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The name “Meister� has stood for classic watchmaking at Junghans since 1936. The Meister watches of today follow in this tradition, for they are a result of both passion for precision and close attention to quality. Choosing a Junghans Meister demonstrates appreciation for these values and for beautiful watchmaking.

Uhrenfabrik Junghans GmbH & Co. KG · 78713 Schramberg, Germany ·


by Pierre Maillard, Editor-in-chief


onth after month, the negative figures continue to pour in. In April, Swiss watch exports fell once again, by 11.1% to be precise, compared with April 2015. Since the beginning of the year, the overall decline is edging towards -9.5%. With the notable exception of the USA, which has “climbed” a rather modest 1.2%, all key markets are in decline: China -36%, Hong Kong -17%, Italy -12.3%, Germany -11.1%, Japan -5.8%.... need we go on? And these are just the top six markets. What is even more worrying: this time it’s the top-drawer companies that are taking the hit. “Watches in precious metals were the most strongly affected in April and clearly exerted a downward pull on the overall result,” announced the Fédération Horlogère in a press release, noting that the decline in sales of steel watches, “while considerable, was half as significant.” Swiss watchmakers, who have withdrawn in droves to their gilded towers, assuming they are sufficiently insulated from the carnage being dealt out down below, are seeing their model of absolute exclusivity, reserved for the infamous 1% of the world’s richest, dangerously undermined.

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Whose fault is it? Please, don’t try to pin it on smartwatches. That would be far too convenient. The rise to prominence of these “watches”, which are not really watches at all (or only very marginally), has simply coincided with a situation that would in all likelihood have happened anyway. No, what we are witnessing is a turning point for society, a pivotal moment that the majority of Swiss watchmakers, with very few exceptions, were unable, or unwilling, to even countenance. We’ve said it a thousand times: you neglect accessible watches, and retreat to the inaccessible, at your peril. The mad rush to exclusionary heights of extravagance has almost played out, and the consequences are painful to contemplate. At the risk of repeating ourselves, we’ll say once again that the watchmaking industry is a mirror of the society that imagined, designed and built it. And the signs are all there for anyone who cares to read them: the dominant model, based as it is upon increasingly blatant inequality, is close to becoming intolerable. This growing inequality is reflected perfectly by the Swiss watch industry, which produces a little over 2% of all watches sold worldwide (in 2015, 28 million out of 1.2 billion), but pockets 50% of the revenues. And that is quite obviously unbalanced, however you choose to look at it. As excess has been piled upon excess, the image of the Swiss watch has also been seriously tarnished. As its most extravagant creations were spotted on the wrists of Mexican drug lords, corrupt Chinese functionaries, louche Russian oligarchs, narcissistic rappers and vapid celebrities, the Swiss watch industry has seen its global image become tainted, suspect.

In parallel, we have seen a gradual rise to prominence of the more punctilious German watch industry, which resisted the siren song of bling and is now doing very well, thank you. The same could be said of Japan, whose watchmaking skills are increasingly well-regarded and recognised.* Because despite everything, watchmaking is not dead. Far from it. You only have to look at the astonishing number of watchmaking startups – in both the smartwatch and traditional watch segments – who have launched successful crowdfunding campaigns. Or look at the runaway success of the new entry-level giants offering a classic, conservative aesthetic. Or even the huge vintage watch revival, which demonstrates the appeal, even to younger generations, of conservative, discreet, classically elegant mechanical watchmaking with a rich history. No, watchmaking is not dead. Far from it. But its economic model is changing. And we’ve heard the death knell of a certain brand of arrogance, of which the public has had its fill. We’ll be revisiting all these topics in the following pages. We hope you enjoy them. Oh, and... long live watchmaking. p * At the time of going to press we learned that Frédérique Constant had been bought by Citizen. When we interviewed the company’s founder and CEO Peter Stas for this issue, we asked him about his price offensive, illustrated by the launch of a Perpetual Calendar for less than 8,000 euros. He didn’t say anything about the buyout, which was clearly already in the works, but the sale does lend support to our hypothesis that Japanese watchmakers have got it right where it comes to the importance of moderation in both pricing and aesthetics.

Photo: Prague astronomical clock



© Didier Gourdon


Rue du Rhône 78, 1204 GENEVA (opening soon)



LAUREATO by Girard-Perregaux Blue dial reference: 81000-11-431-11a Silvered dial reference: 81000-11-131-11a Case: steel Diameter: 41.00 mm Thickness: 10.10 mm Dial: silvered or blue with “clous de paris” pattern Hands: baton-shaped luminescent hands Girard-Perregaux movement GP03300-0030 mechanical with automatic winding Frequency: 28,800 vph - (4 hz) Power reserve: min. 46 hours

GIRARD PERREGAUX 1, Place Girardet CH 2301 La Chaux-de-Fonds Switzerland Tel. + 41 (0)32 911 33 33 Fax + 41 (0)32 913 04 80


EDITORIAL Watchmaking is dead, long live watchmaking

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ALL EYES ON… With the Calibre 112, Oris is convincingly reclaiming its illustrious history Girard-Perregaux celebrates a fresh start

23 26 30 34 38 40 41 42

VINTAGEMANIA Vintagemania: introduction Tudor mines the productive seam of “reinterpretation” Beyer Chronometrie Zurich: “The brands are returning to their roots” Iconeek: “Today, everything sells” “Collecting vintage watches is making us more demanding” Chronographs for Collectors: in praise of diversity My own private Frankenwatch Vintagemania: gallery

44 46 50

HAUTE HORLOGERIE High-quality watches at hard prices? Quick interview with Jean-Claude Biver Interview with Peter Stas, Founder and CEO of Frédérique Constant


ENTRY LEVEL Entry-level entrepreneurs


BRAND Frédéric Jouvenot: the “Little Prince” of watchmakers

66 68 70

EUROPA STAR ARCADE Jacob & Co: the sky is not the limit ZRC resurfaces Pierre DeRoche setting its watches to Japanese time











LAKIN@LARGE Shakespeare’s Time


SPOTLIGHTS Armillion: the secret agent’s cuff


EXCLUSIVE A. Lange & Söhne: The VIP Akademie, a unique watchmaking event in Switzerland

Ebel: a window to elegance • Charriol: “Banglemania” and jewels of time • Armillion: the contactless cuff • Weinbeck: a graceful dance • Nanis: perfect mistake • Men of Antique TRENDS & COLOURS: Top of the tree | Pirates of luxury | Swan Lake | Kiss a frog...or not? | Sinful Serpenti | Colour me happy | King of the jungle




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The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily Europa Star. Europa Star subscription service: CHF 100 in Europe,CHF 140 International | One year, 6 issues Visit: | Enquiries:

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SLIMLINE MANUFACTURE PERPETUAL CALENDAR FROM CHF 8’350.Handcrafted in-house movement. Manufacture Collection: in-house developed, in-house produced and in-house assembled movements.

More information on



This autumn Oris will be introducing a new original calibre, developed and produced in-house: the Calibre 112. The movement, designed specifically with different time zones in mind, offers incontrovertible proof that Oris has truly reconnected with its fundamental values. In case you didn’t know, Oris has produced around 285 in-house calibres over its 112-year history, and was once one of the ten biggest watch producers in the world. Today, Oris is reconnecting with its illustrious past as a powerhouse of mechanical movement production, offering real watches for real people – in other words: quality, functionality and beauty at ‘democratic’ prices. 00 | ALL EYES ON… | europa star

by Pierre Maillard, Europa Star


ris was founded in 1904 by Paul Cattin and Georges Christian, two watchmakers from La Chaux-deFonds, whose pioneering spirit led them to set up shop in Hölstein, in the Waldenburg valley. Their vision, their objective, was to produce high-quality mechanical watches for mass distribution, using the most advanced production technologies available at the time. They could not have predicted how successful they would become. Barely six years on, in 1910, Oris was already the region’s biggest employer, with more than 300 staff. In 1925 the business was spread across no fewer than six different production sites, including one cutting-edge electroplating plant. At that point in its history, Oris was considered one of the most avant-garde watchmakers of the day. The Second World War brought a temporary reduction in activity, but the 1950s saw Oris rebound, and the business began to grow exponentially. At the head of the company was an industrialist by the name of Oscar Herzog, the brother-in-law of

Georges Christian, one of the two founders. Oscar Herzog took the strategy of industrialisation that lay at the root of the company’s success even further, by rationalising manufacturing processes and enhancing Oris’s capacity to develop and build its own machines and tools. At its zenith the firm’s R&D department employed as many as 80 people. This highly innovative approach enabled Oris to design and produce calibre after calibre, making the company the region’s biggest employer and one of Switzerland’s major watchmakers. In 1970, at the height of its success, Oris was among the top ten watch businesses in the world; it had 900 employees producing 1.2 million mechanical watches and clocks per year, and 279 calibres to its name, designed and made entirely in-house.


bold wager. In the meantime, however, Oris had to keep its head down, while gradually winning back the territory it had lost.

SUBSTANCE REWARDED Today the tide has turned, and Oris has succeeded without ever deviating from its mechanical trajectory. With a presence in 80 markets, CEO Rolf Studer says that Oris “is currently gaining significant market share. The zeitgeist is on our side, and that’s a great help. You can sense a need to return to more solid values. Bling is out. People need more substance, but they don’t necessarily want to bankrupt themselves to buy a watch. There is also a greater understanding of mechanical watchmaking. Consumers are better informed. All these factors work in our favour, because we have never strayed from our mechanical path. We’ve taken a longer, harder road, but honesty pays off in the end, because it creates more substance. What’s more, our independence gives us an important margin of freedom, and allows us to focus on what’s important: our products.” Forced to halt movement production in 1982, Oris turned first to ETA and then to Sellita, which would become a very important partner. The company never lost its mechanical savoir-faire, however. In 1982 Oris began to develop in-house a whole range of modules and mechanical innovations, such as the recent Depth Gauge, which uses water to measure depth, or the mechanical altimeter and barometer patented in 2014. Countless innovative products, such as the Pointer-Date, the Worldtimer, the Artix chronograph with its countdown timer, the Pro-Diver Pointer Moon and numerous other creations have appeared over the decades. Given that the company was all but destroyed by the crisis and the subsequent consolidation of movement production with the ETA ‘conglomerate’ (which Rolf Studer likes to describe as “anti-democratic”), there is no doubt that Oris has more than got its own back.

But the advent of what became known as the ‘quartz crisis’ turned everything on its head. Swiss mechanical watches quickly began to lose ground against more accurate and cheap quartz watches. (Further contributing factors were the excessive strength of the Swiss franc – yes, even back then – and the watch industry’s reluctance to even acknowledge the problem.) In less than ten years almost 900 Swiss watchmakers disappeared off the face of the earth. Oris survived, but barely. In 1982 came an even more devastating blow. The crisis had ripped through the industry like a tornado and, following the reorganisation of Switzerland’s production capacity, Oris was placed under a legal obligation to stop producing its own mechanical movements in favour of the nascent ETA. It was at this point, the lowest point of its history, that two Oris executives, Rolf Portmann (now honorary chairman) and Ulrich W. Herzog (CEO and majority shareholder), decided to buy the company. Shortly after the buyout the two men took a decision that at the time was considered at best deluded and, at worst, insane. The entire mechanical watchmaking sector was in tatters; Oris itself was no longA PLAN FOR INDUSTRIAL er permitted to produce its own mechanical RECONQUEST CALIBRE ORIS 110 movements; clients, retailers and distributors didn’t want to know; and yet they turned their backs on quartz Oris had been thinking seriously about recovering its industriand decided to produce only mechanical watches. In an ironic al autonomy since the early 2000s. But the plan really came twist, the turning point began with the ‘enemy’ – Japan, where together in 2011, when the decision was taken to relaunch the quartz tsunami had originated. Ulrich Herzog was on a trip production of a proprietary mechanical movement. The spec to Japan when he noticed that the most style-conscious young sheet drawn up was taken straight from the company’s histoJapanese had already tired of quartz, and were slowly coming ry books: a manually-wound movement designed specifically back to mechanical watches. The concept of remaining 100% for mass-production, a modest 190 components, a power mechanical would, in the fullness of time, prove to be a stroke reserve of 10 days achieved with a single large barrel, a nonof genius. Thirty years on, Oris began to reap the rewards of its linear power reserve indicator (patented: the hand acceler-

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CALIBRE ORIS 111 Dimensions Ø 34 mm, 15’’’. Functions: Central hour and minute hand, small seconds at 9 o’clock, non-linear power reserve indication at 3 o’clock, date aperture, date corrector, fine timing device and stop-second. Winding: Hand wound. Power reserve: 240 hours.


ates as the barrel empties), a clean architecture and design paying tribute to its 100% Swiss industrial origins, all at a ‘democratic’ price. The result was the Calibre 110, presented in 2014, the year of the company’s 110th anniversary. “There were several reasons for this decision,” explains Rolf Studer. “As well as allowing us to reconnect with our industrial heritage as a movement manufacturer, we wanted to offer our clients a movement of our own construction. A movement which, while demonstrating our abilities, remains in our typically affordable price range. It is nevertheless at the top end, coming in at around CHF 5,000. [The average price of an Oris watch is CHF 2,500.] This base movement was designed from the outset to be a springboard for the development of new collections, expanding our range and offering a number of price points. Initial reactions from our retailers and customers were surprising and reassuring. The first anniversary series, limited to 110 units in gold, flew off the shelves, even though its price was exceptionally high for us at CHF 14,500. But what quickly became clear was that people were starting to look at us differently. Retailers are more open to our proposals, and our patient democratic strategy, ‘Real watches for real people’, seems to be coming into its own.”

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Having been put to the test with the Calibre 110, the technology used in the first special series was ready to be incorporated into the brand’s current collections. The Calibre 111 that followed in 2015 had the same strongly structured architecture and the same technical characteristics, including the exceptional 10-day power reserve and non-linear power reserve indicator, the same combination of handcrafted finishes – the bridges are hand-polished and hand-chamfered – and industrial techniques that underline the eminently functional nature of the watch. Where the Calibre 111 differs is in the addition of a third complication in the form of a large date – a combination that is still unique in watchmaking. Oris, which designed and developed this new movement entirely in-house, is certainly not yet equipped to produce every component internally. But it’s only a matter of time. The parts are manufactured with the help of a number of highly skilled partners along the Jurassic Arc. All of the checking, mounting and assembly, however, is done by Oris. For this important, perhaps crucial, launch, Oris presented the Calibre 111 in a 43 mm round case with sleek, classical lines, in steel (CHF 5,300) and rose gold (CHF 14,500). Eminently legible, graphically balanced and harmonious, with a domed sapphire crystal front and back and a screwed case back, the Calibre 111 collection comes with a choice of opaline silver-gold, maroon, sunray black-gold or silver-grey dial on a crocodile leather strap.

WORLD TRAVELLER The watch’s second time zone appears in a subdial at 12 o’clock and shows the time in full, with dedicated hour and minute hands, while the day/night indication is shown by two apertures in the dial.

ONE BARREL, 10 DAYS The Calibre 112 uses a single-barrel concept. Power is stored in a mainspring that measures 1.8 metres when stretched out. The calibre has been engineered so that the power is released evenly over the 10-day period. CASE STUDY The new Oris Calibre 112 collection comes in a choice of two case materials: solid 18-karat rose gold and stainless steel. The 43 mm multi-piece construction case is water-resistant to 3 bar/30 m

NON-LINEAR POWER RESERVE INDICATOR The display at 3 o’clock on the dial indicates the amount of power remaining in the barrel from 10 days down to zero. At the top of the scale, the notches representing the days are close together, moving further apart at the bottom. As the power is released the hand moves clockwise around the scale, slowly at first, and then more quickly as the notches become more spread out. This gives the wearer a far clearer indication of how much power is left in the watch as the moment to wind it approaches. Oris has patented this development. DATE CHANGE Calibre 112 differs from Calibre 110 in that it has a date window, a useful addition to the watch’s roster of functions. IN DETAIL The Oris Calibre 112 watch is equipped with a sapphire crystal glass covering the dial, a choice of three dials with applied indices and numerals, a sapphire crystal case back and a Louisiana crocodile leather strap. It is delivered in a luxurious wooden box.

NEW HEIGHTS: THE ARTELIER CALIBRE 112 With the new in-house family thoroughly put through its paces and fully incorporated into its collections, this year Oris was able to move to the third phase of its programme: the Artelier Calibre 112. Oris’s motto is ‘Real watches for real people’. Given the company’s democratic ambition to offer watches of outstanding quality, with genuinely useful functions, classically elegant looks and superb legibility, it was inevitable that it should, sooner or later, come out with one of the most convenient and practical functions for our internationally nomadic lifestyles: a second time zone located at 12 o’clock, along with a day/night indicator. The highly regimented architecture of the Calibre 112 perfectly encapsulates Oris’s philosophy, at the crossroads of art and industry. Shaped and machined with superlative precision thanks to the most sophisticated tools, assembled in the Oris

workshops, relentlessly checked, finished and decorated both by machine and by hand to achieve the most refined polish, designed to offer incomparable value for money, the Calibre 112 is the engine driving three stylish globe-trotters: in steel with blue-grey dial and a brown crocodile leather strap or steel bracelet; in steel with opaline silver dial and black crocodile strap or steel bracelet; and a bi-colour version with 18K rose gold bezel on a chocolate brown crocodile strap. With its perfectly legible and elegant face, its scrupulously balanced dial, its functionality, user-friendliness, ergonomic perfection and minimalist aesthetic, the Oris Artelier Calibre 112 Collection marks another step in Oris’s triumphant return to the exacting world of mechanical movement manufacture. p

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CELEBRATES A FRESH START On its 225th birthday, Girard-Perregaux is seeking both to reassure and to surprise the global watch community, by reminding it of the company’s historic place in the Swiss watchmaking landscape and its longstanding quest for precision, and by raiding its rich heritage to revive the iconic models of the past. by Serge Maillard, Europa Star


s we explained in our last issue, under the initiative of its dynamic CEO, Antonio Calce, Girard-Perregaux is undertaking a fresh start (see interview in Europa Star 2/16). The venerable company based in La Chaux-de-Fonds celebrates its 225th birthday this year, and is taking advantage of the anniversary to showcase its rich heritage while laying the foundations for its future. In an industry in flux, Girard-Perregaux aims to reaffirm its status as the choice of connoisseurs, while at the same time claiming a new audience through more transparent, more accessible and more focused positioning. The company has access to a virtually limitless catalogue of innovations going back hundreds of years (it holds more than 80 patents), the perfect foundation for a triumphant comeback. Several highlights await in this jubilee year; we have chosen to focus on four of the iconic creations. The reworking of the legendary three-bridge tourbilESMERALDA (1889) lon Esmeralda, which was presented for the first time in 1889 at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, is a potent symbol of the quest for precision that has made Girard-Perregaux one of the most respected manufacturers in the watchmaking world. The Place Girardet collection provides a key

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to the company’s 225-year history with as many breathtaking pieces. The Laureato with its vintage and sporty looks – bang on-trend, according to our observations at Baselworld – borrows the DNA of a model launched in 1975. Equally vintage, and also limited to 225 pieces, the Heritage 1957 is inspired by a model unveiled at the end of the 1950s. Girard-Perregaux is also hoping to please its female clients with the new Cat’s Eye Majestic. This iconic model is presented in a vertical case, with new dimensions, giving the watch a thoroughly modern makeover.

