KERN keeps pace with the times
Showcasing thirty five years of perfection and exclusiveness watch brand KERN presents an outstanding range of sportive chronometers and complicated jewellery watches set with precious stones. Its watch collections are showcased in Dubai by renowned name Levant Watches and Jewellery. Recently, Aviamost met its Marketing Director Stefan Kern to discover the magic behind its timepieces. Also present was his father, the founder and CEO of the brand, August L. Kern who contributed many valuable insights
We know KERN is a family company, so please tell us the beginning
KERN was established in 1974 by my father August L. Kern who is a master engraver and designer, because of his vast knowledge of watches and jewellery and named after him. We are a Swiss watch and jewellery manufacturing company based in the German side of Switzerland, near Basel also having German relations in its operations. We follow a distinctive, classical style. Ceaseless creativity has seen our product assortment been developed continuously with new models being added every season. Today, KERN offers more than 650 watch variations of stunning beauty and excellence starting from chronometers to lavish, diamond-clad jewellery watches.
What is the philosophy of your company?
Always exceed expectations and work better than necessary. We check if each one of our products is perfect and then only we present them to our clients.
How different is KERN from other watch brands?
The difference is we are able serve our clients because as we are a company having a background of customization that is if anyone has an individual wish or a special request for a certain type of watch we can craft one to their specifications as this is our area of specialization and it is our regular business
Perfection, exclusivity and individuality take prime importance and form the unshakeable foundation of our products, while the most modern technologies, best Swiss manufactured movements, innovation, traditional watchmaking skills are important to us. One of the most revered traditional skills, the art of dial Guilloche, developed more than 200 years ago, which is still practiced only by a few specialists in the world in the same unchanged way, takes pride of place at KERN, with several of our watch collections featuring it. However, KERN places highest importance on the passion of its employees for the watchmaker’s art and their love for detail seen as critically irreplaceable aspects of a good watch manufactory. Yet another pillar to the brand’s success is its long-standing cooperation with leading Swiss suppliers and partners who contribute to the high quality standard of its products. Central to all its efforts are our customers.
Tell us about your decision to enter the Middle East market.
The Middle East market is an important market for every brand in the world because in a small area we find a great variety of people of all nationalities. And I am positive that KERN will have a long term relationship with this market.
The two niche markets of Aviamost are the Russian and Chinese markets. How do you find them?
The Russian market is an important but difficult market to enter as it has various regulations for import and export, especially for the luxury market. But it is a really special market with both positive and negative aspects. And we have established important links with it. The Russian market has a certain range of clients which is mainly top VIP clients who travel a lot and come to the UAE especially Dubai and Europe. But the future of the Asian market has a really great potential which is still at the beginning. So Dubai is a place where we find all nationalities.
What can you tell us about the buying behaviour of Russians and Chinese and their attitude towards watches and jewellery?
What I can see is that they want to have very, very special things and be unique and to show off their status. Price is not a problem as they want to be convinced the product is exclusive and has a special design. So design, uniqueness and expensive aspects are what they love.
What is the future of watches in general? How do you see this?
The future I think it will be more important to have a personal identification of the brand as also to make a special line completely different from the other old collections. That means always new craftsmanship. But it is also important that traditional craftsmanship do not die, like the art of Guillochet. Diamond setting for instance is made today with machines instead of by hand. However, it is my opinion that traditional craftsmanship should be kept alive and preserved. So this is what we should focus on because it is not enough to only make watches by machines, as watchmaking is handcraftsmanship with the help of modern technology, and one without the other is not possible.
You have shops besides Levant?
This is a shop and shop sequence. In the retailer system we are part of Levant boutiques. We are also present in Hong Kong, Macau, Kuwait, some places in Middle East and Saudi Arabia and also in Germany. But because of the problems in Europe at present they do not want to spend. But the Middle East and Asian market are very important.
You would have noticed that Russians come here especially for shopping as prices here are better here than in Russia.
True. If you buy something for $100,000 in Russia you would have paid about 40% luxury tax but if you come here you get the same item without paying that 40% tax and also get to enjoy a holiday here.