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LAUREATO FLYING TOURBILLON SKELETON, PINK GOLD CASE, 42 MM
There is no mystery about a Girard-Perregaux, simply more than two centuries of craftsmanship and a perpetual commitment to perfection.
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GLOBAL EDITION | CHAPTER 1.2018 CHANEL PREMIÈRE CAMÉLIA SKELETON
Numbered edition. 18K white gold case set with 47 baguette-cut diamonds. Camellia skeleton set with 246 brilliantcut diamonds. 18K white gold bezel set with 42 baguette-cut diamonds and 52 brilliant-cut diamonds. 18K white gold crown set with 16 baguette-cut diamonds and 11 brilliant-cut diamonds. Black satin strap with 18K white gold double folding buckle set with 30 brilliant-cut diamonds. Total diamond weight: 7.82 carats.
PORTFOLIO: TRAVEL WATCHES
PREMIÈRE CAMÉLIA SKELETON WATCH, WHERE AESTHETIC BEAUTY AND TECHNICAL BRILLIANCE CONVERGE
DOMINIQUE RENAUD, THE ROOTS OF A REVOLUTIONARY
22 HAVE TIME, WILL TRAVEL 24 OF TIME AND TRAVEL 28 GEOPOLITICS OF WORLD TIME 34 ‘UNIVERSAL SUNRISE SUNSET’ 36 BOVET FLEURIER 38 WORLD TIME 46 LOUIS VUITTON 48 ZULU TIME 54 WHEN A WATCH IS ALSO A GENUINE TOOL 58 TRAVEL TECHNOLOGIES ONBOARD A WATCH 64 VINTAGE: TRAVEL TOOL WATCHES
CHANEL Horlogerie – Joaillerie 18, place Vendôme 75001 Paris / France Phone: +33 1 40 98 55 55 www.chanel.com
128 WORLDTIMER AND THE SNOB 129 IT MAY BE SMART, BUT IS IT CLEVER? 130 A LAST WORD TO START
62 FAVRE-LEUBA 116 GIRARD-PERREGAUX 118 FABERGÉ 120 TAG HEUER 122 DELMA 124 TOCKR 126 ZRC
106 PATRICK PRUNIAUX, FROM APPLE TO ULYSSE NARDIN 110 URBAN JÜRGENSEN, THE SHARP EYE OF MR PETERSEN
ARCHITECTURE IN THE US WATCH MARKET
BUSINESS: WORLD MARKETS
70 WORLD RANKINGS 2017 74 CHINA 78 USA 80 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 84 GERMANY 87 JAPAN 88 FRANCE 90 ITALY 92 RUSSIA 94 AUSTRALIA 96 SENEGAL
SUBSCRIBE TO EUROPA STAR MAGAZINE www.europastar.com/subscribe | SUBSCRIBE TO THE WEEKLY NEWSLETTER www.europastar.com/newsletter | CHAIRMAN Philippe Maillard PUBLISHER Serge Maillard EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Pierre Maillard CONCEPTION & DESIGN Serge Maillard, Pierre Maillard, Alexis Sgouridis PUBLISHING / MARKETING / CIRCULATION Nathalie Glattfelder, Marianne Bechtel/Bab-Consulting, Jocelyne Bailly, Véronique Zorzi BUSINESS MANAGER Catherine Giloux MAGAZINES Europa Star Global (Europe & International) | USA | China | Première - Switzerland | Bulletin d’informations | Eurotec EUROPA STAR HBM SA Route des Acacias 25, CH-1227 Geneva - Switzerland, Tel +41 22 307 78 37, Fax +41 22 300 37 48, email@example.com Copyright 2017 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 Geneva. The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily Europa Star. Subscription service | Europa Star Time.Business & Time.Keeper | 5 issues | Worldwide airmail delivery CHF 90 | Subscription orders via: europastar.com/subscribe | Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org ISSN 2504-4591 | www.europastar.com |
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© Didier Gourdon
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OUR DIRECTION IN
BY SERGE MAILLARD
very industry has been transformed by digital technology â€“ the media as much as, if not more than the watch industry! Times of transition, periods of metamorphosis, require bold decisions, and also judicious execution. Europa Star has the advantage of being able to rely on strong intangible values, the kind that canâ€™t be bought, that are built up patiently over time: editorial added value, pertinence (and impertinence), independence, family, tradition, and a unique perspective on the watch industry. In an increasingly confused media environment, where communication merges with information, these values of independence and freedom are what anchor us. The channels for publication are becoming more diverse, but as they become more numerous, they must not simultaneously become poorer in content. 2017 marked the 90th anniversary of our print magazines, with a new format that was extremely well received. Paper remains our core business, the tree on which new fruit can grow. Following on from our five anniversary issues or Chapters, the magazine layout is further refined this year in the light of our experience. There is one convenient folio with a cutting-edge design to go with the cutting-edge content, the heart of which are the Business pages. This issue features a round-the-world tour of the watch markets of our planet, great and small. A magazine must evolve with the times; all the more so, since the very concept of a paper magazine, which at one time seemed a given, must now continually respond to the challenge of change. Our new signature, Time.Business, reflects our identity: covering an industry whose primary mission is to master time. This, more than ever, is what inspires us. In 2018 we celebrate the 20th year (!) of our websites, which bring in around 750,000 unique visitors each month. That gives us a great excuse to overhaul the design of our webplatforms in Chinese, Spanish, Russian and French, and of course English on europastar.com. Our aim is to discover the ideal combination of virtual and real, with a mixture of our best print articles and dedicated web content, including Fast News, our Carnet, and a selection of the best watch videos. Last but not least, we are diversifying our activities into editorial consulting for the watch industry, providing bespoke services to the industry and its actors, including content and design for magazines and specialised publications. In a sector that draws much of its legitimacy from its historical foundations, we hope that our longevity will provide inspiration to others. Remaining responsive to developments in the short term, while navigating a steady course over the long term, are fitting goals for publishers and watchmakers alike.
ZENITH, THE FUTURE OF SWISS WATCHMAKING DEFY I El Primero 21 1/100 of a second chronograph th
PREMIÈRE CAMÉLIA SKELETON WATCH
Where aesthetic beauty and technical brilliance converge BY PIERRE MAILLARD
The Première Camélia Skeleton is the culmination of the same highly rigorous watchmaking approach that Chanel has taken from the outset: merging form and function, beauty and technical execution.
hen Chanel made its watchmaking debut in 1987, with the appropriately named Première watch, the big traditional watchmakers observed the initiative with condescension and ill-concealed disdain. Yes, the Maison Chanel was prestigious, with an internationally recognised name, but in their eyes watchmaking was the historical preserve of the major Swiss houses. After all, you can’t just decide to be a watchmaker. Can you? Thirty years later, it’s obvious that Chanel’s watchmaking operation has won over the naysayers and fully earned its spurs. Proof, if any were needed, is supplied by four Grands Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève: the 2012 Ladies’ Watch prize for the Chanel Flying Tourbillon; the 2013 Artistic Crafts prize for the Mademoiselle Privé Camélia Brodé; the 2016 Jewellery Watch prize for the “Signature grenat” Secret Watch; and finally, this year’s Ladies’ Watch prize for the Première Camélia Skeleton Watch. Numbered edition. 18K white gold case (28.5 x 37mm) set with 92 brilliantcut diamonds. Hands set with 17 brillant-cut diamonds. 18K white gold bezel set with 104 brilliant-cut diamonds and 4 baguette-cut diamonds. 18K white gold crown set with 24 brilliant-cut diamonds. Black satin strap with 18K white gold double folding buckle set with 30 brilliant-cut diamonds. Total diamond weight: 5.53 carats.
These four prizes provide a perfect illustration of the extent of Chanel’s watchmaking prowess. It’s a combination, rigorously enforced across several assiduously mastered collections, of an essential, restrained, minimalist aesthetic, with bold and distinctive codes, allied with a challenging approach to watchmaking, which together have enabled the company to gradually master the specific skills and competences required.
The road to Haute Horlogerie In 1987, when Chanel embarked upon its watchmaking odyssey, the Maison worked closely with G&F Châtelain, a prestigious watch decoration manufacturer based in La Chaux-de-Fonds. It’s here, at the premises of this specialist gem-setter and casemaker, that all Chanel watches begin their lives. In 1993, Chanel took the additional step of buying G&F Châtelain SA, which nevertheless retained its company name, activities and autonomy. This is where Chanel’s journey really began. Collaboration intensified between Chanel’s Studio de Création in Paris and a dedicated department within G&F Châtelain, backed up by advice from top watchmakers and artisans from outside the company. 15
Monsieur de Chanel, Calibre 1
Chanel J12 RMT
In time, two new movements were unveiled. In 2005, the calibre Chanel 05T1 was a world first with its ceramic baseplate in black or white, something never seen before in watchmaking. Then in 2008, in collaboration with the Audemars Piguet manufacture, Chanel presented the J12 3125, whose Calibre 3125, derived from the manufacture calibre 3120, was equipped with a black ceramic rotor – another first. Forging ahead, 2010 saw the start of a collaboration with Renaud & Papi, master watchmakers and complication specialists. This would enable Chanel to pass yet another milestone on their way to Haute Horlogerie. That year, Chanel brought out a watch whose rather unusual movement made quite a splash. It was the Chanel J12 Rétrograde Mystérieuse. This highly complex and completely new calibre incorporated a tourbillon, digital minute display and a retrograde minute hand. Why two separate minute displays? Because there’s an obstacle in the way of the natural progression of the minutes hand around the dial: an anomalous retractable vertical crown at 3 o’clock means the hand can’t go any further, and is obliged to reverse direction. While the minutes hand is moving back to its starting position on the other side of the obstacle, the digital display takes over. It had never been done before. It was a watchmaking tour de force. Two years later, in 2012, again in collaboration with Renaud et Papi, Chanel unveiled another movement, the Chanel 16
TVC 12. This is a flying tourbillon movement with a tourbillon cage in the shape of a camellia. That year, it made its début in the Première Flying Tourbillon Camélia, which promptly won a Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in the Ladies’ Watch category. The same flying tourbillon movement was then put into the J12 Flying Tourbillon Comète, and then, in a skeletonised version, in the J12 and in the Première Tourbillon Openwork Camélia.
In-house calibres In 2011, Chanel decided to take things up a gear by developing its own proprietary movements designed entirely in-house. To do that, a specific Haute Horlogerie department was set up inside G&F Châtelain. In 2016, it produced the first in-house Chanel movement, the Calibre 1. This movement could be considered a kind of manifesto. Conceived and designed by the Studio de Création Horlogerie, the Monsieur de Chanel watch is both aesthetically and graphically stunning, due to the layout of its display and its movement. The Calibre 1 combines a jumping hour with an instantaneous retrograde minute. This double complication, exquisitely deployed, gives the Monsieur watch a unique allure, to use one of Chanel’s special words. Both technically and aesthetically, the Calibre 1 was a taste of things to come, in terms of the new horological avenues that Chanel had now opened up. In 2017, the Calibre 2 has provided confirmation, in the shape of the Première Camélia Skeleton Watch.
A movement in the shape of a camellia It’s something of a cliché to talk about the relationship between form and function. But looking at the Première Camélia Skeleton Watch and its Calibre 2, it’s hard to imagine a closer correlation between mechanical function and lyrical form, working together to create a flower that tells time. This pure, poetic, vibrant, threedimensional camellia watch is its movement. Technical and aesthetic merge into one indivisible whole. In fact, all the elements of the mechanism have been conceived, designed and arranged to produce the shape of a camellia, their technical function fading into the background, leaving only the merest trace, advertising their presence in the balance, which trembles delicately at the heart of the flower. The Calibre 2 was designed specifically for the Première Camélia Skeleton Watch, of which it is an absolutely integral part.
While the iconic motif of the camellia – Mademoiselle’s favourite bloom – was a natural and immediate choice, particularly after the success of the Première Flying Tourbillon Camélia with its camellia-shaped tourbillon cage, it took three years to design, develop, build, test and assemble this floral calibre. This is not your traditional skeletonised watch, where the bridges, plates, sometimes even the gears, are hollowed out and pared down. Here, every component and its interactions with all the others had to be rethought, redesigned and repositioned according to rigid technical constraints and aesthetic imperatives. Even the stepped gear train with its alternating petals takes the form of a camellia. Whether from the back or the front, all you see is a flower. To achieve this, Chanel’s watchmakers and movement makers had to recalculate the entire scenario: arrange, place and style all the components, and intercalate them just so to create a movement in the shape of a three-dimensional camellia.
PREMIÈRE CAMÉLIA SKELETON WATCH – CALIBRE 2 Hand-wound mechanical movement with hours and minutes. Stepped gear train forming a camellia petal design. Mechanisms designed and arranged to display a flower shape on both the dial side and back of the case. Fully decorated components, designed to be seen from both front and back. 48-hour power reserve. 107 components. 21 rubies. Frequency 28,800 vph (4 Hz). Variable inertia balance wheel. Fixed flange barrel, spring torque approx. 420 g/mm. Anti-shock system to protect the balance. Movement dimensions: height 27.80 mm, width 23.30 mm, thickness 5.4 mm. Case dimensions: diameter 40 mm; height 10.66 mm. 18
Numbered edition. 18K white gold case (28.5 x 37mm) set with 47 baguette-cut diamonds. Camellia skeleton set with 246 brilliant-cut diamonds. 18K white gold bezel set with 42 baguette-cut diamonds and 52 brilliant-cut diamonds. 18K white gold crown set with 16 baguette-cut diamonds and 11 brilliant-cut diamonds. Black satin strap with 18K white gold double folding buckle set with 30 brilliant-cut diamonds. Total diamond weight: 7.82 carats. Limited edition of 12 pieces. 18K white gold case (28.5 x 37mm) set with 47 baguette-cut diamonds. Camellia skeleton set with 246 brilliant-cut diamonds. 18K white gold bezel set with 42 baguette-cut diamonds and 52 brilliant-cut diamonds. 18K white gold crown set with 16 baguette-cut diamonds and 11 brilliantcut diamonds. 18K white gold bracelet and folding buckle set with 282 baguette-cut diamonds and 254 brilliant-cut diamonds. Total diamond weight: 22.66 carats.
A culmination In its way, the Calibre 2 marks the culmination of an approach guided by purity, simplicity and alchemy between form and function, and it is a resounding success. The Première Skeleton Camélia Watch is a horological complication in itself, a totally unique one, but the watch looks beguilingly simple and it’s perfectly legible. Its movement literally is its dial, but it is beautifully readable and effortless to use. The intensely feminine stylised floral architecture is accentuated by the play of contrasting light and shadow – the deep black of the calibre, the flash of diamonds outlining the petals – framed by lustrous 18-karat white gold. Extreme care has been applied to the manufacture and decoration of each of its exquisitely finished components: circular brushing, diamond chamfering, polishing, rhodium plating, ADLC treatment (Amorphous Diamond Like Carbon) and gem setting. Several versions of the Première Camélia Skeleton Watch coexist, all fashioned out of 18-karat white gold, and all set to some degree, whether on the case, on the skeletonised mainplate, the crown, the hands or the clasp. The most prestigious version (in a limited edition of 12) even has a diamond-paved bracelet. Setting diamonds into the mainplate is a technical feat in itself. At any time, the gem-setter risks deforming the setting, thus rendering it useless, because it must be perfectly flat to do its job. It’s a supremely delicate operation, requiring meticulous attention and judicious timing,
if the watch’s mechanical operation is to remain intact. For Chanel, one of the major features of the Première Camélia Skeleton Watch, beyond the technical accomplishments represented by the shape of the movement and its command of stylistic codes, is to demonstrate watchmaking excellence through the perfection of every detail. This applies not only to the technical details of the movement itself – the working and composition of its wheels and gears, the boldness of its bridges and the quality of its finish – but also in its outer covering, in terms of the choice of materials and the subtle play of contrasts, down to the Lion hallmark – Mademoiselle’s zodiac sign and a symbol of Chanel Haute Horlogerie – laser-engraved on the movement. Thirty years after the Première made its debut, Chanel’s second completely in-house movement marks a major step forward on this unique Haute Horlogerie journey. Like the J12, the Calibre 2 shows that, over and above their performance and technical prowess, Chanel’s iconic models are relevant and modern, with a timeless style that the years do nothing to diminish, and indeed serve only to enhance. Just look at the Première Watch, whose case echoes the shape of the home of the Maison Chanel, the Place Vendôme in Paris. This great city square was designed in 1699 by Mansart, the renowned architect of Versailles, who surely could not have guessed that one day the classical lines of his creation would come to define a prestigious watch. 19
I would like to open new horizons for mechanical watchmaking,” Dominique Renaud told us a year ago when he presented us with the first prototype of the DR01 TWELVE FIRST. The watch is truly otherworldly, featuring a movement encapsulated in a sapphire tube that may be pivoted to 360° and a radical alternative to the centuries-old balance spring, an otherwise unshakeable fixture of the traditional mechanism: an indestructible micro-pivot, spatially pivoting blade resonator and lost beat detent escapement. With the DR-01, Dominique Renaud and his companion Luiggino Torrigiani are truly opening a new chapter in the history of the mechanical watch, demonstrating that the concept is far from stale. But, like any revolution, this hasn’t come out of left field. It goes way back to its roots, as shown by the few objects that Dominique Renaud has chosen to reveal and explain to us. (PM) 20
Photograph: Guillaume Perret, Lundi13
THE ROOTS OF A REVOLUTIONARY
1 POSTCARD “Any aficionado of watch history would recognise this emblematic, often-copied photo. It was taken in the workshops of the LeCoultre & Cie manufacture in 1903. But few know that the watchmaker in the foreground is my great-great grandfather. Indeed, my mother’s side of the family tree is deeply rooted in the Joux Valley, the cradle of watchmaking complications. My grandfather, in turn, worked at Jaeger-LeCoultre for more than 60 years. The last jewel-cutter in activity, he only left the manufacture at the age of 80. His daughter – my mother – quite naturally became a watchmaker, too. They could even see the entry to the manufacture from their house.” 2 LEGO “From childhood, I had an irrepressible taste for mechanics, and I loved the first technical Lego sets. But I never copied the model on the box: I invented my own machines. At the Besançon watchmaking school, I was always asking why such and such a thing was done. I created my own tools. I was already heading down a slightly different path. I wanted to change things. When I finished school, in 1975, it was the beginning of the quartz revolution.” 3 MICHEL RENAUD’S NOTEBOOKS
“The son of a French judge who lived just on the other side of the border in Les Brenets, my father, Michel, also became a watchmaker. His student notebooks from the Cluses French watchmaking school are meticulously filled, revealing his passion for mechanics. He was hired as a watch repairman at Vacheron Constantin in Geneva, and that is where he met my mother, who was working there as a setter. They moved to Besançon, and my father became head of the watch standardisation department. In particular, he was the one who established the official watchmaking vocabulary. So you see, I was up to my neck in watchmaking from an early age.”
