Luxury safes and bespoke security masterpieces

Published: 20th June 2020

SWM is very happy to cooperate in the increasing market of luxury safes and bespoke security masterpieces from now on with the iconic reference in the market, the German manufacturer and pioneer BUBEN&ZORWEG. We are glad to follow our mission to work with the best players in the respective fields and welcome BUBEN&ZORWEG to the SWM family. We have spoken with their CEO Florian vom Bruch, himself a former semi-professional footballer, about the product highlights and services of BUBEN&ZORWEG and the impressive craftsmanship behind the masterpieces. 

 

SWM:
Florian, welcome to the SWM family. And it is indeed a nice coincidence that you have played semi-professional in your youth and during your studies before you started your business career and now have strong ties again back to the football network.
 

 

Florian:
It is our pleasure to cooperate with SWM. We are very excited to meet your inspiring network, so brothers in mind in terms of dedication and obsession to quality and outperformance in their respective field, and helping new clients fulfilling their wishes regarding security and presentation.

And yes I do have this football background which started as for so many kids in Germany quite early in the age of 6 and became more and more the first part of my life with training every day. I always played the highest youth league, had the honour to have a couple of training camps with the U-17 German National Team and playing with lads like Thomas Hitzlsperger (Aston Villa and German National Team) and others who made a nice career. Coming to the seniors I played in the fourth division in Germany and have been able to somehow afford my studies. In the age of 23, I decided to focus more on my studies (Business Administration) and didn’t play in a club anymore. So looking back it was a fantastic time which taught me a lot of lessons and most importantly sensitized me on how important team culture and a winning team spirit basically is to be successful. In combination with an individual strive for excellence in your own responsibilities, I think these two pillars are absolutely crucial in business as well and so now at age 38 I live and breathe a lot of my sports experience in leading the B&Z company and our various departments and teams. And building the bridge to our client-side it is surely nice to work now with some of the most successful athletes globally.   

 

SWM:
What is your product collection about – in terms of the regular collection and also the possibilities of bespoke objects as we have heard a lot about some absolutely unique pieces?  

 

Florian:
Our regular masterpiece collection includes a curated range of multifunctional presentation objects, safes and built-in safe solutions, and watch winders. Each with various selection options in terms of size, function, material and colour to display watches, jewellery and collectables in private residences, penthouses, yachts and palaces around the world.

 

And for those who love to fully deep dive into creating a truly one-off masterpiece we offer the Bespoke Manufacturing Process with our dedicated B&Z Bespoke team who guides the client through the different stages of the process. You can compare this pretty much with bespoke architectural projects (houses, apartments) or truly bespoke furniture, cars or yachts.

 

Today approximately 50% of our business somehow has a bespoke element. This ranges from small bespoke things like stitching initials on the interior of a safe door to special dimensions for some of our masterpieces and special built-in solutions, like walls, to fulfil the clients wish of a perfect fit into the room and storing everything he would like to. We often work in co-creation processes with the client and/or the responsible interior designer to design and craft holistic room concept adapted for special uses such as large watch collections, jewellery, car keys and memorabilia.

 

It is always a real gift to see afterwards a finished object, wall, garage, office or collector room where our clients can relax and re-energize on a much higher level than before.  

 

SWM:
Indeed fascinating to look more closely to your products. How did such a special business start?

 

Florian:
Best friends Harald Buben and Christian Zorweg first met in Austria at the tender age of 10. Walking back home from school together every day, they began to dream of travelling the world, and perhaps one day conquering it in their unique entrepreneurial style. Inspired by a trip to Australia in their teens, they began selling Australian opals to the jewellery trade while they were at university. While still students, they launched BUBEN&ZORWEG in 1995, specialising in luxuriously crafted watch winders, designed to encase and care for self-winding watches.
And today we are still a family-owned business. The two founders are still in the company with focusing on our clients in Asia, Russia and South America. We just have a couple of more products and a couple of more people (approx. 65) but with the same spirit how the business started – only with courage, dedication and the claim for perfection can we craft something unique!   

 

SWM:
So your starting product has been the watch winders for the watch collectors?  

 

Florian:
Yes – the elemental TIME MOVER® technology was the first milestone. It is a specially developed motor by German Engineers, magnetically shielded and with an intelligent software including a sleep phase and a guaranteed number of rotations for the watches. Consistent pioneering work led to a convincing solution to the challenge of storing valuable automatic watches in an ambience that preserved their value and offered a befitting and secure showcase for presentation. Achieving global leadership in this segment was the proof of concept for our watch winder technology in combination with our compelling design and material concepts. 

