Breitling replica watches for sale was dusty, clunky and out of style when Georges Kern came on board as CEO and co-owner in 2017. But the former IWC CEO quickly recognized the potential of the brand. Five years later, Breitling is one of the fastest growing watch brands in the world and is on the verge of breaking the billion mark.
Just a few weeks after joining Breitling, Georges Kern traveled to Vienna. Kern had just left the luxury group Richemont, where he had been CEO of IWC for 15 years, to take over Breitling as CEO and co-owner. The step came as a surprise to many observers, as AAA US Breitling fake watches as a brand and company was getting on in years. But Kern had been waiting for such an opportunity for a long time, because in the course of the takeover of the majority stake by the Luxembourg private equity fund CVC, he not only got the opportunity to buy 5% of the shares. He also knew that the brand had potential.
How much potential exactly, even Kern was not aware of when he took office. The watch manager only knew the Breitling of the last 20 years, which was known almost exclusively for large, loud pilot’s watches. In order to better understand the history of the brand, he visited Fred Mandelbaum, one of the most important best replica Breitling watches collectors in the world, in Vienna. Mandelbaum opened Kern’s eyes. Kern: “I knew then that we would be successful.”
But despite the potential, the challenges were the around the company: Breitling was virtually non-existent in the large growth market of China, was either unknown or not in demand among women and young customers, was weakly positioned in the price segment over US$ 10,000 and the brand had the aura of being a generalist who could do more can be largely lost than large, ostentatious clocks. “In the beginning we had to build our teams and a new culture. Now it’s about scaling, becoming even more excellent in implementation and further increasing the reputation of the brand.”
Mandelbaum showed the new CEO historic perfect Breitling copy watches, including some from the 1920s and 1930s. “Breitling had everything we needed: heritage, history, a clear style. And we wanted to interpret it in a modern way,” says Kern. Over the next five years, he reformulated the brand, focusing on the original Breitling logo, introducing new models while optimizing the product range to make Breitling more attractive to a wider range of customers. He also adapted the marketing; the boutiques were and are being redesigned under his leadership. The Chinese market was gradually tackled, with the majority of sales to date coming from the core markets of Europe and the USA.
Today, Breitling is one of the fastest growing watch brands with around 1,600 employees worldwide. The US investment bank Morgan Stanley estimates that cheap Breitling replica watches will achieve sales of around CHF 680 million in 2021. That would mean sales growth of 50% over the past two years and nearly doubling sales from 2018, which stood at CHF 360 million (Breitling declined to comment on the figures when asked). For Kern, however, the journey is just beginning: “Instead of first gear, we might be driving in second or third. But we noticed that the engine has a lot more power; that there is also a sixth gear.”
When Kern talks about Breitling today, three words keep coming up: “the new Breitling”. The CEO repeats the words almost like a mantra to signal that today’s brand is steeped in history, but a new era has begun. The China Breitling super clone watches manager consistently relies on a triangle consisting of a clear design code under the keyword “modern-retro”, the role as a generalist under the motto “Air, Land and Sea”, which covers several types of watches, and one Structure of values under the motto “Neo-Luxury”.
Kern does not want to question Breitling’s position as a high-quality supplier, but the watch manager emphasizes that the brand must be approachable. Unattainable exclusivity, as pursued by some brands in times of exploding demand and rapidly rising prices on the watch market, is not at all the company’s strategy – Breitling replica watches online should appeal to younger customers, win over more women and be perceived as inclusive. It is clear to Kern that this promise is only partially true given the average price of US$ 6,100: “We want to be approachable in terms of our image and offer a cool and relaxed alternative to conservative brands.” Today, around 11% of Breitling customers are women – five years ago the proportion was close to zero. The strategy is also reflected in sponsorship: instead of tennis and Formula 1, Breitling is active in sports such as triathlon, rugby and surfing. The brand’s latest coup: football superstar Erling Haaland, currently perhaps the most exciting player in the world, became a Breitling ambassador.
And although there is a desire to grow even more in the $10,000+ price segment, Kern feels comfortable with Breitling’s current price picture. “Today, Breitling has a broader base and is comparable to a car manufacturer: we have an SUV, we have a convertible, we have a sedan. In our segment, we want and can be a generalist in the watchmaking industry,” says Kern.
The success also has a positive effect on the value of the company – and thus Kern’s assets. In 2017, CVC bought 80% of the shares from the former owner family around Théodore Schneider, the purchase price was rumored to be around €800 million. Kern took over 5% of the shares, the rest of the management team another 5%. In 2018, CVC took over the remaining shares.
In 2021, the Swiss private equity fund Partners Group then acquired a 25% stake in Breitling – with a small part of the shares coming from Kern and the management team and the majority from CVC. At the time, Bloomberg estimated the valuation at three billion US dollars – Kern’s stake should therefore be worth between 120 and 150 million US dollars.
According to Kern, things should definitely continue to improve: “Personally, I’ve given myself at least another five years. We are now entering a very exciting phase that I absolutely want to help shape.” This is not only due to the fact that Kern now wants to reap what he has sown – but also to the fact that Breitling will go public “in the next few years”. as the company announced in the course of the entry of Partners Group 2021. And that would be a very lucrative exit for Kern – if the success continues – of course also privately.
Georges Kern was born the son of a jeweler in Düsseldorf. He came into contact with jewelery and Swiss movements fake Breitling watches very early on. Kern, who has a brother, studied political science and business administration in Strasbourg and St. Gallen. However, his later very successful professional career was not necessarily evident from his initial academic achievements; Kern says he was a “mediocre student.” He did, however, graduate and went into marketing at Kraft Foods before joining Tag Heuer and taking the step into the watchmaking industry. In 2000 he moved to Richemont, and in 2002, at the age of just 36, Kern became CEO of IWC. At the time, he was the youngest CEO of the Richemont Group and one of the youngest in the entire industry.
The success of IWC in the recent past is considered to be Kern’s work; when he joined Breitling in 2017 (he was Head of Watchmaking, Marketing and Digital at Richemont at the time), it caused a stir in the industry. But Kern didn’t want to miss the opportunity to be an entrepreneur, even though the risk is definitely higher: “As a co-owner, I brought my own money into the company. Everything we do has consequences for my investment.” But Kern says he has never taken as much risk as he does today – and explains this and the difference to general action in a corporation with a football metaphor: “In a In a group you play more on defense than on attack. In my entire career I’ve never played as offensively as I do today. Of course that’s a lot of fun – especially when you score a lot of goals.”
Kern, who is rather direct himself and does not linger long with small talk, appreciates the approach of his private equity investors: “What we implement, we implement; it simply has to be profitable.” Breitling plans to further expand direct sales to customers, expand its branch network in the USA and Asia and “further increase operational efficiency”, as announced in a 2021 press release. For Kern, this means reaping the fruits of the hard work of recent years. “In the beginning I was pretty much on my own, had to build teams and a new culture. Now we want to scale, be even more excellent and work even harder on brand appreciation.”
As a natural result, this also means that sales should continue to increase. The big goal is to increase sales beyond the magic threshold of one billion US dollars. That would be a jump of another 40% compared to 2021. When will that be achieved? “Next year at the latest,” says Kern, meaning 2023. After that, all eyes will probably be on the IPO – but 2023 replica Breitling watches did not want to give an exact time when and where this should take place.
For Kern, however, all of this is waste anyway if the most important piece of the puzzle is missing: customer approval. Kern: “We can say what we want – at the end of the day the consumer decides anyway.”