DuBois et Fils Re-launches Brand with Crowdfunding
One of the world’s oldest Swiss watch names has used a very new idea to re-launch the brand and the results are nothing less than spectacular. Thomas Steinemann took over as CEO and owner of the brand in 2010 and went to work on reviving the DuBois et Fils name with the production of a “small, unique watch collection” that would be made in very limited quantities of 99 pieces or less.
In 2012, Steinemann announced a novel plan to finance the new incarnation of DuBois et Fils: crowdfunding using social network Facebook. The original goal was to raise $1.5 million but the effort went so well that the company netted $1.7M from a total of 600 people worldwide.
In an interview with The Gulf, Steinemann explained how the plan worked and what investors had to gain.
“To relaunch a luxury Swiss watch brand, you need to have a long view, that it will take seven to 10 years to pay dividends and start to trade with the shares.
“The shareholders get one to three vouchers, which enables them to buy one of our watches with a 50 percent discount. Now you need to be aware that the average price point is around $10,000, and all our watches are limited-edition to 99 pieces.
“So if somebody invested, for example 1,000 Swiss Francs ($1,049), they would receive two vouchers with a 50 percent discount, which means that finally, if someone used a voucher, they would get a return on investment of $5,000. That was the advantage of it, because it gave the shareholder an immediate return on investment.”
The investor would also be buying a rare collector’s item that could increase in value over time. This is a very interesting concept since crowdfunding via sites like Kickstarter have been used to fund inexpensive tech-heavy smartwatches like the Pebble but the idea of courting investors to produce a traditional mechanical Swiss timepiece is both original and innovative. Investors certainly get plenty of bang for their bucks since they become shareholders in a 230-year-old Swiss watchmaker.