225 YEARS OF WATCHMAKING CHALLENGES Girard-Perregaux is one of the rare watchmakers that can legitimately lay claim to the perhaps over-used title of “manufacture”. Today, the company has earned a reputation for its high-quality finishes, and has all the in-house skills required to make a watch, from initial design to the final finish. It was towards the end of the 18th century that Jean-François Bautte, a Geneva watchmaker-jeweller, laid the foundations for the future company. He and his artisans produced watches, automata, jewellery and music boxes. Jean-François Bautte excelled in what are called “form watches” – models representing musical instruments, insects, even a perfume diffuser! He was also one of the first watchmakers to design ultra-thin watches. While the origins of the company can be traced back to 1791, it didn’t acquire its current name until 1856, when Constant Girard married Marie Perregaux. The brand’s signature three bridges emerged in the mid-19th century. In 1867, at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, Constant Girard Perregaux introduced his first pocket watch featuring a tourbillon suspended under three bridges. Twenty-two years later, back in the French capital, the concept had reached its ultimate expression in the form of a tourbillon with three gold bridges, which became known as the Esmeralda. At the end of the 1950s Girard-Perregaux pioneered the establishment of a dedicated research and development department, which led to the 1965 introduction of the Gyromatic HF, the first high-frequency movement, beating at 36,000 vph. One year later the company’s high-frequency chronometers were rewarded


THE ESMERALDA: A MASTERPIECE with the Neuchâtel Observatory’s Prix du Centenaire. The following decade was marked by the advent of quartz. Nevertheless, Girard-Perregaux quickly understood this new technology’s potential to further its quest for precision, and launched into mass producing quartz watches, whose 32,768 Hertz frequency remains a universal standard today. In 2008 Girard-Perregaux unveiled a revolutionary innovation: a constant escapement movement whose design was based around a silicon blade thinner than a hair. The Constant Escapement L.M. won the Aiguille d’Or at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. To share this rich heritage with the public, Girard-Perregaux is currently constructing a new museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds, in the historic building known as the “Château” at Rue du Progrès 129. It was built in 1908 by architect Léon Boillot, according to “feudal” and “Swiss renaissance” principles. As Antonio Calce, explains, “It won’t be your traditional rows of display cases; it will be an immersive experience.”

This iconic tourbillon watch, which is more than a century old, represents better than any other timepiece GirardPerregaux’s obsessive pursuit of precision. It was only natural that the company should contemplate producing a re-issue, which will be released this summer to mark the company’s 225th anniversary. “The Esmeralda is a combination of technique and architecture. It is part of our strategy to reposition the brand as a historic Swiss manufacture,” explains the CEO. Architecturally, the original watch was very much of its time, its structural similarities to many bridges, even the Eiffel Tower, a visual reminder of the late 19th century burgeoning of industry across Europe. What Constant Girard wanted was to bring together all the finest watchmaking techniques of the time to produce a masterpiece. The watch case is decorated with engravings by Fritz Kundert, the most eminent engraver of his time. And the three bridge system enhances the architectural presence of the movement. u

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meticulous regulation are features that the original watch and its reincarnation share, in addition to the movement and the bridges, obviously,” notes Antonio Calce. It’s a purist’s dream.

As far back as 1860, Constant Girard had begun “theatricalising” the mechanical workings of his watches, and his first three bridge tourbillon watch was genuinely revolutionary in the way its components were staged and choreographed, giving an artistic dimension to the tourbillon, which had previously been considered a purely technical mechanism. But that did not detract from its enhanced precision – far from it. Seven years later, the model was awarded its first chronometry prize by the Neuchâtel Observatory. The tourbillon with three gold bridges was patented in the United States in 1884, because at that time the Swiss cantons had not been able to agree to a joint federal patent! Girard-Perregaux submitted around 27 three-bridge tourbillons to the Neuchâtel Observatory between 1865 and 1911. The culmination came in 1889, when a new model by Constant Girard – a tourbillon pocket watch with pivoted detent and three gold bridges – won the gold medal in its category at the Universal Exhibition in Paris. Its name, “La Esmeralda”, came from the Mexico City shop of jeweller and watch merchant Hauser, Zivy & Cie. For several decades the watch belonged to Porfirio Diaz, the Mexican President, and his heirs. In 1970, circumstances conspired to return the icon to the Manufacture Girard-Perregaux Museum, when the company’s general manager at the time, Jean-Edouard Friedrich, was contacted by a descendant of General Diaz, and was able to buy back the watch. The timepiece certainly deserves its place in the museum, since it contains the oldest movement still in production, and its overall structure has remained unchanged since 1860. The new model is faithful to the virtues of its illustrious predecessor, successfully combining aesthetic, technical and symbolic principles. In the middle of the three parallel bridges are the diamond-polished settings, held in place with two screws, which mean that the barrel, centre wheel and tourbillon carriage must be in line with each other. The three-part layout of the mainplate, the gold bridges and the organs visible on the front, even the number of arms on the tourbillon carriage, are a reminder that the number three and its multiples underlie the measurement of past, present and future time. The 44 mm 18K rose gold case houses the automatic tourbillon mechanical calibre with its three bridges, which occupies the entire width of the case. The refined lines of the tourbillon carriage form the distinctive lyre shape developed by Constant Girard-Perregaux. “The tourbillon, the craftsmanship and the



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ONE YEAR, ONE WATCH The anniversary number 225 features in the same number of unique watches, each of whose dials is individually designed (index style, minutes track, barleycorn or basketweave guilloché decoration, satin and sandblasted finishes). The models of the Place Girardet collection all feature a gold plaque at 9 o’clock, engraved with a year between 1791 and 2016, and a quotation in the centre of the dial referring to an important event from that date. The series covers the major milestones in Girard-Perregaux’s history since 1791, as well as pivotal cultural, scientific and political events. The “face” of the collection’s models incorporates the manufacture’s iconic gold bridge at 6 o’clock, which for the first time arcs over the oscillations of the Microvar variable inertia balance wheel. The dials alternate a variety of colours, finishes and decorations, and the type and style of indices varies according to the historic period. PLACE GIRARDET (2016)









THE GRADUATE Now let’s turn to another landmark year for Girard-Perregaux: 1975. That was the year the company launched the disruptive Laureato, which broke all the conventions of the time in terms of its shape, materials and movement. Movie buffs may already have guessed that its name was inspired by Mike Nichols’ famous film, The Graduate (‘Il Laureato’ in Italian), which captures the uncertainty of an era when traditional values were being questioned by a younger generation. It was also a time when steel became a dominant presence in watches, giving them a sportier and more active profile. The design of this watch was an inspired move at a time when marketing departments hadn’t yet taken their first steps into the world of watchmaking. That says it all. The design was bold in a number of ways. The Laureato featured a pioneering integrated bracelet, polished octagonal bezel set into a satin-brushed case and harmoniously alternating shiny and matt finishes (the Laureato was a perfect expo-

nent of the nascent trend for two-tone watches). The audacity extended to the inside: at a time of overwhelming technical upheavals in the 1970s, Girard-Perregaux put its energy into developing an in-house quartz calibre with an oscillation frequency of 32,768 Hz, setting the standard that continues to be applied today. 2016 marks a return to its original values. Two series limited to – wait for it... – 225 units pay tribute to the vintage steel watch, one with a blue dial and the other in grey. The octagonal bezel is back, as is the subtle play of polished and satin finishes on the gracefully integrated flexible bracelet. Its 41 mm diameter marks a return to “reasonable standards after allowing itself a momentary foray into the XXL era,” as the company literature points out. The baton-shaped hands come from the original model and have been embellished with a hint of luminescent material, while the dial is stamped with a Clou de Paris mini checkerboard pattern, like its 1975 forebear. The date appears at 3 o’clock. It’s a ‘post-vintage, new-wave’ watch (see our Vintagemania feature on p. 23). u

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A LANDMARK FOR PRECISION Reissues are definitely one of the major trends of this year. The Girard-Perregaux Heritage 1957 model draws inspiration from the aesthetic codes of the Gyromatic (from the Greek gyros for rotation, and English automatic) of the 1950s, whose revolutionary movement simplified the winding mechanism of automatic watches. It was the answer to a conundrum that had exercised the ingenuity of watchmakers since the 1930s: how can you made an automatic watch both accurate and reliable, while making it more energy-efficient? Girard-Perregaux’s initial response, which dates back to 1957, was to design an extremely compact ‘free-wheel’ clutch system to transmit energy from the rotor more simply, efficiently and reliably, opening the doors to a reduction in the size of automatic watches. The second innovation was the high-frequency movement known as the Gyromatic HF. From the mid-1960s the company began to sell watches running at 36,000 vibrations per hour, rather than the 18,000 to 21,600 of their predecessors, thus considerably improving the precision and reliability of the timepieces – a genuine obsession for the company. The design is also elegant, sophisticated and timeless. The 225 reissued Heritage 1957 watches in steel, with their vintage good looks, are a faithful reflection of the spirit of their ancestors. HERITAGE 1957


CAT’S EYE MAJESTIC, VERTICALLY UNCHALLENGED What about the ladies? Girard-Perregaux, one of the first watchmakers to fit its women’s timepieces with a mechanical movement, is introducing a new Cat’s Eye, in the Majestic model, with its oval case vertically oriented. Since its creation in 2004, the Cat’s Eye collection has earned its place among the most iconic ladies’ watches, with its distinctive oval dial. In conclusion, Girard-Perregaux is certainly not resting on its laurels, or on its 225-year history. For its jubilee year, it is deploying a dual strategy: re-establishing its position as one of the pillars of Swiss watchmaking history and a pioneer in the pursuit of the precision, and laying the foundations for the company’s future by reinterpreting its peerless vintage heritage, an approach currently riding a wave of popularity. Its expert watchmakers need only immerse themselves in the company’s rich archives to unearth forgotten legends and breathe new life into them. The new museum, which is preparing to reopen its doors next year, will send a strong message to the public. Not to mention the comeback of Girard-Perregaux at the SIHH as of 2017! p

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La vie est Aventures

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Vintagemania The fashion for vintage which has boomed over the course of the past decade concerns not only watches – far from it. Vintage is everywhere, in cars, fashion, home furnishings, music, cooking, cinema, even video games, as proven by the seemingly contradictorily named Web site: What’s behind the phenomenon? Of what is it symptomatic? Who is it affecting? This Europa Star Feature tries to answer these questions by taking the example of watches – which by their very nature as timepieces touch on issues at the core of the vintage phenomenon: the passage of time, nostalgia for bygone days, insecurity about the future.


by Pierre Maillard, Europa Star


he word “vintage” emerged in the early twentieth century, first of all in English before spreading to other languages, and originally referred to Port wines of a particular year (at least 10 years old) as opposed to blends, a mixture of ports from several harvests. Only afterwards did use of the word spread to the automobile sector and then, by extension, to any object in its original state from a past that was recent, but definitively over. In other words, an eighteenth-century pocket watch is not vintage, but antique, while a wristwatch from the 1950s or 60s will in the immediate future be described as vintage, but not antique. “Trendy hipsters sporting moustaches and vintage checked shirts, girls with fringes, poured into 1950s pencil skirts that are now back in fashion thanks to the series Mad Men (…): a strange retro fever has taken hold of our digital age. And it’s infiltrating every object of daily life: from formica design furniture to cutting-edge cameras impersonating the film cameras of yesteryear, right through to the rutabaga on our plates! And what about vinyl, which is more than resisting the onslaught of dematerialised music…” enumerates the French daily, Libération, wondering what lies behind the trend. That is not an easy question to answer. The persisting fashion for vintage, which has been gathering momentum for the past decade, is fuelled by a raft of social

phenomena and anxiety-ridden times: nostalgia for the thirty glorious post-War years when everything seemed possible, when the consumer society took off, when morals were liberated and rock was born; the quest for durability, sure values, as an antidote to the present which is perceived as unstable, frightening and engaged in a race the end of which is nowhere in sight; the need to consume responsibly, the desire for authenticity and simplicity in the face of continually escalating technology and the dematerialisation of daily life… Numerous sociologists have already investigated the phenomenon; hot on their heels came the marketing experts, the inventors of the concept of “retromarketing”. “For businesses, vintage has also become a selling point. ‘Consumers associate it with the notions of heritage, knowhow and quality’ underscores Nathalie Rozborski. This being so, brands play on the “codes” of vintage to suggest a certain authenticity in order to reassure consumers distressed by health scandals and the ravages of globalisation. Consequently, vintage packaging has taken over supermarket shelves in recent years. By creating the illusion of coming straight out of our grandmothers’ cupboards, these products suggest simple, authentic, tried-and-tested recipes”, Libération continues, and cites the example of a watchmaker: “Surfing on the retro wave is also an opportunity of making yourself part of a story. One textbook example: Bell & Ross.

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This luxury watchmaker has launched a collection of vintage watches inspired by the watches worn by 1940s aviators – a period the brand has never known, as it was created in…1994. Evoking a past tradition is also a means for the watchmaker of suggesting longstanding savoir-faire.” The same kind of “retro-marketing” is flourishing in the watchmaking industry. But we are justified in asking which came first, the chicken or the egg. In other words, did the fashion for vintage start on the street and gradually impose itself on the brands, or was it the brands which, scenting which way the wind was blowing, got proactive and imposed this new model of “vintage”? A bit of both, no doubt.

TAG HEUER, THE PRECURSOR OF THE VINTAGE TREND? In the world of watchmaking, TAG Heuer can certainly be considered to have played the role of precursor in this “return to the roots” that is the hallmark of vintage, in an operation master-minded by a certain Jean-Christophe Babin; by no great coincidence he was appointed CEO of TAG Heuer in 2000 straight from the consumer industry (Procter & Gamble), a sector which pays particular attention to social changes. As early as 2003, he redesigned and re-issued the 1969 Monaco range, incorporating into it the most avant-garde models, thus merging technically advanced horology and “packaging” with a strong vintage feel. The following year, in 2004, he relaunched the Carrera, a 1963 model which had vanished from the catalogue in the 1980s: it was to become the brand’s number one best seller. While in the early 2000s all the media spotlights seem to be focused on “excessive”, “baroque” or “mannerist” watches (as Europa Star termed the trends of 2003–2004), these revisited models rap-

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idly acquired iconic status. The powerful marketing machine deployed at the time – featuring, notably, Brad Pitt – certainly had something to do with it, but is not “good” marketing all about scenting the next trend before the others? Whatever the case, more than ten years later, re-issues of vintage models are

now commonplace, and not only among Swiss watchmakers but even at Seiko, for example, which since 2013 has systematically re-issued certain former models in its Historical Collection. So it was that last year, Seiko simultaneously showcased four re-issues of its original Grand Seiko automatic 62GS, designed

in 1967, and four re-interpretations of the same model equipped with the manufacture’s most advanced mechanical movements (including the Hi-Beat 36’000 and Spring Drive calibres).

SIDE-EFFECTS “What to invest in at the moment? And why not, instead of the traditional investments, collector watches?” the news magazine Le Point asked in the autumn of 2013, thus reflecting an increasingly widespread point of view, to the great satisfaction of the watchmaker brands. Because the fashion for vintage re-issues is not only surfing on the growing consumer taste for products with the reassuring fifties or seventies look, it is also generating a certain number of side-effects – media exposure, first and foremost, but also a definite rise in popularity ratings.

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By re-issuing or copying one of its earlier models, watch brands are virtually sure of putting the spotlight back on their range and generating global curiosity for their products. This automatically raises their rating on the pre-owned market and also ratchets up media exposure, fuelled by the specialist blogs, the numbers of which have experienced exponential growth in recent years. So have vintage watches also become “safe-haven” investments? When you know that a watch automatically loses more than one-third or even 50 per cent of its value (VAT and sales margin) as soon as you leave the shop, you are reasonable in thinking that investing in a pre-owned vintage watch is far less risky than investing in a recent model. The famous Rolex Milgauss, an antimagnetic watch from 1953, is one extremely cogent example. Its rating has never ceased to rise since the early 2000s – exactly the time when the fashion for vintage took off. Just one example (but multipliable ad infinitum) cited by Le Point is “a Milgauss 6541 bought at Sotheby’s on 15 May 2011 for €65,000, which was to sell 18 months later at another auction house for €108,625.” In rather the same way as with stampcollecting in the past (though this has since lost its appeal), the slightest peculiarity of a model, a detail which is tiny but exists only on a limited number of dials or watches, or a particular denomination (think Rolex Comex) will send the price of the item soaring. Well aware of this “philately fad”, the brands are making the very most of it, reissuing further models destined for rapid entry into the virtuous circle of vintage, or even pseudo-vintage, products. One illustration, to stay with Rolex, is the 2014 re-issue of another Milgauss, or this year’s presentation of a new Air-King (from 1945) over which the specialist bloggers have shed penfuls of ink: “The best

part?” asks Hodinkee, “The dial bears the name “Air-King” in the same script as the ones from the 1950s”. And the name of Rolex is featured in green. It’s of this kind of micro-detail that vintage is made. But isn’t Rolex the champion when it comes to continuous re-iteration of historic models, with a limited catalogue of iconic watches, but in multiple variations? A further example of the systematic shoring up of the ratings of historic or vintage models is Patek Philippe, another uncontested king of auction houses. Launched in 1976, a new Nautilus 3700/1A sold at around 2,300 euros (equivalent) at that period. Today, the same watch, now vintage, may go for between 20,000 and 25,000 euros depending on its state of conservation – slightly more than a Nautilus manufactured today. Begun in 1976, manufacture of the “Jumbo” Nautilus ceased in 1990 (the ladies’ model launched in 1980 ceased in 2006, at the same time as the average-size Nautilus and other auxiliary models). In precisely 2006, on the 30th anniversary of the collection, Patek Philippe organised a grand, global relaunch by subtly redesigning the case and dial, equipping it with a new, exclusive, in-house automatic movement, a sapphire crystal case back, etc., etc. Enough to fuel Nautilus-mania for the next 30 years and give an additional boost to the old Nautiluses! Deliberately limited production, special editions, close ties with auction houses, the growing role of bloggers… so many strategies which are steadily pushing up the ratings of vintage watches while allowing contemporary production to benefit from their aura. So the movement is a dual one – brand recognition benefits the rating of a brand’s vintage watches which, in return, raise interest in the brand and its current products. p

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TUDOR MINES THE PRODUCTIVE SEAM OF “REINTERPRETATION” ]< Officially, at Tudor, they don’t use the word “vintage”, preferring the term “retro-chic”. Old models are not “reissued”, they are “reinterpreted”. It was in 2010 that Tudor first set out to “reinterpret” its own history, and the approach has proved to be a winning formula. We attempt to deconstruct it. by Pierre Maillard, Europa Star


ans Wilsdorf created Tudor in 1926 with the aim of, in his own words, producing “a watch more modestly priced than a Rolex but with the same standards of reliability.” After enjoying the limelight for a few years, Tudor was gradually eclipsed by Rolex and almost disappeared off the radar altogether. But in a few short years Tudor has burst back onto centre stage, largely through the ingenious strategy of “reinterpreting” its most iconic historic models. Although Tudor’s current collection is not limited to the Heritage line, which is the home of its reinterpreted vintage models, the Heritage watches nevertheless clearly played a prominent role in reviving the company’s fortunes, and were quickly rewarded with a Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2013, in the “Revival” category, appropriately enough.

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The revival began in 2010, when a new team brought in the Tudor Heritage Chrono, directly inspired by a piece from 1970 which had never been distributed or sold. The Reference 7033 had remained a prototype in three versions, one of which featured a rotating bezel that could be used for GMT or dual time, and a Valjoux 7734 movement. The company’s designers rescued the watch from the back of the drawer where it had languished for 40 years, and set to work to reproduce its twotone dial and twin off-centred registers at 3 and 9 o’clock, with their distinctive trapezoidal shape redolent of the early 70s. They got rid of the characteristic Rolex cyclops – a way, perhaps, of cutting the apron strings – and made a series of formal and ergonomic refinements to the case, the lugs, crown protection and pushers. In addition to rethinking the metal bracelet, they

also added a high-quality hand-crafted NATO-style textile strap. This exclusive strap was a surprise hit, and the idea was subsequently taken up by countless brands, vintage specialists and retailers, to the point where NATO straps are now ubiquitous. On its launch in 2010 the Tudor Heritage Chrono made a profound impression on the rapidly expanding tribe of vintage watch lovers, who were led on a voyage of discovery of the myriad brands that, unlike the revered Patek Philippes and Rolexes, had hitherto remained comparative strangers to the auction block. In fact, collectors had already begun to take an interest in Rolex’s sports watches back in the early 2000s, leading to sometimes vertiginous price hikes. The groundwork had been laid, so when Tudor emerged from the woodwork the prices for its older models, which until then had been largely ignored, duly went through the roof. And they continue to climb, if the mind-boggling price recently set by a Tudor dive watch is anything to go by: CHF 18,000.