4 ROPE AND MEDAL “At the age of 17, I did my military service in advance, joining the Alpine infantry. I stayed with it for a year. It was very hard, but I have great memories of that time: wide open spaces, the spirit of the mountains, the camaraderie, building igloos, adventure... Even though our equipment was inadequate and the cold sometimes overwhelming, I have always held on to my passion for the mountains. And even though I am very attached to the Jura, I have always been eager to discover new things and explore new places.” 5 T-SHIRT AND PULLEY “My father had a little dinghy that he himself built. We would strap it to the top of the car and go sailing off the coast of France or Italy... When I met Xavier Mouquin, one of the greatest watchmakers of his generation, he was building his own boat on the side of Lac de Joux with the intention of crossing the Atlantic in it. I joined him, and we set off. It took us three months to cross the ocean. We found ourselves becalmed in the Sargasso Sea for a month, without wind or wave: just flat stillness. So when the time came when I was supposed to be presenting a Perpetual Calendar at the Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition, I was still out there sailing.” 6 HAMMER AND TROWEL “After the Army, I went to work for Audemars Piguet, and I stayed there for five years learning about luxury watches, old-fashioned chamfering, the Perpetual Calendar, and
skeletonisation. Then, in 1986, Giulio Papi and I decided to found our own company so that we could immediately get into what we were interested in: complications. It was difficult in the beginning, but then we had a decisive encounter with Günter Blümlein, who was the head of IWC at the time. He saw my Perpetual Calendar and offered us a contract. That was the beginning of the great Renaud & Papi adventure. For me, it lasted until 2000, the year when I decided to take a step back. I sold my shares and left with my family – and my watchmaking workbench – to live in the South of France, where I built my own house. I needed to reflect in my own space, to imagine and to invent without any constraints.” 7 OLIVE OIL “In the South of France, I was still doing watchmaking work for third parties, but I really found it necessary to get some space in order to freely imagine new concepts. I had a head full of ideas, projects for new escapements... And then Bruno Ferrières, an olive oil producer friend of mine, introduced me to a friend of his, Luiggino Torrigiani, who also had a house nearby. He was the marketing director of several sports federations who had very actively participated in the Solar Impulse project, for which he had raised considerable funds... And when he heard me talking about my revolutionary watchmaking ideas, he immediately said “bingo”. I sold a patent, and we launched into the DR01 adventure without a look back! And all thanks to olive oil.”
WILL TRAVEL BY PIERRE MAILLARD
atchmakers did not need Einstein to intuitively understand that time and space are closely associated, like the two faces of the same coin. Their art was born of space observation, the regular movement of celestial bodies in the cosmos, the returning seasons, the alternation of day and night and our own biological clock, which is naturally attuned to the cycle of light and dark. On the basis of these observations of space and time, the first astronomers divided time into ‘compartments’, purely conventional ‘slices’ that became the 24 hours of world time, each hour divided into 60 minutes, each minute divided again into 60 seconds. As long as people remained sedentary or travelled on foot, or even on horseback, they quite naturally based their readings of time on the ‘true’ local hour encountered along the way, as determined by the midday sun and observation of the heavens. With the invention of mechanical watchmaking, greater priority was given to an artificial ‘mean time’ – ‘equinoctial time’ as established on the basis of the mean duration of the solar day, even though, as we know, the duration of daytime and night-time is equal only at the spring and autumn equinoxes. As Lucien Baillaud, the author of the study ‘Les chemins de fer et l’heure légale’ writes: “You could not expect watchmakers to build clocks with speeds that varied according to the time of year.” That is all very well. But these local times, however rational they were locally, varied according to longitude and were useful only to the sedentary. As increasingly faster transport and communications developed, the accumulation of different local times along the same longitude became cumbersome.
"People had to become aware of the inconvenience of local times, invent a time system of broader geographical value, pursue a national, then international, plan for introducing a single time system, develop a ‘standard’ time, find the practical means for applying this single time system, convince the key people about the opportuneness of all this and then executing it.” A vast programme, both national, political and international, that Dominique Fléchon recounts on the following pages. The international standardisation of time across the globe, now divided into ‘time zones’ (including a number of geopolitical aberrations), opened up new territory for watchmakers to explore: how to show the times of the whole world with one single mechanism? Or at least two different times: ‘away’ and ‘home’? As we will see in this portfolio devoted to travel and time, various solutions were found. But they are all hallmarks of a period that the development of electronics and, today, smartwatches, have swept away: a period when watchmaking ruled and timepieces were truly indispensable to travellers – whether by road, rail, sea and then air – and to anyone wanting to wire, then phone or telex to the other side of the world. Today, consulting your smartphone is certainly much simpler. But the beauty and mechanical ingenuity of these horological items, and in particular world time watches, still enchant us. By offering us an immediate, summarised, graphical view of all the times on our planet suspended in the cosmos, these watches provide a link to the mystery of our existence, so closely dependent on this alternation of day and night.
BY DOMINIQUE FLĂ‰CHON, HISTORIAN AND EXPERT IN FINE WATCHMAKING
From sedentary time to travelling clocks Whether in quest of pastures new, whether migrating, invading or conquering, engaged in trading and cultural exchanges or on exploration, crusades or pilgrimages â€“ since time immemorial, mankind has been on the move. At the dawn of humanity, the apparent progression of the sun during the day provided all the information travellers needed to know. Fifteen centuries BC, the Egyptians used portable sundials, while from the third century BC onwards, small solar clocks that could be set according to the time of year accompanied Roman scholars and armies. These served, we presume, not to tell the time but to estimate the amount of time before nightfall and so enable the journey to be continued safely. Veritable travel clocks, they remained in use up to the eighteenth century. They were calculated for use in towns at different latitudes and in the 1500s were mounted on watches to set them to the right time. The accounts of the kings of France show that in 1481, on every journey undertaken by Louis XI, an officer was tasked with accompanying a clock that struck the hour and was protected by means of a chest carried by a horse. This notion of travelling timepieces gave rise to the carriage clock, which reached a peak of popularity in the eighteenth century. 24
Timepieces on every trip
The ‘longitude problem’ At sea, the instruments for measuring time were not originally intended for telling crews the time: they were crucial for determining the position of vessels. In the fifteenth century, after millennia of coastal navigation, ships set off to sail east or west. Knowing which longitude you were at then became as vital as knowing the latitude, which since antiquity had been measured using a quadrant – a quarter-circle graduated into degrees and equipped with a plumb line. The empirical and inaccurate methods applied often ended in dramatic shipwrecks that took men, merchandise and vessels to the bottom. Very soon, the major sea powers were prepared to do anything to control shipping channels and bring back the inestimable riches from recently discovered El Dorados at minimum risk. In the sixteenth century, a suggestion made by Alonzo de Santa Cruz, a Spanish cosmographer and the author of the Book of Longitudes, and taken up by Gemma Frisius, an astronomer at the University of Leuven, stated that the best method for determining longitude at sea was to take a precision clock on board – a clock which did not yet exist! The issue became a matter of state, developments being followed at the highest level by the governments concerned. The top scholars of the day, including Christiaan Huygens, set to work. English and French master clockmakers competed with one another: George Graham, Thomas Mudge, Larcum Kendall, John Arnold and Thomas Earnshaw on one side, Pierre Le Roy and Ferdinand Berthoud (the latter of Swiss origin) on the other. In 1761, John Harrison found the long-awaited solution. After an Atlantic crossing, the precision of his H4 marine chronometer proved superior to the stringent standards demanded in the numerous competitions set up to solve the ‘longitude problem’.
At a time when only church steeples and town halls told public time, watchmakers sought to design timepieces suited to the needs of the traveller. In the daytime, carriage clocks, stoutly dimensioned and shielded from shocks by a double or triple case, were hung up in the carriage interior. When equipped with a striking mechanism, a repeater that struck the hour on demand and sometimes a calendar and an alarm, they accompanied the owner through the night. With the extension of the road network in the late eighteenth century, these were succeeded by smaller versions with a striking mechanism and alarm, fitted with a handle and protected by a transportation case. AbrahamLouis Breguet transformed this travel clock into an object of elegance, much coveted by the officers of Napoleon I. Between the 1830s and the early twentieth century, mass-produced, but carefully designed models became extremely popular. They were replaced by the travel alarm. This large watch with a luminescent dial and autonomy of up to one week was set in leather. When opened, the time could be read; when closed, it protected the watch while taking up a minimum of space. By the late nineteenth century, travel became time to treasure, with the growth of luxury voyages by cruise ship, zeppelin and rail, and 43 trains of the legendary Orient Express already in circulation. Timepieces both sophisticated and functional developed, allowing aesthetes to go some way towards recreating their private lifestyles in their cabins or luxury hotel suites. This gave rise to models of the utmost simplicity or greatest sophistication, such as the Ermeto purse watch. Set in a case in two parts that closed hermetically, at the same time rewinding the mechanism, both practical and robust, this was a go-anywhere, do-anything watch for everyone from athlete to fashionista.
Time out for local time For thousands of years, people lived by the ‘real’ time shown on the sundial. High noon designated the middle of the day, the moment when the sun appears to attain its zenith. This convention resulted in a plethora of local times – as many as there were longitudes. Suited only to a sedentary population, this method became obsolete in the nineteenth century with the development of rapid means of transport, especially trains, with interdependent rail networks. Suddenly, a whole new concept had to be invented: that of a unified regional, then national, then international time system, each defined in relation to a base time. But to achieve a unified time system meant being able to transmit time. This requirement was met by the electric telegraph, starting in 1840. Initially, every railway line was set to the time of its terminus. The railway companies then used the time of the capital city, then of the respective observatory or, as in the vast Austrian and Russian empires of the period, that of several major cities. While for decades travellers had reckoned using the local time of their point of departure, the growing role of the train resulted in civil time being based on that of the railway stations. However, since habits do not change overnight, every station had several clocks. Some showed
the local time, others that of the railway, which might also be the national time. The clocks on the platforms showed the departure time of the trains. To prevent latecomers from missing their train, these clocks ran five minutes behind the central clock. After numerous scientific seminars, the American General Time Convention voted in 1883 to divide the territory of the United States into four time zones with an hour angle of 15°, or 60 minutes of time each. These were measured in relation to Greenwich, which since the mid-eighteenth century had been used as the prime meridian for drawing up sea charts. One year later, the participants in the Washington Convention adopted the following motions: a day was counted from 0 (midnight) to 24 hours, and longitude from the Greenwich meridian. Although the issue of time zones was an obvious one and went unmentioned, they were applied at the international level either sooner or later, depending on the states. From then on, numerous clock dials displayed a dual scale for the hours, from 1 to 12 and from 13 to 24, to help travellers read train timetables without any risk of confusion. It also marked the advent of pocket watches, then wristwatches, showing universal time or multiple time zones.
KLONDIKE MOONPHASE Automatic Chronograph with moon phase, full calendar and unique day-and-night indicator.
TIME TO PERFORM
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OF WORLD TIME
In the late nineteenth century, dividing the world into slices, even if only for time-keeping purposes, raised serious problems between nations and empires each of which claimed that theirs was the one where the sun never set. Reaching a common accord on a universal system of time zones, necessitated by the advent of mechanised transport, railways, telegraphy, travel, exchanges and global commerce, proved to be a real geopolitical headache. So it was that watchmaking found itself at the vanguard of this first phase in burgeoning globalisation, for thanks to its mechanical mastery of intervals of time, it held the solution. Had it not already demonstrated that two centuries previously, when its precision had made the English rulers of the waves? If the nations, republics, kingdoms, principalities, confetti states and empires of the nineteenth century nevertheless succeeded with relative ease in reaching agreement on how the 24-hour pie was to be sliced up, the reason was that for once, politicians bowed to the railways on the issue. When, in the 1880s, it was noticed that in the United States, there were 49 differ28
ent official railway timetables, the authorities decided something had to be done to simplify things. It already had been done in England, where timetables had been standardised back in 1840. In 1883, Standard Railway Time came into effect in the United States. For reasons both practical and scientific, it was aligned with the Greenwich meridian, even though it could have been aligned with that of Washington. An alignment with London? This was an affront to sovereignty that the politicians would never have accepted without pressure from the railways, the ‘practical’ thinkers, and the watchmakers, the ‘scientific’ thinkers. One year later, in October 1884, the then American president, Chester A. Arthur, opened the International Meridian Conference that, three weeks later, agreed to adopt a world time standard – which initially concerned only 25 countries (France did not toe the Greenwich line until 1898 – and even then did not call it by its name). The conference turned out to be a boon to watchmakers. Already the purveyor of precision chronometers to railways and ships, it was now going to be able to equip travellers, tradespeople, telegraphists and globetrotters.
THE GEOPOLITICS OF DIALS “Many states have changed time zones, either temporarily or permanently, for political or economic reasons, and the dials often reflected these changes. But not always. World time has not always kept pace with this to-ing and fro-ing – starting with the imbroglio of summer time, introduced in the temperate zones in the early twentieth century … The appearance or disappearance of cities representing a time zone bears witness to their prestige and their actual role at a given moment in time. But another factor might explain the sometimes surprising presence of names that will probably not mean much to the average person: it is simply that there was not much choice. The most touching example in our eyes is that of South Georgia. For a long time, the Azores archipelago stood for the GMT-2 time zone – until the day when the home port of the Azores High chose GMT-1 so as to reduce the time difference with Portugal and continental Europe. A place became vacant as a result, but in the vast emptiness of the Atlantic Ocean, there were few potential candidates to fill it. Apart from a Brazilian island off Recife, Fernando de Noronha, the only real possibility was the archipelago of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British territories administered from the Falkland
Islands and claimed by Argentina. The Islas Georgia del Sur lie some 1,300km south-east of the Falkland Islands. Whatever: Queen Elizabeth II has some thirty subjects there, a military garrison, a scientific station and first and foremost, thousands of penguins. During the short austral summer, specialised cruises make brief stopovers there before approaching the Antarctic. Ultimately, the watchmakers realised that the number of people directly concerned by the time in South Georgia was infinitely smaller than that of world time watch lovers who discovered its name on their watch dial. Would it be better to give preference to a Brazilian or Argentine city in the neighbouring UTC-3 zone, playing on their summer time? A prototype spotted at Baselworld showed São Paulo… Patek Philippe thought about it, but renounced the idea. It would be like opening Pandora’s box.
Another similar case, but half a world away from it, is that of the Midway atoll in the northern Pacific Ocean. Now a marine sanctuary, it used to be an American naval and air base, which was used officially up to the Vietnam War, but secretly until the end of the Cold War. The islands were at the heart of a decisive naval battle in 1942 that was made famous by cinema, literature and comic-strip cartoons. This is how the Midway Islands and their albatrosses came to replace Samoa to illustrate the UTC-11 time zone, a slice of the Pacific that has scarcely any other land mass. So there you are: simply by hopping from dial to dial you can take a thrilling journey through space and time, without ever leaving your armchair. Take a look at 1939, for example, on two Patek Philippe watches. On reference 1415, three cities represent the GMT time zone: London, Paris and Algiers, while the GMT +1 time zone has Oslo, Geneva and Rome. On ref. 1416 at the end of the same year, London and Paris still feature for GMT, but Berlin and Cape Town are the choice for GMT +1.” Jean-Philippe Arm, Patek Philippe magazine
Willis & Company, World-Clock (1929–1935) This clock was designed to easily show the time across the globe. The central wheel was used to show the hour. Rather than a moving hand, the dial itself rotated. The dial was also divided by radial lines, which could be used to track the hour in another country: one found the country on the outer dial, and traced the line connecting it to the inner dial. A second small dial was used to show the minutes of each hour (which, apart from some exceptions, remain the same in each time zone). Names in red were used to indicate those countries which changed their clocks for summertime. An asterisk was used to mark when a new day began in each zone. 29
The cartography of world time The choice of cartographic representation on numerous world-time dials also reflects our geopolitical vision of the world. As everyone knows, transposing the curves of the globe onto a flat surface calls for what is known as a ‘projection’. During the course of time, numerous projections have been put forward, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. It is impossible to draw up an exhaustive list in this article – there are dozens of them – but let us cite some of the most frequently used. The best-known and the one most frequently reproduced on watch dials is the MERCATOR PROJECTION. Designed by Gerardus Mercator in 1569, it established itself as the standard planisphere worldwide thanks to its accuracy when used on sea voyages. It is termed ‘conformal’, as it respected shapes and angles, thereby allowing sailors to directly relate to the map the angles measured with a compass. However, it distorts distances (which vary with latitude) and does not respect surface area. The Mercator projection increases the sizes of regions the further they are from the equator. Consequently, on a Mercator projection, Greenland looks bigger than all of South America, whereas it is eight times smaller, and Africa is fourteen times larger. Moreover, it is not possible to show the poles with it. In most cases, Europe is placed at the exact centre, reflecting a time when that continent claimed to be the ‘centre of the world’, radiating out over its conquests and empires.
The much more recent GALL-PETERS PROJECTION (first designed in 1855, perfected in 1973) respects the size of the different regions of the world, but does not conserve the angles. Africa is therefore indeed fourteen times the size of Greenland, but the shape of the continents and countries do not respect the geography and appear elongated. Behind this project is also a geopolitical point of view, which Arno Peters explicitly stated: “Since a large part of the technologically underdeveloped world lies close to the equator, those countries appear smaller and therefore seem less important on a Mercator projection.” With Peters’ projection, the correct dimensions are restored to each nation. This reasoning has been taken up by numerous educational and religious bodies, with the result that several of them have adopted the Peters projection.
Developed by Thales in the 6th century BC, the GNOMONIC PROJECTION is the oldest known projection. This â€˜azimuthalâ€™-type projection represents the great circles of a sphere as straight lines. The shortest distance between two points on a sphere is therefore identical to that on the map. This makes it useful for navigation, as it shows the shortest routes. This projection uses the centre of the Earth as the point of perspective, and shape and surface are increasingly distorted starting from that chosen centre. It is used mainly for maps for navigating in the polar or equatorial regions.
Dating from 1745, the CASSINI PROJECTION is suited primarily to large-scale north-south cartography. It is true to scale along the central meridian and all the lines parallel to it, but is neither equalarea nor conformal. Distortion of shapes and areas is nil along the central meridian, but increases the further away you go.
“CONTINENTAL TIME” WATCHES Some so-called world time watches would be more accurately termed ‘continental time’ watches. Though few in number, they have been produced in certain countries sufficiently large to cover several time zones, such as the USA and Russia. Two examples are a recent watch from the excellent Russian watchmaker Konstantin Chaykin, and one truly vintage Hamilton. Hamilton, Transcontinental As described in the advertising blurb of the time, “The Transcontinental is the only watch that tells time anywhere in the US at a glance ! Now without guessing… without resetting… you can read simultaneously the exact time in the Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific Time zones, as well as Greenwich, England… the place where time begins. The hour hand shows your home time zone. You simply read the markers for the time around the country.”
Konstantin Chaykin, Russian Time The largest country in the world, Russia has 11 time zones - all of which can be conveniently read on the dial of the Russian Time. Each of the time zones can be read according to city names or a map of Russia. Central hour and minute hands show local time anywhere in Russia, while the other 10 time zones can be conveniently read off the displays on the top or bottom half of the dial. or on a Russian map at six o’clock, with the time zones corresponding to each area of the country outlined and shaded. The Russian Time is powered by the calibre 01-7, a manually wound movement developed in-house by Chaykin.
