Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser & Cie, Writes An Open Letter To Mr. Jordan, President of the Swiss National Bank

This morning the Swiss National Bank (SNB) announced to remove the cap if 1.20 franc per euro. News that shocked financial markets, sending the currency soaring against the euro and stocks plunging on fears for the export-reliant Swiss economy. Nick Hayek already commented and now Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser & Cie. sends an open letter to the SNB’s president.

Switzerland is an export country, around 10% of their export comes from the Swiss watch industry, including Rolex, Swatch Group and Richemont, who will have their annual fair trade – the SIHH – next week. Shares slumped, with Swatch Group and Richemont down more that 10%. Swatch Group’s CEO Nick Hayek said earlier today: “Words fail me. Today’s SNB action is a tsunami; for the export industry and for tourism, and finally for the entire country.” (source: Bloomberg) And he’s not the only one who immediately wants to send a message. So does Edouard Meylan, CEO of H. Moser & Cie. Here is his open letter to SNB’s president Jordan, in full.

Edouard-Meylan-Amr-Sindi
Edouard Meylan with Amr Sindi (photo: thehorophile.com)

AN OPEN LETTER TO MR. THOMAS JORDAN, PRESIDENT OF THE SWISS NATIONAL BANK, ON BEHALF OF ENTREPRENEURS FROM H. MOSER WATCHES.

Neuhausen am Rheinfall, January 15th, 2015

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 cancel orders.

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.

Sincerely,

Edouard Meylan
CEO of H. Moser & Cie.

5 responses

  1. I think that the problem is the significant rise in prices we had each year. Now that the currency is higher, it is too much. Whose fault then ? I think they’ve gone too far and now they are trapped in their own game.

    Further more he has to understand it was expensive for SNB (and even more so when ECB acts with QE).

    Best.

  2. I like Moser watches, but the crown. Now I like the person in the helm. This guys went direct to the neck, and that is how you survive in this world. Hope MR. THOMAS JORDAN, PRESIDENT OF THE SWISS NATIONAL BANK, reads and understands this whily skiing in the Alps.

  3. I know Meylan is right, but I hope something else comes into play. Small brands like Moser and Journe are in the running for my grail watch, but at 20% higher prices they become that much more unattainable. I guess I can at least hold out hope that the German brands come down in price here in the US to keep me occupied until the SNB corrects the situation, but I fear brands closing up shop if the correction takes years instead of days.

  4. H. Moser & Cie, F. P. Journe brilliant examples of small brands with TRUE Swiss Watchmaking heritage. My congratulations to Mr. Meylan for his letter! Let’s hope other entrepreneurs will follow his example.

  5. Obscenely high prices, numerous new brands coming to market, large supply and lowering demand, equals bubble. Seems like we faced a similar situation here in the USA in the last few years. Many greedy corporations, shareholders and, unfortunately, taxpayers paid the price for that debacle. I personally look forward to the bubble bursting on this overpriced, lower quality product that has developed in the current watch industry. They are certainly alienating those that once supported them, such as local jewelers and the average consumers that could once aim to purchase one of their products after some saving. That is no longer the case. These brands are getting everything they can while they can. They forgot how close they came to extinction during the quartz craze, decades ago. They were lucky to come out of that period with any possibility of a renaissance in their future. Now the market is flooded with cheap “me too” brands that are junk as well as blue chip brands that are also overpriced (Yes you Patek, AP, Jaegar, Vacheron and Rolex). I understand that the luxury goods market marches to its own drummer, but the greed and ostentation of it all will ultimately consume the golden goose.

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