A few days ago, Nomos announced that it will partner up with Chronext and Chrono24 for selling their wrist watches to a wide audience. Chronext specifically for the new watches, and Chrono24 it seems mainly for the refurbished models (and as a step to contain the grey market). Not to forget Nomos also have their own Online Shop. I recall a time where I was pondering a Nomos purchase, and ever since, I never quite figured out the best way a retailer is supposed to deal with Nomos’ online shop (pricing is the same and they ship it nicely directly from the factory). Now with the addition of Chronext & Chrono24 and essentially a full embrace of the digital sales channel, it’s an even more difficult question to answer if you ask me.
With this latest move, Nomos has upset a few of their major partners (understatement) who decided to not even look for any answer to how to deal with this situation. Most notable would be Wempe. Wempe is of course, for many consumers, one of the major ‘faces of the watch industry’. You’ll find them in the most fantastic locations and their stores are the very definition of what a luxury boutique is. They, and all other retailers like them, are a key part to the success and image of the watch industry and no doubt also to Nomos. Wempe, did not react positively to this latest move by Nomos, and has decided to no longer sell Nomos in any of its stores. They did so through an official statement. The full statement from Wempe by Kim-Eva Wempe (rough translation):
The Hamburg family business Wempe has maintained a close and cooperative relationship with Nomos over the last 20 years. Wempe has brought the Nomos brand from Glashütte and its watches closer to many customers.
We are convinced that we have made a significant contribution to the success of Nomos. The decision of Nomos founder Roland Schwertner to be the only watch brand to recognize the internet platforms Chronext and Chrono24 as an official partner was a great disappointment. We were completely surprised by this decision, because this procedure was not discussed in any way in advance with us. As a traditional family business, we have a different understanding of partnership. “The supply of previously non-licensed Internet platforms, which obtain their offer mainly from the gray market, counteracts our marketing strategy,” says Kim-Eva Wempe.
As a Hanseatic company, it does not usually fit our style and philosophy to debate differences with partners in public. After the offensive of Nomos, we are now forced to take a stand, or clarify some facts.
Of course, all watch brands and also the concessionaires have to face the challenges of the digital world. The Wempe omni-channel strategy involves an intensive link between the analog and the digital world in close cooperation with the partners of the watch industry. It is our explicit goal to maintain the culture of the mechanical watch and its values
In this respect, the digital world is an important addition, but by no means a substitute for stationary trade. For this reason, my father Hellmut Wempe and I are investing heavily in the expansion of our branches in prime locations, such as Munich Maximilianstraße, Berlin Kurfürstendamm, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf or even Hamburg Jungfernstieg, “notes Kim-Eva Wempe.
As one of the market leaders, Gerhard D. Wempe KG has a special responsibility and must clearly take a stand in the interest of its watch partners. In that sense, we were forced to pronounce the notice of Nomos. Of course, we deeply regret that Nomos has not given us the opportunity to discuss this decision in advance.
The initiative of many concessionaires to rethink nomos clearly shows that we are not alone in this view.
In addition to the above, a petition is currently circulating, whereby Germany’s retailers are giving Nomos an ultimatum & express their clear disagreement for the partnership with Chrono24 and Chronext. Roland Schwertner from Nomos has already re-affirmed that they’re going the digital route, it is unclear if the petition will have any effect.