The 1916 Company Names New CEO

IndependentsApr 01, 2024

The 1916 Company Names New CEO

The retailer also has plans to open new locations.

John Shmerler of the 1916 Company
John Shmerler is the new CEO of the 1916 Company, which formed late last year by combining watch platform WatchBox and independent jewelers Govberg Jewelers, Hyde Park Jewelers, and Radcliffe Jewelers.
Philadelphia—The 1916 Company has made changes to its leadership team.

The company was formed in late 2023 by combining watch platform WatchBox and independent jewelers Govberg Jewelers (the parent company of WatchBox), Hyde Park Jewelers, and Radcliffe Jewelers.

Justin Reis, the former global CEO of the 1916 Company and co-founder of WatchBox, will take on the role of chairman.

John Shmerler, who co-led the company’s authorized retail network alongside Damon Gross of Radcliffe Jewelers, is the new CEO. Gross will serve as president.

Danny Govberg, the third-generation owner of Govberg Jewelers who had acquired Hyde Park Jewelers and Radcliffe Jewelers prior to the merger,  will “continue in a day-to-day role working on the vision and strategy,” said the company, after formerly serving as executive chairman.

With more than 30 years of experience in the watch and jewelry industry, Shmerler brings “a thoughtful style of leadership and an ever-evolving definition of what it means to be a customer-centric business,” said the company.

Shmerler shared his excitement, stating, “I am excited to engage in this new role, and to bring my industry knowledge to The 1916 Company. We are poised to grow, and more importantly, elevate and deepen our relationships with new and existing clients.”

The 1916 Company was formed by combining several prominent watch retailers with the goal of becoming a leading global platform and community for watch collectors.

Reis congratulated Shmerler on his CEO appointment and remarked on the company’s overall progress.

“Since we founded the company, it has grown from strength to strength, with over 500 employees and 20 locations worldwide. I am so proud of our team [for] delivering on a dynamic vision, with remarkable accomplishments along the way,” said Reis.

“John has an incredible passion for the industry and carries deep relationships with the leading watch and jewelry brands,” he said. 

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The leadership changes come at an opportune time, said Reis, noting the company has plans to invest in its community-focused strategy, build its customer relationships, and unite the worlds of new and pre-owned watches and jewelry.

As several companies have merged together, the rebrand will take place via a phased rollout, with all companies eventually being renamed The 1916 Company.

The company will launch a unified website in the second quarter of this year.

“We’re excited to unveil The 1916 Company’s new online destination, delivering access to our full authorized brand portfolio, complemented by an unparalleled pre-owned inventory. The platform will serve as a destination for collectors to collect, sell, and learn about watches,” said Shmerler.

The company is also growing its U.S. store network, which includes multi-brand salons and mono-brand boutiques, starting with a new store in Baltimore. A new location in Philadelphia is planned to open later this year while a new multi-brand boutique is slated to open in Manhattan Beach, California in 2025.

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