OPERATION REINTERPRETATION At that point, convinced that it was jacked into the zeitgeist, Tudor set about mining the rich seam it had uncovered, and made the decision to release one new Heritage every year. In 2011, the Advisor was dusted off. The original Advisor, the only alarm watch produced by the Tudor-Rolex duopoly,


dates back to 1957, when its diameter was a diminutive 34 mm. The designers added 8 mm, bringing the diameter up to 42 mm, gave it a titanium caseband to improve the acoustics, and added an off switch to silence the fading buzz one would otherwise expect from a traditional alarm. In order to achieve this they added an exclusive Tudor module to the ETA 2892 base movement. This new Heritage attracted significant interest from many other companies, who were intrigued by this systematic reinterpretation of the past. The tightly controlled prices at which these new Tudor Heritage models were offered were also strongly aligned with the spirit of age, which was moving inexorably towards greater restraint – a reaction to the straitened economy, but also no doubt to the widespread escalation in watch prices. At the same time, similar phenomena were apparent in other sectors; the car industry, for instance, became quite partial to “reinterpreted” models such as the Fiat 500 or the Mini. But the real turning point in the perception of Tudor’s approach came in 2012 with the Heritage Black Bay, which revisited the 60-year history of Tudor dive watches, which debuted in 1954. This watch rapidly became one of the brand’s best-sellers. What made it different was that it didn’t merely reinterpret a single model: it drew inspiration from a whole series of dive watches from Tudor’s back catalogue. With its domed crystal and dial, bevelled lugs, absence of crown protection, unidirectional knurled bezel and distinctive snowflake hands (first seen in 1969), the Heritage Black Bay achieved an indefinably vintage look by combining elements from several different models. This highly successful revival watch, which was rewarded with the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2013, also sported a price tag that defied comO TUDOR HERITAGE CHRONO BLUE


parison: CHF 2,950 (with ETA movement; these days you need to add CHF 500 for the new Tudor manufacture movement). This success confirmed the validity of the company’s systematic approach. Tudor harnessed the momentum, in 2013 launching the Heritage Chrono Blue, inspired by a 1973 column wheel integrated chronograph. Once again, the design harks back to the original, taking some iconic features such as the colour, obviously, and the historic 45-minute counter, but replacing other elements in the interests of improved legibility: the indices, for instance, are now three-dimensional with metallic trim, and filled with Superluminova. Two new versions followed in 2014. The Black Bay “Midnight Blue” with black dial and blue bezel, a reference to the models created by Tudor for the French Navy, further reinforced Tudor’s reinterpretation drive. Because of its historic legitimacy, an interesting side effect has been to inflate the prices of the vintage models, to the point where the cost of an original Tudor Marine Nationale, despite not being particularly rare at the time of production, has ballooned from around CHF 5,000–8,000 to CHF 25,000! The other 2014 model was the Ranger, a re-

interpretation of a 1967 watch, boosted from 34 mm to 41 mm. There followed a hiatus in 2015 – the company had enough on its plate with the launch of its new manufacture movement – but this year’s new model, the Black Bay Bronze, has already turned a few heads. The use of bronze, a strong trend for a number of brands at the moment, and a favoured material for marine applications, is further legitimised by Tudor’s numerous partnerships, not only with the French Navy, but also with the navies of the USA and Canada. The main feature of bronze is that it develops a patina with age, but Tudor has developed a special alloy of copper and aluminium that ages homogeneously, giving the watch a distinctly vintage but noble aspect.

SUBTLE ALCHEMY As we can see from our analysis of “reinterpretation” according to Tudor, the company’s success undoubtedly springs from its deep understanding of what collectors and connoisseurs of vintage watches are looking for, which can be gleaned from the numerous blogs and forums they frequent. Reinterpreting means mastering the subtle alchemy of retaining certain key details (which can sometimes be tiny – take the red triangle first seen in 1958, reproduced on the bezel of the Black Bay Black) while improving the ergonomics and function through judicious application of modern production techniques. This “operation reinterpretation” probably also owes its success to the team that Tudor charged with reawakening the brand, all watch collectors with a passion for watchmaking history. And one final element, particularly crucial today: irresistible value for money. p

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Beyer Chronometrie Zurich S

“THE BRANDS ARE RETURNING TO THEIR ROOTS” Interview with Juergen Delémont, manager of vintage watches at Beyer Chronométrie Zürich.


eyer Chronométrie Zürich is a veritable institution. Dating back to 1760, the watchmaking Beyer dynasty came to Zurich in 1860 and in 1927 moved into the premises it still occupies today, at the heart of the city’s shopping and banking district. An agent for Patek Philippe without interruption since 1842, IWC since 1893, Rolex and Jaeger-LeCoultre since 1932 and another twenty or more other prestigious brands, Chronométrie Beyer is also the owner of a very large Horology Museum exhibiting numerous masterpieces collected over the years by the family, and open to the public since 1971. But Beyer has also had a Vintage Watches department since 1965, which has given it no mean edge over its rivals. Europa Star met Juergen Delémont, who heads up that department. How come Beyer created its Vintage Watches department so early?

It all started with the museum; that is, it was a strictly private affair. The Beyer boutique was very successful in the 1920s, and rather than follow the example of other shops and open new branches, Théodore Beyer invested in old watches. Wristwatches had just been invented at that time and nobody was interested in

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the old watches any more. That’s how he came to collect a number of very important items, Breguet watches especially, Patek Philippe and other, even older watches. Watches that have gained incredibly in value since then. Beyer had buyers trawling Europe, visiting auctions. But it was purely out of a personal interest, without any idea of making a business of it. A museum was gradually built up and the Vintage department opened in 1965. We’re seeing a growing craze for vintage watches, how do you explain that? Yes, it’s true that the market for vintage watches is just growing and growing. I think there are several reasons for this, and the economic factor isn’t the most crucial one. A vintage watch has depth, a history, a pedigree. For the people of my generation, born in the 1950s, 1960s or

even the 1970s, vintage items remind them of their youth. There’s something reassuring about them. I’ve also noticed that many buyers choose a watch that bears the date of their birth, it’s a sign. Another reason is the design: many of buyers are virtually addicted to one particular design, they want it at any price. And then there’s also a desire to stand out from the crowd by wearing a watch that’s one of a kind. Having a truly unique or very rare timepiece always produces a “wow” effect, as people say. Our “vintage” customer base is made up essentially of designers, architects, independent professionals, store owners…it’s a very urban public. But another, quite different reason, also plays a role in this passion for vintage: size. Vintage sizes are much more wearable, pleasanter and ergonomic than many of the exaggerated sizes you see today. And not everybody has wrists the size of a lumberjack’s, far from it. But today we’re seeing that, mindful of this wave of popularity, the brands are slowly returning to their roots. Why would anyone come to Beyer to buy a vintage watch? We’ve occupied the same prestigious building, a stone’s throw from the famous Paradeplatz (Editor’s note: the heart of Swiss banking), since 1927 and we’re a family business, which people greatly appreciate. We have an unimpeachable reputation for dependability – 15 watchmakers work in our workshops – and we have been a veritable tradition in Zurich ever


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since the days when the important stages in life were marked by the purchase of a watch. We treat vintage watches like new watches. All are inspected and restored in-house and have a one-year technical warranty. Each watch comes with a detailed history and is accompanied by a signed certificate. Also, I’d say that, in theory, you can buy anything anywhere. But buying a vintage watch in situ, a watch that you can touch beforehand, presented in a convivial setting over a drink, is an irreplaceable experience that goes perfectly with the vintage spirit in which you purchase it: you remember a physical purchase, you know where and when you bought it, who was with you, whether it was sunny or rainy that day… All that gives an object depth, it’s an ongoing story. And to be able to buy, for example, a new Patek Philippe or a vintage Patek Philippe in the same shop is enormously reassuring as the quality of the latter. Has your customer base changed since 1965? Oh, certainly, general knowledge about products has developed quite considerably. Customers ask lots of questions, often highly technical. Buying a vintage watch goes hand in hand with a certain cultivation, a certain education: our customers know where to buy such and such

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a watch, on the Internet or in a physical boutique, here or elsewhere. But I’d date the start of the great vintage wave to the late 1990s, when the Italians went mad about Swatch. When Swatch fever was over, the people who, in the meantime, had become collectors, turned to vintage watches, primarily Rolexes, because they were the only really waterproof watches and had a reputation for robustness that stood the test of time. And it spread from there, first to the Rolex Prince, then to the other brands. And then it got fragmented: there are those who swear only by a Rolex Pepsi, others by a Day-Date or a Milgauss, and so on. But everyone is in search of interesting items first and foremost, items with character, a history, whether it’s a Patek Philippe, a Rolex, a Jaeger-LeCoultre, an IWC, an Omega or whatever. That’s why it’s important to have a range that’s broad and deep. We’re always in search of acquisitions. But isn’t there a risk of a real vintage bubble? No, I don’t think so because I wouldn’t compare the vintage market to a bubble, but to a foam bath with hundreds of little bubbles. If one bursts, others a short distance away are growing, while others are shrinking. There are ups and downs. Of course, there are peaks, limits, that have been attained. For example, two

years ago we sold a Rolex Daytona Paul Newman for CHF93’000. Today, we’d have to pay the same price ourselves to buy a same one… It would be unsellable, because we have to have a mark-up, don’t we? But in fact, the range of interesting watches is very broad and made up of many, very different items. The vintage market seems to be almost exclusively male… Yes, 92% are men’s watches. But the share of ladies’ watches is steadily growing. Women like shopping, they’re buying more and more for themselves, wear men’s watches, and often it’s the women who buy for their man. But we have something for everyone: we start at CHF3,800 and our vintage watches are divided into three price ranges: up to CHF10,000, up to CHF20,000 and over CHF20,000. Another point is that we never push customers to purchase and we only show them watches in the price range they asked for. What do you think of the new players who have come onto the market via the blogs and other social media? They exchange images for the most part, but little more. They may do business, but Beyer sells stories, memories. That’s the whole difference. p

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Iconeek: “TODAY, EVERYTHING SELLS” S Interview with Vanessa and Fabien Chicha, founders of Iconeek.


coneek is both a well-provisioned site ( and a discreet location in Geneva specialising in vintage and modern watches. Europa Star met its two founders, Vanessa Chicha, formerly in charge of several boutiques of haute horlogerie brands (especially: Zenith, Omega, Jaquet Droz and Benoit de Gorski) and Fabien Chicha (watchmaker, expert and consultant who has worked notably at Christie’s and Antiquorum and is an expert with the Monte-Carlo Auction House and the Court of First Instance in Geneva) Iconeek was created recently, in 2014, and seems to have rapidly risen to a place of importance in the vintage and modern watch trade… It’s probably because we offer something that didn’t really exist before, somewhere between a traditional dealer and an auction house. Our dual qualification – business and horological expertise – means we can dig deep. We examine every watch and thoroughly analyse its condition and its history before offering a final estimation and guaranteeing the seller a minimum reserve price. Each watch is described in the minutest detail, revised if necessary, cleaned, photographed and then published on our site and relayed through the social media (with potential customers all over the world).

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The market for vintage watches has changed considerably. How can you set yourself apart? Our idea is to offer innovative solutions. In the 1960s and 70s, the market was dominated by conventional dealers. Then, from 1974 when Antiquorum was founded by Osvaldo Patrizzi, it was dominated by auction houses, because everybody copied Patrizzi. Lastly, with the Internet, online sales, ads sites and specialised forums emerged which have contributed to a broad dissemination of information. Gradually, the act of selling has become dematerialised. Iconeek is trying to offer the best of both worlds: the expertise of an auction house and the immediate availability offered by a traditional dealer. But the big difference between us and auction houses is that we only take a commission from the end price (15%).

Where do the watches you sell come from? We only take watches on consignation and absolutely transparently; we can retrace the exact history of each item. And we sell nothing that has not already been published on our site. We do sometimes refuse watches if, after research, any proof or justification seems to be lacking, or if we feel there’s something suspicious. We work directly with our customers without going through dealers, and we ask for exclusivity on the sale for at least three months. For the commission we ask, we offer a genuine VIP service. Our loyalty lies entirely with the customer; we offer them a concierge service, do research for special requests and act as consultants and collection managers to help them build as “intelligent” a collection as possible. In one year of trading, we’ve sold more than 300 watches and we have very few unsold items. u


by the motorist of time






no longer dared touch their watches and just left them in their original state. But numerous watches underwent transformation – Frankenstein watches, as they’re called. That said, on the whole the counterfeiters aren‘t very clever. To make one good false vintage watch, you have to have examined twenty real watches. But sometimes we’re in doubt and we might bring together several experts to decide if it’s a counterfeit or not. We’ve had some “interesting” cases, such as a steel Rolex Killy chronograph which, after thorough examination, turned out to be a Frankenstein. What’s your price range?

What do you attribute this fashion for vintage to? It’s born of a mixture of numerous factors. Vintage is reassuring, that’s evident. It’s a reminder of “the good old days”. There’s a spreading fashion for it – in fact we’re set to open a new department for vintage bags – but it’s also a reaction against the price for new watches. Often, vintage is perceived as an investment. And let’s be frank, it’s also a form of snobbism in disguise: a vintage watch is different, it sets you apart, makes you look “cultivated”. At the moment, the vintage look is everywhere. Look at what was on show at Baselworld this year – mostly watches inspired by the past. Do you see any risk of the bubble bursting one day? Like in fashion certain items are overrated, that’s evident, and competition for them is causing prices to escalate. So you can talk of a speculative bubble, but limited to certain, precise models that everybody knows. In auctions, the highest sales come from items that were already very expensive when they were

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“At the moment, the vintage look is everywhere. Look at what was on show at Baselworld this year – mostly watches inspired by the past.” initially purchased. The origin of an item also counts for a lot, and its state of conservation is crucial – depending on that, prices can vary on a scale of one to ten. You also have to take into account the environment of the item, the documents that go with it, whether it has its original packaging, and so on. Do you sometimes come across false vintage watches? Of course. In the 1970s-80s people went to the watchmaker’s to clean up the dial, change the hands or the crown, etc. Then watches started to get rated and if components of a watch were replaced, that influenced this rating. After that, people

We have some exceptional items, certainly, but over and above a specific price limit there aren’t that many buyers, or they’re known and listed. Also, it sometimes happens that we entrust exceptional items to auction houses on behalf of our customers. But under CHF1,000-CH2,000, they sell like hot cakes, to coin a phrase. The question of trust is paramount for the business process, because since prices can vary on a scale of one to ten, you’re buying the seller as much as the watch. Again, the fact that we only take the watches on consignation is reassuring, because if we bought them, we’d be able to transform them, put on a new dial, for example. But as things are, it’s impossible, because we’d never dare return a modified watch to its owner. Once more, transparency is called for. Another fundamental aspect is educating the public. This is very important for two reasons: if we want to build a genuine vintage market which is codified and regulated, with reliable ratings and justified prices, the public needs educating first and foremost. And once educated, customers will be willing to pay more for an item they’re looking for because they have the background information. p

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“ COLLECTING VINTAGE WATCHES IS MAKING US MORE DEMANDING” An interview with two young collectors



whole contingent of young people born well after the “vintage” years of the 1960s and 70s seem irresistibly drawn by objects from the post-War economic boom period, now obsolete, but which for their parents represented the state of the art. Proof that the phenomenon is affecting a broad swathe of this younger generation is, for example, the rather incredible craze for Daniel Wellington watches (read our article on page 55 and following) which, by virtue of their “new vintage” simplicity, are in complete contrast with the thick, powerful and ostentatious designs that have predominated over the past decade. The vogue for vintage has prompted some of these young people to start collecting. Europa Star met two of these young collectors (both 22), Lorenzo and Bénédict, one Saturday, in its Arcade.

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What kind of prices are you prepared to pay… or what can you afford? Lorenzo: I started with nice little watches costing CHF40-50. Then little by little, you raise the stakes. But I’d never pay thousands of francs for a vintage watch. What I find interesting is that they’re inexpensive but they “do the job”. I choose what appeals to me without looking for any particular brand, or a rarity, or an outstanding movement. Bénédict: The first watches I bought cost between CHF300 and CHF500, and now I’ve got chronographs and 3-hand watches. I prefer to save to buy higher-range items. I‘ve gone from being an impulse collector to a more reasonable kind. Lorenzo: Yes, of course we’re on a rather exponential slope, little by little you end up looking for more and more expensive items. But that doesn’t stop me falling for a Seiko at CHF50! Do you friends share your passion?

Why are you interested in watches, or more exactly, in vintage watches? Lorenzo: I got interested over time through browsing magazines. At first it’s just idle curiosity, then you start to look more closely, you get interested, then grabbed... And then the Internet acts as a catalyst. And little by little, your view gets more refined. Bénédict: I got interested quite early, at the age of 13-14. My father had a few watches; I found them attractive as objects. But at first I was only interested in modern watches, I couldn’t have cared less about the older ones. And then they did start to interest me, first and foremost because they have a history. That’s what I like about them, that and their design. Vintage watches are less perfect, but warmer. And budget-wise, you can treat yourself without breaking the bank.

Bénédict: Close friends are starting to get interested; yes…it’s kind of contagious. Sometimes they just see it as a way of doing a bit of business. But the one who are genuinely interested are already collectors. Lorenzo: Modern watches are made to be seen. The older ones aren’t, not really. It’s a question of size, too. Vintage watches are less ostentatious. What designs appeal to you most? Lorenzo: I started with watches from the 40s and 50s, basic watches. Then I got interested in watches from the 70s: rally watches, coloured watches, square watches. I’ve actually got quite eclectic taste. And they also interest me for a question of size: I find today’s watches much too big.

Bénédict: My preference is 40s and 50s chronographs. But they’ve got expensive. Instead I’m collecting 60s watches, but I’ve got quite eclectic taste too. For example, I like the Omega DeVille watches from the 70, with the integrated wrist straps.

the mechanics. I’m actually going to do a basic watchmaking course because I want to hone my skills. I want to understand how a watch works.

Are you only interested in mechanical watches?

