WatchBox, the preowned luxury watch e-tailer cofounded by Govberg Jewelers CEO Danny Govberg, is expanding its team in the geographic heart of high-end horology—Switzerland.
The Philadelphia-based retailer announced plans in January to open a headquarters in Neuchâtel, Switzerland (the office is currently under construction).
And this morning the company announced the appointments of three new executives to the Swiss outpost.
Patrik Hoffmann has been tapped as executive vice president of the company’s Swiss division; Herbert Gautschi has been appointed vice president of business operations; and Susanne Hurni has signed on as the division’s vice president of marketing.
The brand hopes the office will support the company’s buying, selling, and trading operations in the United States and Hong Kong, and will further serve “as a bridge to the epicenter of the Swiss watch industry,” according to a company statement.
“The expansion into Switzerland with a high-level team with invaluable experience in the Swiss watch industry signals the next phase of strategic growth for WatchBox and reinforces the company’s commitment to elevate and revolutionize the preowned luxury watch category,” reads the statement.
WatchBox’s new hires in Switzerland, from left: vice president of business operations Herbert Gautschi, executive vice president Patrik Hoffmann, Swiss division vice president of marketing Susanne Hurni (photos courtesy of WatchBox)
New executive vice president Patrik Hoffmann has had a three-decade career in the watch industry, with tenures at Oris SA, watch distribution company Swiss Prestige, and Ulysse Nardin—where he headed up global sales and marketing efforts and ultimately oversaw the brand’s acquisition by the Kering Group as the company’s CEO—on his CV.
Govberg said in the statement that the executive “brings considerable strength, knowledge, and perspective of the watch industry to WatchBox,” adding, “He worked alongside, collaborated with, and learned from one of the more creative watch entrepreneurs of our time, Rolf Schnyder. And he experienced the transition from a family business to a true global powerhouse. This experience is unmatched in our industry, enriching WatchBox’s mission to drive change in the preowned category.”
New vice president of marketing Susanne Hurni served as the head of marketing and communications for Ulysse Nardin for more than 30 years.
Herbert Gautschi, the Swiss office’s first vice president of business operations, is a 30-year watch industry veteran who’s worked extensively with major luxury brands. Gautschi was “instrumental” in developing the Gucci Timepiece division in its formative years, served as CEO of a multi-client private watch manufacturer, founded NHC with master watchmaker Vincent Calabrese, and initiated the business plan and acquisition of Vincent Bérard SA by the Timex Group.
WatchBox was founded in 2017 by Danny Govberg, Liam Wee Tay, and Justin Reis as an online platform for buying, selling, and trading preowned high-end watches.
The new European space will include a showroom for private appointments, events, and “relaxed browsing.” The expansion into Switzerland also represents the growth of its video production and media capabilities, according to a company statement released in January, “with professionally designed studios that mirror the company’s U.S.-based WatchBox Studios arm.”
WatchBox’s founders have an aggressive plan for growth in Europe that includes opening office-with-showroom locations in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy in the near future.
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