VAST CHINA HAS ONLY ONE OFFICIAL TIME ZONE Under normal circumstances, given its immense territory of 9.5 million square kilometres, China ought to have five different time zones. But since 1949 and the proclamation of the People’s Republic, the Chinese Communist Party has imposed one single time zone, BST or Beijing Standard Time. Behind this decision, which defies common sense,
is the political will for national unity and centralised power. Extended to the entire country, all working hours throughout the country have – theoretically – been harmonised for the purposes of coordination. Again theoretically, this means that the working day lasts into the night, but in reality numerous non-official times are
applied, especially in rural communities where work is still subject to the natural times of sunrise and sunset. The same applies to certain regions far distant from Beijing, such as Xinjiang, close to Pakistan, which has a natural six-hour difference in relation to the official time. Consequently, in many cases, the official time is no more than an abstract political notion.
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EVERYWHERE FROM KRAYON
‘UNIVERSAL SUNRISE SUNSET’ This watch is a challenge. It was born of a dream: to go back to the source of time – the sun, the rising and setting of which beats the rhythm of time – and to create a mechanical movement that would ‘quite simply’ let the wearer read the true time of sunrise and sunset anywhere on earth! A universal mechanical calculator calculating the exact time of sunrise and sunset was previously unheard of in mechanical horology. All the more so set into the few tiny square centimetres of a wristwatch case. A dream indeed, but one which Rémi Maillat, a young mathematician and watchmaker, has just turned into a reality together with the team at Krayon, his watchmaking design bureau based in La Chaux-de-Fonds. To achieve this result, the Everywhere watch combines the five parameters that come into play when calculating sunrise and sunset – the coordinates of longitude and latitude which determine a given geographical point on Earth, the time zone, the date and the month. Thanks to a single, simple crown combined with a push-button on the side of the watch case to choose the desired setting, the wearer can adjust each of these parameters at will to discover the exact time at which the sun will appear or vanish at the place and on the day of their choosing! "You read the time around the perimeter of the dial with the aid of a blue arrow on a 24-hour scale which also indicates how long it was since the sun rose,” explains Rémi Maillat. The large, central hand points to the minutes. “A counter in the upper half of the dial
tells you the longitude, between +/- 180°, indicated by the longer hand. The smaller hand indicates the UTC time zone and advances by half-increments to take into account all the time zones in use worldwide [that is, including the half-hours of a handful of time zones, see list below*]. If necessary, the DST (Daylight Saving Time or Summer Time) indicator allows the time to be corrected to summer time. At the centre of the main dial, on the left, a first, small hand indicates the latitude, from + to – 60°, while the other hand shows the selected parameter – date, latitude, longitude or UTC. Lastly, in the lower half of the dial, a counter shows the day and the month.” The USS calibre (standing for Universal Sunrise Sunset) that drives the Everywhere comprises 595 parts, all specially designed and executed, which fit into a case 6.5mm thick. At the heart of the mechanism lies an equation of time which is not displayed, but which is necessary for the various calculations as complex as the results are simple – such as the time of sunrise and sunset. To achieve this, the mechanism – protected by three main patents – has 4 differentials, 84 trains and 145 gear components. Endowed with a power reserve of 72 hours and beating at a frequency of 3Hz, this self-winding watch is fitted with a micro-rotor. On the dial, a light-coloured circle helps visualise the duration of daylight. A darker-coloured circle represents the night and the two points where they meet indicate the rising and setting of the sun, the course of which is indicated by a blue hand. Through the seasons, and depending on the point on the globe, the duration of daylight expands or shrinks –bringing it vividly to life. A superb mathematical, horological and philosophical performance, you might say, which reminds us that our time is dictated to us by the sun. (PM)
* LIST OF TIME ZONES THAT DO NOT CORRESPOND TO WHOLE HOURS (reference is GMT) - 9 h 30: Polynesia: the Marquesas Islands | - 4 h 30: Venezuela (since 2007) | - 3 h 30: Canada: Newfoundland and Labrador | + 3 h 30: Iran | + 4 h 30: Afghanistan | + 5 h 30: India and Sri Lanka | + 5 h 45: Nepal | + 6 h 30: Cocos Islands; Myanmar (Burma) | + 8 h 45: Western Australia (Central Western Standard Time) | + 9 h 30: Southern Australia; (Australian Central Standard Time) | + 10 h 30: Australia: Lord Howe Island | + 11 h 30: Norfolk Islands (Norfolk Time: NFT) | + 12 h 45: Chatham Islands (New Zealand)
THE STORY OF
As he made the journey in 1818 from Fleurier to Guangzhou via London, Edouard Bovet paved the way for the success of Swiss watches in China. Bovet pays a vibrant tribute to the watchmaker with a flying tourbillon watch naturally dedicated to… the world of travel.
which is the equivalent of 1,000,000 Swiss francs today. This may explain why even today, high-end watches have retained such a strong appeal in modern China: they are deeply rooted in the evolution of the Far Eastern’ lifestyle and succeeded in becoming products of high social status over the last 200 years. Edouard Bovet paved the way for this progressive conquest of China by Swiss watches. As early as 1840, the firm’s watchmaking workshops employed no fewer than 175 people in Fleurier, largely dedicated to the production of pocket watches for the Chinese market. At the time of Edouard Bovet’s death in 1849, the company had established a de Few manufactures can boast such legitifacto monopoly in the Middle Kingdom. macy in conceiving travel watches as the Little wonder then, that six years later, Bovet House of Bovet. Indeed, the founders of the won the gold medal in the ‘luxury’ category company were among the first to tie the for a pair of enamelled watches commishorological knot between Switzerland and sioned by the Emperor of China at the first China, one that still holds strong today. In universal exhibition in Paris. 2018, Bovet is celebrating this pioneering Back to early 2018. How to integrate this spirit. The brand has a striking capacity story, that of a 19th century globetrotter and for creating neoclassical timepieces that horological pioneer, into a contemporary bridge the Ancient and the New Worlds. timepiece? By crafting a watch dedicated Edouard Bovet (1797-1849) This one is no exception, even bringing in an to travel, of course! Since he took the helm additional bridge between the West and the Far East. of Bovet in 2001, Pascal Raffy has launched the “rebirth” From Fleurier to London to Guangzhou, the watch com- of the brand. This timepiece pays homage to the origins memorates the epic journey of watchmaker Edouard of Bovet with three time zones and a double-sided flyBovet, who left his Swiss village in 1814 along with his ing tourbillon. It is available in red gold, white gold, or brothers Frédéric and Alphonse, and whose name ap- platinum, and is housed in the Amadeo convertible case. propriately graces the latest creation of the Maison Some key features of the Edouard Bovet Tourbillon with Bovet. After perfecting his sales skills in England, its 472 components include a single barrel that ensures Edouard Bovet embarked on the Orwell on April 20, 1818 an autonomy of over ten days, a movement that drives for a four-month odyssey that took him all the way to no fewer than eight hands and three hemispherical disChina, carrying four timepieces whose technical and plays, as well as a regulating mechanism that oscillates aesthetic features were unseen in that part of the world. at 18,000 vibrations per hour. Of course, the secret to conquering China at that time Beyond the local hour and minute hands, the timewas to reach out to the Emperor directly! The Middle pieces offers a glimpse of two other time zones that Kingdom was and still is a “top down” society. The are represented by beautifully crafted hemispheriBovet brothers’ creations quickly spread throughout cal domes representing the Earth, made of titanium, the whole nation, to the extent that the name “Bovet” featuring blue SuperLumiNova applied by hand and (pronounced “Bo-Wei”) became synonymous with a window displaying the name of the chosen city. A high-end watches in everyday Chinese language! It was third dome indicates the day-night cycle: it turns antireported by the Swiss Journal of Watchmaking that clockwise to represent reality as closely as possible, the four first timepieces brought to China by Edouard with the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. Bovet were sold for the sum of 10,000 Swiss francs each, An apt metaphor for the history of Bovet itself! (SM) 37
PATEK PHILIPPE AND LOUIS COTTIER World time was introduced in 1884, but it was not until 1931 that a Swiss watchmaker, Louis Cottier, created a whole new movement capable of showing the times of the 24 time zones. His innovation? A rotating bezel on which the names of the principal cities or places of the different time zones were inscribed. He offered his invention to the then renowned jeweller Baszanger in the form of a pocket watch. The big watchmaking brands immediately took an interest in this novelty, with Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Rolex as well as Agassiz ordering some. This was a time when international communications by air and by telephone were developing fast, and the Swiss watchmakers were convinced that the distribution of the different time zones had at last become permanent. The time was ripe for launching production of these watches. In the years following this first watch, Louis Cottier produced all kinds of variations on the world time theme, creating a rectangular movement (1937), then a small women’s watch (1938), to which he added a chronograph (1940) and a second crown, and simplified its use (1950). He was always dreaming up new solutions for the display, such as a watch with a single movement controlling two dials, or a watch that showed the time of a second time zone with the help of a third hand. When he died in Carouge, a small town just next to Geneva, in 1966, Louis Cottier had designed and built 455 different movements! Among the watchmaking companies that took a very early interest in Louis Cottier’s creations, Patek Philippe occupies a special place. A close relationship grew up between the horological genius and the Geneva-based watchmaking company, which produced dozens of different world time references starting in 1937. Here are a few. 38
A new interpretation of Cottier’s world time movement In the year 2000, Patek Philippe released reference 5110, endowed with the new ultra-thin Calibre 240 in a new interpretation of Cottier’s world time movement. The main idea was to facilitate use of the watch and improve legibility. This new take on the world time watch allows local time and that of the 23 other time zones to be permanently displayed. Divided into three, the central dial shows the local time with hour and minute hands; the first, inner disc shows the 24 hours, and the second, outer disc bears the names of the cities. As local time advances, the inner 24-hour disc turns, allowing the wearer to follow the ‘progress’ of midday through the time zones. That means that whatever the local time, you can immediately see the time of day or night under the names of the 24 cities. Travellers change their reference time zone by simply pressing a push-button, without affecting the accuracy of the watch in any way: the hour hand advances one hour per push, while at the same time the 24-hour and city discs move one increment anti-clockwise, without affecting the accuracy of the minute hand. For the user, nothing simpler, but behind it is a complex, patented clutch system consisting of a 12-tooth starwheel for the hours with a jumper and counter-spring, both an integral part of the hour wheel. Since developing this world time watch, Patek Philippe has regularly released new references, notably ladies’ models, and – witness the very recent example of reference 5531 – has enhanced the mechanism with a minute repeater, which has the particularity of sounding the hour in the local time zone.
Reference 1415/1 HU from 1937 in yellow gold. One of the first Patek Philippe world time wristwatches with a rotating disc showing the hours and day/night-time, with the names of the towns transferred onto the dial.
Reference 515 HU from 1937 in pink gold. One of the first Patek Philippe world time wristwatches with a rotating hour disc and the names of the cities transferred onto the dial.
Reference 605 HU from 1936/1937 in yellow gold. One of the first Patek Philippe pocket watches displaying world time.
The famed reference 1415 P-H-U is a platinum world time wristwatch dating from 1946 and indicating 41 cities, countries or regions. It holds the record of being the world’s 3rd most expensive wristwatch, having sold for CHF 6.6 million in 2002.
Reference 1415/1 HU in yellow gold. World time watch and chronograph from 1940. Dial with pulsometric graduations, a rotating hour disc and the city names transferred onto the bezel.
Reference 2523 HU from 1953/1954 in yellow gold. One of the first Patek Philippe watches to include a second crown at 9 o’clock. This is used to adjust the disc with the cities. Dial in cloisonné enamel.
Reference 1415 HU from 1948 in pink gold. One of the first Patek Philippe world time watches to sport a cloisonné enamel dial.
Reference 5110 HU G in white gold, dating from 2000. The first Patek Philippe World Time with the push-button at 10 oâ€™clock, allowing the city disc to be adjusted simply by pressing. This system does not interfere with the accuracy of the watch, unlike models with two crowns. This was the first world time watch with the Travel Time function (the hours hand is disengaged using the same system as the Travel Time models, but without a second hour hand). Dial with guillochĂŠ centre.
Reference 5531 from 2017 in pink gold. This is the first Patek Philippe watch to combine a minute repeater and world time. Its unique feature is that it sounds the hour in the local time zone thanks to a patented mechanism. 40
Introduced in 2014, reference 7175 for ladies, a World Time watch with a central moon-phase display.
THE 37 TIME ZONES OF THE PATRIMONY TRADITIONNELLE WORLD TIME With its world time watches, Patek Philippe went for maximum readability and bent its efforts towards easeof-use – to the detriment of completeness in displaying the time zones, which in reality total not 24, but 37. Because you also have to reckon with half-hours and even quarter-hours. (See the list of time zones that do not correspond to whole hours, on p. 34). Another major player in the world time field, Vacheron Constantin offers a different approach with its Traditionelle World Time watch, which was presented in 2011 and displays all 37 of the different time zones into which the 24 hours are divided up. This watch did not come from nowhere. Back in 1932, Vacheron Constantin presented the first pocket watch equipped with an ‘international time mechanism’, another invention by Louis Cottier. Between 1936 and the 1940s, numerous models succeeded one another, with dials showing 30 or 31 cities (references 3650 and 3638), or even 67 localities, including Paris summer and winter time, displayed on miniature clocks with mobile dials (1937-1938). Starting in the 1940s, Vacheron Constantin attributed the reference number 4414 to its international time model with a dial showing 41 cities and the mobile, 24-hour disc divided into day and night. Then, in 1957, Vacheron Constantin opened a new chapter in its history of world time watches with the presentation of its first wristwatch indicating international times: reference 6213, an order from an Egyptian dignitary. It would be the first of a long series. 42
Half-hour, quarter-hour… How can you display 37 time zones in a circle of 24 hours? The Patrimony Traditionnelle World Time model displays the time on three dials: a sapphire dial with day/ night shading, a metal dial with a Lambert-projection map and a metal minute ring. On it, you can read the time in all the regions of the world simultaneously – while at the same time viewing the day/night indicator on the central world map. Beating at a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 vibrations an hour) and with a power reserve of around 40 hours, the 2460 WT self-winding calibre displays the hours, minutes, centre seconds and world time. All the indicators are adjusted using the crown, which greatly simplifies use of this highly technical watch. Three concentric circles superimposed on the same ring are required to accommodate the 37 different time zones. True, legibility suffers compared with the traditional 24 zones. But for the sake of ease-of-use, all adjustments are made using the single crown. Patented and stamped with the Geneva Seal, the Calibre 2460 WT is endowed with a stop-second function for more accurate setting.
Portfolio Montblanc Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum UNICEF The central sapphire disc shows the Earth’s northern hemisphere as seen from the North Pole. The second disc indicates the passage from day to night, passing through dark blue, yellow and green shading. On a ring, this same disc shows the names of the 24 cities representing the 24 time zones. The local time of the city facing the red triangle at 6 o’clock is read on the central hour and minute hands. The times in the different time zones can be read simultaneously from the 24-hour ring around the outside of the dial. Nomos Zürich World Timer 24 watches in one: with this frequent flier on your wrist, you can travel the world in the push of a button and keep track of the time wherever you are. Also useful for those staying at home, surfing the internet, or calling friends on the other side of the world. The NOMOS caliber 5201 movement is equipped with a bidirectional winding rotor, tempered blue balance spring, movement number visible on three-quarter plate, Glashütte ribbing and sunburst decoration, 26 jewels.
Jaeger-LeCoultre, Geophysic Tourbillon Universal Time The central disc, which shows a polar projection, rotates in 24 hours, taken on its journey by the flying tourbillon with its Gyrolab balance wheel. The carriage of the latter rotates upon itself every minute, while the orbital tourbillon completes one rotation in 24 hours –symbolising the starting point of our 24 time zones, which are indicated on a concentric ring encircled by the day/night indicator of the 24 hours. All its functions are adjusted using the single crown.
Andersen, 25 years of world time In 1990, Sven Andersen presented his first ‘World Time Watch’ in tribute to the eponymous watch by Louis Cottier. He produced several successive iterations of it: the Christophorus Colombus, the Mundus and the 1884. In 2015, he once again commemorated Louis Cottier, presenting a ‘worldtimer’ with two crowns, as developed by the genius watchmaker. Finally, to mark the 25th anniversary of his World Time watches, Andersen has just released the Tempus Terrae 25th Anniversary. 25 pieces in white gold. The central disc has a magnificent luminous guilloché pattern with concentric scales in blue gold, symbolising the planet on which we live. The watch is adjusted using the two crowns, one setting the hours and minutes, the other the time zone. Girard-Perregaux, WW.TC Perpetual Calendar The exclusive combination of 24 time zones and a perpetual calendar – relating to the home time – was premiered in 2006 by Girard-Perregaux as part of its WW.TC collection, standing for World Wide Time Control, an appellation with greater ‘Wall Street’ appeal than the simple ‘World Time’. A moon phase rounds out the numerous indicators on the beautifully balanced, 41mm-diameter dial.
ASTRIDE HAUTE HOROLOGY AND HIGH-END TECHNOLOGY With its highly colourful Escale Worldtime, presented in 2014, Louis Vuitton radically reinvented their whole world time aesthetic. The Escale Worldtime Minute Repeater presented this year, which chimes the hour in the home time zone, marks another step forward for the brand in mechanical horology and complications. But at the same time, Louis Vuitton also presented the Tambour Horizon, a smartwatch that tells you what time it is around the world and much more besides… Escale Worldtime Minute Repeater
Adjusted by means of a single crown, three distinct discs are all that constitute this watch dial without hands. The large, outermost disc, two-tiered and in colour, bears the initials of 24 cities around the world. On demand (position 1 of the crown), it turns to let you set the reference city, which is aligned in the 12 o’clock position below the yellow arrow. The continuously rotating central disc indicates the hour: it is divided into two semi-circles in black and white to distinguish the hours of night and day. The smaller, central disc shows the minutes. The hours and minutes are also set using the crown (in position 2). The no-hands world time display is synchronised by a hand-wound mechanical calibre made up of 447 parts and has a power reserve of 100 hours. At 8 o’clock, a discreet lug in pink gold is the button for setting the minute repeater mechanism that chimes the wearer’s home time, whichever time zone he or she happens to be in.
With its Swiss-made Tambour case and its US-assembled parts, the Tambour Horizon does the metaphorical splits, seeking, in the words of the designer, “to inject aesthetics and emotion into high technology”. And it does. Using the same visual codes as the Escale (and any other Louis Vuitton watch you can name), besides world time it also offers the classic smartwatch functions (notifications of incoming phone calls, text messages and emails, an alarm, a countdown timer, the weather forecast, number of steps taken, etc.), as well as exclusive, travel-specific features. ‘My flight’ tells travellers their flight time, terminal and boarding gate, indicating possible delays, remaining time of flight and other information. Another exclusive function, the ‘City Guide’, extends to the smartwatch the services of Louis Vuitton’s printed guides and their applications for tablet and smartphone: the best addresses and must-see places of seven of the most-visited cities in the world, and a smart geolocation function for indicating nearby restaurants, historical or touristic hotspots in real time. (PM)
ZULU TIME Compared with Universal Time and its traditional 24 time zones, the GMT watch is more modest in its offerings: a second time zone, a second ‘point of reference’. Because, in the same way that standard time was born of the need to coordinate the railways, the GMT function is a direct result of the aviation boom of the 1950s.
