A Swiss watchmaker, DuBois et Fils, the brand with the rich tradition in the industry, has come up with a new way to finance the production of timekeepers after the change in the company’s ownership. The whole idea is quite simple: watch enthusiasts are invited to invest in the creation of the new limited edition of watches. Apart from being able to buy the scarce timepieces that will be made in a series that will not exceed 99 pieces, people who fund the production will also be able to get it at a discount price. The plan by the new owner, Thomas Steinemann, and his team is obviously kicking off, since there has been 78 investors so far who gathered nearly $175,000.
Furthermore, the sum has been gathered without the specific characteristics of the watch. There are some visual cues in the promotional video made by the company, but it never shows the entire timepiece. So we can see that the watch will have a round casing, a black face, gear-shaped bezel and crown, and a chronograph function, but there is a lot of mystery surrounding the timepiece. Undoubtedly, it is a marketing trick (that obviously works quite well), conceived by the new company’s leadership in order to trigger the imagination of watch enthusiasts. There are some additional leads about the new watch in the brand’s product presentation, but it all remains on general terms and without getting into the specifics.
As it has been explained, the overall style of the watch will be restrained and understated, and it will not include any wild or breakthrough complications. What is known, the first and all the following collection of the revamped brand with over 225 years in the business will have some universal traits. They will all be mechanical timekeepers (manufactured solely in limited editions that will not exceed 100 pieces), the price range will be from about $6,400 to $16,000. Besides, the shapes of the cases will vary in different models. Some of the watch enthusiasts that invest in the company will not get the discount just on the first new edition, but also in the following three years. However, the duration of this period, as well as the discount, are determined by the height of the investment.
A Proud History
After the details about the new concept and yet obscure new edition, let us share some of the facts about the watchmaker and its new owner. As it was said, the story about the brand begins quite a long time ago. One of the oldest Swiss timepiece companies was founded in the town of La Locle back in 1751 by Moise DuBois who started as a dealer of pocket watches. However, the name of the brand will be changed 34 years later, while the head of the firm was Moise’s son, Philippe DuBois. He took over the production in 1760. Philippe DuBois had three sons who were also heavily involved in the company, and in 1785 they decided to change the name of the brand to Philippe DuBois & Fils SA. They were quite successful and during the first 55 years of the company’s existence, it sold about 110,000 watches.
During the 19th century, Philippe DuBois & Fils SA started expanding its distribution network and selling its products on other markets, like the USA and Brazil. The last century was marked with the introduction of wristwatches, the creation of Autorist timepiece that included a unique automatic winding system. Since 1950, DuBois et Fils turned to creation of watches in restricted limited editions which is the practice that will remain the same with the new leadership. The long-lasting intention of the brand to offer its watches directly to consumers, without the mediators or retailers, can also be recognized in the new business plan.
A Start of the New Era
After the brand remained in the ownership of the DuBois family for eight generations, it was finally bought by Thomas Steinemann in 2010. Steinemann has had quite of experience in the field, especially in the distribution, retailing and consulting. It can be said that his entire career is closely tied to Fossil Group, since he has been dealing its products and founding companies that would end up being bought by Fossil, while before the acquisition of the new brand, he served as the CEO in one of its daughter companies.
When Steinmann took over and brought his team along, the production at DuBois et Fils went on hiatus, regarding both production and distribution. Apart from the new strategy, there are also some changes in the core symbols of the brand. The name has been shortened to DuBois et Fils, and there were some changes on the brand’s logo and symbol.
As it has been announced, the first new model of the company led by Steinemann will be launched next year. In accordance with the mysterious approach, the limited edition timepiece will first be presented in March, but it will be sort of an undercover pre-launch. The watch will be only available to shareholders at the time, and there will be no official statements by the brand. There will also be some closed events, but they will only be attended by shareholders and a few selected guests. The official launch with press events and advertising is scheduled for June.