From two stores in Oslo and one in Bergen, Urmaker sells exclusive Bjerke watch brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Breitling and Omega.
Last year, Urmaker Bjerke achieved a record turnover of more than NOK 274 million. Prior to tax, Bjerke received NOK 35 million in profits, and after NOK 8.3 million in tax fees, fixed watchmakers with NOK 26.8 million profit.
– Last year was a good year, said general manager Halvor Bjerke (64) in the 96-year-old watchmaking business. He owns a company with his adult children.
With strong results for the past year, Bjerke allowed NOK 25 million dividends.
Bjerke said that 2019 also proved to be a good year so far.
– We have had a good development in 2019 too, so it will be interesting to see, he said.
Strong growth in interest hours
In recent years, there have been mainly tourists, especially Asians, including China, who have raised sales of expensive watches.
Now the business watch watches that Norwegians really start feeling watches.
– Bell interest increases in Norway, but also elsewhere in the world. We have been left behind in Norway for years, but now it has started to increase, Bjerke told E24.
He explained that increased interest might be due to the fact that more and more people are becoming more aware of the people who use and throw.
– If you are going to buy something with a more durable value, then a watch is a good investment, he said.
It's usual to find hours from remote gaps and gaps.
– People dig many wonders from a drawer and want to see if it can be repaired. It has become more fashionable to use a watch and maybe an old and good watch, which can be very good.
Average growth in tourism sales
Especially in the years after cold relations between Norway and China, after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Liu Xiaobo, eased sales received by Chinese tourists.
However, growth in tourism is now more normal.
– Tourism is also increasing, but its growth is not too large compared to previous years, Bjerke said.
– The Norwegian market is certainly the most important now, he said.
Bjerke said that the tourist sales share is around one third, which is very similar to the last few years for the watchmaker chain.
Too few watches to meet demand
Increasing demand in Norway, along with the fact that the production of certain models is very limited, has caused a long waiting list. This applies even to Bjerkes Urmakers loyal customers.
– There are good models and there are many who want to have a good model, Bjerke said.
If you want to buy one of the newest and most sought after Rolex, it doesn't just keep buying one at the store.
– Not because the more customers we have, the more watches we get. The situation is that we might have 200 very good customers with us, and then we got ten watches from the factory. You can say that is a luxury problem, but then you have 190 disappointed customers, so it's difficult, Bjerke said.
This is not the solution for Bjerke to raise prices, because they are determined by the producers, based on the cost of making watches and purchasing power in Norway.
Cashing continues under the ad.
– It would be very simple to just raise prices, but our clear attitude is that the price must be right, he said.
There are no plans to develop
Although sales are increasing and demand is high, Bjerke said that they have no plans to open more stores at this time.
– We probably won't expand with more stores first. I think we have a good location on what we have. We have several shops in Oslo and have closed and are rather focused on both of us.
Watchmakers, on the other hand, have updated in Bergen.
– We have renewed in Bergen and developed a little. We made it far better last year and it turned out to be very positive, said Bjerke, who can say that the store in Bergen has far greater growth than the other two stores in Oslo this year.
In 2018, shops in Oslo have a combined turnover of NOK 251 million, while sales in Bergen are just under NOK 23 million, which is equivalent to 9 percent of sales in Eastern Norway.
Watchmaker Bjerke has also made an increase to reduce delivery times from 12 to 13 weeks at the most, down to around six weeks today. The company has also started a telephone center to answer questions faster than customers.
Some increase in sales of women's watches
Watches have long been a major concern among men. But lately, interest in more technical watches has also increased among women.
– A few years ago, some men's watches and expensive watches were sold to women with gold and diamonds. Today people sell more watches that are technically sophisticated, and here the interests of women are not as big as this, plus the watch of women is smaller, which makes it more difficult to make it technically complicated, Bjerke said.
– We saw that there were some in the shop who were women, although the development of interest was somewhat behind.
However, it is difficult to measure how much is sold for each sex because men like to buy for their wives and vice versa. Previously, it was much easier to say because the model was more different. Now the difference lies in the size of the watch, and both sexes can use the same hour, according to Bjerke.
Not only the sale of watches, especially for men. The watchmaking profession has a sloping traditional gender balance.
– Now we have two young girls inside as watchmakers. Now we are eight watchmakers and two of them are women, Bjerke said.
– It's a little "internet" to like technical things, so we think it's fun that we have women, he said.
Need more watchmakers
Bjerke explained that there was a general need for watchmakers on the market.
– There are thousands of too few watchmakers in the world, he said.
Among other things, to overcome this problem and promote interest in the clock, Urmaker Bjerke will re-arrange the Oslo Watch Fair exhibition hour, which was last set in 2017.
– In 2017 we have more than 1,000 guests. Now this area is bigger and we are targeting thousands of people to come in October. At the last performance, we had two or three watchmakers inside and several benches where people could see and talk with them. I hope this can help arouse interest.
Last is the event at Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo, but now it will be held in the Skur 13 building.
– This year's news from Rolex will also be present – this is new, said Bjerke.