In the 1950s the growing number of aeroplanes crossing time zones in all directions made the adoption of a single reference time – valid for every aircraft, in all locations, whatever the local time – a necessity. By adopting Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as the time of reference for all aeroplanes, air traffic controllers and flight plans, it was finally possible to prevent the sort of confusion that could have dire consequences. It was the birth of the famous ‘Zulu time’. One brand instantly understood the full potential of this decision: Rolex. In collaboration with the famous Pan Am company, in 1954 Rolex launched the GMT Master, reference 6524, which has become the ‘mother’ of all GMT watches. The principle was simple, the design ergonomic, the function highly practical, and time setting was child’s play. And it was a runaway success. A fourth luminescent hand, instantly recognisable with its arrow shape, travels around the dial in 24 hours, pointing to a rotating bezel with 24 graduations. It is independently adjusted by the crown in position 2. The arrow is set to indicate the time of departure – Zulu time for aviators, home time for their passengers – then, without interfering with the minutes and seconds, the 12-hour current time hand is set to the time zone you are currently crossing or that of your destination. Nearly every brand quickly followed suit. Breitling, which with its Breitling Navitimer had already collaborated actively with the world of aviation and was the official timekeeper for the Aircraft Owners 48
and Pilots Association (AOPA), began releasing GMT models in the early 1960s. It introduced the ChronoMatic, combining a dual time zone with GMT hand and a manually-wound chronograph. In 1969 it was Omega’s turn to launch its Flightmaster series, ‘for intercontinental travellers’. Using seven brightly-coloured contrasting hands, three crowns and two push-pieces, the wearer can activate a chronograph with interior rotating bezel and move a bright blue GMT hand in the shape of an aeroplane. All this is housed in a large, oblong-shaped case. Production continued until the mid-’70s. Practically every watch brand released something similar and there are countless GMT watches, as well as those opting for a different configuration but with the same functions – known as ‘dual time zone’ watches. More ‘civilian’ and less ‘professional’, dual time zone watches allowed for all display types, therefore departing from the sporty aesthetic of the GMT. They were, in their way, the dressier version of the traveller’s watch – also ideal for non-travellers. (PM)
Rolex GMT The Rolex GMT-Master II needs no introduction. Pictured here in its most recent version, it features a Cerachrom rotating bezel, Parachrom balance spring, Oyster bracelet, Triplock winding crown and self-winding 3186 movement.
PRACTICAL EXAMPLES MONTRES-DE-LUXE.COM OFFERS A FEW PRACTICAL EXAMPLES FOR SETTING A GMT "You are taking the 11.30 p.m. flight from Paris to Tokyo (in the winter). Move the 12-hour hand forward by 8 hours. Your watch changes date and now displays 7.30 a.m. As for the GMT hand, it of course continues to display 11.30 p.m. on the bidirectional bezel. It has become your ‘home time’. If you are not travelling but are in regular contact with New York, for example, adjust the GMT hand so that it is displaying a time on the bidirectional bezel that is 6 hours behind Paris time. When your watch displays midday in Paris with the 12-hour hand, the GMT hand will point to 6 a.m. on the 24-hour bidirectional bezel. The second non-traveller option gives the same result: your two hour hands are set to the same time; 12-hour/24-hour synchronisation. Rotate your 24-hour bidirectional bezel in a clockwise direction by six notches (one notch per hour). Your watch will still show the same time on the 12-hour hand but the GMT hand will now be pointing to 6 a.m., the time in New York. It is also possible to temporarily display a third time zone! Example: you are in Tokyo. The time difference is 8 hours ahead of Paris in the winter. It is 9 p.m. in the Japanese capital, so the 12-hour hand shows 9 o’clock on your watch dial and your GMT hand shows 1 p.m. (in Paris) on the 24hour bidirectional bezel. All you need to do now is turn your bidirectional bezel in a clockwise direction by six notches to display the time in New York (which is 6 hours behind Paris). Your GMT hand will now show that it is 7 a.m. on the East Coast of the United States. The GMT hand can also serve as a compass, when the watch is parallel to the ground with the 12-hour hand pointing towards the sun. The GMT hand set to the same time according to the 24-hour GMT display then indicates north in the Northern Hemisphere.” 49
Parmigiani Fleurier, Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde The two time zones of the Toric Hémisphères Rétrograde, precise to the nearest minute, are driven by a single calibre, the PF317. A module indexed to the main movement governs the second time zone. By pulling out a small crown, the module is disengaged from the movement, meaning that the hours and minutes can be adjusted independently (so for all time differences, including those with half- or quarter-hours). When the crown is pressed back in, the module re-engages with the movement and is re-indexed to the first time zone so that they are synchronised. The main crown at 4 o’clock is used to wind the movement and set the time of the two paired time zones, as well as the date. The day and night indication and each of the time zones is displayed via an aperture. The date is indicated with a central retrograde hand.
Portfolio Vacheron Constantin, Overseas Dual Time The new Vacheron Constantin 5110 DT movement enables simultaneous reading of two time zones by means of coaxial hands. The hour hand indicates the local time zone, while the hand tipped with a triangular arrow displays the time zone of reference, or ‘home time’. The 12-hour display is adjustable via the crown in both directions. Local time is set in position one, the time of reference in position two. The day/night indicator is set to the time of reference. The date is displayed via a hand, which is synchronised with local time and adjusted via a screwed push-piece at 4 o’clock. The twin barrel provides a 60-hour power reserve.
Jaeger-LeCoultre, Master Geographic An emblematic model from the Master Control collection, the Geographic watch offers travellers a unique way of reading the second time zone. The opening at the base of the dial presents the names of 24 world cities. Easily adjustable by the crown at 10 o’clock on the case, the indicator of this second time zone is decorated with a circular guilloché pattern that contrasts with the other finishes on the dial. With its signature blue design, this watch is a breath of fresh air while remaining both understated and classic, in line with its predecessors.
Portfolio Laurent Ferrier, Galet Traveller Globe Night Blue At the centre of the dial, a convex world map depicts the continents in white gold relief surrounded by a subtle blue enamel sea. Integrated into the left side of the case, two push-pieces allow you to move the local time indicated by the central display forwards or backwards without moving the minutes hand. The aperture at 3 o’clock displays the date, automatically linked to the local time. The aperture at 9 o’clock retains the time of reference (home time) on a 24-hour display. Featuring an escapement that gives two direct impulses to the balance at every oscillation, its self-winding movement offers an 80-hour power reserve.
Longines, Lindbergh Hour Angle Watch 90th Anniversary This year Longines is celebrating the 90th anniversary of the first ever non-stop solo transatlantic flight, which was flown by Charles Lindbergh and timed by the Swiss watchmaker. For the occasion, the brand is presenting 90 timepieces in a numbered and limited edition of its Hour Angle watch, which was designed in partnership with the famed aviator following his historic flight. This titanium and steel timepiece houses a self-winding L699 calibre in a 47.5 mm diameter case. The brushed silver dial displays the time on a minutes track with painted Roman numerals and features a 180° scale for calculating the longitude. The synchronisation of the seconds hand with a radio time signal is accomplished using the galvanic black rotating central dial, while the black PVD steel rotating bezel allows daily variations of the equation of time to be taken into account. The brown leather aviator-type strap equipped with an extension that allows the watch to be attached to an oversized pilot’s jacket adds the finishing touch to this timepiece.
Zenith, Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 GMT 1903 A limited-edition GMT watch that commemorates the Wright brothers’ historic flight over Kitty Hawk beach, North Carolina, in 1903. The Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 has kept the airmail service very busy and is now a must-have for collectors. Presented here in an ultra-light case – despite its 48 mm size – in black DLC-treated titanium, it displays a second time zone via a red-tipped arrow-shaped hand and is driven by the self-winding Elite calibre 693. Cartier, Cartier Tortue XXL Multiple Time Zones Combining GMT functions and world time, the Cartier Tortue XXL Multiple Time Zones has twin hands to show the local time and the time in the country of origin, as well as a disc of cities visible on the side of the case. The local time synchronises with this disc, so it can be changed when the wearer changes time zones.
WHEN A WATCH IS ALSO
A GENUINE TOOL
Not all journeys are the same... Walkers, ramblers, trekkers, mountain climbers and other explorers do not have the same needs as the jet-lagged passengers of an intercontinental flight or businessmen wishing to reach the entire world by first light. On foot, you make slow progress (on average 4-5 km/hour) and have no need for universal time. But the orientation, altitude, temperature, weather forecast and a whole host of other information proves to be very useful, and sometimes vital.
Breitling can pride itself on having saved at least one life thanks to the micro-transmitter of the Breitling Emergency watch belonging to a grizzly bear hunter who was lost along the river Susitna, 190 kilometres from Anchorage in Alaska. "Even if I ended up losing everything, I would always have my watch,” said Mark Spencer who, suffering from hypothermia, apparently succeeded in unscrewing the security stopper, unfolding the main antenna, and activating his watch’s micro-transmitter, which then emitted an urgent localisation signal on the international civil aviation distress frequency, 121.5 MHz. This was in 2013. The moral of the story is that tool watches – which the first watches with Universal Time or GMT certainly were – can come in very handy indeed.
The first wristwatch in the world fitted with an integrated dual frequency distress beacon (PLB/Personal Locator Beacon), the Emergency allows you both to send an alert and guide the localisation and rescue operations. Calibre Breitling 76, a thermocompensated quartz electronic SuperQuartz™ movement, analogue and 12/24 hour LCD digital display, EOL indicator. Chronograph, 1/100th second, max. 23 hours 59 min. 59.99 sec. Digital day and date programmed for 4 years. Countdown timer, 2nd time zone, alarm.
glass of the touch screen. It is a sort of analogue and digital hybrid developed by the engineers at Asulab in Marin who “were able to adapt this fun technology to watchmaking and create this display process that allows you to obtain information that you couldn’t formerly access”, according to François Thiébaud. An ‘augmented’ watch, in its own way. The T-Touch has since considerably widened its scope and seen an incredible number of offshoots. First it was transformed into the Tissot Silen-T, with its classic look, vibrating discreetly on its wearer’s arm to signal a reminder, then the Tissot High-T, for the American market, which from 2004 displayed breaking news, sporting results and the weather via radio frequency. With the arrival of the T-Touch Expert, Tissot again concentrated on its sporting priorities. The Expert allows you to access two neighbouring functions simultaneously, therefore combining the information. It is also more precise and robust than its predecessor. And it is water-resistant to 100m.
THE T-TOUCH, THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE OF WATCHMAKING Nearly every hiker carries a Swiss Army knife in their pocket. The Tissot T-Touch performs the same multitude of functions on the wrist. We don’t know if the T-Touch has ever saved a life, but the list of ‘blades’ shows the scope of the services it can perform in all situations: Altimeter • Thermometer • Alarm • Compass • Weather forecast through relative pressure • Chronometer • Altitude difference meter • Second time zone • Azimuth Calendar • Weather forecast through absolute pressure • Countdown timer, etc. The T-Touch was created in 1999. It was the first touchscreen watch, a technology that at the time was reserved for the touch pads used by IT pros. Every touch of the screen attracts a weak charge at the point of contact on the so-called capacitive touch screen, which stores the electrical charges. On the edges of the crystal, circuits measure the charge and send the information to a controller, which processes and redistributes it. This is all displayed both by the three traditional hands and by the LCD screen beneath the
Tissot Sailing Touch
There are also specialised T-Touch The sun is rising watches for various sports. For divers, there’s the Tissot Sea-Touch In 2014 Tissot introduced a new which meets all the official criteria world première: a solar-powered for luminosity, shock resistance, touch screen watch. The T-Touch anti-magnetism, integrated timExpert Solar has 20 functions, ining, and solidity of strap. For sailcluding a perpetual calendar with ors there’s the Tissot Sailing-Touch, day and week, dual time zones featuring weather forecasts with and two alarms, not to mention histogram and speed measurement the relative pressure weather over a given distance. And these are forecast, altimeter with altitude just a few examples. Not to mendifference meter, chronograph tion all the models with functions with log, compass, Azimuth caldedicated to different activities and endar, countdown timer and various sports. The list is endless. backlight. All it lacks is the tired But the touch-screen watch can hiker’s trusty corkscrew. also be more urban, particularly The LCD screen and solar cell in its feminine version, and the are directly integrated into the T-Touch Expert Solar Tissot T-Touch II is even sometimes screen. The solar panel itself is adorned with diamonds. It also targets the younger mar- invisible, positioned behind the dial. ket with the Tissot T-Race Touch, featuring 11 functions. You could say that the T-Touch is a ‘smartwatch’ before its time. That’s true, but it’s also completely autonomous, relying on itself alone and entirely dedicated to functions that are genuine tools, of direct use in the wearer’s activities. That’s what makes all the difference. And the difference is vital. (PM) 56
Easy setting via smartphone app.
GPS, SATELLITE, RADIO, INTERNET
TRAVEL TECHNOLOGIES ONBOARD A WATCH BY SERGE MAILLARD
Like the Tissot T-Touch addressed in this dossier, Japanese watchmakers best stand out for their integration of new technologies into their watches, and particularly those that enable users to find their way and to always have the right time on their wrists, even while travelling... But that was before the advent of the smartwatch. Casio, Seiko and Citizen have more in common than all being Japanese. These brands also placed their bets – very early on, beginning with the quartz revolution nearly 50 years ago – on the integration of a multitude of technologies into a watch, making it, paradoxically, a real Swiss army knife! First, their exploration of the digital or LCD screen enabled them to present a great deal of information 58
– from the altimeter to the barometer, from temperature to orientation – on a single screen. Controlling watches by radio, satellite or even a distant atomic clock has enabled them to provide the right time for nearly all eternity, barring an intergalactic war... They have attempted to make these watches – with their long lifespans and great resistance – independent from the obsolete traditional battery through the use of solar energy. These three technological breakthroughs – often resulting from the integration of technologies from other industries, such as the digital screen, remotecontrolled time or solar power – constitute the foundations of ultra-high-performance in Japanese watchmaking, enabling the watchmakers to integrate a multitude of features. Very convenient for the traveller or athlete! These users can count on a tough watch to calculate the distance they have covered, their altitude and their geolocation, and even to take photos of the marvels that they discover on the way...
Adapting to the new revolution Nearly fifty years after the quartz revolution, a new revolution – the digital revolution – shook the watchmaking world. The symbol is unquestionably the Apple Watch, both sports-minded and designer: an all-terrain companion. Water-resistant and produced in partnership with Nike and Hermès, among others, the last line, Series 3, is presented in the world of water: that of dreams, travel and adventure, with the slogan “Go with just your watch”. This new version ‘detaches’ the watch from the phone to make it autonomous, exclusively using cellular data, since a great deal of disappointed observers considered the watches up to this series as simple Bluetooth relays for the telephone in the pocket. The features are particularly focused on the user’s mobility, enabling him or her to phone or send messages, listen to music, ask Siri to find an itinerary, receive emails, display distance and altitude with the built-in GPS and altimeters, measure fitness objectives and heart rate, and more, all on the watch. In a word, making the watch a new kind of coach... Or tyrant, depending on how well the user masters the device! Here is a list of the principal technical characteristics of the Series 3 GPS + Cellular Apple Watch: • Built-in GPS and GLONASS • Barometric altimeter • Water-resistant to 50 metres • Heart rate sensor • Accelerometer • Gyroscope • Ambient light sensor • Siri speaks • Capacity 16GB • Ceramic back
Seiko Astron Giugiaro Design Limited Edition
This multiplicity of features obviously piqued the interest of Japanese watchmakers, who had been, up to now, the masters of watches with built-in technology. Especially since Apple is not the only company to enter the competition: consider the Samsung recently designed by Swiss master watchmaker Yvan Arpa, or the GPS specialist brand Garmin which already equips the wrists of millions of athletes and adventurers and thrill-seekers throughout the world. Not to mention the American watchmaking giant Fossil, which has already decided that nearly all the watches it produces should be connected in the long term. The other American mammoth, Movado, has also begun to seriously expand into the field. On the face of it, the connected watch appears to be the territory of American brands, considering all the brands cited. Of course, the Japanese maintain an advantage in terms of watch lifespan and power reserve... While an Apple Watch will hardly last longer than its first cousin, the smartphone.
Apple Watch Series 3
For the time being, Japanese watchmakers are therefore focused on adding a Bluetooth connection to their analogue models. But their use of solar energy also ‘limits’ them in terms of number of features, compared to the connected watch. So, for now they propose hybrid solutions, and the principal characteristic of these is a Bluetooth connection, which offers travellers the instant adjustment of the time zone on their watch through a link between the watch and a phone.
A question of energy Today at the head of the Horological Institute of Japan, Etsuro Nakajima first had a 40-year career at Casio. He saw it all: the design of digital quartz movements, the first interval timer stopwatch, the first Pro Trek featuring an altimeter, the first radio-controlled watch... And the advent of Bluetooth. “In 2007, we at Nokia began to discuss a connected watch project using Bluetooth Low Energy LE, the Wibree,” he recalls. “But the development took a long time, considering the challenge of energy consumption and recharging. It would be necessary to limit energy consumption. In 2012, the G-Shock GB5600 became our first Bluetooth watch.” The energy issue remains crucial. For Etsuro Nakajima, Japanese brands are too strongly focused on solar energy. “These watches don’t have enough energy to support complex applications. That is why the Japanese are concentrating on certain features such as adjusting the time zone, compared to the dozens of applications available on connected watches.” Meanwhile, the Apple Watch changed the game rules, and not just in terms of technology: in distribution, the Americans are making a considerable profit margin, since they sell their products through their ownbrand store networks, whereas traditional watchmakers must share the profits – generally more than half – with their representatives. While there will most likely always be traditional watch retailers, and since the watch is an object that many consumers wish to touch and try on before purchase, there is the delicate question of these representatives’ ability to sell connected watches integrating digital technologies. Wouldn’t connected watches be more in their element in electronics stores? 60
For Japanese brands, both in terms of products and distribution, the connected watch poses a great dilemma: how to maintain a watchmaking identity with the historical characteristics that go along with it – in particular the use of solar energy – while joining the digital revolution? Moreover, since their development has been an organic one in the fertile ground of Japanese technology, they are probably reticent to put a portion of their future in the hands of giants such as Apple or Google, the two masters of connection.
The case of the Casio Pro Trek In addition to continuing to develop hybrids to bring Bluetooth connectivity to analogue models, some brands have decided to launch totally connected watches with LCD screens, too. Such is the case of Casio and its new Smart Outdoor Watch, the Pro Trek WSD-F20, which is actually a ‘full digital’ re-edition of the brand’s historical GPS model, and which operates on Android Wear. This rather large model (56.4 mm) is water-resistant to 50 metres, and it includes applications for trekking, fishing, biking, winter sports and swimming; features such as a compass, barometer, altimeter, sunrise and sunset, and tides; and of course, geographic orientation thanks to GPS, its primary function, which can also be used off-line, far off the beaten track... This attempt to join the connected watch market will be a test for Casio, to determine whether the brand will make more ambitious developments in this market. Let there be no doubt, the conclusions of this strategy will also be followed with interest by Seiko and Citizen, even though the general trend for Japanese watchmaking in 2017 was upselling through the integration of traditional crafts and new materials into watches (see our special dossier and report on Japan in Chapter 5/17), rather than the development of connected watches. Will Japanese watchmakers go into offensive mode in the wake of the Pro Trek by proposing daily-recharge models connected to cellular data in addition to solar-powered analogue watches? The new products presented at Baselworld should provide some initial indications.
