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Clasp act Meet Jörg Bader, CEO of Christopher Ward in Switzerland and board member for CW Holdings, as well as serial watch clasp innovator… Though we often feature Christopher Ward’s master watchmaker, Johannes Jahnke, in these pages, another key person at the company in Switzerland – boss Jörg Bader, who founded Synergies Horlogères, now part of Christopher Ward – keeps a slightly lower profile. He is, however, key to so much of the company’s success – as well as being the creator of the innovative Bader buckle. It was high time, we thought, that we caught up with him. Jörg was born in 1953 to watchmaker parents, and was brought up in Grenchen, Switzerland – home of ETA’s movement factories, though back then that company was known as A. Schild SA – where he worked during school holidays. Later, after time working for a bank and doing military service, he went abroad – first to England, where he polished up his English and worked part time at a machine tools importing company, then to Japan, where the joined a stainless steel bracelet manufacturer that was the main supplier to Seiko. “I went all around Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where the factories were based,” he says, “before – in the early ’80s – creating Meliga Habillement Horloger Ltd. This was a watch bracelet and case manufacturing specialist, with design offices in Biel and Hong Kong, and a Chinese QC workshop; the whole company was built

around my own design for a groundbreaking flat dresswatch stainless steel bracelet. In time it earned us 95% of the bracelet market, and that’s where I created the butterfly buckle, which was copied 100 million times.” In 2001 Jörg sold up to Fossil, and became managing director at Montres Antima SA (Fossil’s Swiss manufacturing company), based in Biel. About five years later he started his own company, Synergies Horlogères – which Jörg calls “the realisation of my last professional dream” – quickly persuading a talented young watchmaker he’d got to know, Johannes Jahnke, to move from Dresden to Biel to join him. In 2007 Jörg met the three co-founders of Christopher Ward at watch trade show Baselworld, and in 2009 SH started manufacturing and shipping their first CW watches. These days, with the two companies merged, the Bader buckle has become Christopher Ward’s go-to watch fastening. Let’s rewind for a moment, though, Jörg, and talk about your development of the butterfly watch clasp. From 1982 onwards I was very intrigued by the idea that it might be possible to improve watch buckles, because it seemed to me that the market didn’t offer many valuable solutions yet. With the help of a Japanese engineer, our

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Loupe. Issue 04. Spring 2017  
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