PARIS — Jörg Gerold Bucherer, the chairman and third generation of the now Rolex-owned watch and jewelry retailer Bucherer, died on Monday at the age of 87.
The news, first reported by Swiss media, was confirmed by the retail group.
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Few biographical details filtered on the intensely private executive, who was loath to be interviewed by press or appear in media.
He was a grandson of watchmaker Carl-Friedrich Bucherer, who opened a shop in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1888, distributing his own designs — a tradition revived in 2001 under the Carl F. Bucherer brand, a separate company — and soon after, timepieces from others.
Their sons Carl Eduard and Ernst joined the business in the 1920s, with the latter inking a deal with Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf that saw Bucherer distributing the brand.
The son of Carl Eduard Bucherer, Jörg Bucherer took over the Switzerland-based business in 1977, expanding it to Austria in the following years then Germany in the ’90s.
He is credited with turning Bucherer from family retailer into a billion-dollar watch and jewelry retailer with a headcount of more than 2,400 and 100-plus doors worldwide that remained privately held — bar a short stint on Swiss Exchange — and did not communicate on sales figures or results.
Over the years, successive purchases of other retailers, including Haban in Austria, The Watch Gallery in the U.K. and West Coast-based Baron & Leeds created a sprawling retail network.
A flagship in Paris came in 2013 and the retailer also established itself in London, Copenhagen and the U.S., where the company acquired troubled competitor Tourneau in 2018.
In August, he made headlines when he opted to sell the business in the absence of direct descendants. Rolex subsequently announced it would purchase its longstanding retail partner for an undisclosed amount in August.
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