RAIDER BIVOUAC 9000
THE ULTIMATE INSTRUMENT FOR ALL ALTITUDES Switzerland’s second-oldest watch brand, Favre-Leuba, celebrates its 280th anniversary with a ground-breaking watch – the Raider Bivouac 9000.
An increase in the air pressure, known to result in improved weather conditions, can be observed on the Raider Bivouac 9000 when the central red hand turns anticlockwise, while cold air results in lower air pressure, which is indicated by the hand turning clockwise. This reliable feature helps the explorer plan to continue the expedition or take shelter. Furthermore, the device is water-resistant up to 30 m.
The first mechanical wristwatch capable of measuring altitudes up to an incredible 9,000 m above sea level, this tool is an asset for explorers. The 48mm titanium case houses an aneroid barometer, which allows the watch to indicate the elevation at a given point by reacting to the air pressure surrounding it. Drawing from its own past, when it was renowned for pushing boundaries and challenging frontiers, the Favre-Leuba brand keeps alive the vision of its founding fathers with the new model while paying homage to its namesake from 1962. The iconic watch, which is today a collector’s piece, was worn by mountaineers, parachutists, and adventurers and recognised for being the very first mechanical wristwatch that could measure altitudes of up to 3,000 m. The engineers at Favre-Leuba have now made an instrument inspired by this classic model and using the same reliable technology that is capable of measuring altitudes three times higher. A difference in air pressure of just 0.7 bar, which indicates a change in altitude of 9,000 m, can be measured precisely by the specially engineered capsule housed in the Raider Bivouac 9000. The central red altimeter hand indicates altitude gain in 50 m steps and goes up to 3,000 m in one rotation – upon completing three full clockwise turns, the subdial at 3 o’clock indicates the climb up to 9,000 m. The same subdial also carries the air pressure scale marked in hPa units, where the wearer can observe the changing barometric pressure. With this feature, not only does the wearer know the altitude above sea level, but they are also warned of any impending changes in the weather.
TRAVEL TOOL WATCHES
BY LORENZO MAILLARD, COLLECTOR
Travel today is not like it used to be. Not so long ago, travel and exploration could almost be perceived as two interchangeable terms. While today you can just glance at your smartphone to get the universal time (atomic time, moreover), click on an app to check the weather forecast at your destination, or simply follow directions to get there on a GPS... seventy years ago, people ‘coped’, using common sense, instinct, a bit of grey matter, a bit of luck... And, more rarely, a watch. These days, with everything pre-packaged
and instantaneous, it is good to remember the tools of times gone by and their aura of adventure and resourcefulness. These timepieces, which witnessed a period that I did not, titillate my feeble Millennial appetite for discovery. Here, the focus is not on the great travel watch classics but rather on four models which range from the practical to the absurd, yet which all have the common objective of simplifying and accompanying the wanderer in an original way.
1. Sicura Safari When you think of the ultimate adventurer tool, the Swiss army knife surely comes to mind. This multi-purpose object makes it possible to do just about anything... Just about, indeed, since although it is Swiss, there is one thing the knife cannot do: tell the time. That is where the Sicura comes into play. The brand that saved Breitling in the beginning of the 1980s forged a reputation for itself in the 1970s, creating watches as practical as they are extraordinary...And sometimes even weird. The Sicura Safari, which might potentially be betrayed by its name, conceals a blade in its case; and not just any blade, since this one is produced by Victorinox. This rather original timepiece might have been a James Bond gadget, since it could get you out of certain risky situations... Although it is difficult to imagine using it to chop down a tree. With no teeth or stop notch, this blade is almost more of a dissuasive tool than a practical one. In terms of robustness, its manually wound 17-jewel movement does the trick. However, its chrome case is less resistant to extreme conditions than steel. In any case, its imposing look and resolutely 70’s character bring it a certain elegance on the wrist. This is the perfect tool: practical, discreet in travel –
since security checks at the airport should not be a problem –, and snazzy. Estimate: It is not easy to find a Sicura Safari in good condition because of its chrome case. You’ll pay between 1000 CHF and 2000 CHF for one in a good condition.
Dalil Muslim Watch
2. Dalil Muslim Watch If you mix up watchmaking and religion, you might think of the Datejust of John Paul II or the rudimentary quartz watch of Pope Francis; but never has a watch been specially designed with the precise objective of satisfying religious needs. Never? Well, not exactly. If you are a very pious Muslim with a taste for vintage timepieces and you are often away on travel, the Dalil Muslim is the watch for you. This watch, with its atypical design and unusual – to say the least – usage is, to my knowledge, the only vintage mechanical timepiece with a “religious complication” that may be worn on the wrist. This watch, of which the full name is Dalil Monte-Carlo Muslim, was produced from the beginning of the 1970s with the self-winding Swiss Made movement AS 2063, which features the hour, the date, a worldtime complication... And most
importantly, the four prayer times of the day. Moreover, at the centre of the dial is a compass that not only indicates the north but also the direction of Mecca, essential for the Muslim prayer customs. While its design is characteristic of the 1970s, it will certainly not suit everyone. A version clearly inspired by the Rolex Datejust with the jubilee and a grooved bezel was also introduced shortly afterwards. Basically, this is the ultimate timepiece for a true believer on the move. Estimate: Depending on its condition, it is still possible to find relatively affordable examples. 150 CHF to 400 CHF.
to the information provided by the Bivouac just before reaching, for the first time in history, Pointe Whymper of the Grandes Jorasses along its northern face. Estimate: An original Favre Leuba Bivouac in good condition costs between 2500 CHF and 3500 CHF
3. Favre Leuba Bivouac It is easy to forget, but Favre Leuba, founded in 1737, is not only one of the oldest watchmaking brands, but also one that marked history on more than one occasion. In 1963, nearly 10 years after Edmund Percival Hillary accomplished the achievement of climbing Everest for the first time, Favre Leuba released the Bivouac, a one-of-a-kind watch that includes – for the first time in a watch – not only a barometer but also an altimeter. Designed by mountaineers and Arctic adventurers, the watch makes it possible for the wearer to not only determine the exact altitude where he is located, but also to calculate the atmospheric pressure there. By combining the two, the traveller / mountaineer / explorer / meteorologist can predict the short-term weather conditions in order to avoid perilous situations in a hostile environment. The wearer must pay attention to rapid, significant variations of the barometer which often indicate the approach of a disturbance, a thunderstorm or strong winds, the intensity of which will correspond to the barometer hand’s movement. In a word, an experienced, observant user might avoid the potentially fatal tantrums of Mother Nature by taking refuge in the cave of a Yeti or in the carcass of an ibex. Although it is complex, the Bivouac sports has an understated and even elegant appearance, particularly with its original steel bracelet. Its charming Bakelite bezel, tritium hour markers and steel case offer a marvellous representation of time, bringing an almost melancholic charm from the days when watches were designed foremost as tools. Although the taste for adventure and travel has been made sterile these days by too much information and technology, you can console yourself with thoughts of Michel Vaucher, mountain guide, and his partner, the mountaineer Walter Bonatti, who avoided a snow storm thanks
4. Glycine Airman If I ask you to think of a watch brand with a crown as a logo, and then I add that its emblematic model took on a GMT feature in the beginning of the 1950s, and then mention that it was originally highly appreciated by pilots, you will most likely think of the Rolex GMT-Master. And you’ll be right. But another watch, introduced to the market one year before the GMT-Master, also ticks all these boxes: the Glycine Airman. It arose from a simple idea, far from the pressures of marketing, think tanks and costly developments: to bring a simple answer to the realistic desires of a pilot in the 1950: a self-winding, waterproof watch with date display and 24-hour dial and bezel. Contrary to the GMT-Master and the Polerouter, the Glycine skipped over the partnerships with prestigious airlines (Pan-Am for Rolex, SAS for Universal Genève) and conceives of a pilot’s timepiece as simple, robust and affordable, to the point where it won over a number of men in the armed forces, not just pilots but also infantrymen. The Airman was not the first watch to feature a 24-hour bezel; however, the brand took out a patent on the mechanical locking of the bezel, which is performed by rotating the push-button at 4 o’clock. This action offers security despite blows or shocks that might otherwise deregulate and misalign the second time zone indication. The designers of the Glycine even had military operators in mind, since they incorporated a one-ofa-kind system that stops the secon ds hand. Once the crown is pulled out, the direct-drive seconds continue to turn until they stop on the 12-hour marker, enabling an extremely precise synchronisation of watches. This is useful both for men obsessed with precision and for soldiers needing to coordinate their actions with brothers in arms down to the second for a surprise attack. In addition to being functional, this Airman has a story to tell, and it is simply and aesthetically beautiful: that is certainly why it remained in the catalogue for more than 40 years. Its design is a subtle balance of strength, brute functionality, purity and finesse. With its 36mm diameter, long horns and slim case, it is the ultimate ‘tool watch’ for the regular traveller. Estimate: The Airman is available in a number of versions, but an authentic model will cost you between 600 CHF and 1500 CHF depending on the condition.
Favre Leuba Bivouac
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CHINA, THE HORIZON BRIGHTENS • WORN IN THE USA, AN ANALYSIS • UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, DECLINE IN SALES • GERMANY, UNSPECTACULAR… • JAPAN, A REVIVAL? • FRANCE, NOT OPTIMISTIC YET • ITALY, A STABLE MARKET AND A DEEP WATCH CULTURE • RUSSIA, A CHALLENGING YEAR • LUXURY MARKET EXPECTATIONS IN AUSTRALIA • SENEGAL, AT THE SICKBED OF THE WATCH MARKET
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The small uptick in Swiss watch exports this last year can be put down to one overriding factor: the return – or the persistence – of Chinese consumers. Major markets, growing? This applies primarily to mainland China, but also to the happy watch-hunting grounds of Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom – the latter mainly as a result of shopping tourism, largely by Chinese. This shows the extent to which the industry still relies on China, despite the readjustments we have seen over the last three years. The inevitable recovery from the painful year of 2016 is an additional factor. The other major watch markets – the United States, Italy, Germany, France and the United Arab Emirates – are either stagnant or in decline. But these markets, the more mature markets, are where we need to ask questions about the long-term growth potential for mechanical watches. Here, it’s not enough to point to tariffs, taxes or Chinese anticorruption measures. The size of the American watch market has shrunk by around 300 million francs since 2015, Japan, Italy and Germany by 100 million, and France by 200 million. But the biggest loser by far is Hong Kong, which has shed 600 million in two years. In this issue, contributors and experts from all over the world give us their interpretations of how the watch market is evolving in countries as diverse as Japan, Germany, the United States, Australia, Russia, China and even Senegal. Their analyses will provide some pointers to understanding how to approach 2018. Enjoy!
WORLD RANKING 2017
Value of Swiss watch exports, January-November 2017, in million Swiss francs. Source: Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry 1
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
Israel Greece Oman Jordan Denmark Lebanon Philippines Iran South Africa Argentina
80.6 79.8 62.5 60.3 58.2 54.1 47.2 45.4 44.6 42.2
41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
Norway Czech Republic Finland Poland Egypt Seychelles Panama Brazil Iraq Chile
41.9 41.5 41.3 41.3 32.9 32.6 27.9 27.9 25.4 24.9
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60
Venezuela Slovenia Columbia Pakistan Peru Morocco Vietnam Ukraine Romania Kazakhstan
21.9 21.6 20.9 19.7 18.6 18.3 18.0 16.8 16.4 15.9
61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70
Bahamas Uruguay Hungary Luxembourg Cayman Islands Bulgaria Serbia US Virgin Islands Nigeria British Virgin Islands
15.6 15.3 14.3 14.3 13.4 12.6 12.5 12.0 12.0 11.0
71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80
Malta Azerbaijan Sint Maarten Indonesia Cyprus Croatia Costa Rica Aruba Slovakia New Zealand
10.9 10.4 10.1 10.1 9.6 9.1 9.0 9.0 8.5 8.1
81 82 83 84
Guam Estonia Liberia Tunisia
7.6 7.1 6.4 6.3
85 86 87 88 89 90
Jamaica Macao Saint-Barthélemy Lithuania Latvia Iceland
6.0 5.9 5.9 5.8 5.7 4.5
91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100
Armenia Georgia Canary Islands Mauritius Uzbekistan Sri Lanka Dominican Republic Nepal Ivory Coast Cuba
4.4 4.4 4.1 3.9 3.8 3.7 3.4 3.3 3.0 2.9
101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110
Barbados Paraguay Belarus Turks and Caicos Islands Belize Ceuta Dominica Guatemala Republic of Macedonia Bermuda
2.7 2.5 2.5 2.4 2.3 2.2 2.2 2.0 1.9 1.7
111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120
Myanmar Yemen Saint Lucia Turkmenistan Laos Libya Andorra Ireland Saint Kitts and Nevis Algeria
1.7 1.7 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.5 1.5 1.5
121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130
Gibraltar Guadeloupe Antigua and Barbuda Kenya Bolivia Mongolia Ethiopia Equatorial Guinea Albania Bangladesh
1.4 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.0 1.0
131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138
Angola Moldova Sudan Curaçao Bosnia and Herzegovina Maldives Congo Bonaire
0.9 0.9 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.6
139 Central African Republic 140 Montenegro
141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150
Réunion Cambodia Kyrgyzstan Tajikistan Fiji Gabon El Salvador Honduras Republic of Niger Suriname
0.4 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160
Brunei Grenada Madagascar Kosovo Haiti Senegal Nicaragua Republic of the Congo Bhutan Zimbabwe
0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0
161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170
American Pacific Islands Cape Verde Uganda Vatican French Guinea Vanuatu Zambia Rwanda New Caledonia Ghana
0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180
Papua New Guinea Afghanistan North Korea Tanzania Guinea Greenland Republic of Mali Djibouti Trinidad and Tobago Melilla
0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190
Cameroon San Marino Palestine Martinique French Polynesia Saint Pierre and Miquelon Sandwich Islands American Samoa Eritrea Malawi
0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
2017: WINNERS AND LOSERS
Evolution of Swiss watch exports. Annual variation January-November 2017 in %. Source: Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry 1
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Haute-Joaillerie, Bijouterie, Fabrication, Sertissage, Polissage. L’habillage horloger : notre métier, La joaillerie : notre force, Le sertissage : notre mission, Nous sommes le partenaire pour les métiers d’art !
SERCAB s.a. – PROSERTO s.a. Chemin de la Mousse 16 - 1225 Chêne-Bourg (suisse) T +41 22 869 25 25 - F +41 22 869 25 26 firstname.lastname@example.org – www.sercab.ch
VAL’HEURE s.a. Route du Canal 16 - cp 312 - 1347 Le Sentier (suisse) T +41 21 845 15 15 - F +41 21 845 15 10 email@example.com – www.valheure.ch
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The watch market of the Far Eastern giant should be worth 10 billion euros by 2020. The rush on China is far from over... Or, rather, the rush of the Chinese on the rest of the world, since they prefer purchasing abroad in increasing numbers. To do so, they employ surprising new practices such as hiring â€˜dai gaoâ€™ or commissioned agents. Contrary to what some might believe, the sale of traditional watches in mainland China remains relatively stable with approximately 2% growth between 2015 and 2016. Considering inflation, which rose between 3% and 4%, this is truly a stable situation. If inflation is not takSwiss watch exports evolution since 2000 (in mio CHF)
2000 2005 2010 2015 2016 74
45 351.6 1,100.1 1,336.8 1,293.4
en into account, the traditional watch market shows a slight decline. The value of the market is approximately 8.5 billion euros. Although the difficulty in China is that not everyone has the same figures!
Luxury orientations However, by 2020, it is foreseen that the watch market will reach 10 billion euros, with annual growth between 4% and 5%. It is interesting to observe where and why traditional watches are purchased: between 2014 and 2016, watches made up 50% of total spending on luxury products by the Chinese! For men, the proportion rises to 71%. The watch remains an extremely powerful object in China, with very considerable growth potential among women. The purchasing power of the Chinese continues to increase, and their purchases are branching out into all sorts of luxury products. In parallel, the average price of the watches purchased by the Chinese continues to increase as well. Today, it is estimated that the luxury watch segment constitutes only 1% of sales in terms of volume, compared with 14% mid-range and 85% entry-level products. By 2020, the share of luxury products should rise to 3% and that of the mid-range to 22%.
Hong Kong is no longer enough What should also be emphasised is that the Chinese are purchasing less and less in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. The decrease has been constant since 2015. In previous years, the Chinese purchased one-third of their watches in these three zones; but today, they only make 23% of their purchases there. Today, the Chinese increasingly purchase in mainland China, a region that remains stable with approximately one-third of purchases. But the purchases outside of mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan are increasing. Today they represent 45% in total! Indeed, the Chinese are travelling more frequently. Each year, there are fewer countries that require a visa. It is therefore easier for them to travel throughout the world. So it is not that they wish to purchase watches abroad, it’s just that they are travelling more.
Businessmen armed with cameras Moreover, a new phenomenon is skyrocketing: that of dai gao. You may order luxury products for a lower price than in China by commissioning a “businessman” to purchase them. These dai gao travel throughout the world, visiting boutiques and sending the images of products to their clients, who authorise their representatives to make the purchase in return for a commission. In such a transaction, the businessman is the one who takes the risk at customs, not the end client. A few weeks ago, I was in a department store in Paris, and I saw at least ten people using their telephones to make a detailed recording of a dress, a bag, jewellery or a watch, before sending the images to their clients via WeChat for their confirmation of the purchase. The salespeople of the department stores allow them to do so, since they are good clients.
Chinese customs began imposing stricter controls, and since April of 2015, any purchase of a value over 10,000 RMB (approximately 1,300 euros) is subject to a 60% tax. But in this system, it is not the end client who must go through customs. Repeat offenders are made to reimburse the amounts. To begin with, in 2015, the controls were truly systematic, but this caused long lines to form in the airports. Consequently, customs officers now implement sample or random controls.
Why purchase watches abroad? There are three motivating factors. First of all, the price is lower: according to one study, more than 86% of Chinese consumers decide to purchase abroad based on this criterion. Next comes the question of product authenticity, which comes into play when a real luxury watch is being purchased. In China, a number of scandals involving the authenticity of products – even in official boutiques – made headlines just a few years ago. Such issues are no longer a problem, but the events marked the public imagination in China. The third factor is the broader selection of products and better service. Today, the question of e-commerce is also on the table. However, 84% of Chinese still prefer to purchase in a boutique rather than on the internet, simply because a boutique offers a better guarantee of quality and enables the client to try the piece on, but also because the Chinese fear that the internet fails to offer after-sales service. This service point is very important. However, it must be noted that in parallel, the majority of these 84% believe that they might one day purchase a watch online. But not a very expensive product: most of them do not wish to pay more than 7,000 RMB, or 1,000 euros.