 

The technical heart of the TIME MOVER® has been continuously perfected by the engineers and designers of our company. Today it provides space for automatic watches with a small and extra-large housing diameter of up to 64 mm, distinctive crowns are no obstacle and a roll bar as fall protection.  Innovative use of new materials enables the TIME MOVER® to work virtually silent (many standard watch winders are quite noisy) and wear-free. With a wide horizon: A recent stress test confirmed a service time of an estimated 45 years. The TIME MOVER® technology is still fully manufactured in Germany and is a key component in nearly all of our client’s safes and multifunctional masterpieces. And we are the only ones in the global market to give a 5 years warranty on the watch winder technology. But if you see the result of our latest stress test our clients and we have a good sleep on this. (laughs).  

    

SWM:
Which product category currently has the highest demand and what do think are the reasons for it?   

 

Florian:
It is definitely the safes! We see three key reasons for that. First, and I really have to say, unfortunately, the topic of security in our nowadays world is getting more and more important due to various global and national developments. Second, there are many customers who just want to get away from hiding and storing their valuables under the bed, in wardrobes and many different places in the house and thus looking for one beautiful and secure place to have all things together. And last but not least, I think in the last 5 years really came new safe products to the market which really changed the perspective of a safe: from an ugly strong / document box which often is stored in the basement to a real design piece which is customizable as an extroverted eye-catcher or an introverted natural element of bedrooms, walk-in wardrobes or living rooms. 

 

SWM:
Understand. And is there any specific collection which is your client’s favourite within your safe collection? 

 

Florian:
That is an easy question to answer. It is our beautifully handcrafted leather safe, called the ORION. Just in the last month, we had two installations at the houses of two European football heroes, a Hollywood actress and a Shanghai-based businessman. It is equally popular with women and men, so maybe it is a perfect comprise for the female and male design taste without having a serious conflict (laughs).

 

Just kidding: in fact, the ORION safe collection raised to a true icon among the safes. Our designers really achieved a fascinating object – an extraordinary fusion of design beauty, cutting-edge technology, exclusive material selection and finest craftsmanship.   

 

SWM:
What makes your safes stand out in the market? 

 

Florian:
Our special focus has always been on extraordinary, elegant design, creatively combined with top technology Made in Germany. The results are inspiring, incomparable objects that cause surprise and fascination in a world that believes it has already seen everything. We also fully live our brand idea, if you call it like this, with the safe products. The base of a safe, like it is already transferred by its name, is the security aspect. And there are quite some essential parts you should consider when buying a safe. One is indeed the certification system which rates the safe for the insurance coverage. And behind the certification system lies the technology and construction of the safe (safe walls, door, lock, weight, fixation options etc.).

 

However, the technology and security aspect is in our eyes just one half of the pitch. It is nothing worth when you do not like the safe from a design, material and finishing perspective. Our safes stand out in bespoke interiors as attractive eye-catchers thanks to their superior design, material concept and their unparalleled craftsmanship with focusing on literally every detail like polishing off the smallest screw to the ten coats of flawlessly deep high gloss paint for the interior drawers.   

 

SWM:
Does it seem that there are indeed some key questions to consider when you decide to buy a safe? So, what kind of services do you offer to your clients? 

 

Florian:
That’s absolutely right. You should indeed answer some key questions in the safe buying process and there are some crucial things to decide on. As we have gained a lot of experience in crafting, selling, installing and servicing safes around the globe in the last 15 years when we started the safe collection, we help our clients passionately and highly professional along this process. We trigger the right questions to the right time – this is especially important when you built a new house or re-do an apartment – we talk directly with the insurances and we share a lot of lessons learned to get our clients the perfect safe for their specific needs in terms of exterior size, security class, interior configuration and for sure the design aspect.

 

After the configuration process, our different technical experts help our clients with all related topics around their safe: from transport, installation, service intervals to relocation – just to name some of our key services. 
Our clients and their interior designers are quite happy that they have one trustful partner to talk to for all these questions. And we are happy that our customers really appreciate these services and so many high-profile personalities are trusting our masterpieces and services as a safe is a very personal product. It certainly helps that we are a fairly small family-owned business, with technology development, manufacturing and data security all “Made in Germany”, do not belong to any bigger brand conglomerate and a very stable team which makes it much easier to service our clients.    

    

SWM:
As most of your product range, especially the safes, are very personal products, how do you find your customers?

