Maker of Big Ben, Porsche & Hilson Pipes Declares Bankruptcy

Via Email from Pieter Potmeer received the below email this morning from Pieter Potmeer, who is a member of the Dutch Pipe Forums:

Some sad news was released today. The last pipe factory in the Netherlands, Koninklijke Gubbels en Zn., recently filed for bankruptcy. Gubbels was the manufacturer of the Big Ben, Porsche Design and Hilson pipe brands, among others.

Here’s a translation of an article placed in ‘De Limburger’, a local newspaper:

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The Roermond-based pipe factory Koninklijke Pijpen Elbert Gubbels & Zn. (Royal Pipes Elbert Gubbels & son) has gone bankrupt. This was confirmed by company lawyer Wim Vondenhoff on behalf of the company’s board of directors. Gubbels employs 26 people.

The company has existed since 1870 and is run by the fourth generation of the Gubbels family. According to Vondenhoff, the company curator is currently exploring possibilities for relaunching the company on a smaller scale. There would be room for 18 employees in such an event.

Vondenhoff points to expansive debts accumulated by the company as the cause for its bankruptcy. These debts are the result of a large stock and decreasing sales as a result of the economic crisis. "Pipes are a luxury product. Demand for them has simply decreased." says Vondenhoff.

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10 Responses

  • The Market is adjusting to the fact that there are not as many pipe smokers today as there were forty years ago.

  • Sad news. I hope they can come back under some sort of reorganization. 🙁

  • Never give up!
    Never surrender!
    Never heard of em…
    Hire better marketing people.

  • Decrease the price of some of those fancy pipes and you just may sell a few more.

  • I wonder if another reason is that that Estate Pipe market is booming, it must have a big effect on the sales of new pipes, but then more people have large collections of Pipes now when years ago two or 3 would have been a collection. Sad news, hope they do start up again.

  • Eh Seems to me looking at the prices of the porsch pipes they did this to them self lts just a name ffs nothing there to justify a price like that.

  • This is a surprise and sad. I met the young Mr. Gubbels in the NL last October and was very impressed by his enthousiasm for reinvigorating the business. I hope he can find a way to continue! VEV

  • I’d pay good money for one of those Porsche pipes… but not the kind of money they charged. I suppose if you can afford a Porsche, the cost of the pipe was incidental. Buying the pipe would put me back one payment from eventually owning the car. The car is more important to me.

  • I agree that the Porsche pipes are somewhat overpriced, however, the strongest brand this factory produced is Big Ben: a brand of affordable pipes up there in terms of quality with the likes of Stanwell, Savinelli, Chacom, etc. I own a dozen or so Big Ben pipes, and they are all excellent smokers (and include my best). Gubbels has recently been working on releasing a new line of pipes under the Hilson brand, co-designed by the late Rainer Barbi, and was also given the honor of providing the pipes for the 2011 slow smoking world cup. They may not have been big in the US, but most of pipe-smoking Western Europe is hoping they’ll do a restart and will be producing pipes for many years to come.

  • Hello people ,Gubbels whas also the factory from bugatti pipes.
    From smokeshops in Germany city Achen in Europe the told me that there is a litle sunlight for the factory because Vauen( one of the largest factorys in Germany) is talking to buy the compeny.
    I hope in this diffecult times fro ecenomics it will work out for this nice and good pipemakers.