The major issue in China remains their distrust in the authenticity of more expensive items. This is the barrier that brands must overcome. If they can – if the tracking and product guarantee are truly effective – then the Chinese have no objection to purchasing online.
What about second-hand watches? Overall, the market is more open in Hong Kong, where there are more second-hand stores than in mainland China, and in Europe, where there are a great number of second-hand sales websites today. The problem in mainland China is that there are no intermediaries to guarantee the product on this second-hand market: for the time being, all transactions are made directly between private individuals on sites like Taobao. Moreover, the watch is an object that is bought as a status symbol in China, and there is a kind of reticence in acquiring second-hand products for special occasions, since used objects do not have a good image. Consumers want the latest model, the trendy one! Today, 80% of brand-name watches are purchased by millennials, including a majority by those aged between 20 and 30 years old and one-third between 30 and 40 years old. These groups are very sensitive to fashions.
What about the anti-corruption campaign? Last October, a new executive board – the seven members of the permanent committee – was nominated. The campaign will certainly continue. However, it is worth noting that there have been many developments since the campaign was launched four years ago. People still have the right to play golf or dine in luxury restaurants, but they may no longer invite high officials to accompany them. The campaign will not intensify, but rather it will enter a period of normalisation.
Moreover, watchmakers have already begun adapting their products to this new reality. The problem was that, until 2013, Chinese clientèle purchased more expensive watches mainly as gifts. When buying watches for themselves or members of their families, they did not show the same behaviour. For two years, boutiques had to adapt their stocks to the new consumer behaviour. We are now entering a period where stocks have been adapted to the new tastes of purchasers. Sales will therefore necessarily be less impacted by the effects of the anti-corruption campaign. Most consumers in mainland China are now seeking watches under 50,000 RMB (6,500 euros). The more expensive purchases are made outside China.
An idea of the future watchmaking market in China The Chinese market is flourishing since the Chinese truly adore watches, which are lifestyle and status symbols to them. Anything related to symbolism is deeply rooted and will not disappear within five years. On the contrary, there is still great potential for traditional mechanical watches. Exceptional collectors’ watches are not under threat. The only segment that might suffer today is that of the entry-level and mid-range traditional watch, with the advent of new connected watch producers. The connected watch attracts not only young and athletic people, but also seniors, since these watches can provide information useful for their health (in 2030, 30% of the Chinese population will be over 60 years of age, and will still maintain considerable purchasing power). The market of the future, in my view, therefore, depends on a watch that goes beyond telling the time: one that is chosen either as a status symbol – which is to say, a traditional watch – or for the data that it can provide, which is the case of a connected watch. To survive, the watch market must provide symbolism... Or technology.
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Like a cruise ship, moving forward slowly but surely, the world’s fourthlargest brand – underexposed in the Western media in comparison with its real market value – got a very early start in the Far East and has never deviated one iota from its strategy of affordable ultra-traditionalism. While rifling through 90 years of Europa Star archives, you notice three names that have come up again and again since the 1920s: Rolex, Zenith and Longines. Walter von Känel, the CEO of Longines, who has a direct speaking style (all the better, but all too rare!) joined the company more than 40 years ago. The StImier-based brand celebrated its 185th anniversary in 2017. It was a pioneer on the Chinese market, where it has been present for 150 years. And the Chinese are, by far, its largest clientèle. What could be more natural, then, than to celebrate the anniversary in Beijing? Europa Star was there. When arriving at the airport of the Chinese capital, it’s fun to see which watch brand your eyes will first settle on. The answer: Longines. The brand is omnipresent here. Boutiques selling the brand are located at what seem to be 100-metre intervals along the shopping thoroughfare of the city centre. Meanwhile, in Switzerland, the brand is relatively low-profile, while its more modest competitors (since, for several years, Longines has surpassed the level of one billion Swiss francs in annual turnover) roll out the heavy artillery for the slightest innovation, and even more so if the novelty reveals stylistic exuberance.
Profitable conservatism? Since the style of Longines has remained ultra-traditional, it is a strong reference for a ‘first fine watch’. However, its direct competitors have endlessly changed track – for better and for worse – over the last ten years. Today, TAG Heuer and Montblanc offer not only smartwatches, but also various tourbillon models, extending their ranges both upwards and downwards, while Longines has retained a strict price position at between 1,500 to 3,000 francs. In the case of Maurice Lacroix, moving up the market meant losing a great deal of ground on its historical German market. Frédérique Constant, a challenger in the ultra-traditionalist market of ‘affordable luxury’, is currently being integrated into the Citizen group. So is Longines conservative? “I don’t consider myself conservative, but rather consistent,” points out the CEO Walter von Känel when questioned on this aspect. The term might have negative connotations. So... traditional?
Entering Chinese e-commerce The Chinese do remain enthusiastic about mechanical watches, the head of Longines reminds us: these represent 90% of the brand’s sales in the country. They also adore models sold as ‘pairs’, which represent 60% of sales. “Our brand is perceived as offering the best quality for money in the 1,500 to 3,000 franc segment; it is recognised as a legitimate brand and not a passing trend; and it is appreciated for its classical style and elegance,” continues the unflappable von Känel. The well-balanced brand is also equitable in terms of models available to women as opposed to men: in China, more than 50% of its sales are in women’s watches. Historically well-rooted in the Middle Kingdom, the brand has always maintained particularly good relations with the central government to ensure its longevity. The clientèle of China is getting younger. In order to win over these new generations, in addition to appointing brand ambassadors, the watchmaker has just joined the gigantic Chinese e-commerce platform T-Mall. “They are truly efficient in establishing the profiles of their consumers using the data that they gather,” states Walter von Känel. “They could teach the secret services a thing or two in terms of information analysis!” 77
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It is probably the avant-garde of world markets in terms of smartwatch sales: American buyers are looking both for connection and for vintage prestige. Is the watch market moving towards greater fragmentation? The US watch market registered a decline in imports back in 2016 (-11.8%), reflecting the challenging situation experienced by this market in terms of sales. This downturn is mainly attributed to the soft local demand, the increase in sales at bargain prices from outside authorised distribution channels (e-commerce
sites), the strong US dollar and the political tensions which negatively impacted flows of tourists, who are key consumers of watches in the US. This trend continued as of June 30, 2017 with a decline in watches of 6% in both volume and current value, although the last few months have shown the first signs of stabilisation. However, the US remains one of the biggest markets worldwide for personal luxury goods and high-end watches. It is the second-largest buyer of watches (by value) with 10.2% of the market after Hong Kong (20.4%). The fourth-largest global watch manufacturer is an American brand, Fossil, with 5.2% of the market share. Indeed, the US still represents the third most prominent market after China and the rest of Asia for watch brands, mainly due to its potential in the smartwatch market.
Trends among brands Swiss watch exports evolution since 2000 (in mio CHF)
2000 2005 2010 2015 2016 78
1,847 2,156.1 1,676.6 2,359.1 2,145.3
The US watch market is mainly driven by American purchasing power with young consumers willing to invest in traditional watches as soon as they increase their disposable income. In contrast, the decrease of foreign tourists contributes to the underperformance of the overall watch sales.
Despite the growth in smartwatches (+10% in 2017), high-end watches remain very popular in the US, representing 77% of total watch sales. Rolex, Cartier, Omega, Breitling, Patek Philippe and TAG Heuer are the most popular luxury watch brands in the United States. Such watch models include popular classics like the Rolex Submariner, Rolex Daytona, Patek Philippe Calatrava, Omega Speedmaster, Breitling Navitimer and TAG Heuer Carrera. On their side, Apple Watch (Watch Series 3), Fitbit (Fitbit Blaze) and Samsung (Gear S3) are the most popular smartwatch makers. The US watch market offers a wide range of watches in all price segments, from high-end Swiss luxury brands costing hundreds of thousands of US dollars to cheaper watches from Hong Kong priced at $4. The best-seller smartwatch hovers around $300. According to watch buyers purchase intentions in 2017, US consumers still favour classic watches. Despite the decrease in volume of overall watch sales, unit prices of luxury brands held up well. The US is the second biggest destination country for Swiss watch exports after Hong Kong; however, the value of this trade continues to decrease. Total value fell by 9% in 2016 compared to 2015 and by approximately 5% for the ten month period ending October 31,
2017, as compared to the same period in 2016. Weaker demand for watches in the US is one of the main reasons for the decrease in Swiss watch exports.
Impact of the smartwatch However, the appeal of connected watches is big in the US, where nearly 9% of US consumers over 18 years of age own a smartwatch. Apple Watch accounts for 55% of smartwatch global market share, with 11.6 million sales in 2016, with a price range between $300 and $1,400. Apple discontinued the Gold model Apple Watch priced at $10,000. In September 2017, Apple claimed they had become the largest watch brand in the world, ahead of Rolex, although their official sales figures were not released. However, smartwatches are not seen as a threat by luxury brand watchmakers (77% of total sales are mechanical watches) but more as an opportunity to develop high-end smartwatches. Indeed, TAG Heuer successfully launched its connected smartwatch, which starts at $1,500 more than other similarly priced smartwatches. Hermès and Apple are continuing their partnership announced back in 2015 to create Hermès straps for Apple Watches and retail them in Hermès boutiques, priced at around $2,000. 79
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The hub for luxury watches in the Middle East has been met with challenging times these last three years. Basically, there is too much supply, with the continuous opening of new extra-large malls, at too high a price for the (now slowing) demand. The watch market in the United Arab Emirates has been declining since 2015. The Middle East has been the worst performing market for many brands for the last years. The main reasons are the following: • Too many malls have been built recently. Consequently, there is an overcapacity for the supply. Brands are closing shops in the old malls to focus on the new malls where customers are going. • Retailers have too much watch inventory inherited
Swiss watch exports evolution since 2000 (in mio CHF)
2000 2005 2010 2015 2016 80
180.5 347.3 579.1 950.9 923.6
from the boom years, which still need to be cleared. Therefore, they do not have the right stocks and are trying to sell the old collections. • The pricing is too high compared to Europe. Since clients are better informed and have more transparency on the price thanks to digitisation, they are buying their watches on other channels or in other countries. • The difficulty of finding competent staff with customer connections and product knowledge exacerbates the problem of resellers. • The significant political uncertainties do nothing to encourage buying expensive watches. The best-selling brands in the United Arab Emirates remain Patek Philippe and Rolex. Hublot and Audemars Piguet are also beloved in the ‘big watch’ category. The buyers are 60% locals and 40% tourists. Locals are buying the most expensive watches because of the proximity of customer service. Entry-level and mid-range sales are declining because of the competition of connected watches or non-Swiss made watches. However, the luxury watch market and the connected watch market are two different markets and customers. The only cannibalisation of the connected watch over the luxury watch could be entry-level and/or non-mechanical watches (i.e. steel watches from traditional Swiss brands Baume & Mercier, Frédérique Constant or Raymond Weil).
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The third edition of Dubai Watch Week was an incontestable success, despite the fact that the world of watch trade fairs is currently in turmoil. The event is part of a subtle strategy established by the long-established Middle-Eastern watch retailer, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. We took the opportunity to check in on the watch market in the United Arab Emirates.
The third Dubai Watch Week was held this past November. The fair goes beyond exhibiting luxury brands to possess another kind of luxury: time. The time to discover and discuss in a serene atmosphere. The event is more of a cultural convention than a trade fair. That’s natural, since it is coordinated by the most prestigious watch retailer in the Middle East, Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, founded in the late 1940s and today employing more than 800 people in a dense network of more than 70 boutiques throughout the United Arab Emirates, representing nearly as many prestigious brands. The event is therefore not a rat race to find a new representative... which means you can take your time! This watchmaking campus also features two characteristics that are cruelly lacking in the other events of this type across the world: a rich programme of lectures and workshops and the integration of the vintage watch sector, which is quickly growing, including in the Gulf countries. Christie’s had its own pavilion during the fair. “We launched auctions in Dubai in 2006,” explains watch sales manager Stéphane Von Bueren. “It was not a foregone conclusion that we would be able to sell second-hand watches here... It has taken some time. We started with modern watches, but bit by bit, vintage models are also becoming important.”
How do you view the watchmaking market of the United Arab Emirates in 2017? Swiss watch exports were down for the second consecutive year... 2017 was a complicated year, considering the persistent geopolitical instability in the Middle East. I hope that the situation will improve. But faced with this context, we will continue our investments to pursue our development. Whatever may come, Dubai will remain the regional hub. This reputation was not built overnight, even if the development was very rapid. Today, Dubai has become an internationally recognised destination and brand. We benefit from that.
Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi, a third-generation representative and the Chief Commercial Officer of Seddiqi Holding.
“When I attended the first auctions here in Dubai, I was surprised to see how many people in the audience were discouraged by the fact that the watches were ‘used’,” notes Ali Khadra of Canvas Magazine. “But that is just what makes them captivating. A watch is not like an old dress; you are not just purchasing a gemstone or a mechanism, but a little piece of history.” The concept of watch ‘maturity’ is catching on in Dubai, observes Melika Yazdjerdi, Senior Marketing and Communications Director, Seddiqi Holding, and Director of Dubai Watch Week. Historically, the royal families of the Middle East have commissioned a great number of pieces from Swiss watchmakers, and a substantial number are still on display at the Patek Philippe Museum of Geneva. “Collectors are not just interested in the most expensive watches, but also more specific models and movements. Our role and raison d’être have always been to contribute to helping educate local inhabitants in the art of watchmaking.” And most of all, when the brands and their representatives become concentrated and takeovers abound, the retailer still manages its business in the image of a big family, both literally and figuratively... Who better, then, to speak of the state of the market in the United Arab Emirates than a member of the family? We interviewed Mohammed Abdulmagied Seddiqi, a thirdgeneration representative and the Chief Commercial Officer of Seddiqi Holding. 82
In retrospect, what can you say about the evolution of the market in the United Arab Emirates over the last decade? The density of watch brands present there today is striking. The watch market has made leaps and bounds over the last decade, principally because the country has developed through the initiative of the regent family. They have encouraged investment in Dubai and greatly developed the infrastructures – including roads and the airport – to encourage business and tourism, making Dubai a hub for the entire Middle East. It is a ‘complete package’ that attracts a great deal of people and capital, including in watchmaking. We are accompanying this growth. Precisely where are your clients from? Our clientele is 50% local and 50% foreign, since Dubai attracts tourists from Europe, Russia and the Far East. It’s a good mix. One of your principal competitors in the region is the distributor Rivoli, today managed by the Swatch Group. How have you compensated for the end of your collaboration with the Swiss corporation? Our portfolio is still rich and varied. Today we represent more than 60 brands, for every budget and every taste. After all, our selection begins with fashion watches from brands like Guess or Armani; we carry connected watches, and TAG Heuer has even released a limited Dubai edition of its Connected watch through our 1915 by Seddiqi & Sons stores; and we have been representing prestigious brands – including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars
Piguet and Chopard – for over six decades through Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, the longest-standing and largest business unit of Seddiqi Holding. They are independent, and often very family-oriented, which naturally brings us closer to them. Moreover, the ‘new’ brand that has best emerged in the last fifteen years is incontestably Richard Mille. We continue to regularly add new brands to our portfolio. The latest to date is Bell & Ross. Today, Dubai is home to the largest mall in the world; and it will be surpassed by a new one by 2020, also in the same city, for the Expo 2020. The new mall will include more than 4,750 stores! Has the single-brand boutique model – shop-in-shop – definitively prevailed over the multi-brand store model in the region? It would be too radical to assert such a thing. It is true that single-brand boutiques currently represent 70% of our distribution. We started with a multi-brand concept in the 1950s, but we opened single-brand boutiques in the 1970s, beginning with Chopard. Most of them are located within malls. Indeed, this is one of the principal reasons why there are more single-brand boutiques here than in Europe: there are a great deal more malls in Dubai, and therefore more shop-in-shops. What about online sales? In the United Arab Emirates, we are not witnessing strong growth in online sales of luxury watches, unlike what is perhaps the case in the United States. However, we are considering e-commerce for the smaller brands in our portfolio. We are going to launch initiatives along these lines; but for the other brands, ‘touch and feel’ remains an important factor in the region, like the personal relations that we have been developing with our clients for generations.
the best-known models in the history of watch sales is the Daytona, featuring the emblem of the United Arab Emirates, commissioned from Rolex by the royal family. Certain renowned retailers, such as Wempe or Bucherer, have gone beyond their national markets. Do you also plan to extend to other Gulf countries? For the time being, we are concentrating on our presence in the United Arab Emirates, since there is still a lot of potential to explore. Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons is the most important part of Seddiqi Holding, but we are also active in after-sales service, beauty products, and especially real estate in Dubai. Moreover, considering how we work, branching out would mean finding a member of the family willing to move abroad to manage the subsidiary. While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about how you work. The Seddiqi family has become so large today that you have established an ‘impartial’ selection system in-house! How does that work? Today, the family includes seven third-generation representatives. The family is growing, but not everyone works in watches; members have to be qualified to enter the business. To date, we have introduced a family booklet in an attempt to perpetuate the company over the upcoming generations. Any member of the family wishing to join the company must have at least five years of experience – although not necessarily exclusive to the watch business – and have a passion for watches. And the family is prohibited from getting involved in recruiting members of the family. We sometimes criticise each other, but only for the good of the company! We also include people who are not members of the family in order to benefit from a diversity of ideas.
And vintage watches?
How did you get the idea to create Dubai Watch Week? And what are you aiming to achieve with this event?
We ourselves are not yet present in the sales of vintage models, but we are planning on opening a specialised vintage boutique in the long term. It must be said that people are increasingly conscious of the auction opportunities available for watches. Emeratis are already participating in sales in Geneva, New York City and Hong Kong, as well as in Dubai. Moreover, one of
Eleven years ago, I attended a watch event in Singapore, and it inspired me to launch a purely educative conference. Dubai Watch Week is more a cultural event than it is a trade fair. The more we educate people in premium watchmaking, the more we benefit from it, since we are at the heart of the watch ecosystem in the Middle East, and this is fertile ground for the watch business. 83
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2017 will be remembered as an unspectacular year for the German watch market. Yet, with hardly any growth, a business that just represents 2012 figures and persistent challenges, the country’s forecast looks unspectacular, too. One could feel the relief among the exhibiting brands at the recent Munichtime fair. This posh consumer watch show has become a precise barometer indicating the elapsed year’s commercial success. “Thank goodness, a stable business and no further downturn” was an oftenheard statement by industry representatives. And indeed, the statistics of the Swiss Watch Federation support that assessment: exports of wristwatches to
Swiss watch exports evolution since 2000 (in mio CHF)
2000 2005 2010 2015 2016 84
716.2 635.2 768.6 1,233 1,101.6
Germany amounted to 1 million pieces, worth some 799 million Swiss francs by end of October 2017. Though in terms of units a decrease of -8.9% is significant, a decline of -1.6% in value means the market got off lightly. Similar to other countries, the demand for Swiss watches at lower price ranges has diminished in Germany, while timekeepers at a per-piece export value of >500 Swiss francs have helped to compensate for the loss at the cheap end. Taking the Swiss export numbers of former Novembers and Decembers as a yardstick, Germany is probably experiencing a moderate growth of +0.5% to +1.5% by the end of 2017 (995 million Swiss francs in value; estimate The Bridge To Luxury). In the long historical perspective, Germany remains a conservative market. Its global market share of Swiss exports was almost stable and represents approximately 5.2% in 2017 (source FH). The modest market growth, though, will have basically been enabled by Chinese tourists returning to Germany, while local consumption remained flat at best. And this dependency on Chinese demand highlights just one of the many industry challenges, affecting not only the German but the global market. Three others to list are the increasing threats of the smartwatch, the growing online business and future consumers’ demographics.
sumed that if such future online business is not controlled by the brands, the notorious online discounting will put additional pressure on the industry’s revenues and profit margins.
