Entrée to the fine city center – MeisterSinger in Hamburg
For generations, the Hamburg jeweler Becker has built its reputation on expert advice
Tradition counts for a great deal in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg. That’s why companies with a long history also enjoy a lot of respect, particularly family businesses that have firmly established themselves over several generations in the city. The company Becker holds a record: “We are the oldest family-run jeweler in Hamburg,” says manager Nicolaus Giercke. Back in 1900, his grandfather became a partner in the enterprise, which was founded in 1875.
For almost 30 years, however, the business has been managed from its new headquarters at Gänsemarkt 19. The art nouveau corner house with its rich stucco impressively marks the beginning of the elegant Jungfernstieg promenade. Until the fall of last year, the square in front of the shop and the surrounding pedestrian zone were elaborately redeveloped and deafeningly re-paved. Now, however, Gänsemarkt forms “the most beautiful gateway to City West,” where the fashionable shopping arcades are also located.
Growing brand awareness
The full-length shop windows of Becker the jeweler showcase the products of the most prestigious Swiss and German watch brands, which have also included MeisterSinger for a number of years. “MeisterSinger buyers don’t spontaneously come into the shop because of the window displays, but are more likely to be motivated by advertisements,” Nicolaus Giercke has noticed. Most of his MeisterSinger customers are “over 50 – at an age when they are no longer concerned with minor reading tolerances.”
Inside the shop, the atmosphere is quiet and dignified. Fully renovated in 2015, it is decorated in subtle colors without the slightest sign of bling. Although 17 employees work on its three floors, each room gives the impression of a private salon, where customers are attentively and carefully given sales advice. Even if they only want to purchase a colorful Nato wrist strap for a vintage watch, Nicolaus Giercke and his team provide the expert advice for which Becker has become so well known. And particularly due to the increasing brand awareness of its buyers – for both watches and jewelry – the sales team enjoys finding the right products for its customers. That can also lead to contradictions, says Nicolaus Giercke: “Sometimes, customers come to us because they want to look at a watch they have seen a friend wearing, but that particular model can look completely different on their wrist. We take a great deal of care to ensure that the watch matches the person, i.e. their stature. It has to be a perfect fit.”
Need for more emotion
Becker’s customers are completely heterogeneous in both origin and sense of style. These include, of course, Hamburg’s bourgeoisie, whose traditions call for a certain inconspicuous nobility. But Becker also sees young Chinese businesspeople, who are doing an internship in Hamburg and spread the word about the company’s good reputation at home when they show off the bulky, diamond-studded chronograph they bought at Gänsemarkt.
Nicolaus Giercke completely does without the typical tourist business that includes commission contracts for tour operators and relies on personal customer contact as well as long-term customer loyalty at local events. Becker is, of course, also online and presents its goods and services on Facebook and Instagram. However, the younger generation takes care of the website and social media advertising, i.e. Jan Giercke, who is also a qualified gemologist and diamond expert, just like his father, and has worked in the family business for many years.
Nicolaus Giercke would like to see MeisterSinger design even more advertising motifs featuring people, to meet the constantly growing call for more emotion. On the other hand, he remembers being highly satisfied with another decision taken in Münster: “It’s a good thing that MeisterSinger continues to concentrate exclusively on single-hand watches.” After all, that is a great tradition, too.
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