Lorenzo: Not really, or at least, that’s not the objective. But if a watch gains value, so much the better. And that’s often the case with a vintage watch. Bénédict: I agree with you – economic considerations take second place. But having said that, I don’t like buying a modern watch that loses 30%-40% of its value as soon as you leave the shop. And the service in the shops is pretty bad in general. Most of the time, I know more than the sales assistants: I’ve looked on the Internet, I’ve found out things, I know details they don’t. This poor-quality service is tending to push me onto the grey market. Lorenzo: Collecting vintage watches is making us more demanding. Bénédict: Sometimes you can be surprised at how popular a watch might become. For example, I had a Sherpa Graph chronograph from Enicar. Some bloggers discovered that it had been

Lorenzo: I don’t find quartz really attractive per se, but some quartz watches have an interesting design. But it’s true that, one thing leading to another, I’m more and more interested in mechanical movements, for example, whether it’s a column-wheel chronograph or not… I love Seiko, I admit, I find their first automatic chronographs really original, inventive and very efficient. Collectors don’t have enough esteem for the brand, I think, and so it’s still affordable – which is good for me. Take the Seiko Pogue, for example, which has a real history to it. The name of Pogue comes from the American astronaut who wore it during a mission. On the other wrist, he wore the official watch, an Omega Speedmaster… Bénédict: I’m increasingly interested in

Is collecting vintage watches also a form of investment for you?

worn by the F1 driver Jim Clark. As a result, the price tripled. These past two or three years, the vintage market as a whole has tripled, but I think it’s going to flatten out sooner or later. For example, four or five years ago there was a big market for old Panerai watches with Rolex movements. But now, the bubble has burst; the reserve prices were much too high. Some people lost money. Lorenzo: I think we have to get back to essentials, what is meaningful. In the face of fast technological change, there’s a real yearning for proximity, for organic food, for real values, like permanence. You can also pass other things on to your children than a Patek Philippe (laughter). And what about smart watches, do they interest you? Bénédict: I already have a phone and a computer, that’s enough! Watches are timeless things that don’t need updating. From a philosophical point of view, programmed obsolescence doesn’t go with watches. Lorenzo: What makes a watch authentic is that it works on its own. Having said that, a smart watch might also be a gateway towards a “real” watch. I prefer the Apple Watch, which doesn’t try to pretend to be something else and is quite attractive, to the TAG Heuer, which is a false watch. And then there’s a “Big Brother” side to the Internet of Things that scares me. With your mechanical watch, you control it, whereas a smart watch controls you. Bénédict: The good thing about technology is that it allows you to rediscover old things and by contrast highlights forgotten things. Paradoxically, it’s technology and the Internet that have caused the vintage market to boom by democratising it and helping knowledge to be shared, which was virtually impossible before. p

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CHRONOGRAPHS FOR COLLECTORS: IN PRAISE OF DIVERSITY N Chronographs from the 1950s and 1960s are currently among the most highly prized by collectors. World leaders such as Omega Speedmasters, Breitling Navitimers, Rolex Daytonas and Heuer Carreras are frantically sought after and subject to intense speculation. Yet, the history of Swiss chronographs is not limited to these few models: on the contrary, it offers a surprising diversity for those who are curious enough to carry out some research. by Joël Pynson and Sébastien Chaulmontet


intage» chronographs have everything to delight lovers of antique watches: a strong design, a technical as well as statutory look, and comfortable dimensions (nowadays very fashionable). Furthermore, as they were manufactured in large quantities on the basis of standardised movements, they are easy to repair. All the ingredients of a global, planetary success! Chronograph-makers still in business have perfectly grasped the situation and keep drawing into their archives to resurrect old models reminiscent of their heyday.

NEW PATHS OF KNOWLEDGE In the 21st century, the quantity of information available to any human with a connected keyboard is virtually im-

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measurable. This information, however, is horizontal and highly redundant; data is often formatted by shrewd marketing services, relayed from site to site, from blog to blog: hence, gross errors or historical distortions become intangible truths and are firmly rooted in social networks but barely in our neurons, owing to the cloud. Such forms of media reverberation only benefit a few «selected » brands and very seldom antiquated models, for lack of active lobbyists. In this horizontal ocean, enlightened amateurs have created wells of knowledge: expert sites, specialised in one brand or

even a single model. According to Marco Richon when he evokes different versions of the Omega Speedmaster, this is quite a painstaking task, but it helps identify hundreds of different versions of dials, needles, bezels, boxes and bracelets. A wealth of verified data are cross-checked with multiple sources. However, while fans may find the model of their dreams, they stand to pay a price: a limited vision of the watch-making world. And an unexpected risk...

FROM HYPERSPECIALISATION À L’HYPERSPECULATION If a watch model, particularly a chronograph, has been produced in large quantities – which is the case with the “top four” Navitimer, Daytona, Carrera, Speedmaster – the availability of many versions implies that some will be scarce.


B A number of sellers use such minor differences as a pretext to charge exorbitant prices for models that are identical except for a few details. This hyperspecialisation has also generated an overall surge in prices. Such «mythical» chronographs have left the «small» collector’s market and become speculative objects, with an unavoidable dark side: counterfeiting. Whereas twenty years ago, you could still purchase an antique chronograph with full confidence, those care-free times have passed. You are strongly advised to identify precisely all the features and details of the watch you wish to acquire. And also, perhaps, to ask yourself a common sense question : what could/ should be the price of an item, however elegant and desirable it may be, that is mass-produced industrially in thousands of copies? One solution might be to think outside the box and consider all those strange old forgotten chronographs on the market: they are abundant but too often neglected because the name on the dial doesn’t ring a bell or the use of their pushers seems mysterious… Why be afraid of such a rich history?

(RE)DISCOVERING A WORLD The history of the watchmaking world in the 20th century is indeed rich and complex: watches switched from pocket items to wrist ornaments, they became watertight, anti-magnetic, automatic, chronometric and… democratic. But this history has still not been written. Rigour

and, above all, a lot of patience are of the essence if you wish to delve into the literature, to track company stories, new model presentations, corporate name changes, successes at national and international exhibits – and all the events punctuating the turbulent itineraries of famous or forgotten watchmakers. Thus, you realize that the wrist chronograph already existed in 1909, that Venus chose a superb regulator dial in 1935, that Bovet invented the split-second hand (« rattrapante ») available to all the following year, that Geneva Sport commercialised a chronograph for ladies in 1937, that Movado invented the modular caliber with the help of Victorin Piguet’s sons in 1938, that Angelus was the first to display a date set on its chronographs in 1942, that Navitimer almost didn’t exist, that Mathey-Tissot produced the finest type-20 chronographs, that surprising models with no pusher could be found in 1955, that El Primero was created by Zenith but also by Movado, and that the first automatic chronograph with digital display hit the market in 1973. These watches, which have beautiful stories to tell, are often easy to find and affordable. All that is needed is a love for beautiful watches and an ounce of curiosity. p

Joël Pynson and Sébastien Chaulmontet are the authors of Chronographes de Collection («Chronographs for Collectors») published by Time To Tell. The book is available on the site

y browsing the many vintage watch websites, it’s possible to select exactly the elements you want, and build your very own unique Frankenwatch. Obviously, you will need some basic watchmaking knowledge and a good grasp of sizes if you are going to be able to slot your chosen movement into your preferred case, select a dial that fits with the hands, top it all off with an appropriate crystal affixed with the corresponding joint, find the right crown and put the whole thing together. Good luck with that. Here are some examples to get you started. Oh, and why not have fun calculating how much your beloved Frankenwatch has cost you? (We know... you can’t put a price on vintage chic.) Happy shopping! (Examples from Hands: CARTIER Pasha 38mm automatic

Crystal: ROLEX



Dial: OMEGA Chronostop NOS


Movement: LEMANIA 1354


Case: (even better if it comes with bracelet and crown): PATEK PHILIPPE Sculpture homme 5091

The finished article: a ROMEGAPASHA e2700 & PHILIPPE driven by a powerful Lemania calibre, for a total cost of e3,433. (The editorial team declines all responsibility for verifying the compatibility of the components.)

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THE HEUER MONZA CHRONOGRAPH by TAG Heuer In 1976, Jack Heuer designed a chronograph to celebrate Niki Lauda’s first world championship title with FERRARI. It was the first time that MONZA had appeared on the dial of a watch. The 2016 reissue features the watch’s two key functions - the pulsometer and the tachymeter scale - with the original font.

SEASTRONG DIVER HERITAGE by Alpina The Seastrong Diver Heritage is a contemporary interpretation of the first Alpina diving watch. In 1969, the Seastrong had already incorporated all the specific technical constraints relating to scuba diving, then still in its early days. It distinguished itself by its “Super Compax” water-resistance technology and its double screw-lock crown, which is still featured in its current version.

THE REVERSO CLASSIC by Jaeger-LeCoultre Since 1931, the year the Reverso watch was created, its emotional impact has remained as powerful as ever, with its Art Deco inspiration, its geometrical case, its gadroons, and its minute track.

THE EQUESTRIAN POCKET WATCH JOCKEY 1878 by Longines This replica of a model fitted with Longines’ first ever chronograph, produced in 1878, will delight modern-day dandies, collectors, and horseracing enthusiasts with its classic exterior and mechanical heart. Opening the pink gold cover, which is engraved with a jockey and his mount, reveals the hand-wound movement complete with column-wheel chronograph mechanism.

THE PRESAGE ENAMEL DIAL LIMITED EDITION by Seiko The new Presage collection draws its inspiration from Seiko’s heritage in mechanical watchmaking, which stretches all the way back to 1913 and the celebrated Laurel which was Seiko’s, and Japan’s, first ever wrist watch. This heritage is brought to life today in two very special Limited Edition automatic chronographs whith enamel dial.

HERITAGE 1936 by Tissot It was after the impact of World War I that men started to wear wristwatches rather than pocket watches for practical reasons. Watchmakers began by taking pocket watches and welding arches on each side of the case in order to slip a strap through the back, so as to create a watch that could be worn on the wrist. The Tissot Heritage 1936 is exactly that.



by Pierre Maillard, Europa Star

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Golden plated dragon patterned ceremonial opening ribbon cutting scissors deluxe expensive scissors


he latest study carried out by the Mainfirst banking institute, published in April 2016 and entitled “Hard luxury goods: Shortterm pain, long-term gain” began with a quote from Philippe Peverelli (Tudor): “We all felt rich for a few years while watches were selling well everywhere, but now we are back in the real world and every brand is going to have to look in the mirror and recognise its own true value.” In the opinion of the Mainfirst analysts, this quotation sums up in itself the dilemma with which the Swiss watchmaking industry is faced. On the back of record years, confronted at the same time by an increase in geo-strategic risks, the resilience of the economic crisis and the decrease or stagnation of their most promising markets (China, USA, Russia…), Swiss watchmakers effectively have no other choice than to come back down to earth in order to take a good look in the mirror. But whereas some continue to act like the queen in Snow White demanding of the mirror to show an idealistic reflection (“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all”), others, undoubtedly more realistic, are trying to discover their true reflection. The truth is this image has slightly faded over time, the gold and gems with which it is adorned have lost some of their sparkle and the engineering splendour of which they were so proud is losing its lustre. What happened?

FROM PRESTIGE TO MASSTIGE Without doubt we did not pay enough attention to several clear indicators of a progressive ebb in consumer interest. Slowly but surely, and without us seeing it coming, the high-end watch sector has become, in some countries, one of the most distinctive signs of the corruption encountered in the leading and elite classes: Russian oil tycoons, Chinese high officials, Mexican drug barons, American rap-gangsters, tax fraudsters, corrupt politicians… all of whom have been seen for their excessive taste for luxury goods (and social networks have played a key role in worldwide publication of these facts). Bit by bit, the extremely costly Swiss watchmakers have seen their image se-

riously tarnished by this excess and, as Philippe Peverelli said, it’s time to come back down to earth. SIHH 2016 already announced a step back or maybe just a return to reality which appears to have been clearly confirmed at Baselworld. As a blatant example of this new, more moderate approach of the watchmaking industry, Europa Star met with and interviewed Jean-Claude Biver, (TAG Heuer) who is offering a tourbillon at less than 15,000 CHF, and Peter Stas (Frédérique Constant) who launched his Perpetual Calendar watch at less than 8,000 euros. [Read more in the following pages] But this is only the most spectacular point of a more general reduction, or stagnation of prices. We have moved slowly but surely from the domination of “prestige” to “masstige”. A democratisation (which is still relative as paying 8,000 euros for a watch remains the privilege of a small proportion of the world’s population).

THE VINTAGE TREND AND THE CONNECTED WATCH Two other phenomena have greatly contributed to this back-step of the high-end watchmakers: the vintage trend and the rise in power of the connected watch. Vintage has been greatly commended by the younger generation. All those questioned in relation to this point gave a similar response: watches from the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s “reassure”, “comfort”, come across as more “human” and “warmer”, with a size which is “normal” and

relatively “discreet”. They have a true “history” and therefore a “deeper” meaning as opposed to the more recent hightech watches. The fact that most vintage fans are relatively young, urban, welleducated and working in the creative sectors should ring a few warning bells for all brands concerned as this “class” most certainly exercises an influence on the choice of consumers far beyond the limited group of true vintage fans. Proof of this is the Daniel Wellington phenomenon. With a range of extremely affordable, pure, simple and classic watches,

DIVERGENT STRATEGIES The views of René Weber, Vontobel, in an interview with Serge Maillard

If we consider the reaction to the strong franc in 2015, one notes that there were two strategies: on the one hand, Rolex and the Swatch Group were content to simply increase their prices in euros; whereas on the other hand, most other brands, including Richemont and Patek Philippe, increased their prices in euros while at the same time reducing their prices in dollars and Swiss francs. Rolex and the Swatch Group did however encounter certain problems as it was still cheaper to buy a watch in Germany rather than Switzerland for example; they therefore tended to increase their prices in euros in order to reduce the gap. This is what Rolex did in February. As for TAG Heuer, they applied a more aggressive price cutting policy, around 10%, in the second half of last year in order to gain in competitivity. In general, Rolex and the Swatch Group both have a policy of not lowering their prices as opposed to Richemont, LVMH and Patek Philippe. I think the price differences have now been corrected: what we noted at Baselworld was primarily brands launching new, cheaper models and concentrating more on their lowend product range. TAG Heuer and Frédérique Constant are good examples of brands which presented complications

Daniel Wellington has risen to great heights without anyone taking any notice of this new phenomenon [read more in the following pages]. Another phenomenon, in the beginning largely underestimated by the watchmaking establishment, is the connected watch. According to numerous analysts, including the Vontobel Bank in a recent study, if we include connected watches and bracelets, the watchmaking market is now dominated, in value, in the following order 1/ Rolex, 2/ Apple, 3/ Omega, 4/ Cartier and 5/ Fitbit! Food for thought.

with reduced prices. Another good example is Montblanc. At the same time, even if Patek Philippe complained about the tourbillon introduced by TAG Heuer, one cannot really compare the manual production of the first with the automated, highly industrialised production of the second. It is thanks to the industrialisation process that TAG Heuer is able to attain these prices for the tourbillon; it’s a completely different story for Patek Philippe... Another example: Maurice Lacroix will launch the quartz model “Aikon”, which will be positioned at the entry price level for the brand. In 2015, I noted a difference in performance between brands that I had never witnessed before. Normally, whether the sector is doing well, or not, everybody tends to pull in roughly the same direction. But here we see considerable differences. For example, Rolex has increased its market share, whereas Omega was rather flat and Cartier has lost share compared to Omega or Cartier. This may partly be explained by its limited exposure to the Chinese market which has considerably slowed down. Today, Cartier has a problem with excess stock, dependency on Hong Kong and high prices, even more so than the two other brands. For the retailer Hengdeli (no. 1 in China, no. 2 in HK) 70% of its sales in mainland China are of Swatch Group brands, whereas in HK 60% with Richemont brands. They decided to reduce their stock level, but at the same time sales have decreased and the unbalanced situation persists... Hong Kong has enough stock for 300 days! They are also shutting down outlets due to exorbitant rental prices and the drop in demand, but in some cases their rental contracts do not allow them to close down an outlet quickly”. p




STAGNATION… AT BEST The spectacular announcements of the likes of TAG Heuer or Frédérique Constant should nevertheless not conceal the more notable fact: a general stagnation of prices. According to the aforementioned study carried out by Mainfirst, the prices of Rolex and Cartier have not increased between 2015 and 2016, following a slight reduction in price in 2015 compared to 2013. Another example: Patek Philippe has increased its range of steel or bi-metallic watches by 11% in 2016, which illustrates that even this most prestigious brand has not ignored the downward trend in terms of pricing. Based on the latest statistical results of the Watchmakers’ Federation, the downward trend recorded in the month of March has reached 16.1% compared to last year. “This is the lowest month of March since 2011,” commented FH, stipulating that “all watch casing materials have been affected by this downward trend and this price reduction has been particularly influenced by timepieces made of precious metals or steel.” Further proof that the high-end market is in decline is the fact that watches of more than 3,000 CHF (export price) have dropped by around 20%, in the same way as low-end watches. The medium range, i.e. watches between 500 and 3,000 CHF have fared the best with a drop in value of “only” 7.1%. These figures, unfortunately, only confirm the general stagnation, a state of stagnation which may persist according to all prognoses. In this context, will dropping the price of high-end watches help get the machine back on the road? Time will tell. p

Find the studies cited by Mainfirst and Vontobel on our site 46 | HAUTE HORLOGERIE | europa star

“LOWER PRICES WILL NOT BREAK THE MARKET” are artificially inflated, and I don’t think they are. In theory, “democratisation” should be a means of broadening access to excellence and exceptional work, helping to make it better appreciated and understood. More generally, is it not true to say that prices are systematically inflated where complications are concerned?

A few years ago, Jérôme Lambert took an enormous amount of flak in watchmaking circles for having launched a tourbillon at CHF 40,000, which people said would “break” the tourbillon market. Your tourbillon for under CHF 15,000 (and a flying tourbillon at that, with chronograph function) provoked a similar reaction, and some quite virulent criticism, in the aisles of Baselworld. How do you respond? Are you really “breaking” the market, or are you opening up a new market by “democratising” the tourbillon? I think my first response to my colleagues’ criticisms would be to advise them not to talk about any brands other than their own! Unless they have nothing left to say about their own brand, which I obviously hope is not the case! But no, I don’t believe it’s possible to break the market through “democratisation”, unless prices

I can only speak for the brands I’ve worked for, and for the 10,000 tourbillons that have been built and sold by the brands for which I have been responsible over the last 40 years, but I sincerely believe that the prices are absolutely justified. Justified for their time, and for their product. Clearly, it is not for me to judge, or to claim that the prices of complications have been systematically inflated; however, I can state that, for my own brands, this is not the case! You have said that TAG aims to be the “entry point to fine Swiss watchmaking”, and that this tourbillon is part of a “new emerging concept of affordable Haute Horlogerie.” Does this mean that the concept will continue to evolve, and that we should look out for more affordable complications covering the entire spectrum of traditional watchmaking? Yes, the fundamental concept of TAG Heuer is based on three commandments, which are simple to explain and to re-


Ernest Borel S.A. +41 32 926 17 26 /

member, but sometimes difficult to put into practice. They are as follows: a) TAG Heuer has been Swiss Avant Garde since 1860 and must remain so! b) TAG Heuer is the Swiss watch brand of “accessible luxury” or “accessible exclusivity”. c) TAG Heuer must always have a perceived value (in terms of product and quality) at least double its sale price. These three commandments together dictate the entire policy of our existence. And they apply to our entire product range. Whether we sell watches for CHF 1,500 or CHF 15,000, the perceived value must be at least twice to four times the sales price. Prices must always remain “accessible”, whatever the price range. What is your main target audience? Young professionals? Certain specific markets? Is this project in fact a campaign to raise awareness of complicated watchmaking? Our target audience is TAG Heuer clients; they are generally young in spirit, and

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young in terms of their connection to the future. Most of the time, you can’t identify this kind of youth from a passport; it’s in their mentality, their attitude to life. Clearly, with the concept of “accessible exclusivity and luxury”, we are opening the doors to a necessarily wider clientele, and by doing so we are making a significant contribution to increasing our clients’ understanding of watchmaking.

comes through. Human intervention, however, is the final essential element; only human hands can add that final artisanal touch, only human hands are capable of imparting that spark of life to an object; at the end of the day, it’s what makes watches timeless.

Contrary to popular opinion, industrialising movement production also implies improvements and enhanced reliability. What are the specific limitations to series production of a tourbillon movement? Some stages must necessarily be carried out by hand, which is surely expensive...

The performance of TAG Heuer’s COSC chronograph tourbillon is exceptional. You only need to look at the fact that 100% of our output is certified by the COSC [Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute]. And to date, it’s the only tourbillon chronograph chronometer! What could be more revealing, what better proof of quality do you need, than an official chronometer certificate? p

The specific limitations to mass production are always the same, because whatever you do you always come up against numerous constraints. It’s how you resolve those constraints that matters; and that’s where the ingenuity of our builders and workshop managers really

How do you regulate series-produced tourbillons? And how do they perform?

