BUBEN&ZORWEG, which has been ranked by Ernest & Young as a top 20 German luxury brand in 2016, is also famous for its bespoke safes that are unique – witness the customer who wanted to his safe to replicate his Aston Martin, and their latest safe that elevates to exhibit its contents. “Day & Night” spoke to Christian Zorweg, co-founder and director of the marque, about their eclectic range
Q: How did you start a company that produces watch winders and safes with a younger, state-of-the-art technology and look?
A: To make just a watch winder is easy; if you made just watch winders, there would be a lot of competition. Watch winders can be copied, so we tried to make something unique; a product that is difficult to copy, something that makes us special and different. We focused on not only watch winders but on clocks with our own movements.
We combined know-how and invested a lot of money on product development to get unique pieces and we call them Objects of Time. And now, there is actually no one in the market who is even close to what we do. You can copy watch winders, you can copy the clocks and you can copy the safes, but to combine them all in one masterpiece is what makes BUBEN&ZORWEG stand out. That is what we focused and worked for from the very beginning.
Q: Where do you get the ideas for your safes as some of the combinations you produce are so unique?
A: We are generally creative; we are also constantly travelling across the world and we pick up a lot of things. We are not doing this as a livelihood; we live, breathe and feel luxury, and we have a great team of designers and developers. We have meetings in which everybody is free to put forth their ideas and this is the output. We also appreciate feedback and suggestions from our clients and friends; we sit together to work out how to make things possible. Sometimes, it looks very unlikely in the beginning but as we work together, it suddenly comes together. We are not bothered about doing things the difficult way, and it is because of this that we are able to create such masterpieces and is the reason for where we are today.
Q: What is the demographic of your clients?
A: The average age of our clients starts from 30-35 and goes all the way up to 50. This is the age when people have become successful and have the money to spend on luxuries such as these.
Q: Do you not find the production of your bespoke safes a difficult task as customer tastes can be very varied?
A: Honestly, it is a nightmare; every piece is a unique piece. There can be no mass production and every piece is hand made. You can’t just produce it and ship it out; you need to look at every piece, re-work each to ensure perfect quality before you ship it out. Each client wants to personalise their product and some of the ideas are really good and makes it worthy of implementation.
‘Nightmare’ is perhaps the wrong word to use because we actually love what we are doing. Otherwise, we would not have offered bespoke pieces, but it indeed takes a lot of work, energy, and a great team to bring out bespoke products.
Q: How hard is it for the creative team to come out with new ideas every year?
A: It is more a matter of budget; we have endless ideas but we have to make them work. Every year, when we go to Basel, people expect us to come out with new products. This has been true for us right from the beginning. We want to improve, we want to change, we have new ideas and new models; it is in our DNA to strongly go forward and, sometimes, we have to consciously slow down because we need to invest a lot of money in research and product development.
Q: Of all of your products, which one do you love the most?
A: Every year, when I come to Basel and see all our novelties, I think this is definitely something I want to have, but you end up having none of them because you are working with it every day. I have a few watches and a safe – of course, it is a Buben safe because I don’t have to pay for it. When you live on the beach, you don’t go swimming every day. I do have them in my office, but in my personal life I am quite simple; I do not have a hundred watches, just 10 to 15 watches and I keep them in a nice watch winder and that is it.
Q: What is your next stunning offering – after the Aston Martin Object of Time One-77 and the Illusion elevating safe?
A: You will know sometime after the Basel fair and this will be shown in the next Baselworld. Some products that have things that move or come out unexpectedly; it is not the expected and seen but the unexpected and hidden that is interesting. We like to combine different materials, different features, different lights, and so on.
Q: Out of your vast product range, is there any product that took a lot of time and effort on your part before you got the product you envisioned?
A: Actually, it is the other way around; there are hardly any products that go smoothly. That would happen if we had simple products but that is not what we want to focus on. I think we make life difficult on purpose just so that we remain unique and special. If we had simple products, we would have too many competitors, so we decided to make difficult products that are unique and now we have very little competition.