 

Florian

Our masterpieces itself are indeed the most powerful marketing asset. A lot of our customers recommend us to their friends and network and it is also quite a nice amount of customers who treat themselves every year with a B&Z masterpiece or use it is an extraordinary gift for special occasions. We are quite proud that in the last 25 years the brand B&Z has achieved a leading position in each category we are active in. As our markets are all more or less niche markets our brand is not so well known in the public. However among watch collectors, connoisseurs and lovers of exceptional security and presentation masterpieces, the brand BUBEN&ZORWEG is considered the iconic reference. Expert panels and various high calibre organizations constantly state that our masterpieces are playing in a league of their own – in terms of design language, technology and craftsmanship. I guess that’s also why we regularly receive various awards which is a strong proof and also motivation to further challenge ourselves.
You could compare it with the watch industry where a Patek is a Patek or with sports cars where a Bugatti is a Bugatti. And so we sometimes have to smile when sales associates of our retail partners introduce B&Z to potential new clients, who do not have specific knowledge, as the Patek Philippe or the Bugatti under the watch winders and safes (laughs).

 

SWM:
Does it seem that Craftsmanship is a key focus at B&Z? You touched on it now a couple of times. Could you please give our readers some more insights on this?  

 

Florian:
That’s absolutely right. We strongly believe in attention to every detail and this is just possible with very skilled and passionate craftspeople. They are our masters of the universe. We have an unbelievable range of functional experts: Carpenter, Varnisher, Leather and Veneer specialists, Electronical Engineers, Bookbinder, Watchmaker, and Engraver.

 

They finally did the magic and work on every client’s object, like it would be their own, to bring truly unique masterpieces to life. Our master craftsmen work all under one roof with our designers, engineers and product developers in our Manufactory in Pforzheim, near Stuttgart, in the neighbourhood of automotive premium brands. As we are committed to the finest possible Craftsmanship we consciously focus on small series, limited editions and bespoke pieces created and crafted by hand.

 

To give you some concrete examples of how we really invest in every detail:
We are personally searching the very rare Macassar ebony with the perfect grain and colour and then working out its beauty with a 7-step process.  Many masterpieces own a crocodile leather stitching on the exterior, various handmade seems in selectable colours on the door and many hand-polished stainless-steel components like the safe opening handle which is crowned by a hand-positioned mother-of-pearl insert. The door openings of our masterpieces are engineered with perfection to capture every reflection of light. They are technical masterstrokes like a gull-wing door with state-of-the-art technology and selectable options like fingerprint openings. 

 

SWM:
Can you share some of the most challenging and inspiring projects and clients you have worked with?

 

Florian:
First of all our company philosophy is to work 100% discreet in terms of clients. We are crafting very personal masterpieces which are often part of the most private rooms of our clients – e.g. bedrooms, walk-in-wardrobes, and collector rooms.  

 

Trust is very essential in our business and our founders Harald Buben and Christian Zorweg lived this from the very beginning when they started BUBEN&ZORWEG in 1995. Therefore you will very rarely find something on the internet with whom we are working with. It is sometimes the case that clients would like to spread words for us and then there might be some information. But please let me give you a brief description of our clients:

 

What unites them is the ultimate passion for the best-possible masterpiece which fit their functional needs and their design dreams, the joy of collecting and celebrating their most valuable possessions and a nearly obsessed eye for the details.

 

So to put it short we are basically working together with the most successful people on our planet. This spans from royal families, heads of state to captains of industry, music stars, actors and top athletes of all major global sports leagues. To transfer it to the world of sports which fascinates me personally most, you could fairly say that our clients, our friends of the house, literally have won every major trophy (such as the most important titles in football, tennis, golf, NBA, NHL, NFL, Olympic Games) on this planet. 

 

SWM:
Cool, so we now understand much better your client’s background. And what about some extraordinary projects.

 

Florian:
One really outstanding and very emotional project has been the creation of a trophy & collector room for a legendary F1 driver. Another one has been a full CEO office with all kind of special functional aspects as well as design and material aspects for a business captain who is running one of the most valuable companies worldwide.
And last but not least what comes to my mind is a very exceptional project for a car collector who owns one of the most valuable sports car collections. We co-created with him the perfect safe and presentation object for his car keys.       

 

SWM:
Florian, it was a pleasure talking to you and thanks so much for these impressive behind-the-scenes look to a fascinating product range and brand. 

 

Florian: 

The pleasure was on my side very much as well. You guys from SWM are very easy to work with and I am looking forward to the future. We can’t wait to bring some truly extraordinary masterpieces to life, in co-creation with the ideas of your clients. It is such a nice and rewarding feeling when you are working closely together, fulfilling the client’s wishes with a collaborative design and manufacturing process and then installing and seeing the magic result at the client’s home.