Ensemble nous allons construire votre avenir HABILLAGE – SERTISSAGE – JOAILLERIE


“AFFORDABLE LUXURY HAS ALWAYS BEEN OUR PHILOSOPHY” In answer to Montblanc’s Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar, which was launched in 2014 at a price of €10,000 in steel and €16,900 in rose gold, Frédérique Constant is taking the concept further by offering a record-breaking new QP for €7,995 in steel – that’s 20% cheaper than the Montblanc – and €8,295 in rose gold plate. This ultra-competitive pricing has thrown the perpetual calendar market into disarray. How has the Geneva watchmaker managed it? To find out more, Europa Star met Peter Stas, founder and CEO of Frédérique Constant. Does such aggressive pricing for a perpetual calendar not risk “breaking” the market? No, I don’t think so. Ever since the company was founded in 1988 our philosophy has remained the same: to focus on affordable luxury. Our new QP is the logical next step in this strategy. For many people €8,000 is still a lot of money. This philosophy has served us well; since we started, we have always remained at the same level. We have never increased our prices, but our revenues have continued

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margins are reasonable, thanks largely to our efforts to maintain high standards, and we have always felt it is very important not to give the impression of being too expensive. Although our perpetual calendar is a complicated piece, we have worked hard to reduce the number of parts to a strict minimum, to keep it affordable. We’re being realistic! We are an entry point into Swiss mechanical watches. to climb. Our target market is relatively young, between 30 and 45; we have no reason to increase our prices because we want to keep this segment of customers. We’ve never deviated from this objective, either in terms of price or aesthetic, which has remained very conservative. On this latter point, the market reality seems to bear you out. Since 2010 we’ve noticed the public returning to what they consider to be “safe” investments. In the current climate our positioning has given us a considerable advantage. My feeling is that many brands have increased their prices significantly in recent years. And not just the brands – subcontractors also bear some of the responsibility for this widespread inflation. I think it’s very dangerous. In the end, it’s a form of long-term speculation. If one day you’re forced to lower your prices it can be extremely destructive, leading to enforced restructuring and often risky repositioning. We’ve always opted for a carefully considered long-term strategy. Our profit

How did the markets receive your QP when you unveiled it at Baselworld 2016? Honestly, the reaction was better than we could have hoped. We thought we’d sell around 500 pieces, but in fact we have taken 1,200 orders for this year. We began delivery at the end of May. We have put a great deal into this watch, as well as an ultra-slim automatic for women. But, with these mechanical models and your smartwatch, aren’t you perhaps performing a rather dangerous contortion? They both come from the same spirit of innovation. The QP is innovative in terms of its mechanical configuration, its construction and the way it is assembled. The smartwatch is innovative because of the link between watch and smartphone. But they both have that the same conservative aesthetic, which is something they have in common. I’m very happy with our highly horological approach to the smartwatch. This autumn we’ll be

unveiling a whole series of innovations in this domain, including a women’s watch with a smaller movement and a two-year power reserve, rising to four years for the men’s model. We’ll be introducing new functions, vibrating notifications and three new applications. In 2015 we sold 16,000 units in 6 months, and our revenues from purely mechanical watches went up at the same time! But we’ve retained the same philosophy of affordability in the smartwatch sector, with a price below CHF 1,000. Coming back to the QP, how did you go about perfecting it? Out starting point was the dial: what we wanted above all was to keep our house aesthetic, particularly the spacing of the sub-dials. There was no existing perpetual calendar module that could meet these

requirements; the Dubois-Dépraz at 39 mm wouldn’t fit with the 42 mm diameter we were aiming for. But we examined the Dubois-Dépraz minutely, and that gave us our point of departure. We rebuilt everything with just one aim in mind: eliminating the unnecessary to make assembly, which is the greatest challenge, as simple as possible. In a QP, one of the trickiest aspects is adjusting the tension of the jumpers. This is one of the places we made innovations. We worked hard on the measurements, the component height, quality control at every stage, and pre-assembling as much as possible to gain time in the final assembly. You weren’t starting with nothing, though; you already had a QP from your Ateliers de Monaco. Yes, but that’s an integrated perpetual calendar, and it has the specific feature of

being completely adjustable from a single crown. In order to achieve the maximum possible simplicity we had to take a completely different route. We started from our automatic manufacture movement FC-775; the QP itself is an additional plate with only 78 components. Once everything has been pre-assembled, there are only 20 components to position on the plate. Also, in the interests of streamlining production as much as possible, many of the components are reused from our other movements; the screws, for example. Everything is designed for simplicity. And I can’t stress enough the importance of controls at each stage. Two years ago, 95% of our watches passed the final test without a hitch. Today, that figure is 98%. And that is one way to bring down production costs significantly. p



THE SECRET AGENT’S CUFF A few years ago, this would have seemed like science-fiction. Today, cutting edge cuffs produced by the new brand Armillion would make even 007 jealous. These high-tech, exclusive and elegant jewels are meant for men and women alike. A world premiere!

“We provide a unique experience for our members each time they use the Armillion bracelet, whether buying a jeroboam of champagne or a diamond bracelet, or opening their villa with a single gesture,” says Carlos Z. Belsué, CMO of Armillion. Of course, this works for ordering a vodka martini and unlocking an Aston Martin too!


Let’s go back to the beginning of this incredible story, when a team of jewellers, engineers, watchmakers and designers gathered to launch this Geneva-based brand. Their goal? “To produce a flawless cuff that features cutting edge technology for financial services and security access.” An Armillion cuff has two main functions: contactless payments and keyless access. “We wanted to embrace another way to use modern technologies, beyond smart watches, for users who enjoy an active lifestyle and treasure exclusive materials and gems,” says Carlos Z. Belsué. Armillion products were first presented at Baselworld 2016. This was the start of a journey involving multiple

o you dream of having access to your credit card, your house door and you supercar all at the same time, while wearing an elegant and distinctive cuff? New player Armillion is offering to help you live this “secret agent” inspired lifestyle with its very innovative and exclusive world-class jewellery. Just a few years ago, this would have sounded like sciencefiction, or you would have thought of it as a special effect in a spy movie. Today, high-tech jewellery has become a reality, and Armillion is the gateway to this new way of life. Believe us when we say that 007 or the Bond girls could get very jealous of you wearing it…



events for the most successful and stylish of clients in select cities around the world. These are wealthy and elegant customers who enjoy an active lifestyle using technology, but want at the same time to do it with the same handcrafted materials they treasure in their favourites watches and accessories. Which means: no batteries needed and waterproof products! What about gender? After all, both women and men can enjoy a secret agent way of life. Hugo Pena, COO of Armillion, confirms: “Our products are created for men and women alike, through a complex production process, that includes luxurious handcrafted materials, and leading edge technology.”

HIGH-TECH AND SECURE Armillion uses a secure method provided by leading global payment companies to establish an instant bank account assignation. The company plans to deliver a limited number of pieces (all produced and assembled in Geneva) for their first year.

Selected pieces are embellished with a delicate combination of 70 diamonds. There are two different ways to enjoy a limitless Armillion “secret agent” lifestyle on your wrist: Armillion Exclusive empowers your wrist with a preloaded amount for secure contactless payments and access. It has been created and tailored with different designs and materials, in limited 10 unit editions. Armillion Unique is the maximum expression of a luxurious, passionate lifestyle, providing for a unique bespoke design and choice of materials and gems. The products will be on the market as of July 2016. Now, the choice is yours! p

Armillion will be available to selection of top jewellery boutiques and distributors in a limited choice of cosmopolitan cities around the world. If you wish to become a representative or distributor of the exclusive bangles created by the Swiss brand, please contact



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ENTREPRENEURS Following in the footsteps of the Ice-Watch with a fiercely on-trend, elegant and vintage touch, brands like Daniel Wellington, Shinola, Briston, Nixon and new startup William L. are disrupting the status quo in a segment whose very nature is to follow the rapid fluctuations and vagaries of fashion. Portrait gallery. by Serge Maillard, Europa Star


ust for a change, we thought we’d leave the Swiss watch industry to its own devices, and take a look at some of the brands churning out millions of watches – generally not Swiss made, and obviously not mechanical –

which are taking the younger generation by storm, and which have enjoyed spectacular growth in recent years. A number of Swedish, American and even French companies have emerged in the last five years in the affordable watch segment (under 500 dollars) with extraordinary success, conquering and occupying the wrists of millions of stylish young urban types in a very short time. In a way, they are the heirs of the Fossils and Festinas of the 1990s. But first, let’s calibrate our watches: while 95% of watches over 1000 francs are Swiss made, last year the 28 million certified Swiss watches represented a little more than than 2% of total worldwide output, which is estimated at around 1.2 billion pieces. The vast majority of these watches are produced in China and Hong Kong, with Switzerland, the United States and France some way behind.

THE TUMBLR GENERATION Towards the end of last year many column inches were devoted to discussing the fact that smartwatches had overtaken traditional Swiss watches in terms of production volume. However, the upcoming generations of trend-setters appear to be far more attracted to quartz watches such as those made by Daniel Wellington, Shinola and Briston than to Samsung’s latest connected gadgets. Vintage is a strong trend, and a legion of affordable brands are happily surfing the wave, plying their wares in concept stores frequented by certain well-defined tribes with a keen eye for design, strong environmental and social awareness (despite the fact that many of these watches are made in China...), a nostalgic and retro-futurist bent, and also a desire to unearth new, exclusive and good value brands to help them stand out

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from the crowd. This is the Uber generation, the Tumblr generation, the hipster generation, the NATO-strap-wearing generation... call them what you will. The shop Chez Maman in the bohemian Marais quarter of Paris is a perfect place to observe them in the wild (see sidebar). There, a vintage Casio is considered far more desirable than an Apple Watch. These brands have understood the major role that social networks can play, and they exploit the latest technologies to sell their elegant, retro and somewhat nostalgic watches.

STAYING POWER These young companies going all out to capitalise on the ephemeral trends of the moment face a considerable obstacle, one that is intrinsic to their very nature: will they still be around five or ten years from now? Their challenge is to find a secure footing in an ultra-competitive watchmaking landscape. How many former leviathans of the industry are now resting in peace in the dusty pages of horological history books? You only have to leaf through a watch magazine from the 1980s or 1990s (Europa Star for example) to work that out. Look at Ice-Watch, which made its name a few years ago producing fresh, colourful and playfully flashy watches. It has been forced to adapt to the latest vogue for vintage by bringing out some new, more classic collections. Michael Kors (whose watches are made under licence by the Fossil Group) enjoyed a surge in popularity, which now seems to be ebbing. Some of the most best-selling concepts in the fickle world of high street fashion have ended by tumbling precipitously into landfill. How long before today’s hottest trends end up there too? The strength of Swatch, which is active in a similar niche, lies in its ability to keeping turning over new designs, ensuring it remains perpetually on-message. Its iconic status, its role as “saviour” of the Swiss watch industry

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and innovations such as the Sistem 51 and other limited series, have helped it secure a greatly envied universality, which even attracts some high-end collectors, where many of its competitors tend to become stale, running out of new ideas, and eventually fall out of favour. Fossil Group relies on the high profile of its fashion brands to introduce them into the watch industry under licence. The critical size of its portfolio (it has around fifteen brands under licence, making it the fourth-biggest watch group worldwide) enables it to keep up with changing trends. 2015 was nevertheless a tough year for the group, with the double whammy of the smartwatch’s début, along with a host of rivals in the entry level sector, some of which are profiled below.

ICE-WATCH, THE PARADOX OF “GLOSSY PURITY” Perhaps one of the most impressive newcomers of the last decade is Belgian brand Ice-Watch. It incarnates the heights

of success that are the just reward for bringing out the right product at the right time. Its brightly-coloured watches succeeded in ruffling Swatch’s feathers, and the company managed to hold its own against the watchmaking giant’s legal challenges. We asked Jean-Pierre Lutgen, its founder, how he explained this marketing breakthrough. His answer: because he came from outside the watchmaking world. “We brought a new approach to communication, presentation and sales, a genuinely different point of view, to an existing product.” This year, the company is aiming for consolidated revenues of 50 million euros, perhaps even more. “For the last three years our sales have stabilised at more than 1.5 million watches per year. Our revenues are growing steadily as we add new collections and start to look at greater vertical integration.” These days, however, the fashion is veering towards vintage chic, rather than colourful plastic. Will the company lose ground? Jean-Pierre Lutgen refuses to be drawn. “When we brought colour back to the world of watches, many watchmakers fol-

lowed our lead. Now they are off chasing the vintage wave, leaving us virtually alone with our colour-loving clients. Nine years after the company was founded, I believe that Ice-Watch as a brand is here to stay.” The company has nevertheless launched some more restrained collections, such as last December’s Ice-City. One of its recent models, the City Tanner will, according to the company literature, “delight fans of 70s style with its pure sophistication spiced up with a touch of glossy” and its “minimalist look that combines old-school elegance with modern urban purity.”

DANIEL WELLINGTON, NEW YOUTH IDOL These days it’s impossible to get away from Daniel Wellington. Launched in 2009 by Filip Tysander of Sweden, Daniel Wellington (or DW) today boasts annual revenues of more than 200 million dollars, and has made perhaps one of the swiftest transformations from little-known startup to successful highstreet brand. What is its secret? Among other things, its penchant for remov-

able NATO straps, its minimalist dials, its attractive price (thanks to a manufacturing operation based in Shenzhen, China), its unparalleled exploitation of social media and its democratic approach to retailers. The brand’s back-story couldn’t be more perfect, and it makes for an incredible marketing tool; in 2006, during a backpacking trip across Australia, Filip Tysander met another backpacker named Daniel Wellington, who was wearing a Rolex Submariner with a fabric NATO strap. This chance meeting gave the would-be entrepreneur the idea of developing a highly affordable line (under 300 dollars) with an ultra-simple, minimalist white dial and Miyota quartz movement. The key feature, however, would be the ability to easily change up the NATO strap. The nylon gives it a paradoxically organic feel (despite the fact that it is massproduced). The formula proved a winning one: vintage elegance... for cheap. And it came at exactly the right time. 30-something Filip Tysander was able to use the influence of social media, particularly Instagram, to promote this

lifestyle with a young audience. In parallel, while an increasing number of watch brands were neglecting or rejecting traditional retailers they considered not up to the mark, choosing instead to withdraw to their own boutiques and more rarefied circles, the young businessman had no difficulty signing up with any shop willing to take on his brand, which ensured he quickly gained global visibility, with a presence in almost every country on the planet.

SHINOLA, MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! Shinola was launched in 2011 by Fossil co-founder Tom Kartsotis (who by that time had left the American group), in partnership with quartz movement maker Ronda. Based in the economically depressed city of Detroit, a potent symbol of the United States’ deindustrialisation, the company achieved sales of 100 million francs last year, selling 220,000 watches. A genuine lifestyle brand (it also produces bicycles, leather accessories and notebooks) which makes a third of its

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sales online, the company is now setting its sights on the rest of the world. Shinola is based in a historic building in Detroit that once housed a General Motors design centre. It endeavours to source all its materials in the United States and employs local people, often former automobile workers. “I think there’s a genuine movement of young, urban people who want to know where their food or their clothing comes from, and they also want to know about the manufacturing conditions,” notes John Argento, the company’s European director. For the time being, the majority of Shinola’s clients are American, and its revenues are split more or less equally between online sales from their beautifully designed website, retail partners and standalone shops. This year Shinola will open its first store in Canada, and it aims to conquer Europe. “We opened our first London store a year and a half ago, and at the same time we began retailing in some major department stores and concept stores like Colette in Paris. At the time, we hadn’t approached any watch retailers outside the United States. This year, we decided to extend our distribution to watch professionals.” You have been warned!

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NIXON, URBAN SURFER A little longer in the tooth than the other brands in this summary (it was founded in 1997 in California), Nixon is also enjoying strong growth and is equally at home in an influential concept store like Colette. The American brand is the darling of a very young, very cool clientele, who are also well-informed about watch design. This lifestyle brand prized by surfers and skaters also makes headphones. It is part since 2014 of Trilantic Capital Partners portfolio, and its value is estimated at more than 400 million dollars.

“Purely through word of mouth to start with, and also through social media, which gave it a new dimension, we have succeeded in widening our client base, which is no longer limited to the world of surfing and skating,” explains CEO Nick Stowe. Its products have also evolved. The brand has just launched its first smartwatch, the Mission. It has also extended its women’s collection and embarked upon collaborative ventures, such as the Star Wars collection, which opens up yet more potential buyers. Nixon’s broadly-based collection has ensured it a presence in 80 countries and 10,000 points of sale. u

CHEZ MAMAN, AN ALADDIN’S CAVE OF WATCHES When a vintage furniture store in the Marais in Paris starts selling watches, you’d expect no less than an affordable, varied and quirky selection. And that’s what we found.


hez Maman in the centre of Paris embodies the spirit the internet. We are not chasing high volumes: what we want of this article perhaps better than any other shop. is exclusivity, but at a reasonable price.” The latest brand to hit On the wall is a big bow tie in homage to Michael their shelves – “the only brand at Baselworld that interested us” Jackson and vintage posters advertising old Casios; the win- – is Renard, which you probably won’t have heard of. Another dow display features retro portraits of 1980s kids in jeans, and favourite of the moment is London-based designer Olivia Burton, who makes watches exclusively for women. a Buddha by the till gazes benignly down on Chez Maman was one of Daniel Wellington’s peace and love trinkets, specialist magazines first retailers in France, but the brand has apand badges. Chez Maman is a chain of three shops in the parently become “almost too mainstream” and Marais district which sells some of the more retis losing its appeal with the shop’s customers. “Ice-Watch is too mass-market for us. Where ro-chic newcomer brands in the entry-level segCasio is concerned, we are very selective: we only ment, as well as original designs from more welllike their reissues of 1980s models. Sometimes established brands, to an urban clientele with a Violette Milteau we fall in love with certain models of über-mainsharp nose for both originality and authenticity. Its portfolio includes brands such as Nixon, Vestal, Komono, Knut stream brands such as Swatch or Flik Flak, but we’d have to Gadd, Triwa, Shore Projects, Tokyoflash and Mr. Jones alongside take their entire range!” Junghans and Casio. “At Chez Maman we don’t come to work in a suit, and we NEITHER SWISS MADE, NOR SMART share the same passion for design, music and retro style; we’re all trained stylists, and we particularly like the minimalist And what about the Swiss made label? Not interested. “Apart Bauhaus aesthetic,” explains store manager Violette Milteau. from Mondaine we have very few Swiss brands. Our clients Chez Maman was founded by Eva Juge, originally from don’t particularly care whether or not they are Swiss made: Sweden, who opened a vintage furniture shop with one corner they never ask what type of movement they have, but they set aside for watches. The watch section was so successful that are interested in what type of leather the strap is made of, it became a shop in its own right, and in 2006 the business- and the design of the watch. However, we do like to promote woman dropped the furniture to focus exclusively on watches. French watches from companies such as Lip, La Trotteuse & Compagnie, and Les Partisanes.” What about smartwatches? “No demand for those either.” FOMO – FEAR OF A small second-hand area is set aside for old Casio, Orient MAINSTREAM OVERLOAD and Citizen watches, and even some Ingersoll Mickey Mouse “The idea was to stand out from the crowd, and create a lifestyle tickers. “Our vintage spirit is not limited to watches. We also shop that was completely different from your traditional watch- buy our clothes in charity shops, and we try to promote susmaker-jeweller,” continues Violette Milteau. “Our clients are in- tainability. We will always offer to change the strap, rather terested in the kinds of watches that you don’t see every-where. than throwing the watch away, and we make an effort to More than anything, we like to discover small, original brands on stock organic and fair trade products.” p

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It really is a lifestyle brand. In fact, as Nick Stowe points out, its main competitors are not other watchmakers but accessory brands. “Someone might choose a Nixon to complete their look, but they might equally go for Ray Bans or Vans. Young people are not necessarily looking for a watch, as such; they’re mainly looking for an original product to complement their identity.”



