Legacy timepiece and jewelry retailer Wempe is celebrating the 35th anniversary of its U.S. president Ruediger Albers with a special exhibit of his favorite — and rare — timepieces and a cocktail party.
There is a lot to celebrate: Albers has been instrumental in the success and development of the U.S. market for the family-owned, Hamburg, Germany-based retailer, including exceeding $100 million in annual sales and maintaining the number-one boutique position companywide for the past 25 years.
“Rudy is simply the heart of Wempe New York,” said Kim-Eva Wempe, owner and managing director of Wempe Jewelers. “He has the keen ability to make anyone walking through the door feel like family and leads his team, many of whom have been with him for at least a decade, some even two, in that same manner. Rudy’s contributions to Wempe are endless, as is his constant positive energy. But most importantly, he formed and empowered a very strong team around him that ensures that our company philosophy is being lived to the fullest every day of the year.”
Albers began his career with the retailer in 1987 as a master watchmaker at its Hamburg flagship store. Within a year he transferred to the New York location and has since held several leadership roles within the organization, including general manager, before being appointed president in 2002.
“Rudy and his team at Wempe NYC have been the benchmark in U.S. watch retailing for over three decades. They have set the tone in terms of providing exemplary service with their legendary attention to details, in being able to advise/guide customers, present brands on their respective merits and in sharing their love for fine watchmaking,” said Philippe Bonay, president of Panerai North America.
Under his tenure, Wempe has added e-commerce and expanded its U.S. flagship in Manhattan on three separate occasions, bringing the space from 2,500 square feet to 5,500 square feet, stretching more than half the city block on Fifth Avenue.
“Ruediger Albers is a pioneer when it comes to promoting fine mechanical watches in the U.S. Undoubtedly, while he put Wempe on the map in New York, he also significantly contributed to the appreciation of watchmaking. It has always been a great pleasure for our team at Chopard, and myself in particular, to collaborate with Ruediger since he arrived in the Big Apple,” said Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, president of Chopard.