Future consumers’ demographics Increasing threat of the smartwatch In its recent study, the Watch Monitor 2017 by Responsio/ Sinus reveals for Germany that 51% of people questioned are ready to purchase a smartwatch and 14% already possess one. For those in the sample who are willing to spend more than 1,000 euros for a timekeeper, 12% even say that it will be sufficient for them to own a smartwatch only. Even if the traditional watch industry were able to fill the developing deficit with its own smart offerings, fending off Apple, Samsung & co., any downturn will nevertheless further fuel the structural (and not just cyclical) problems of the mechanical watch industry. The German car industry, struggling with e-mobility, indicates the challenges ahead, as it has been a good benchmark to anticipate developments for the watch business over recent decades. And with a current global market share of smartwatches of less than 2%, it is unlikely that the established European watch brands will be able to catch up with the huge marketing and innovation machines of the IT giants.
Growing online business Another challenge is online business. According to Bain, 8% of all luxury-related sales are already concluded online. And the German Watch Monitor 2017 confirms these numbers, at least for this major market. For the whole of the German population, 11% already purchase a timekeeper mainly online. For the exclusive segment of those willing to spend more than 1,000 euros for a watch, the number is an astonishing 17% (20% men, 13% women). Obviously, such figures indicate future disruptions in the German distribution system affecting especially brick-and-mortar stores – even if the willingness to buy at classical retailers is still the first choice for Germans according to the Watch Monitor 2017. And it can be as-
Finally, the demographics will reduce the potential customer base. The United Nations estimates that the growth rate of people between 25-59 years, representing the strongest purchasing power, will be halved over the next three decades. In an aging society like Germany this is likely to happen – consumers having the money but being unwilling to spend it.
What happens next? Given such impacting factors, The Bridge To Luxury estimates an industry compound annual growth rate of 3-6%, in Germany and worldwide, for the next five years, while long-term growth rates will likely fall below that range. Despite such a challenging prognosis, there are plenty of opportunities for engaging brands. One future success factor will be the comprehensive use of market research data. A closer look at the German market shows, for instance, that young Germans in particular still consume print media (Watch Monitor 2017). Hence, players who dare to contradict the mainstream mantra that socalled millennials are using basically online information sources may gain surprising competitive advantages in targeting their marketing efforts better. This applies also for the huge potential of marketing to the elderly. On the basis of such better consumer understanding, professional and strong emotional branding should be of highest priority – provided it is supported by sufficient budgets. And finally, a sharp focus on efficient and effective organisational set-ups alongside the whole value chains will help to keep costs for complex omnichannel communication and distribution under control. Contrary to the relief of German industry representatives at Munichtime, the likely decreased presence of watch brands at Baselworld 2018 already hints that the challenges are here to stay. The hard work is still to come. 85
An interview with Eva-Kim Wempe, CEO of Wempe watch retailer Europa Star: How was 2017 for your business and what do you expect for 2018? Eva-Kim Wempe: 2017 proved again that our business is in a disruptive phase with lots of dynamics and challenges which Wempe faced quite well, I guess. I am looking forward to the next year because in 2018 we will be able to connect significant dots in becoming a leading omni-channel jeweller. On this point, how do you transform to adapt to a rapidly changing watch market, especially the advent of online sales? After setting up all the relevant digital touch points, it is our main objective to serve the clients in the best possible way. Therefore adapting all our best-practice client services to a digital context and adding new ones to achieve a seamless Wempe experience is key. The cus86
tomer’s needs are – as always – at the core of all our activities and part of the Wempe DNA since the beginning. Concretely, how does this omni-channel strategy translate online? Can we buy online all of the brands you represent? Wempe will offer all the brands we represent as soon as e-commerce is part of their individual overall business strategy. We are quite confident that the majority of our brands will follow our omni-channel path. How important are digital sales today overall, compared to sales in physical stores? Digital sales today are not yet as significant as one might think, but will be the most important business trigger to drive sales and services in the future. Wempe can only be relevant if we are offering digital services and sales as well as the traditional consultancy and sale in our stores. It’s about finding the perfect mix and the right balance of both. You have expanded internationally, with stores in London, Paris and Beijing. Do you plan to keep opening stores outside Germany? Our international expansion will surely continue as long as we identify cultural contexts in markets that really fit with the way Wempe is doing its business. It’s a very special culture of trading masterpieces of craftsmanship that is based on real appreciation and enthusiasm in the first place. We are not doing our business just for the sake of it. (SM)
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In 2017, Japan’s watch market showed some very interesting trends. Following the return of tourists from greater China, inbound demand is showing a gradual resurgence. On the other hand, Japanese consumption habits have still not fully recovered from the shock of the Lehman collapse. The data published by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reflects the complex situation of the Japanese watch market. Until a few years ago, wealthy Chinese tourists were practically the only customers of watch retailers in two famous shopping areas, Ginza and Nihombashi. However, since Xi Jinping launched his anti-corruption drive and began cracking down on imported goods, their interests switched from buying consumer goods to buying experiences. Instead of carrying around luxury branded carrier bags, they became interested in Michelin-starred sushi restaurants.
Some dealers and department stores continued to rely on them, and tried to expand their watch retail outfits, but their efforts soon proved futile. But in 2017, tourists from overseas, especially from greater China, showed a strong desire to buy watches and luxury goods again. Interestingly, many of them were interested not just in famous brands, but also in the kinds of watches that the Japanese prefer. In fact, I was interviewed by a buyer’s guide for Chinese tourists about watches that sold well to Japanese. Moreover, when they did buy, they tended to stick to buying just one or two. To be fair, in the last few years, they have regained their keen eyes for choosing goods and items. On the other hand, the consumption habits of Japanese have still not fully recovered from the Lehman collapse. The rising stock market and rocketing value of Bitcoin have triggered the recovery of super-luxury products, but sales of watches (especially those from small manufacturers) are weak for the 500,000–3,000,000 yen range (4,000 to 26,000 dollars). The economic situation of Japan is recovering, but still not sufficiently to stimulate the middle class. And because of excessive inventory being pushed by the major manufacturers and big groups, retail stores are now steadily losing purchasing capacity. The watches that continue to sell well in Japan are the same. There’s Rolex, of course, plus sporty Hublot, TAG Heuer, with its youth appeal, and Richard Mille, now an icon for the wealthy. Hamilton still dominates the entry-level market. However, there has been a growing trend in recent years for luxury products from domestic manufacturers to sell well. Grand Seiko and Oceanus by Casio are good examples. Many Japanese are very priceconscious, as no doubt are overseas buyers. As a result, we have come to realise that watches made in Japan are relatively inexpensive and of comparatively high quality. So, what will happen in 2018? The economic recovery will last until 2020, which will also stimulate the watch market. However, the situation in North Korea remains a primary concern. Many Japanese are still optimistic, but if the situation worsens, the economy of the entire East Asian region will be affected, not just Japan. It’s not the Japanese or the Chinese who are in charge, but “Dictator Kim”.
Swiss watch exports evolution since 2000 (in mio CHF)
2000 2005 2010 2015 2016
928.4 1,147.2 807.1 1,305.5 1,261.9 87
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After a good start, the French watchmaking sector is poised for a gloomy end to 2017. The business climate is dominated by geopolitics and a growing disparity between large and medium-sized players, and between the provinces and Paris. In 1992, the queen of England generated a buzz, without grasping all the consequences, when she talked of her annus horribilis. Well aware of the double-entendre, the players on the French watchmaking scene have been careful not to apply the term to 2017. Nevertheless, it pretty well sums up the mood of the past few months. "Things started well the first half of the year, but after that they went downhill,â€? explains Benjamin Cymerman, general manager of retailers Heurgon, in Paris. 2017 has been a bad year for the watchmaking trade in France, almost as bad as the disastrous 2016.
Swiss watch exports evolution since 2000 (in mio CHF)
2000 2005 2010 2015 2016 88
652.9 670.7 1,169.2 1,225.7 985.8
The Swiss watch export statistics come to the same conclusions as the studies by Comité Francéclat, the French inter-professional jewellery and tableware body. The slight additional percentage drop is made less bitter, however, by the hopes, ignited by certain indicators, of an end to the crisis. A resumption of growth in the euro zone, a return by Asian customers, no major terrorist attack for several months: the industry has stopped quaking, although not yet completely over the worst. This is proven by the fact that numerous medium-sized retailers are still closing down. Others are still, for better or for worse, but mainly for worse, losing major brands.
Inequalities The French market is proving more bicephalous than ever. On the one hand, the country is still the world number one tourist destination, with its capital as the spearhead, bolstered by the French Riviera. “We have a mainly foreign customer base, and custom from the countries of the Middle East is pretty good. Those customers are very fond of jewelled watches and jewellery in general,” adds Benjamin Cymerman. And although the distinction between watch and jewellery is not always obvious, numerous retailers are saying that they have been “saved by jewellery”. Parallel to this, large sales outlets are expanding, or pushing their advantage. Leaders like Arije and Dubail are continuing to expand, while the giant Bucherer,
which arrived in France four years ago, is still suffering structural losses. The race to invest is one way of positioning themselves for the future, but is based on a distribution model which, increasingly, is being challenged by changes in customer behaviour.
Moderation On the other hand, local customers have their own habits, less profligate, certainly, than those of buyers in the Place Vendôme and other luxury addresses, but which underpin a dense network of medium-sized retailers across the country. These customers tend to be neglected when one focuses on the ten most prestigious brands, which are often absent from second-tier cities. “The average shopping basket of our buyers has shrunk, permanently,” Benjamin Cymerman goes on. “They’re asking for less expensive parts, fewer grand complications, more steel. And that’s what the brands are launching.” Given that this type of timepiece represents the reference choice in cities of average size, they should come out of it relatively unscathed. But then the provinces never developed a taste for the hard drug from which the world market is still suffering the withdrawal symptoms – that of Chinese customers bitten by the buying bug. “Their behaviour has changed too. They buy less expensive, less ostentatious items, more sure values...” After the laissez-faire of 2016 and the frenzy of 2017, rehab will continue in 2018. 89
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Contrary to Hong Kong, China or the UK, which have experienced dramatic increases or decreases these last years, the Italian market seems much more stable. It remains home to a compact number of watch aficionados and consumers of highend well-established Swiss brands. In Italy, the wristwatch market was worth around 1.5 billion euros back in 2016. After a slight increase in growth, data for this year showed figures were stable. The global data refers to products sold in Italy through jewellery channels to Italian and foreign consumers,
and it shows a -7% drop in quantity and a +0.3% increase in value. The average price rose from 209 to 223 euros. The Italian consumer therefore continues to prefer high-value watches, with a steady trend over the last five years. Menâ€™s watches represent 43% in volume and 52% in value, while womenâ€™s watches represent 44% in quantity and 41% in value. Diverse trends within watches in Italy are expected to result in a 2% compound annual growth rate at constant 2017 prices over the forecast period. Demand for high-end watches is expected to continue to grow between 2017 and 2022. However, increasing competition among manufacturers and retailers, especially with slightly lower-priced products from overseas, is expected to limit growth potential for value sales.
Optimistic trend Swiss watch exports evolution since 2000 (in mio CHF)
2000 2005 2010 2015 2016 90
883.3 854.7 923.6 1,315.9 1,180.8
Sales of historic brands such as Rolex or Audemars Piguet remain constant, although they have experienced a slight decline in recent years due to lower foreign currencies. Rolex Italia SpA led sales in 2016 followed by the Swatch Group, recording a value share of 14% and 10% respectively. Rolex is a highly recognised
watch brand in Italy, offering a large collection of high-priced products. The Swatch Group, besides the mass brand Swatch that registered success over the review period, offers a broad range of premium watches with Longines and Omega, ranked respectively third and fifth in brands. It is important to highlight how brands like Omega are growing in the last period, decreasing the gap with the worldâ€™s top brands and gaining a place among them. It is important to highlight that almost 90% of the global watch market is represented by Swiss watches. In 2016, exports of Swiss watches lost 9.9%. Industry experts look at 2017 with optimism; despite a negative start in the first two months of the year, it should mark a return to stability. Positive signals arrive even from China, in January and February (8% and + 6.4%), confirming the recovery of the Asian giant. In 2016 the only plus sign was recorded by the United Kingdom, with a + 3.7% driven by the low value of the pound.
The optimism of the various watchmakersâ€™ executives also extends to foreign tourists shopping in Switzerland and the rest of Europe, representing 5% of watch exports: purchases are indeed destined to grow. It is clear that classic brands continue to appeal to higherend customers.
Impact of the connected watch Finally, there is no significant threat from smartwatches: for 72% of those who responded to the study, intelligent timepieces do not represent a direct competitor to traditional models. The number of consumers intending to buy classic watches is increasing in many countries and the presence of smartwatches could well be a strength and not a weakness; Indeed, for 14% the connected segment could represent a growth opportunity for some brands.
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2017 has been a challenging year for the Russian watch market. For the first nine months of the year, the value of imported watches increased by 5%, but that was achieved only through the mass segment. The factors preventing market growth remain unchanged. Low income is the most important of these factors. From spring 2017, statistics have recorded some growth in retail turnover, mostly due to increased lending activities. Some markets, like the car market, for example, demonstrate fantastic growth figures. But not the watch market yet. Another element standing in the way of luxury consumption is the government. Expensive items have often been purchased with cash, which is out of reach of taxation, as well as through gifts to officials. Tax rates remain the same, but the government is boosting its efforts to collect them and to control expenditure, which all helps to reduce the number of expensive purchases. Another major challenge for the watch market is the anti-corruption drive. The major cause of the downturn is a change in consumption patterns. Ten or twenty years ago, customers bought watches to demonstrate their status. Nowadays, conspicuous consumption is being replaced by more discreet â€˜old moneyâ€™ behaviour patterns. All this is cou92
pled with a decrease in watch advertising, which means no new watch buyers are being created. Reliance on foreign tourists has failed; although the number of tourists from China continues to grow, they no longer buy expensive things. Instead, they have focused on affordable watches, often manufactured in Russia. In these circumstances, only the most powerful brands, and brands at the height of fashion, remain in demand. Most of the luxury brands are experiencing hard times right now. Many of them are courting lower-level retailers, something they would not have attempted a year or two ago. There is talk of the upcoming closure of several brand boutiques. However, there are examples of interesting new projects. A Domino shop, located in a casino targeting tourists from China and South-East Asia, opened in Vladivostok this summer. Rich Time is successfully developing several independent luxury brands, and opened Louis Moinet, Carl F. Bucherer and HYT boutiques in Moscow this autumn. Things are still complicated in the medium price range too. According to retailers, Breitling and TAG Heuer are in constant demand, although connected watches have disappointed. All in all, it feels like demand for classic watches is decreasing, and interest is
geared towards something unconventional but affordable at the same time. Rado, for example, is popular, according to retailers. At the same time, the situation has reverted to how it was in the early 2000s, when 70% of sales were concentrated in Moscow. A decline in advertising volumes, which started even before the economic recession, in 2013, also had a negative impact on the market. Decreased advertising was especially painful for the specialised watch print media, putting its very existence at stake. Watch promotion is complicated by the fact that distributors are limited by the brands’ guidelines, and often cannot take steps that would be effective in the Russian economic environment. The second constraint is manufacturers’ policies, which create uncertainty among distributors about their long-term relations with suppliers. Many brands are talking about shifting their advertising and activity towards the internet, but in reality they’re just cutting marketing expenses. Meanwhile, it is on the internet that the main changes have taken place. Swatch opened the first branded online store, and Mercury created their own site.
The main trend in commerce is an omni-channel approach, as used by some websites and retail chains. One distributor, TBN Time Distribution, is also developing an interesting approach. All these projects are effective in the entry-level and mid-range segments, where regulation by the manufacturers is less stringent. Where high-end products are concerned, Russians prefer to choose online, but buy offline. Russia is a rather peculiar country, very different from the others. The situation here will depend on the income of the population, and the promotion activity of the brands. The Russian market has access to experienced operators and extensive infrastructure, including a trade press, major watch exhibitions and business associations. The market has great potential for renewed growth. For example, since the spring, Russians have been spending more money off-board, and the automotive market has increased by 18%. Such things as trust among partners, and confidence on the part of local distributors and dealers in their suppliers, are vital today. In order to succeed, brands have to take into account Russia’s specific features, and show more confidence in their partners.
WATCH IMPORTS TO RUSSIA
Up to 30 Euro
(by price categories, year to year, export prices)
(Source: Russian Watch Market Association)
70-150 Euro 150-400 Euro 400-1500 Euro
29% 21% 15%
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Record continuous growth and buoyant conditions are strong indicators for the luxury makers but they face contradictory generational conservatism. Understanding the Australian market for watches and luxuries is not just an easy matter of dialling up the statistical indicators. In 1999/2000, reliable buyer performance was entangled with Australian taxation reform when a 10% retail Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced into Australia replacing a huge 33% wholesale sales tax. For many decades, anybody contemplating buying a serious watch would fly to Hong Kong to enjoy a very comfortable all expenses-paid holiday on the back of the Statistics show that in the year to June 2017 a large aircraft (A380, 747 Jumbo etc) landed or departed every 6 minutes at Sydney Airport in the unrestricted hours. The car-park for passenger drop-off/arrivals at the international terminal was the most profitable segment of the airport. Car parking fees generated AUD$97.8 million (CHF 73 million) profit for the year. Most Asia or Europe-bound flights out of Sydney will first touch-down in the tax-free havens of Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai or Bangkok. Perfect for buying a high-end Swiss watchâ€Ś
tax saved by purchasing in the tax-free port. Statistics concerning Australiaâ€™s participation in the luxuries markets was thus distorted by the deeply embedded culture of buying tax-free offshore.
Statistical evaluations Over the last ten years Australia has suffered a slight contraction of global imports of all products of -5.95% but Australian imports of watches tell a quite different story. From all countries*, Australian wristwatch imports look like this: 2007 2008 2009
313248 313901 323054 314768 327617 382527 420889 452184 572797 472122 0.21% 2.92% -2.56% 4.08% 16.76% 10.03% 7.44% 26.67% -17.58% 10 years overall growth = 50.72%
Thus over ten years Australian imports of watches grew by 50.72%, USA watch imports contracted -2.4%, UK grew by 35% and Canada by 45%. We can see that in 2016 there was a very significant drop in watch imports into Australia and this should be seen in the context of the global political instabilities of that time. But a further contributor points to supply-line irregularity causing the very large complementary bump in imports in 2015, where the wholesale pipeline became overcharged and a necessary supply adjustment took place.