Brice Jaunet, an industry veteran (Cartier, Baume & Mercier, Richemont, Raymond Weil and Zenith), founded watch brand Briston in 2012, on a British Sport Chic theme. “I always wanted to be my own boss,” notes the entrepreneur. “And one day, because working for a big group has its ups and downs... at the end of 2009, in the thick of the watch crisis, Zenith decided to let me go. I had the opportunity

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he tumultuous history of Lip, once a poster child of French industrial excellence, was marked in the 1970s by a series of spectacular breakdowns and false restarts. This time around, the situation looks more promising. Philippe Bérard, proprietor of the modest SMB watchmaking hub in Besançon – which owns the Girl Only (GO) and Certus brands – is an experienced and cautious man who has brought the company’s production back from China with a view to building on the Made in France concept. “We are part of a movement to revive historic brands, like Alpine in the motor industry,” notes Philippe Bérard. “France has a genuine emotional connection with Lip!” Many historic watches were just waiting to be given the kiss of life and reissued, with new dimensions and minimum modification (Himalaya, De Gaulle, Churchill, Henriette, Dauphine). “We are fortunate that there is genuine interest in vintage design, even among very young clients.” Nevertheless, the brand image suffered as a result of the Made in China interlude, and being retailed in supermarkets. “But only with professionals. When we approach a retailer for the first time, that’s usually their first objection. But at the same time, it has kept the brand visible. In general, by our second or third appointment they have no more objections.” The company unveiled the first of its new collections at Baselworld in 2015. “Between July and December we took orders for 15,000 watches, but we were only able to deliver 11,000 because we didn’t expect to sell so many in the beginning! We are present in 400 points of sale, and if we continue at this pace we should sell 30,000 to 40,000 watches by the end of the year.” The company sources quartz movements in France, but its mechanical calibres are Japanese, “because there are no more French mechanical movement suppliers. We try to use as many French-made components as possible, but there’s no one left making dials or cases in France...” Currently, 95% of sales are to the domestic market. In terms of export potential, Japan – another country with a strong industrial watchmaking heritage – looks very promising. p


to take a step back, and I was able to make my dream a reality.” Before diving back into watchmaking, however, Brice Jaunet took a detour into a different industry: eyewear. And he experienced a technological epiphany. “I had the idea of using a material discovered by the eyewear industry – cellulose acetate – in watches. We offer a complex and innovative product, and we didn’t pick it off a rack of shelving in Shenzhen!” The acetate is made in Italy, the movements are Japanese and assembly is done in Asia. 2016 marked a turning point for Briston, which “did” its first Baselworld. “The reception from the watch community was beyond what we could have hoped for. It really was a wonderful surprise. By the end of the year we will have close to 1,000 distribution partners around the world.” “We’ve been forced to slow down our new launches, but our development plans for the next five years are full of ideas and possibilities. While I am an entrepreneur, and consequently a go-getter, the idea of slow business makes a lot of sense, and that appeals to me.” It’s certainly a concept whose time has come.

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WILLIAM L.: THE NEWEST ARRIVAL IS GROWING UP FAST William L., another French brand, is just getting started. The company was also founded by an industry insider: Guillaume Laidet, just thirty years old, and a digital communication specialist who earned his stripes with Zenith, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Girard-Perregaux. His story is compelling; it all began with a family watch. “I was given an old watch, which I restored, and all my friends thought it was amazing and asked me where they could get one. The problem was that this kind of watch was far too expensive for them, without even considering the cost of maintenance. So I set myself the challenge of drawing inspiration from this watch to make something more affordable, costing a maximum of 130 euros.” A request for proposals was issued in Shenzhen, for a watch that would offer champagne styling on a beer budget, along with a willingness to cut margins more than is usual in the watch industry. The result: vintage chic, a domed crystal and easily interchangeable straps. “But the banks weren’t interested in back-

ing my project. In my opinion, they no longer fulfil their role of supporting the creative economy.” But that wasn’t a problem. Kickstarter came to the rescue, raising 200,000 euros in the space of one month. “That enabled me to finance a far greater production run than I initially intended. And I was also able to go to Baselworld. I was hoping to sell 3,000 watches, but distributors from more than 20 countries placed 100,000 orders! That represents five million francs in revenue.” To hear him tell it, he was in the right place at the right time, with the right product. The price is also a very important factor. “The risk for the watch industry today is that it continues to offer watches at excessively high prices, and treat its clients like cash cows.” After Kickstarter and Baselworld, the businessman is now looking to manage the company’s growth with his new distributors. “That’s going to be the tricky part. But at least the banks are interested now!” p We’ll take a closer look at some more newcomers – MVMT, Tsovet, Komono and Cronometrics – in a forthcoming issue.

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by Serge Maillard, Europa Star


hen you meet Frédéric Jouvenot, the first thing you notice is his vitality, he who could so easily boast of a watchmaking career which has been both rich and unwavering. After working for Minerva, and founding the movement development company Concepto, he decided to launch his own watchmaking company, in much the same way as other great behind-the-scenes geniuses of his generation. His signature collection was launched in 2010. The concept: a mechanical sundial with 24 jumping hours. “Each ray displays two sides which make an instantaneous half-turn every hour to indicate the day or night time,” the creator informs us. THE COMPLETE TRAJECTORY OF THE SUNDIAL OVER 24 HOURS SUNRISE: from midnight to midday, the dial is progressively illuminated; every hour, one ray lights up. SUNSET: from midday to midnight, the dial is extinguished; every hour one ray is switched off.

“This system is inspired by the movement of the sun and the shadow thrown by ancient sundials (refer to the diagram). The challenge was to miniaturise the case while allowing enough space for the rays and the complex mechanism.” Sun gods are omnipresent in a multitude of civilisations – Frédéric Jouvenot has exploited this fact to create the numerous models of his ingenious system: Helios for the Greeks, a model made of titanium with a black DLC coating and a negative dial which evokes ancient geometric designs; Inti for the Incas, a model made of pink gold with a bezel ornately engraved with representations of Macchu Picchu, which also includes twelve shapes in the form of pyramids in the dial between each sunray; Surya for the Indians, an extremely colourful model for ladies made of white gold in which all the sunrays are replaced with flower petals; Amaterasu for the Japanese, a model in red and white reminiscent of the Japanese national flag. “My objective is both to unite people with different cultural backgrounds and to create the sundial of the 21st century with a state-of-the art mechanism!” p

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OBJECT “A friend designed this personal jewel: it is a sentimental object which bears my logo and symbolises the universe. One day, I’d like to go into space: I think that in about ten years from now, it will be possible!” Jacob Arabo

“When I wanted to go into horology, I started by travelling to Switzerland to visit the manufactures and identify potential partners,” remembers Jacob Arabo. But I was regarded as an outsider, nobody wanted to talk to me!” He persevered in order to produce real Swiss watches… The legitimisation is under way: “Also, I was lucky enough to meet a really genial watchmaker, the only one who told me that what I was imagining was possible, whereas all the others were intimidated.” p (SM)

Photo: Carlo Fachini


or decades now, he has been supplying jewels to Jay-Z and other stars of American showbiz. But this last decade, the famous New York jeweller Jacob Arabo, founder of Jacob & Co., has put much effort into legitimising his approach to watchmaking, delivering several absolutely astounding timepieces in succession. The most emblematic of all has to be the Astronomia Sky, the latest version of which was unveiled at Baselworld this spring. And indeed, in this extraordinary model everything moves! Above the celestial dial, the oval sky indicator reveals the portion of the firmament visible from the Northern hemisphere. This indicator makes a full rotation in one sidereal day, which is the time the Earth takes to rotate once on its axis (23.560916 hours). At the centre of the satellite’s axis, a lacquered, hand-engraved globe in titanium rotates on itself, sheltered by a tinted sapphire crystal dome symbolising day and night. “The idea behind this three-dimensional watch is to see the Earth from the cosmos. All the elements rotate in this model, which resembles a spaceship. It’s inspired by satellites and reflects a strong statement: the world is yours”, enthuses its creator.


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ebirth of a legend in the French watchmaking industry! Last year, ZRC relaunched its scuba diving model Grands Fonds 300M, first seen in 1964 and used by the French Navy. The mother company ZuccoloRochet, based in Annecy, currently specialises in the manufacture of straps – and it is under the initiative of Georges and Charles Brunet, representing the fourth generation, that ZRC is unveiling its new ambitions. The brand brings back fond memories for vintage watch enthusiasts. The reproduction of the GF 300 is practically identical to the original model, give or take a few details. The size for example, as trends have changed: the diameter has increased from 37 mm to 40.5 mm. “My

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instructions to the designers were clear,” continues Georges Brunet. “The customers must see this reedition as a natural evolution of the original model.” The calibre itself has remained the same, as the timepiece is governed by ETA 28242, successor to the original 2472, with a power reserve of 38 hours. The Grands Fonds 300 is reproduced in a number of models: Steel, Black Phantom Full DLC, Choco, with steel, leather or NATO strap (for a price ranging from 2,390 to 2,990 euros) and even a limited edition of ten pieces made of 18kt solid gold, already sold out at 29,900 euros. All contain the patented innovations upon which the exceptional reputation of their glorious predecessor was based. It includes the Easy Clean


System for cleaning the bezel, but also the Crown Protection System, making it impossible to take the watch back underwater without having returned the crown to its initial position – an incident that scuba divers know all too well. The NATO strap offers the advantage that, instead of passing behind the watch, and thus covering the mechanism, it is composed of two parts and therefore has the appearance of a leather strap. “We rediscovered this system which the company had already developed in the 1960’s!” p (SM)

Photo: Carlo Fachini


OBJECTS “I’ve brought a little Peruvian Torito because I love travelling and for my fiftieth birthday I went on a voyage of discovery to Peru. It symbolises the wealth of knowledge you can get from other cultures, which also inspires us in our creative work!” Carole Dubois “This stone, which I brought back from Beijing, symbolises several things – roundness, movement, the sun and the moon. When I travel, I often bring back this kind of stone – and of course when you head up a brand called Pierre DeRoche, it makes sense!” Pierre Dubois


arole and Pierre Dubois have been navigating the tricky waters of watchmaking in the Vallée de la Joux for the past twelve years. They hoist their sails when conditions are fair and, thanks to their flexible way of working, are able to reef rapidly when storm warnings sound. They are among the rare watchmakers who feature in their own advertising campaigns – in the latest one, on a sailing yacht! The Dubois certainly keep it in the family, taking advantage of the clout of their 115-yearold, module-manufacturing neighbour, Dubois-Dépraz, their mainstay, which is run by Pierre Dubois’ two brothers. The company produces 200-250 watches

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a year. “We’ve rationalised our costs as far as possible, our only permanent cost being a low rent, and we have no employees because we subcontract everything to Dubois-Dépraz,” explains Pierre Dubois. “Without that flexibility, we wouldn’t be viable, the investment in Baselworld alone would be too much.” So the couple adapts when the markets get choppy, always with the utmost respect: “We’ve never had any disputes with our suppliers, which is rather rare in this industry,” adds Carole Dubois. The brand’s flagship collection, immediately recognisable by its simultaneously elegant, sporty and techy look, is TNT, the most emblematic – and best-selling

Photo: Carlo Fachini


– model of which is the Royal Retro (not to mention the model for couples, Bonnie & Clyde!). Since their early days, the Dubois family have nurtured a special relationship with Japan, their primary market. “We’ve had an excellent distributor there for the past eleven years,” says Pierre Dubois. We love that country, its old-style charm, its human respect, its sense of aesthetics, its passion for watchmaking... Recently, we even walked up Mount Fuji with our three children.” p (SM)

Plate Tableware or part of a watch movement? Discover the world of Fine Watchmaking at

Plate | The plate which bears the various movement parts and in particular the bridges. The dial is usually affixed to the bottom side of the plate. The plate is pierced with holes for the screws and recesses for the jewels in which the pivots of the movement wheels will run.


EDITORIAL & ADVERTISERS’ INDEX A. Lange & Söhne 73 Alpina 42 Angelus 41 Anonimo 27 Antiquorum 34 Apple 39, 45 Armillion 52, 53 Ateliers deMonaco 51 Baselworld 36, 44, 45, 50, 62 Baume & Mercier 60 Bell & Ross: 24 Benoit De Gorski 34 Beyer Chronométrie 30, 32 Bovet 41 Breitling 40, 41 Briston 55, 60 Cartier 41, 45, 46, 60, 63 Casio 54, 56, 59 Certus 60 Chanel 4, 5 (International), 6, 7 (Europe) Charriol 31 Chez Maman 56, 59 Christie’s 34 Citizen 8, 59, 61 Concepto 65 COSC 48 Cronometrics 62 Daniel Wellington 38, 45, 55, 57, 59 Dubois-Dépraz 51, 70 Enicar 39 Ernest Borel 47 ETA 13, 26, 29, 35, 68 Fitbit 45 FHH 71 Flik Flak 59 Fossil Group 56, 57 Frédéric Jouvenot 65

Frédérique Constant 8, 11, 44, 45, 46, 50 Gainerie 91 67 Geneva Sport 41 Girl Only 60 Girard-Perregaux COVER I (International), COVER IV (Europe), 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 62 Hengdeli 45 Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 69 Ice-Watch 55, 56, 57, 59 Iconeek 34, 36 Ingersoll 59 IWC 30, 32 Jacob & Co. 66 Jaeger-LeCoultre 30, 32, 42, 62 Jaquet Droz 34 Junghans 59 Kickstarter 62 Knut Gadd 59 Komono 59, 62 La Trotteuse & Compagnie 59 Lemania 41 Les Partisanes 59 Lip 59, 60 Longines 43 Louis Moinet COVER IV (International) LVMH 45 Mainfirst 44, 46 Mathey-Tissot 41 Maurice Lacroix 45 Michael Kors 56 Mido 40 Minerva 65 Miyota 57 Mondaine 59 Montblanc 45, 50 Movado 41

TUDOR ANTHOLOGY (11046) by Alberto Isnardi The book Tudor Anthology represents a very useful guide to collect and invest in Tudor watches produced since 1936. Many important topics such as the different marks of various models are shown and explained. Furthermore, the book provides the updated prices of all Tudor watches, both modern and vintage models. Tudor Anthology also represents a prestigious work, since it is a limited edition of only 1000 numerated examples signed by the author. • 344 Pages | Format: 25.5 x 31.5 cm. | Price: CHF 429.00 | €390.00 MOONWATCH ONLY. THE ULTIMATE OMEGA SPEEDMASTER GUIDE (11045) by Grégoire Rossier and Anthony Marquié The major focus of this book concerns the identification of historical Speedmaster models from standard production, in an era when there were often variations in the constituent parts of a watch. Having observed that these numerous evolutions could occur independently of a change in reference number, the authors established an original nomenclature for this entire set of elements. Classifying and describing them represented a fundamental prior step toward providing a comprehensive and detailed presentation of the models. • 500 Pages | Format: 25 x 30.7 cm. | Price: CHF 290.00 | €250.00 Special Offer. The book is offered together with the Speedmaster Exhibition Catalogue, presenting 40 exceptionnal models.


Mr. Jones 59 MVMT 62 Nixon 55, 58, 59, 60 Olivia Burton 59 Omega 32, 34, 36, 39, 40, 41, 45 Orient 59 Oris COVER I (Europe), 12, 13, 14, 15, 37 Panerai 39 Patek Philippe COVER II, 3 (International), 4, 5 (Europe), 25, 26, 30, 32, 37, 39, 41, 45, 46 Pierre DeRoche 70 Promotion 64 Raymond Weil 60 Renard 59 Richard Mille 9 Richemont 45, 60 Rolex COVER II, 3 (Europe), 25, 26, 30, 32, 36, 39, 40, 41, 45, 46, 57 Ronda 57 Samsung 55 Seiko 24, 38, 39, 43 Sellita 13 Sercab – Proserto – Val’Heure 49 Shinola 55, 57 Shore Projects 59 SIHH 20, 44 SMB 60 Swatch 32, 56, 59 Swatch Group 45 TAG Heuer 24, 39, 40, 41, 44, 45, 46 Tissot 43 Titoni 33 Tokyoflash 59 Triwa 59 Tsovet 62 Tudor 26, 28, 29, 44 UBS COVER III Urban Jürgensen 21 Venus 41 Vestal 59 Vontobel 45, 46 William L. 55, 62 Zenith 34, 41, 60, 62 ZRC 22, 68 EUROPA STAR JEWELS Armillion X, XI Baselworld III, VIII, IX, XV, XXV Blancpain III Boucheron XX, XXI, XXIV, XXV Breguet III Bulgari XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII Cartier III, XXIII, XXIV, XXV Chanel III, XVI, XII, XXX Charriol VIII, IX, COVER IV Dolce & Gabbana XVI Ebel COVER I, IV, V, VI Fabergé XVIII Fiona Krüger XVIII Frédérique Constant COVER II Harry Winston III Hong Kong International Jewellery Show XXIV Jacob & Co. XXVIII Kerbedanz VII, XV Longines III Lydia Courteille XXV Magerit XX Mainfirst III Maria Kovadi XXII, XXIII, XXVII Nanis XIV Omega III Patek Philippe III Richemont III Swatch Group III Rolex III Tudor III Urso XVIII, IXX, COVER III Van Cleef & Arpels XXIV Versace XXX Vicenzaoro XXIX Weinbeck XII, XIII


Europa Star HBM SA, Route des Acacias 25, CH-1227 Carouge/Geneva - Switzerland Tel +41 22 307 78 37, Fax +41 22 300 37 48, • EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief: Pierre M. Maillard • Managing Editor: Serge Maillard • Editor Jewels: Jeta B • Senior Editor: D. Malcolm Lakin • Editors China: Jean-Luc Adam, Woody Hu • Editor Spain: Carles Sapena • Art: Alexis Sgouridis • PUBLISHING / MARKETING / SALES Nathalie Glattfelder • Tel: +41 22 307 78 37 • Marianne Bechtel Croze • Tel: +41 79 379 82 71 • Maggie Tong • Tel: +852 2527 5189 • Jocelyne Bailly • Tel: +41 22 307 78 37 • PUBLISHER - CEO: Serge Maillard CHAIRMAN: Philippe Maillard MANAGEMENT / ACCOUNTING Business Manager: Catherine Giloux. Tel: +41 22 307 78 48 • MAGAZINES Europa Star - Europe - International - USA & Canada China - Latin America / Spain - Europa Star Jewels - Europa Star Première - Bulletin d’informations - Eurotec WEBSITES,,,,,,,,,, E-newsletters: MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION: One year 6 issues, CHF 100 Europe, CHF 140 International. Subscriptions: Audited REMP/WEMPF Copyright 2016 EUROPA STAR All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Europa Star HBM SA.


A. LANGE & SÖHNE THE VIP AKADEMIE, A UNIQUE WATCHMAKING EVENT IN SWITZERLAND Eight watch collectors and enthusiasts will be given the opportunity to participate in two days of total immersion in the world of high-quality watchmaking with A. Lange & Söhne next November in Zurich. Applications are now open. A not-to-be-missed event for true experts organised in cooperation with Europa Star!

