Tourneau is being turned off.
The 31-store watch retailer is changing its name to Bucherer, some three years after it was acquired by the Lucerne, Switzerland–based watchmaker and retailer.
The transition will come after a year where the company will be called Tourneau Bucherer. Eventually, though, the plan is to phase out the Tourneau name, says retailer CEO and Bucherer USA president Ira Melnitsky.
“[The use of Tourneau is] still to be determined but it won’t be a customer-facing brand as it was in the past after the period of transition,” he says.
Melnitsky says the move came about after a lot of “thought and research.
“We now have the ability to speak to our customers and our customers in Europe with more of a singular voice than two separate voices,” he says. “When we spoke to our customers, we were amazed how many knew about Bucherer. They are the leading [watch] retailer in Europe. They aren’t an unknown entity.”
Regardless, it’s safe to say that the New York City–based retailer has a lot more customer awareness in the United States than Bucherer does, not to mention its own storied 121-year heritage. Melnitsky admits that some initially had a mixed reaction.
“It’s akin to giving up your maiden name,” he says. “But when people learn about Bucherer, and learn that it’s been around since 1888, and it’s still a family-owned business, which is very rare, it feels like a natural fit.… It gives us something new and great to talk about, the Swiss heritage of the brand, its Swiss expertise.”
The stores will carry Bucherer watches and soon Bucherer fine jewelry. However, it plans to remain a multi-brand watch retailer.
“Bucherer isn’t a house brand,” he says. “It’s a brand unto itself. We are proud of all the great brand partners we have.”
Bucherer has 36 stores in Europe: 17 in Switzerland, 10 in Germany, six boutiques in London, plus stores in Copenhagen, Vienna, and Paris. It calls the Paris outpost the “largest jewelry and watch store in the world.”
Tourneau—or as it’s soon to be known, Tourneau Bucherer—is also finishing the three-year makeover of its flagship Time Machine store on 57th Street in New York City. The redesigned retailer will debut at the end of the summer. It won’t be covered with the familiar clocks that have made it a landmark, but “there will be a reference to [them] in a more high-tech futuristic way,” Melnitsky says.
The name change isn’t exactly a surprise: Shortly after the purchase, a Bucherer spokesperson told JCK that it was “something we are looking at.”
The news first appeared in WWD.
(Images courtesy of Tourneau)Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine