René Beyer, Managing Director Beyer Watches + Jewellery Zurich

février 22, 2019

“Face the competition every day”

René Beyer is the eighth generation to run the Beyer Watches + Jewellery store on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse. He relies on close cooperation with selected brands.

You manage Switzerland’s first and oldest watch shop. When did you first go to Baselworld? And how has the trade show changed since then? 

René Beyer: I have attended Baselworld since 1983. A great deal has changed since then. It is unmistakably evident that the digital world now replaces numerous things which were formerly possible only at a classic trade fair. It is therefore urgently necessary for Baselworld to undergo realignment. 

The trade show’s organiser has already announced numerous innovations. What is particularly important to you? 

René Beyer: In the past, dealers could exert an influence on the brands’ model policies. This is no longer the case today. The physical presentation of new wristwatches has also become less important because new technologies enable you to form a clear impression of watch models without actually holding them in your hands. Face-to-face encounters with our partners are accordingly the most important aspect at Baselworld. Moreover, the show offers us the rare opportunity to meet the CEOs of large companies in person. 

What challenges will the industry face in the next decade?

René Beyer: We jewellers cannot expect our partners, i.e. the watch brands, to master our challenges for us. We have to develop our mission ourselves and we must continually reinvent ourselves. We need to concentrate on fewer brands, with which we must collaborate even more closely. To be able to work more optimally, our motto should indeed be “less is more”. This philosophy enabled Beyer to achieve significant double-digit growth last year. We have to focus on what is good and on the brands with which we can benefit. 

How do you attract the attention of new target groups and younger customers?

René Beyer: At Beyer Watches + Jewellery, we endeavour to treat our existing customers so well that we needn’t seek out new clientele. Our customers’ children typically also remain loyal to us, so a new generation of customers naturally ensues. Speaking about my work in general, I would say that one must be convinced about what one does. One must also keep up with the times and be prepared to face one’s competition on a daily basis. For me, this means that Beyer will never try to follow the mainstream.