HOW TO REGISTER? To have the best chance to be one of the eight participants at the Zurich VIP Akademie organised by A. Lange & Söhne on 17th and 18th of November in Zurich, download the application form at the following address: For additional questions or further details, please contact A. Lange & Söhne via the email address or call +41 52 630 00 16 (between 10am and 5pm weekdays).


n the 17th and 18th of November of this year, a small group of eight watchmaking enthusiasts (experts and collectors) will be invited to participate in a unique event: the VIP Akademie organised by the prestigious and traditional brand A. Lange & Söhne in Zurich. Any watchmaking enthusiast may submit an application to participate in this two-day session, for which all expenses will be paid by the manufacture. The applicants will be selected based on their collection, but also the date their application was submitted. No time to waste! “The aim of this exclusive event is to allow experts and collectors to discover the excellence of Saxon watchmaking,” states Luca Dondi, Brand Director for Europe and Russia/CIS at A. Lange & Söhne. “Over a two-day period they

will wear the blouse of a watchmaker and engraver and will discover with their own eyes the degree of extreme attention required for the design and manufacture of our timepieces, whether in the assembly of the Lange mechanism, or engraving the balance cock. All this in the friendly and professional atmosphere of an exclusive company such as ours.” Set up for the first time in Switzerland, in the temple of global watchmaking, the VIP Akademie concept was born in

Milan, Italy, in 2011 with the support of the Glashütte teams. The session in Zurich will be led by Joanna Lange herself accompanied by an experienced watchmaker and one of the six engravers who strive to make each Lange model a unique work of art. “We wish to share our passion for watchmaking with people who speak the same language as us: men and women passionate about watches and who select their timepieces according to their quality and innovation,” continues Luca Dondi. “Hosting the VIP Akademie event in Switzerland this year is interesting as we are able to offer experts the possibility to study the differences between Swiss and Saxon art. I am convinced that this experience will be enlightening for all those concerned.” p

europa star



’S TIME “I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed.” by D. Malcolm Lakin


his year marks the 400th anniversary of the death of the ‘Bard of Avon’, that man of many words, mostly meaningful, William Shakespeare. Shakespeare scholars know that Shakespeare was baptised on April 26, 1564 and although his date of birth is nowhere to be found, it is conveniently assumed to be three days before that date, thus having him being born on April 23 of that year and dying on April 23, 1616. Ben Jonson (who is considered by many to be the second most important English dramatist, was not only a contemporary of the Bard, but also it’s rumoured that he was a drinking buddy of Will’s and with him when he contracted the fever which purportedly killed him) wrote that Shakespeare was ‘not of an age, but for all time.’ And how true that is. Here we are four hundred years later still talking about him and his enormous output and unwittingly still using his prose. He was the first to use a heart of gold, set your teeth on edge, wear you heart on your sleeve, break the ice, too much of a good thing, a wild goose chase, vanish into thin air, make your hair stand on end and he’s seen better days, all Will’s words still in daily use. Not of an age, but for all time, not only time as in immemorial but time as in the passing of it, appears regularly throughout his monumental works. Here is an apt one for the watch industry from Henry IV, Part 1:

74 | LAKIN@LARGE | europa star

‘Unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leapinghouses, and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-colour’d taffeta, I see no reason why thou shouldst be so

superfluous to demand the time of day.’ And later, in the same play we have: ‘O God! methinks it were a happy life, To be no better than a homely swain; To sit upon a hill, as I do now, To carve out dials, quaintly, point by point, Thereby to see the minutes how they run, How many hours bring about the day; How many days will finish up the year; How many years mortal man may live.’ Like his style or not, Will knew how to string words together to create poetic and philosophical images. From Othello we have ‘There are many events in the womb of time which will be delivered.’ Macbeth gave us ‘If you can look into the seeds of time, And say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak then to me … and ‘Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.’

– William Shakespeare

And in preparation of the bucket list we have: ‘The end crowns all, And that old common arbitrator, Time, Will one day end it’ from Troilus and Cressida. And as the end was near, Richard II mumbled ‘I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.’ So endeth my tribute to the Bard’s anniversary and I hope I haven’t wasted your time, but despair thee not, for yea, I be reminded of the tale of a boy who was walking down the street with his mother when suddenly he shouts out excitedly, “Mother, look there’s a bowlegged man!” His mother told him to be quiet, explaining that it was impolite to make remarks about people with an infirmity. The next day they crossed the man’s path a second time and the boy said, “Look mother, there’s that bowlegged man again!” The mother scolded the boy and told him he would be punished for being so rude. At home, she gave her son a play by William Shakespeare saying, “Go to your room and read this and don’t come out until you’ve finished it.” Three days later walking down the street the pair saw the bowlegged man again. This time the boy proclaims, “Hark! What manner of men are these, who weareth their legs as parentheses?” Well, you’ve got to laugh haven’t you. p

Is 60 the new 40? What does that change? Do I have the right plan?

Whenever you reach that next chapter in your life, you’ll want to make the most of it. And keep yourself and your finances in good shape. Although working less has its advantages, it has financial consequences too. We can help create a clear picture of what you need, so that the best is yet to come. For some of life’s questions, you’re not alone. Together we can find an answer. / 60-new-40 The price and value of investments and income derived from them can go down as well as up. You may not get back the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. In the UK, UBS AG is authorized by the Prudential Regulation Authority and subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and limited regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Issued in Australia by UBS AG ABN 47 088 129 613 (AFSL* No. 231087). *AFSL means holder of Australia Financial Services License. © UBS 2016. All rights reserved.

Louis Moinet, Switzerland at +41 32 753 68 14,



TRENDS & COLOURS: Summer 2016 issue |

delight automatic

Gwyneth Paltrow

live your passion

supports DonorsChoose






016 is very much a feminine year for the watchmaking industry, with a growing trend towards women’s watches – a promising market, yet to be conquered despite the industry decline in recent years. A recent report by Mainfirst Bank reveals that female references are now dominant in three major watch companies: Cartier (from 59% of the brand’s references last year to 61% this year), Omega (40% to 54%) and Longines (44% to 53%). Among a panel of top brands, “Patek Philippe was the only brand which lowered its female weighting, albeit from a high base,” the report says. Both Rolex and Tudor have on their part increased the number of female references, which account for around a third of their total revenue. Cartier remains the behemoth in this segment. Their female reference weighting is now above 50% when we average out the data of Omega, Cartier, Longines, Patek Philippe and Rolex. This translates into business opportunities, analysts say, because brands with a higher female product weighting are likely to outperform their peers, noting that “both Richemont and Swatch Group continue to lead the industry in providing above average product offerings for female consumers.” While the industry remains overwhelmingly masculine, an adjustment is coming in favour of ladies’ models and creativity. One of the best and boldest examples at the last edition of Baselworld, among many feminine novelties, was to be found at Breguet’s booth: the introduction of a feminine model in its prestigious Tradition collection, a real piece of Haute Horlogerie and a true commitment to high complications for women. At Blancpain, the vintage trend matched the feminine trend with the re-edition of the Ladybird, a watch first launched in 1956. Harry Winston also appealed to the hearts of women with new entries, notably in its Premier collection (the Moon Phase).

he watch industry has been and remains predominantly a man’s world. Strolling from booth to booth at Baselworld you are served champagne by a young beautiful woman in heels, you are dazzled by an eloquent female PR agent (also in heels); but when you shake the boss’ hand, it is that of a man. Nevertheless, there is an interesting dynamic as the female market outperforms the male one, and both established and emerging brands are working diligently to ride this wave by introducing complicated and jewelled watch pieces aimed for the female taste. The female taste, however, has shifted as women are opting for larger and more masculine designs. Unsurprisingly, the minimalist ‘boyfriend look’ championed by street-style fashionistas and runway designers has found its way into the watch industry, with giants like Chanel investing in a BOY.FRIEND watch. The jewellery world, on the other hand, is somewhat dithering, not just in revenue. Despite considerably more female designers and owners in the industry, we still see over-sexualised campaigns with women wearing nothing but pearls. When women gather, we share life stories, ambitions and style, not our nude selves. That is not to say that women are not in touch with their natural bodies. Appreciation for nature has never been more acute as modern lives are becoming increasingly hectic and strenuous. As you will see in this issue, nature remains a predominant source of creative energy for designers too. But a tree watch, a snake necklace, those exquisite frog earrings - they only make sense in the context of women’s aspirations. Nudity is not an aspiration. Elegance is. When Yves Saint Laurent asked “Isn’t elegance forgetting what one is wearing?” nudity was furthest from his mind. Our Jewels supplement brings forth extraordinary watch and jewellery designs that will make you forget what you are wearing but others will see elegance.

Serge Maillard

Jeta B



a window to elegance The ambition of Flavio Pellegrini, the venerable Swiss watchmaker’s new president, is to take the company back to its core values. He hopes to recapture the ladies’ market with models that combine beauty and precision with a design that is guaranteed to stand the test of time. This year’s exclusive and limited series pays tribute to the company’s historic connection with architecture. Behind the scenes, an immense effort is under way to clarify the brand’s identity. | by Serge Maillard


ombining beauty and utility, merging form and function, leaving a mark on the collective unconscious, standing the test of time, ensuring timelessness while acknowledging current trends... Eugène Blum and Alice Lévy, who founded Ebel in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1911, shared more than just a home town and a generational understanding with architect Le Corbusier. Despite working in different fields, they also had similar ambitions in an age when everything seemed possible. Flavio Pellegrini, the company’s president since 2014, wants to return to the essence of Ebel’s cardinal values: beauty, function, aesthetic refinement and technical precision. “We have a very rich heritage, particularly in women’s watches. But we have to ask the right questions: what is Ebel’s raison d’être? How can the brand stand out from the rest of the watchmaking landscape? I have come to the conclusion that simplicity, purity of


design and technical precision are the true guiding threads of the company’s history. We need to return to our fundamental values.” It was in the Villa Turque, built by Le Corbusier a century ago, and which has been in Ebel’s possession for thirty years, that Flavio Pellegrini delivered his unequivocal message: look out, Ebel is back – and this time we’re here to stay! After a number of difficult years, during which the brand identity seemed to have blurred, and its design lost some of its focus – there’s nothing like an honest appraisal to provoke necessary change – Ebel is seeking to reconquer its place on wrists (75% women’s wrists...) with accessible and elegant watches that have personality.

THE WAVE: A FIRST STEP The company has no lack of heritage on which to build its future. The first step in its renaissance last year was the relaunch of the legendary Wave, with its distinctive undulating bracelet, still a bold design today. The strategy worked: the two Wave collections now account for 80% of the brand’s sales. “My road map was clear: to put Ebel’s destiny back on track,” notes Flavio Pellegrini. “And the way to do that was to focus on the products. Since I arrived, we have reduced the number of references from 120 to 80 models, and the number of collections from seven to four. It was a vital exercise in clarification.” In short, he has re-centred the company on pure watchmaking, rather than simply producing accessories for women. The Wave was the first step. The next will be the relaunch of the Sport Classic next year. “It’s another icon, and I’m convinced it will make an enormous impact. With the current climate, which is more conservative on pricing, but also more ‘human’, the timing is perfect for our collections. As Le Corbusier said: ‘To be modern is not a fashion but a state... He who understands history knows how to find continuity between that which was, that which is, and that which will be.’ Our founders laid the foundations for what our brand is today: watches that can be worn playing tennis or at the opera, for every day as well as for evening wear. Why would we stray from that? Paradoxically, our vintage side also appeals strongly to millennials!”

EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST IN THE SIGHTS So, is it possible to construct an identikit portrait of Ebel’s typical client? Flavio Pellegrini is happy to have a go. “She’s probably around 40, and she drives a Mini. She’s a woman of today: she has no need to show off, she’s independent and confident.” Ebel’s priority target markets are Europe and the Middle East. “We are hoping to reactivate our historic markets, like Italy and France, by going through multi-brand retailers; we respect their role and we’re happy to play the game. Our strategy does not include standalone boutiques. Also, as we have no presence in China we don’t have the stock problems of some of our competitors,” notes Flavio Pellegrini. “We have a great deal of freedom and infinite possibilities for innovation.”


LA MAISON EBEL: AN ARCHITECTURAL JEWEL Ebel’s 2016 vintage paints a picture of a transitional year, celebrating a return to core values – the distinctive pairing of aesthetic harmony and precision, which results in a kind of timeless appeal – with a luminous limited series, La Maison Ebel, whose mother-of-pearl dial is inspired by one of the oval windows in the Villa Turque. Three series of fifteen watches are available, in 18K yellow, white and rose gold. The ballet of the small running seconds hand, which appears next to the date in a rounded opening in the dial, is intended to be a reminder that every second counts. These automatic models come with the option of a matching gold bracelet or an alligator leather strap in cognac, midnight blue or burgundy. The moon phase display decorated with a sunburst guilloché motif adds an additional romantic touch, if any were necessary...


The caseback reveals the oscillating weight adorned with the Villa Turque logo, acknowledging the company’s historic links with this building in particular, and with architecture in general. Ebel also signals its attachment to elegance with some particularly refined gem-set models this year. But given that the move is primarily a symbolic one, its scope is necessarily limited. The essence of the brand emerges just as strongly from an affordable model like the Wave, which was relaunched in 2015, pending the arrival of the Sport Classic in 2017. c

Tree of life Kerbedanz S.A. Rue Pury 8, 2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland


“BANGLEMANIA” and JEWELS OF TIME A family-run business with global ambitions, the Swiss brand presented a wide selection of new watches and jewels at Baselworld. The right move at the right time.

We have been creating jewellery watches for decades now,” says Ludovic Lesur, General Manager of the brand Charriol, based in Geneva. “So it was time to launch jewels that are watches at the same time; we achieve this through the Forever, which bridges our two worlds: jewellery and watchmaking, at the best possible price – a criterion more important than ever!” Presented at the latest edition of Baselworld, this new Forever timepiece comes with a chic bangle strap with slim twisted cables, in line


with the coloured theme found in the jewellery and handbag collections of the same name. Available in stainless steel, yellow gold or rose gold, and worked in a 32 mm size, it also features the Easterninspired diamond-patterned lattice motif which is a strong theme in the Forever jewellery lines. The price point is indeed very interesting for such a watch: from 890 to 990 CHF. The original Forever jewellery collection, with its Thin, Colors and Cuff variants, has also been revisited. In the first line of products, the steel

cable is wound neatly between two rims, rather like the thread on a couturier’s bobbin. The slender modern bangles can be worn as a cluster – a trend Charriol has found a name for: “Banglemania,” which is particularly strong in Europe and America. After all, why wear only one bangle if you have more options to embellish your forearm? An extension of the Forever “Colors” collection sees the bangles worked in bright new colours, overlaid with striking criss-cross steel set with white topaz. Another strong proposition in terms of design is of course the oversized Forever cuff with the Charriol house insignia, which has a vintage, collectible appeal.

THE ICON ON THE MOON Creative Director Coralie Charriol-Paul has been quite active lately, as the brand also launched at Baselworld the new Fabulous jewellery collection, conceived by mixing up Charriol’s hallmark twisted cable motif with a scattering of precious stones. The ensemble harks back to the brand’s Celtic heritage, yet remains forward-looking thanks to pretty, feminine accents, for prices which span from 120 to 610 CHF. 2016 also includes a very special feminine addition to the brand’s

iconic St-Tropez line of timepieces: a dazzling jewellery watch called GlamMoon. The 35 mm timepiece is intended to be the “ultimate dress watch,” displaying a generous cascade of tinted gems – totalizing 1.58 cts. The bezel encircles a shimmering white mother-ofpearl display, set with 12 luxurious white diamond indexes. Another surprise unveiled at Baselworld, the Twist watch inspires a new, more feminine way of wearing a watch: the signature twisted steel cables are now woven into this serpentine timepiece, embellished with yellow gold PVD end-pieces and dainty clips bearing the ‘C’ insignia.

FAMILY BUSINESS Established in 1983 by Philippe Charriol, the brand is still led by its founder, together with family members – wife Marie-Olga Charriol in Public Relations, daughter Coralie Charriol-Paul as Creative Director and son Alexandre Charriol as Visual Director. It has a large presence in the Middle East and Asia and aims to expand into the USA, Central America and the European markets. The brand has a total of 345 standalone boutiques (including 285 stores in China) and 3,800 sales outlets around the world. While the jewellery is crafted in Switzerland and Germany, the timepieces are handmade in Switzerland. c


THE CONTACTLESS CUFF A technological and luxurious breakthrough for the happy few.


new situation has arisen in the luxury industry, where wealthy elegant customers have been enjoying their active lifestyle using technology, but they wanted to do it with the same handcrafted materials that they treasure in their favourite watches and accessories. This situation is about to change. How about wearing your credit card, your apartment access and your supercar keys on your wrist? Would you like them all in an elegant jewellery bracelet, no batteries needed and waterproof? That´s were Armillion comes into play. A team of jewellers, engineers, watchmakers and designers stand behind this Geneva-based brand. Their goal? “To produce a flawless cuff that features cutting edge technology in financial services and security access.” Indeed, an Armillion bracelet has two main functions: contactless payments and keyless access. “We wanted to embrace another way to use modern technologies, beyond smart watches, for users that enjoy an active lifestyle and treasure exclusive materials and gems,” says Carlos Z. Belsué, CMO of Armillion. The first prototypes were presented at Baselworld to a selected group of distributors and editors, and the first units will be in jewellery boutiques in major cities around the world from July 2016.“Our products are created for men and women alike, through a complex production process, that includes luxurious handcrafted materials, and leading edge technology,” says Hugo Pena, COO of Armillion. The company plans to deliver a limited number of pieces for this first year (produced and assembled in Geneva) offering an elegant expression of the success and status that the individuals have earned by using the most exclusive and comfortable payment method ever.

THE SECRET AGENT´S BRACELET Armillion uses a secure technology provided by leading global payment companies to establish an instant bank account assignation: it allows the bracelet to complete the payment, simply by approaching the


wrist to the credit card reader. Security is not an issue, guarantees the brand, because any transaction must be confirmed with a PIN; additionally, unlike credit cards, the bangles do not feature any number, which reduces the likeliness of fraud using ID impersonation. Nowadays, contactless payment is available with almost all credit card readers provided by banks to upscale shops, high-end restaurants and stylish clubs around the world, and also at many ATMs. The Armillion cuff is also equipped with a technology engineered and designed by global security companies that provides secure access to your home, office or chosen location. Armillion’s products can also be combined in a multi-level system, with a PIN or biometric readings for enhanced security. Of course, it will also get you into your supercar or superyacht.

ARMILLION À LA CARTE Armillion has been created using the toughest advanced engineered materials, enveloped in luxurious gold, platinum or titanium. Selected pieces are embellished with a delicate combination of 70 diamonds. Armillion Exclusive has also been created and tailored with different designs and combinations of materials, in limited 10 unit editions, for select prestigious customers. Alternatively, Armillion Unique allows for a customised design and a bespoke choice of materials and gems, to make any ideas come true. The choice is yours. “We provide a unique experience for our members each time they use the Armillion bracelet, whether buying a jeroboam of champagne or a diamond bracelet, or opening their villa with a single gesture,” says Carlos Z. Belsué. c

Armillion will be available to a selection of top jewellery boutiques and distributors in a limited choice of cosmopolitan cities around the world. If you wish to become a representative or distributor of the exclusive products created by the Swiss brand, please contact

“All you need is on your wrist”

ARMILLION Exclusive ‘Diamond Dust’ 10-unit edition




can’t find a watch to match your jewellery,’ a lady customer said to Walter Weinbeck. It was enough to set him on a new path. Goldsmithery has been Walter’s calling from early adulthood. He was only twenty-five years old when he left the studio of the renowned designer Paul Binder to start his own venture. As the last notable ambassador of the Zurich school of goldsmiths inspired by the Bauhaus art movement, Walter has been running his own studio at Grossmünsterplatz for over twenty years now. He lived up to the dream of his 25 year old self. But can he live up to the dreams of this lady customer and design a watch? This challenge gave Walter a new momentum. Countless hours of design, sketch after sketch, meeting after meeting with watch manufacturers in Geneva ...he was after a design that was more intricate and refined than it would appear at first glance. He wanted diamonds to symbolise the hours of the day, but that was just a starting point. In his first watch symbolically named No. 1, twelve diamonds move freely thanks to a sophisticated and patented turn-tilt mechanism.

Recessed behind sapphire crystal and enveloped in concave mirrors, they rotate with each sweep of the hand, dancing gracefully around their axis. Like private dancers, they dazzle for the pleasure of 12 wearers only as it is a limited edition of 12. The watch is not for show but rather for personal glow. Young Walter dreamed of becoming an artist, but on being told it was a career without future, he buried that dream. He became a craftsman instead. Yet his designs always drew inspiration from James Turell’s light installations to Anish Kapoor’s artistic manipulations of materials and space. Indeed, it is hard to look at the positioning of the diamonds in the No. 1 and not think of Turell’s Aten Rein installation at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2013) or Kapoor’s sky mirror permanent installation in Nottingham. Merging light, space and time, Walter designed a watch that no only offers a graceful, intimate dance but is also a piece of art in itself. With No.1 Walter has finally lived up to his unspoken dream. He has become an ARTIST! c

Weinbeck’s second watch - Grace appears graciously understated at first glance, yet with movement it becomes playfully bright as the light is reflected from the 24 diamonds surrounded by mirrors and tastefully concealed around the dial. A true delight for those fascinated with light.


