Serge Maillard: A Family Business
Since 1927, Europa Star magazine is the go-to reference for all things watchmaking. A family business, the magazine remains faithful to the spirit of its founder, the Swiss Hugo Buchser, more than fifty years after his death. Europa Star is broadcast in over 170 countries and puts out five publications a year. Visiting the premier Watch Fair in the Salon de Montréal, the first event devoted to watchmaking in Quebec, Serge Maillard, Europa Star publisher and representative of the company’s fourth generation, sat down with LUXE for an interview.
Serge Maillard, Europa Star publisher
Europa Star was founded by your great-grandfather, Hugo Buchser, in the 1920s. Tell us how it all started.
My great-grandfather owned a watch brand in the 1920s called Transmarine. He traveled all over the world to sell his watches. In 1927, he had the idea to create a publishing house with the mission of connecting all the players of the watchmaking world. Remember, the Internet didn’t exist then! We basically had guides with all the addresses of the watchmakers, suppliers, and professionals in the industry. Gradually, he established a network of magazines, first in Latin America, then in the Middle East. In 1959, he targeted the European market by founding Europa Star. A little later, he created a magazine for the Eastern Bloc market. Let’s skip ahead to the 1990s, with the advent of the internet. We’ve been pioneers in the world of watchmaking with a website dedicated to this industry. At the same time, we launched a magazine in Chinese. The company has existed for four generations. We are constantly innovating, most notably with the recent digitization of our archives.
Hugo Buchser, during one of his travels
Let’s talk about your archives. This year you started to digitize your publications dating back to 1959. That’s huge undertaking…
Yes, and it’s not over. We have a total of 300,000 pages to scan. Thus far, we have scanned more than 100,000 pages since 1950. Step by step, we intend to digitize all of our publications since 1927, the date of the first guide founded by Hugo Buchser.
Who is this digital databank intended for?
First, to the watch community: brands, retailers, and collectors. Everyone is now doing research on watches, whether it be professionals or individuals. Since the entire magazine is online, people will understand the bigger context of the time. Digitization is a great way to pay tribute to such an important heritage.
Through your archives, we actually discover the history of the watch, but also parts of history in general. Tell us about the Omega watch.
Recently, a historian used our archives to write an article on the conquest of space. The Omega brand is so closely linked to the first manned missions to land on the Moon. But before Omega, there was also Breitling or Bulova. There has been fierce competition between brands to seduce NASA. Today, one wonders which watchmaker will equip NASA or Elon Musk to Mars!
How can one access your archives?
Several annual subscriptions are offered. Some give you access to the archives and the paper magazine, others to the archives and the electronic magazine. Our subscribers also have exclusive access to articles that have the most added value. All subscription rates can be accessed on our website. These are launch packages. We invite the public to take advantage of it as of right now. Each year, our readers will benefit from new content. In addition to new articles, we will continue to digitize our archives.
Your publication is called a “mook,” halfway between magazine and book. Can you explain this concept…
It is an innovative concept composed of two parts: Time.Business and Time.Keeper. As its name suggests, the Time.Business section is devoted to the major issues of the moment and to the fundamental questions that will shape the future of watchmaking. The Time.Keeper section focuses on the product, aesthetic trends, technical developments, and the watch industry. Our files are large and can store up to 50 pages. For example, in our last issue we discussed the Chinese market, the history of the watch in China, its major players, etc. Our magazine reads like a book and can be kept for a long time.
How do you explain the longevity of your magazine?
The fact that we are a small, family-owned business helps in terms of flexibility and room to maneuver. Our editorial team is composed of my uncle Pierre Maillard and myself. Our tone is identifiable. We also share a certain idea of journalism: that of always adding value with our articles. It is very important, especially in today’s climate when information seems free.
With your subscription to LUXE Magazine, you’ll also receive a special rate on a subscription to Europa Star Magazine.
- Subscription to LUXE
- 3 physical copies delivered to your door or digital copies available for download
- Subscription to Europa Star for $79 US instead of $99 US
- 5 physical copies delivered to your door
- 5 digital copies available for download
- Full access to the archives from 1950 to 2020
- Unlimited access to the members-only articles
- Complete package for $150 US instead of $199 US
Subscribe today to LUXE Magazine and receive a special discount code for your Europa Star subscription!
Text: Diane Stehle