 featuring a fluted titanium case and blue guilloche dial, which will enchant the most discerning collectors for CHF 18,500. Finally, Tissot brings its first model to the collection, a Chemin des Tourelles Automatic Chronograph. The namesake of the brand’s hometown and limited to 888 pieces, this audacious yet refined watch is seductive at only CHF 965!
That all of these watches will be successes is beyond doubt. Above all, they are clear proof Bucherer wields a formidable brand power that is unique in the watch retailers’ world. Partner brands clearly understand this. Watch lovers, too.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel & Bucherer)