Weinbeck No.1 is available in rose and white gold with 12 cut diamonds totalling 3.0 to 3.5 ct. Diameter 36 mm, mechanical Swiss movement, personalized engraving possible on winding rotor. Other gold tones and platinum are available by special order.

Walter Weinbeck Watches GmbH, GrossmĂźnsterplatz 8, 8001 Zurich â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Switzerland




Trasformista Bracelet

by Jeta B

18 carat gold & diamonds


istening to Laura Bicego talking about jewellery design at her booth in Baselworld is a delight in itself. It is as if she is talking about an extra limb, invisible to the ordinary eye. Born into a family of jewellers in Vicenza, Italy, Laura has been living and breathing jewellery all her life. A piece of jewellery is practically her extra limb.

Laura could talk you through the behind the scenes of the incredible craftsmanship required to produce exquisite pieces of her Trasformista collection. Instead, she talks about the luxury of female intuition and the power of jewellery as a form of communication from one strong woman to another. “Look at this, I don’t need a man to help me put it on,” she shows me the patterned design of the clasp made so single women can wear it. It was a new invention to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the perfect mistake. The clasp is really just the cherry on the cake. A simple twisting action of the bracelet turns XIV | A CONVERSATION | EUROPA STAR JEWELS

it into a completely new design. The wearer can decide to show or hide the diamonds, to go simple or go glamorous. Moving jewellery may be a strong trend in the last year but for Laura it is old news. In 1993, three years after launching her brand NANIS, she made a mistake in the production of one of her cashmere pieces: it rolled out on the wrong side of the design. But it was a perfect mistake. It inspired Laura to explore the movement and design properly, coming up with her bestselling Trasformista line.

“My client is a woman with imagination and she wants her jewellery to be feminine but also playful and sexy.” Laura’s eyes sparkle as if she’s given me a secret code to the mystery of the Trasformista woman. Every bracelet comes in a box that opens into a mini screen,

a video showing the client how to move it to get different designs. She coaches her sales people to twist the jewellery, and runs competitions to celebrate the fastest person to spin the bracelet into a new design. “From chiselling in my workshop of 30 people to the 400 sales points around the globe, the passion should be one and the same,” Laura explains. With dealers in the US, Japan, Singapore,Thailand and expanding in the Middle East, Laura’s next step is making her jewellery accessible to young women who cannot afford the price tag of the Trasformista masterpiece. “I am working on something in the 600-1000 euros price range but that carries the design and the feeling of the original collection.” Laura is on another mission to further transform her Trasformista collection. Looks like the Lady TransFormista will never stop? c

by Jeta B


aselworld 2016 was an explosion of novelties and designs, yet if the task was to select ladies watches that embody the juxtaposition of art, craftsmanship, storytelling and design, which would make it to the top of the tree? Firstly, it would be the Tree of Life by Kerbedanz. The tree of life may have a slightly different meaning depending where our spiritual and geographical axes meet and greet. Yet in both Eastern and Western myths, this mystical concept represents the interconnectedness of all life and forms of creation. The tree in the Kerbedanz watch reveals itself in a somewhat inwards motion, neither straight nor inverted. Rather introverted and humble, this hand-sculpted gold tree adorns the green enamelled dial and is framed by a round case entirely set with green emeralds. It bears fruit, not the forbidden but the delectable ones,

diamond chatons exquisitely embedded into the gold and enamel. Thankfully, there is nothing humble about its craftsmanship. It is meticulous and artistically over the top. Even the original Technotime base has been punctiliously decorated to match the rest of the design. In both Eastern and Western mythology, the Tree of Life is often reversed. The light of life comes from above and penetrates down, with its branches as the root of life, to which Dante refers as the tree which â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;lives from its topâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. The Kerbedanz tree lives from its top, and it is, indeed, the very top of the tree.


ALESSIO BOSCHI Cedar necklace






Secondly, CHANEL’s flying birds gave me butterflies in the stomach. The Mademoiselle Privé collection undoubtedly adds another chapter to CHANEL’s creative history, opening the door to the intimate world of Gabrielle Chanel and the cherished objects she surrounded herself with – birds among other things. Created by the hands of the finest master artisans it uncovers new ground for expressing the know-how of the Métiers d’Art craftsmanship used in fine watchmaking and high jewellery. Using the sculpted gold technique to sublimate the scenes on onyx dials, gold is shaped, engraved and oxidised to give a natural appearance to the bird, flower and tree motifs. With its infinite lightness, CHANEL birds, flowers and branches, inspired by the famous Coromandel lacquer panels, appear quite naturally relaxed, composing the scene of the dial. Birds sit on a tree branch yet with each movement of the wrist, they will tremble and fly away. This simple pleasure takes three weeks to bring to fruition. These are not just birds sitting on a tree. They are top of the tree, exquisite and free. c

Looking at the embroidery in Dolce & Gabbana’s SERA collection 2016 one almost gets the feeling that CHANEL artisans secretly escaped Maison’s castle at night and met and conspired with D&G designers. Or do great minds create alike?


“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not in the branch but on her wings.”

CHANEL Mademoiselle PrivĂŠ Flying Birds



Temperley London, Autumn Winter 2016 by Jeta B


n the middle ages, rings with skull motifs and designs were presented as wedding rings and were also handed over to mourners at funerals, which led to the skulls becoming a symbol of death. By the 18th century, the skull had become associated with piracy and it carries the pirate’s charm to this day. Storytelling has mostly men as pirates, but that has not stopped fashion designers drawing inspiration from pirate iconography for feminine collections. The Autumn Winter 2016 Temperley London collection is inspired by pirates and traders of the spice route, their tattoos of victories, loyalties and loves. It is bold yet very feminine. A watch to match? - Indeed. The woman watchmaker Fiona Krüger became fascinated with concepts of time and mortality, which have played an important role in watchmaking since the 1400s. This journey inspired her to develop the iconic SKULL collection. Drawing inspiration from the 17th century skull watch of Mary Queen of


FIONA KRÜGER Petite Skull Silver Scots, the Mexican celebration of Dia de los Muertos and beautifully decorated skeleton movements found in today’s luxury watches, Fiona’s artistic re-interpretation of the skull has resulted in a unique timepiece collection. The petite SKULL collection is particularly feminine and it comes as a limited collection of 18. Hand-made in Switzerland and powered by a Swiss mechanical automatic movement, the watch is fully skeletonised with a custom guilloché oscillating mass. Moving to luxury accessories, Urso Luxury takes the pirate theme to a whole new level of extravagance by honouring Robert Louis Stevenson fans with a complete Treasure Island luxury pen collection. A feast for the fans, indeed. Is it safe to say 2016 is the year of the Pirates of Luxury?


he Treasure Island collection by URSO Luxury is an adventure story of men and pirates sailing the sea with characters brought alive by the popular Robert Louis Stevenson novel of the same name. Inspired by the book, the collection celebrates the successful tradition of the pirate theme iconography, the skulls and hidden treasure maps evoking an epic nautical fantasy about the battle of right and wrong. Above all, the collection is another exciting story of buccaneers and buried treasure and a tribute to Robert Louis Stevenson and his fans across the globe. It is a treasure to behold and collect.


Resin and sterling silver hand-engraved Nib: 18 kt white gold Filling system: converter or ink cartridges Limited editions 88 pcs fp - 88 pcs rb. in sterling silver 44 pcs fp - 44 pcs rb. in solid 18 kt gold and diamonds




ot much is known about the original production of the Swan Lake ballet in 1875 as there are no notes on the techniques used. What is known is that Tchaikovsky had control over the storytelling of the swan, which represented womanhood with its complexities. It was only after Tchaikovsky’s death that Swan Lake gained momentum, and today it is renowned for its demanding technical aspects for ballerinas, a bar that has been set extremely high by Piereina Legnani. There is prestige and pain in achieving artistic perfection with Swan Lake, its psychological and physical challenges perfectly depicted in Darren Aronofsky’s acclaimed Black Swan film, which was nominated for numerous Academy Awards. The perfection expected in Swan Lake interpretations goes beyond ballet and film. At Baselworld 2016, Odile and Odette appear as the main protagonists in high jewellery pieces. XX | TRENDS & COLOURS | EUROPA STAR JEWELS

MAGERIT Amanecer ring Hechizo collection Of particular delight was Magerit’s Amanecer ring from the Hechizo collection depicting a flawless perfection of the gracious posture expected from Odette. Paired with the Mia dress from Alon Livne’s 2016 bridal couture collection, it is the Odette bride par excellence! Then, the night before her wedding, Odette becomes Odile. Her dark side explodes one last time at the bachelorette. She wears a Phoenix dress by Alon Livne with feathered swan shoulders and black swan sapphire earrings by Boucheron to match this wildness. Odette will not be happy about it in the morning. c (JB)

BOUCHERON black sapphire earrings




cross the globe, the universal fairy tale of the frog prince always ends with a kiss. Once upon a time, however, there was no kiss. In a Scottish tale that predates Shakespeare, the girl breaks the spell by cutting off the frog’s head. In a German version, the princess throws the frog against the wall. In other versions, the spell is broken when the frog’s skin is burned. Violence, rather than kissing, seems to have turned the frog into a prince back in the day. The kiss ending we are accustomed to is in fact a modern invention from the written version by the Brothers Grimm, who also popularised Cinderella.


It is precisely this juxtaposition of modern narratives and old folk tales that makes Maria Kovadi’s collection created exclusively for Baselworld quite playful. A yellow gold lady frog goddess stretches out seductively on micro-mosaic lips. In fact, Russian versions tell of a frog princess instead of a prince, who usually marries the youngest son. KISS ME, the collection is called. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a handsome prince, women say jokingly. What if women just want the frog, not the prince? Maria Kovadi’s answer is a playful one again: earrings where frogs carry the heavy weight of an entire pond and a very eager frog prince in the pond, waiting in the shape of a ring. PRECIOUS POND the collection is called.

MARIA KOVADI PRECIOUS POND RING & EARRINGS 18kt gold, chalcedony, sapphires, yellow diamonds and tsavorites (ring)

18kt gold, with diamond and micromosaic

LES INDOMPTABLES DE CARTIER FROG WATCH & BROOCH Gold, diamonds, emeralds, moonstones and sapphires

MARIA KOVADI KISS MY LIPS Coral, 18 kt gold, silver, synthetic rubies, natural ruby, sapphires, and cold enamel

While on the subject of frogs and ponds, the Frog Watch by Cartier launched in 2013 comes to mind. It featured a miniature frog sat on a lily pad, a contour scene easily detached and worn as a brooch. The question remains: Do you want to kiss these frogs or not? I leave you to ponder with Kovadi’s KISS MY LIPS necklace featuring a carved coral frog with synthetic rubies in the lips. There is a single natural ruby - in the heart, of course. You may kiss my lips, Kovadi says, but it’s the heart that matters. c






The 33rd Hong Kong International Jewellery show 2016 organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) was a treasure island for buyers and connoisseurs alike. Booths in the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Extraordinary were not to be missed, but it was the Antiques Hall that stood out. Not because of its extraordinary presentation, but rather because it was bustling with buyers and sellers. Quite clearly, a place of business. Our editor Jeta B conversed with antique dealers Roberto Capra and Gilles Zalulyan.

ROBERTO CAPRA Precious Jewels, New York Born and raised in Italy, Capra learned the business of dealing in antique and vintage jewellery in Hatton Garden, London’s famous jewellery district. Moving to New York in 1992, he founded his own business Precious Jewels. Today, he has built strong relationships with some of the biggest stores in the US and worldwide. A busy booth in Hong Kong? Hong Kong is my best performing market. I have been coming here for fifteen years now, and I have a strong and devoted clientele as a result. Do you trade online? I would rather meet and see my clients face to face. I believe in personal relationships. I do very little online. We are selling unique

pieces of jewellery, after all, not potatoes by the pound.

pieces online as we like our discovery to be a surprise.

Is the Asian market slowing down? Slowing down is relative. In Hong Kong, for example, it means the speed has been reduced from 300 miles an hour to 250 miles an hour.

Is the Asian market slowing down? It is not slowing down anywhere in the world, if quality is what you are after. I see the medium quality market ending soon. Asian customers may have been taken for a ride in the past, but they are ripe now and want the right pieces from a knowledgeable dealer.

What do you buy/sell? Mostly one-of-a-kind signed branded pieces by Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari etc. I mostly buy in the US, with 80% of my business coming from shops, dealers and auctions, and 20% from individual collectors. You are a one-man band? You don’t have to have a big operation, just know how to find the right pieces. The great thing with antique dealers is that we share knowledge, that’s why you see us popping in and out of each other’s booths. A piece you kept for yourself? An old papal ring, nothing of great value but I’m a Catholic so it is personal. I often ask my wife if she wants to keep something, but she tells me to sell it and bring back the money instead (laughs..).


GILLES ZALULYAN Palais Royal, Paris A native of Paris, Gilles is a third generation member of a family of jewellers and started working with antique jewellery at the age of thirteen. In 1996, together with Tom Korpershoel, a second-generation jeweller, they founded the Palais Royal Paris at the prestigious antique centre in Paris - Louvre des Antiquaires. A busy booth in Hong Kong? We are known and trusted here. In 2013 we opened the first store in Hong Kong to offer European high quality antique and signed vintage jewellery. We are probably the only antique jeweller based in New York, Paris, Hong Kong and soon Shanghai. Do you trade online? We don’t really put our new

What do you buy/sell? European and North-American pieces dating from the 19th century up to the 21st century made by the major jewellery houses, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron. Also museum pieces like René Lalique, Fabergé, and objets de vertu. You work in partnership? Yes, with my co-founder and friend Tom Korpershek we exchange expertise before purchasing a piece. We also have a special Cartier vintage department where we work with Olivier Bachet, an expert currently writing a book solely on Cartier pieces. A piece you kept for yourself? I wish I did, many of them... but they are in good hands now.

LYDIA COURTEILLE Queen of Sheba Snake Tiara

by Jeta B


s one of the oldest and most powerful mythological symbols, the serpent motif remains popular in modern jewellery, just as it was back in ancient Egypt. It is, perhaps, its dual symbolism of good and evil, love and poison, and regeneration through skin shedding, that keeps alive our obsession with the snake. In Victorian jewellery, the snake became extremely popular after Prince Albert proposed to Queen Victoria with a serpent emerald engagement ring. The queen believed the snake to be a symbol of eternal love, and consequently, women of the time incorporated the snake in every way possible. Perhaps due to over-saturation, snakes fell out of fashion after the Victorian era, but were resurrected again during the Art Nouveau period by the renowned French jeweller René Jules Lalique, and resurfaced again in the bold over-the-top designs of the 70s and 80s. The snake’s long twistable body and its textured skin, no doubt, provide a great challenge for jewellers but also an immense source of creativity. Big jewellery houses such as Cartier, Bulgari, and Boucheron have embraced the serpent and incorporated it within their maisons’s identity; indulging us with remarkable snake jewellery pieces over decades.

At Baselworld this year, the serpent has made a spectacular comeback with powerful symbolism and creative designs, in both jewellery and watches. One such perfection is Lydia Courteille’s snake tiara from her Queen of Sheba collection, inspired by Ethiopian mythology where the queen is said to have reigned. The tiara is formed elegantly as the two snakes (encrusted with brown diamonds, yellow sapphires and tsavorites) meet as if guarding a large peridot. The snakes coil sinuously, one snake luring the other, both towering over the forbidden apple – the peridot. Who will sin first?




BULGARI Serpenti Incantati

JACOB & CO The Cerastes Necklace



The Jacob & Co have presented Cerastes, the most flexible and dangerous of all serpents. Their white gold Cerastes necklace seemingly slithers its way down from the neck in an curvaceous path pavéd with round white diamonds. The serpent’s head is bejeweled with marquise cut rubies. In watches, Bulgari once again brings life to the seductive snake with Serpenti Incantati celebrating a passionate love affair between haute horlogerie and high jewellery. Coiling around the wrist is old news design so the Maison has the reptile twine itself around the watch dial, literally and beautifully so. Although Bulgari domesticates its serpent, the perpetual movement is kept through the magnifi-cent twirl. Sinfully enchanting, would be our tagline. At the risk of sounding dogmatic, Baselworld 2016 was a real sinner when it came to snake motifs. It was full of sinfully beautiful serpents. The question is, who has sinned most? Judging by the looks, Lydia Courteille’s Bestiary serpent earrings surrounding and licking what look like nipples – have got to be the biggest sinners of all? c




FABERGÉ Mosaic Pendant Treasures Collection

JACOB & CO Brilliant Flying Tourbillon Arlequino Collection by Tru Lavina


ear Secret Agents,

We can now take pride in having spread our Colour Revolution at the world’s most luxurious watch and jewellery fair: Baselworld. I did not bow unless blinded by a rainbow explosion of colours. The first explosion that nearly left me blind, was at the Fabergé booth when the Mosaic Pendant from the Treasures Collection was unveiled. In true Fabergé spirit, the precious coloured gemstones were invisibly-set, a gem-setting technique that the House of Fabergé pioneered in the early 20th century. It uses single-faceted gemstones, perfectly calibrated in a narrow ribbon-like row, allowing the gold setting to remain invisible. That is how the flawless mosaic patterned finish is created.


Flawless, it was. Colourful it was. Happy I was. Colour me happy? The second explosion where I almost lost a limb, was at the Jacob & Co booth, when the Brilliant Flying Tourbillon from their Arlequino Collection came out of the drawer. Inspired by the Harlequin character in the commedia dell’arte with its multicoloured costume decorated with diamond shapes, the watch trim offers a combination of diamonds, rubies and pink, blue, green and orange sapphires all selected for their colour intensity. Intense it was. Colourful it was. Happy I was. Colour me happy? Vive la Colour Revolution! Colourful high jewellery to the people! c @trulavina is a parody style blogger inspiring everyone to wear colours instead of black.


SEPTEMBER 03-07, 2016



Fall Winter Season




CHANEL Sous le Signe du Lion ring & earrings 18 carat yellow gold

VERSUS VERSACE Covent Garden Collection by Jeta B


ittle needs to be said about the the lion iconography, as the King of the Jungle stands for power and strength, and has often appeared in regal and state symbols. In Venice, the proud image of the lion is everywhere, looking down from buildings or standing on fluted columns, proud and stoic. Could counting the lions of Venice could be a travel hobby? It was not a surprise to see that Chanel had chosen the lion seal as the new symbol of its in-house watch movements, as seen in the calibre of its first watch for men Monsieur de Chanel, at Baselworld 2016. But there is another lion I would like to draw attention to, in fashion watches. At Baselworld, the Versus Versace Covent Garden Collection, inspired by the


London neighbourhood with the same name did not go unnoticed. This exquisite 34 mm two-hand configuration features a unique faceted top ring that artfully reflects the light and gives the bezel the appearance of a precious stone. The beautifully crafted bezel encircles a stunning white guilloché dial with raised metallic indices and the iconic Versus lion at 6 o’clock. For the price of 150 euros, what is there not to like? To those ladies who own gold pieces from Chanel’s line ‘Sous le Signe du Lion’ that echo Coco’s love for the lion, the Versace Covent Garden Collection is a great way to extend the life of your jewellery into many colours. White, red or navy blue. This re-vamp will only cost you 450 euros, for all three colours. Selecting the lion as a logo extends the life of your designs, or makes the design itself more powerful. To paraphrase Bill Clinton: It’s the King of the Jungle, stupid. c

BANGLEMANIA BANGLEMANIA jewelry collection Booth B19147 |

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