Over the 14 years we have been publishing Elite Traveler I have come to admire the craft of making watches and the passionate people involved in it. Yesterday’s news that the Swiss National Bank released the Swiss Franc against outside currencies is expected to make life a bit more difficult for the watch industry. Below is a copy of a letter from Edouard Meylan who owns artisan timepiece company H. Moser.
AN OPEN LETTER TO MR. THOMAS JORDAN, PRESIDENT OF THE SWISS
NATIONAL BANK, ON BEHALF OF ENTREPRENEURS FROM H. MOSER
Neuhausen am Rheinfall, January 15th
Dear Mr. President,
I wanted to personally and publicly thank you, regarding your dramatic move releasing the minimum Swiss
Franc exchange rate of 1.20 to the Euro.
When I woke up that morning I had a strange feeling. As I checked the news, I wondered, “What am I going
to do today?” aside from our usual business in January. There was no new conflict, no big news about
emerging markets slowing down, and thank goodness, no new terror attack.
I am an entrepreneur, and I own a small watch manufacture called H. Moser & Cie, based in Schaffhausen,
Switzerland. Very Rare is our tagline at H. Moser & Cie. Very Rare, because we produce 1,000 watches, we
are entrepreneurs in an independent, family-owned business that employs 55 people, and because we are a
manufacture in the true sense of the word, developing and producing our own ingenious watches.
As an entrepreneur in a small Swiss company, I like a challenge; whether it’s the pressure from the big luxury
groups in supply or distribution. Or, a fight to do more with small budgets against the avalanche of big
advertising and marketing. Well, today, Mr. President, your dramatic move helped step it up a notch: over
95% of our watches are sold to people outside of Switzerland, and the first retailers called the same day to
So this morning at 10:38 when my CFO sent me an email titled “Breaking News”, I thought “aha, finally
something to do”. Something that forces me to find smart solutions to continue our growth and improving
profitability and to ensure continuity for H. Moser & Cie. and the jobs for 55 people working for me.
In fact, one thought crossed my mind: why not just move 2 kilometres into Germany and continue business
as usual in the EU? I’ll even beat that other restriction on permits for workers from the EU that came up in
February 2014 – around 20% of my employees are German.
Let me make my appeal clear to you, on behalf of the many small and mid-size businesses that employ so
many Swiss people: I trust you have a strong plan that will help all of us make it through with you over the
long term. Because otherwise, along with many other wonderful Swiss creations, H. Moser watches may just
have become very, very, very rare.
CEO of H. Moser & Cie