The name KWC is an acronym of the names of the founder and his successor. K stands for Adolf Karrer, who founded the business in 1874 with the idea of manufacturing music boxes. W stands for Eugen Weber, who joined the company in 1888 as Sales Manager.
After the death of the founder, the company was run by his widow and managed by Eugen Weber. At the time there was a decline in the music box business, and the management had the idea of making use of the know-how in precision engineering for manufacturing taps, initially for gas and later for water. In 1919 the company was officially established as a family corporation under the name of Karrer, Weber & Co., KWC for short.
Today, KWC is well established as the leading manufacturer of taps in Switzerland. The KWC brand is well known across Switzerland and on foreign markets for high-end products and solutions for water supply.
The KWC brand is synonymous with Swiss excellence in both form and function for optimum comfort of users, and since 2013 KWC has been part of the Swiss Franke Group. Based in Aarburg, Switzerland, Franke is a leading provider of solutions for residential kitchens and bathrooms, professional foodservice, coffee preparation, beverage delivery and semi-public washrooms.
With more than 9,000 employees at 72 subsidiaries on four continents, exports to more than 100 countries and turnover of 2.1 billion CHF, the Franke Group provides strong backing for KWC.
“Part of the Water Management Division of the Franke Group, KWC belongs to the newly formed Taps Competence Center,” says Gregory Oswald, who joined the Franke Group in the beginning of 2015 and heads the Taps Competence Center today. “Formed to unite and streamline the activities of the subsidiaries specialized in taps for private and semi-private application, the Taps Competence Center consists of three companies. In addition to KWC, there are Nokite Plumbing & Sanitary Products, China, a specialist in steel taps, and AquaInno, a joint venture in Italy focusing on chrome taps. As the operative head of the Taps Competence Center, I am responsible for the KWC brand.”
KWC is the most important company of the three, and the company benefits greatly from the new parent group. “In addition to the technological and financial backing and the synergetic effects within the group, we benefit from the global presence of the Franke Group and its excellent international contacts,” states Mr. Oswald. “Internationalization is our prime target. Thanks to our long history on the Swiss market, our brand is well known in Switzerland. We have always had close relationships with customers based on mutual trust, and we are well known as a reliable partner for top-quality products. For a long time now, we have been active on foreign markets, too, and we have earned an excellent reputation for Swiss excellence. At present we export our products and solutions to more than 50 countries worldwide. But we want to grow by further increasing the awareness of our brand on an international scale.”
Innovative by tradition, KWC has the products and solutions ideally suited to opening new markets. Committed to Swiss excellence right from the start, KWC has been an innovative force in taps all along and kept setting new standards for the trade.
Today, the Swiss specialists offer a comprehensive range of taps excelling in their sophisticated technology, advanced functionality and outstanding design. “We have four product ranges,” explains Mr. Oswald. “Taps for kitchens, taps for bathrooms, taps for the catering trade and spare parts. Taps for kitchen and bathrooms are the most important fields accounting for 80 to 90% of activities.”
KWC products are still Swiss made. They all are manufactured at the company’s headquarters in Unterkulm in the Swiss canton of Aargau. “Our taps are high-end products,” underlines Mr. Oswald. “In spite of high wages and exchange rate risks, we stick to production in Switzerland. We have highly automated production facilities, and we have the expertise in materials and processes, which are the basis for the high quality and outstanding durability of our products.”
The result of more than a century of expertise and a track record of innovations, KWC taps are sophisticated solutions for water supply which meet the most stringent demands for functionality, durability, comfort and aesthetics.
Electronically controlled and easily programmable, they come with a wide variety of advanced features such as mechanisms that greatly reduce water consumption, one hand operation or easy control of temperature and flow with the thumb.
“For example, the iconic flagship product KWC ZOE touch light PRO features an LED light ring indicating the temperature, which is selected with a simple touch,” says Mr. Oswald. “In addition, the lighted water jet creates a special atmosphere in the dark. KWC ONO is another flagship range for kitchens and bathrooms, combining timeless elegance with a lot of intelligent functions. KWC ONO highflex for kitchens comes with a spring hose which can be moved in any direction and automatically returns to its initial position and with a spray head operated by a touch on the lever.”
Plumbing wholesalers, plumbers, architects, general contractors and investors are the main target groups of KWC. “At present we are increasingly focusing on consumers – consumers who emphasize luxury and appreciate the quality of Swiss water expertise,” Mr. Oswald points out. “We promote our products in close cooperation with our target groups, and we will further increase our marketing activities in the future on the domestic and especially on foreign markets. With our high-end products and ongoing innovations, we are well positioned for future growth in spite of fierce competition. There are big players on the market, and there are new ones, mainly in Asia, competing on price. We will further pursue our successful strategy of quality and innovation with a clear focus on the high-end market range. Innovations are an integral part of the concept, innovations in terms of technology, materials, functionality, user comfort and aesthetics, of course. We have a variety of new solutions in the pipeline such as electronically controlled taps with integrated apps and display measuring and indicating all parameters for ensuring the ecological use of water.”