Today’s global instabilities notwithstanding, Australia’s economic outlook remains very strong and there is no reason to believe that the average trajectory of the last ten years will not continue. A federal government election is touted for 2018 and there is local political instability, but this is certainly not of a nature to affect trade of consumer items. The country has completed its 26th consecutive year of annual economic growth (despite appallingly vacuous conservative political leadership). Statistics published by the Australian Government Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade indicate Australia is: • The second nation in terms of wealth per adult (after Switzerland) • The number one global exporter of coal, iron and aluminium ores • The second largest global exporter of liquefied natural gas • The number one global exporter of wool and fourth largest exporter of cotton • Ranked first in the world for ‘well-being’ • Ranked sixth globally on prosperity. Roughly 65% of the population own their own home. Huge market appreciation means most who have held their property over 10 years will have become a millionaire on the property market revaluation alone.
So how do we interpret these straws in the wind in terms of the state of trade for the luxury watch market? A very strong market indicator is the opening this year by Swatch Group’s Omega of a very large boutique in Martin Place, the serious-money end of Sydney. Raynald Aeschlimann, President of Omega, said the Australian market had evolved considerably since his first visit 15 years ago. “We consider it one of the key regions of the world. This store being new and so big is a sign of that evolution. To open a store is nice, but if it’s only to please yourself it doesn’t last… If you are opening that big, you also know why. The results are very good.” Primarily, many factors point to strong personal wealth but with limitations of disposable income, because whilst so many are now paper ‘millionaires’ this does not provide discretionary cash or the incentive to loosen the culturally restrictive strings on spending.
But consciousness of beautiful watches and luxuries is growing Over recent years some independent watchmakers have established private watch names for local distribution. Of these there are two rather more serious developing brands. The Bausele brand was established five years ago by combining Australian design with the ‘Swiss Made’ epithet and incorporating an innovative idea of Christophe Hoppe, the owner of the brand. The see-through crown is hollow and filled with a little ‘part of Australia', being famous Bondi Beach sand or red sand from the Gibson Desert. Further, Hoppe’s firm has recently completed a successful partnership with Flinders University Research in Adelaide to develop the manufacture of ceramic watch cases. In a complementary development, the Rebelde brand is Australian designed/assembled and its owner, Nicholas Hacko, is acquiring the needed machinery, training and expertise for full local manufacture of a branded in-house calibre. His firm is well advanced along a five-year procurement and training plan. Logically, discussions are already underway between these two entrepreneurs to combine their developments and ideas for a full, locally manufactured watch. Of course there are export opportunities for this collaboration, but their primary market is initially within Australia and there are interesting possibilities, which will play out in due course, for a locally made watch in the luxury price-point sector.
All these indicators tell us Australia is a rich and resourceful country That there is entrepreneurial innovation and supportive finance is undeniable, but it will take skilful promotion and consistent application of good marketing policies to tap into the abundance of prospective buyers. It is important here to understand that the old adage that “one good Swiss watch is enough” is deep-seated in old generational culture. The high-end makers would like to make subtle adjustments here by embedding the idea that several good Swiss watches will surely create a better culture? To this end they must dedicate psychological targeting and convert the oneoff buyer into a collector or repeat buyer of the very beautiful high-end Swiss watches that are tempting us in the Australian luxury boutiques today. *Statistics: International Trade Centre, Geneva
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On the beaches of Dakar, lapped by the Atlantic, time is on the move. It slips between the Western tourists languishing on the sand of Yoff or the pebbles of Mamelles. Its Senegalese – or occasionally Guinean – pedlar is weighed down with Hublot, Rolex and Breitling watches that, he will swear, “fell off a lorry”. These imitations are sold between 5,000 and 10,000 West African CFA francs (9 to 18 dollars). A very modest sum for a client versed in the art of negotiation. But for local watch retailers such as Darwiche, these ‘chinoiseries’, as Randa Darwiche calls them, actually carry a much higher price. “This competition has saturated the market since 2010, threatening our activity,” denounces the manager of L’Horlogerie du Sénégal. “These watches are present on every market of the capital, in the streets and on the beaches. It’s a catastrophe. The pieces only last a few months. Some people bring them to us for repair, but it’s no use, since the mechanisms are all in plastic. We don't even get to change the battery.” Two and a half years ago, Randa took over the family watchmaking business, located on one of the most popular shopping thoroughfares of Dakar, Avenue Lamine Gueye. The shop still has old-fashioned wood panelling on the interior. Raymond Weil and Yema stickers are yellowing on the till – a memory of the good old days when prestigious Swiss and French brands were still selling in the Senegalese capital. 96
“Those days are gone,” sighs Huguette, Randa's mother. She was here in the 1950s when the store carried premium imports: Rolex, Longines, Omega, Lip, Nicard, Cupillard, Universal and Breitling. But for ten years, it has only carried Japanese watches. Casio and Seiko. So Huguette keeps her stickers as a souvenir of an opulent time when Mohamed Darwiche – her husband and the founder of the store – imported Breitlings for the Senegalese air force. Randa remembers travelling to the Doubs Valley as a child with her father to purchase ODO clocks. “We went to Morteau to stock up,” she recalls. “Then we visited La Chaux-de-Fonds where we bought components of every calibre for our repair service.” A passion that brought her to work at Breitling Canada for ten years. In the 1980s, L’Horlogerie du Sénégal employed three watchmakers full-time to repair 18 watches a day. Today, the volume has seriously diminished. “We only repair ten watches a week, and we only sell about ten a month,” asserts Randa. “Well, we don’t actually repair them. We change the motors, batteries and straps.” As is the case abroad, the Senegalese watch sector has paid the price of successive upheavals. The quartz crisis in the 1980s, followed by the advent of Chinese imitations and mobile phones. “The day before Ramadan, we used to have so many alarm clocks to wind, we had blisters on our fingers,” she recalls. “But in the last ten years, people have come to use the alarms on their telephones. While the watch market figures in Europe and the United States are showing linear growth, the market here in Africa has been in decline for twenty years.” She attributes the responsibility for this decline to the disappearance of the middle class and the polarisation of inequalities, dragging African purchasing power down.
Diversifying Customs duties to blame Twenty metres away, at the Gambetta watch store – the oldest in Senegal – the Arzouni family places the blame for the drop in their activity principally on excessively high customs duties. “Import taxes amount to 50% of the price of a watch, a piece, a battery or a mechanism,” complains Samir Arzouni, grandson of the founder of this boutique of reference. “We have to sell them for twice the price as on the European market,” he explains. “That is why we have had to resort to mid-range and low-range watches. Rich Senegalese people prefer to purchase their luxury watches in Duty Free stores when they travel abroad.” The luxury Omega, Rolex and Rado watches that filled the window in his grandfather's time are gone. “Today, we sell Fossil, Casio and Pierre Lannier watches.” Watches ranging from 15 euros to a few hundred euros, but no more. “Women purchase these lowpriced watches. They love the shiny gold plating. The trend in the last few years has been oversized watches, but that is starting to fade. People keep up with styles abroad,” recounts Samir. “Today, we are getting a more diverse clientèle: principally Senegalese, but occasionally foreign. What keeps us going is that the Senegalese consider the watch as an integral part of any outfit. It is a piece of jewellery, a reflex that people have managed to maintain... Even though, all too often, it is a cheap ‘bling’ piece.” In this workshop, the family – who arrived with the Lebanese wave of immigration in the 1950s, as is the case for the majority of watch professionals in Senegal – continues to train a few young apprentices. But the meticulous art of watchmaking mechanics has given way to the simple replacement of the movement or battery. “We work with FE, ISA, ETA and Miyota movements when we manage to procure them,” explains Samir Arzouni, who trained for one year at the French national agency for professional training (Afpa) of Besançon in 2006. “The problem is that prestigious watchmakers have decided to limit the access to certain pieces. These days, you have to be qualified by their brand, after following specific training, in order to obtain the movements. This has pushed us into dealing with mid-range watches. With Fossil and Lannier, we use Japanese or Chinese movements, which cost less to completely change than to repair.”
To survive, watch shops in Senegal have had to diversify. Some have begun to offer money transfer services, while others – such as Randa’s – sell essential oils and car remote batteries. As for Samir, he is planning on selling smartphones and connected objects, in keeping with the expression, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” 300 metres further up on the Avenue Lamine Gueye, Time Shop is the only watch shop to pursue mid-range products and to deal exclusively in clocks and watches. With thirteen years’ experience as an official retailer for Swatch, Tissot and Festina watches, the manager, Diana Chirazi, regularly attends Baselworld. She plans to go there again this year to bring new brands to the African market. “When I got started with my sister, I was aiming to sell 5,000 watches per year,” she states. “But we never reached that number. And in the last few years, we have gone from 2,000 pieces to 1,200. Even though I have about 200 regular clients, Senegal remains a poor country, and I don't have a great deal of hope in the future. It is impossible to conduct a market study here like you do in Europe. Here, we must attempt to innovate without much confidence in our success. It's very risky.” The Darwiche family shows the same defeatism. “In the long term, I think that watch shops will disappear from Africa,” confides Randa. The Senegalese watchmaking school already closed a few years ago. Ibrahima Gueye, the first black African watch repairman to master the replacement of a balance wheel, is 90 years old today. He is a living legend, a watch enthusiast who still keeps shop just 100 metres from here. One of the last connoisseurs. “Today, when you say Parmigiani, people think you're talking about cheese.” With the rural depopulation of the 1990s, many of the farmers from the peanut-growing area of Senegal set out to try their luck in the capital. “They became shopkeepers, selling every trinket imaginable,” he thunders. “Nowadays, the imitation watch is killing local craftsmanship.” On the way back up Avenue Lamine Gueye, just steps away from the watch shops, it is hard to ignore the vast building of the Sandaga market, a temple where you can “buy anything, sell anything”. As you stand in front of the stalls overflowing with trinkets, it is not uncommon that someone will nudge you. A slender youth will show you a shiny, featherlight Rolex, whispering into your ear, “10 euros for a watch that fell off a lorry.” 97
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hen Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to design the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, his mandate was to create “a temple of the spirit.” But on one evening this October, New York City’s monument to modern art and design was refashioned as a temple of watchmaking inspiration. The spiralling seven-story ramp that encircles the interior, usually a soft white, was framed in shifting beams of orange and purple light. The open atrium was filled with tables, each including a glass centrepiece. As guests gathered in the rotunda and toured the current exhibitions, Mido CEO Franz Linder described the Swiss brand’s newest watch: the Inspired by Architecture Limited-Edition, an automatic time-
piece that draws its design from the Guggenheim. As if the room weren’t already theatrical enough, soon a team of aerialists, wrapped in orange silks, were circling and tumbling through the dramatic open space of the atrium, their forms flipping or angling up toward the ‘oculus’ skylight, 96 feet above. Watching the aerialists spin in a circle of bodies, taut and entwined in the air, the architecture critic Paul Goldberger’s words on the Guggenheim made more sense than ever. “It’s a building that you cannot experience by sitting in one place,” he said. “It was Wright’s idea that the building is about movement through space as much as it is about space itself.” As the show drew to a close, the centrepiece on each table was removed by the performers, revealing the Guggenheim watch underneath.
1,980 handmade bronzed flowers Meanwhile, some 30 blocks south, an altogether different shrine to haute horlogerie radiated light into the autumn evening. Bulgari, the luxury watch and jewellery brand owned by LVMH, had re-opened its boutique on Fifth Avenue just a week prior, and curious shoppers and tourists were peering in its gold-meshgrated windows. Placed on the southwest corner of 57th Street and Fifth Ave, the façade was bedecked in a lattice of 1,980 bronzed flowers, handmade in Italy and transported to New York’s most renowned shopping corridor. The front door of the boutique was a perfect replica of the classic 1930’s portal found at the entry of Bulgari’s flagship store on the Via dei Condotti in Rome. Inside, one found many more references to the Italian architect Florestano di Fausto, who had designed the original Bulgari shop in 1905. Five-metre high marble columns lined the main room of the boutique, and from the balcony—decorated to recall an Italian theatre of the dolce vita era—one could gaze down at the mesmerising 700,000 tiles of mosaic and the star-patterned white Lasa marble that covered the floors. The Bulgari store gave a feeling of entering another world, where Rome and New York City merged and classical architecture, mid-century design, and elegant modernism all swirled together. The store’s redesign had taken two years and been spearheaded by Peter Marino, the celebrity architect who has designed retail spaces for Hublot, Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Barneys.
Architecture offers appropriate metaphors Architecture has always been a buzzword in the world of watchmaking, and all the more so in watch promotion. Among the metaphors that can help a consumer understanding horology, architecture is far more immediate and appropriate than, say, sailing. But references to architecture in luxury brands’ messaging seem especially curious at the end of 2017. Swiss exports to America have been falling for two years. According to Deloitte’s report on the Swiss watch industry in 2017, this year the US was overtaken as the most promising market for Swiss watches, an event without precedent in the study’s history. Industry opinions are divided about the US’s potential for growth. Many brands (like Mido) struggle to find a place in the market; others find themselves closing or
contracting their points-of-sale. The economic doubt that followed the election of Donald Trump a year earlier seems to have ebbed, but many in the industry remain unsure about America and what to do with it. In many ways, the attention to architecture seems counterintuitive: the watch industry is experiencing a downturn and the growth sector is in digital, social media, and online retail. So how do we make sense of this? Why is architecture still so important to the watch business? Of course, there’s always been certain reasons that architecture is useful to watch brands. In marketing watches, a host of different creative disciplines and measures of mastery or prowess have proven useful— each allows a brand to use metaphor and align itself with another medium. Often, to lay consumers, it can help ground what might otherwise be ephemeral: you gain an appreciation for the virtuosity of watchmaking if you associate Movado with Baryshnikov or Rolex with Roger Federer, these known quantities in the realm of mastery. And everyone needs a differentiator, just like everybody else. But by examining the ways that architecture is appearing in the messaging and the underlying patterns of brands’ behaviour currently, we can see the shifting impulses and tensions in the contemporary landscape of the watch market.
Architecture as a central theme More than any other brand, Mido has overtly tapped into the importance of architecture as a theme and tone. Indeed, the Guggenheim watch is just the tip of the iceberg: Mido has been aligning itself increasingly with architecture since the beginning of the century. “Years back, we analysed the DNA of Mido,” Franz Linder explains. “We came to the conclusion that Mido really stands for innovation, quality, functionality, and timeless design. And we thought, how can we communicate these values to our consumers? The conclusion is: we share these values with good architecture. That’s how we communicate—by using famous monuments that share the spirit of a specific collection; or, we’ll design a product directly inspired by a monument.”
It all began in 2002 with the launch of the All Dial, a watch that recalls the design of the Coliseum. Since then, Mido has progressively added watches that are directly inspired by monuments of human achievement from around the world such as Big Ben and the Great Wall of China. At the same time, Mido’s four core collections have each been associated with a different architectural wonder that recalls the watch’s inherent values: the Commander is tied to the Eiffel Tower, the Multifort to Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, the Ocean Star to Europa Point Lighthouse on Gibraltar, and the Baroncelli to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. The transformation to an architecture-oriented watchmaker was fully realised in 2015, when the brand changed its long-time slogan, “The Mark of True Design,” to something much more explicit: “Inspired by Architecture.” Now, with the Guggenheim watch, Mido has taken this one step further. The new model concludes a campaign known as #BeInspiredByArchitecture, introduced in 2016. Over the course of 12 weeks that fall, the Mido team visited 12 different cities around the world, highlighting major buildings in each. The call to consumers and Mido fans was to select a monument as inspiration for the next Mido special edition. Ultimately, with 60 monuments under consideration and more than 100,000 participants voting, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum was chosen as the best building to inform a timepiece. In December 2016, Mido announced the contest winner and contracted a designer to build a watch that resonated with Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic museum. The Guggenheim Foundation was brought on board; Linder says they “were involved from A to Z” to make sure the product was in keeping with their own values.
Different experiences When it comes down to it, the nitty-gritty of linking a wristwatch to architectural design is not as simple as it sounds. Buildings are, at their root, lived, immersive experiences, and their design is contingent on how a person is likely to move through them. A watch is a very different kind of experience, both more intimate and more difficult for a layman to access. In the case of the Inspired by Architecture Limited-Edition, Mido’s designers drew upon what they found to be the most resonant aspects of the Guggenheim’s architecture. The spiralling, conical exterior of the building (shaped after the shell of the nautilus) finds its complement in the rising engraved rings around the 102
stainless-steel case’s middle. On the eggshell-colored dial, the grained surface has been scooped into six recessed zones around alternating indexes, as an inversion of the ‘oculus’ skylight (part of Wright’s original design, but not installed until 1992). Inside the watch is a different kind of engineering achievement: the Guggenheim watch is powered by Caliber 80 Si, a chronometer movement with an ETA base and a silicon balance spring. The watch sells for $1,590 US, placing it centrally in Mido’s range of $700-$3000 US. But it’s a far more limited edition than the brand has traditionally released: just 500 pieces have been produced.
Location, location, location… Whereas Mido’s link to architecture is self-evident—literally printed on the flange of the dial—other brands like Bulgari explore this same theme from a different angle. At stake in Bulgari’s boutique redesign is that most critical principle of architecture: location, location, location. The area known as Upper Fifth Avenue, between 49th Street and 60th Street, is the top spot for luxury shopping in New York City. And that also makes it the top spot globally: according to Cushman and Wakefield’s “Main Streets Across the World” report, Upper Fifth Ave is the most valuable commercial real estate zone on the planet. In 2017, rental values averaged $3000 per square foot per year (€28,262 per square metre). Although in 2013 Upper Fifth Ave briefly dipped to second on Cushman and Wakefield’s list, behind Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, this year the asking rents are back to where they were before the financial crisis. And Bulgari’s store is far above that level: when the brand renewed its lease in the prestigious Crown Building in 2015, it hit a new record for New York retail space with a cost per square foot higher than $5000. Annual rent for the location is said to be upwards of $16 million a year. Bulgari is not alone in this high-end space. Over the last five years, luxury watch brands have snatched up retail property along Fifth Avenue aggressively. During the peak years for mono-brand boutiques, Fifth Avenue has become a who’s-who of the watch world. Since 2012, new storefronts have opened on Fifth for IWC, Rolex, TAG Heuer, Blancpain, and more. A host of other brands lie just blocks away, on Madison Avenue and Central Park South.
Interestingly, this attraction to high-end retail space has occurred at the same time as a major paradigm shift in the watch industry: the turn toward digital. Deloitte’s 2017 study observes that luxury executives are finally easing their resistance to online sales. Industry leaders are viewing online authorised dealers and mono-brand e-boutiques as the most important sales channels for the future. Whereas the brick-and-mortar mono-brand store seemed like the nec plus ultra just two years ago, with 42% of surveyed brands saying it would be the most important channel in five years’ time, now only 27% believe in the durability of that model. More than half of Swiss watch executives now see developing e-commerce as a top priority, second only to introducing new products. Meanwhile, the Deloitte study also suggests that social media and a dedicated social media team are far and away the most valuable marketing strategies for the brands—a sure sign that online is where the action is at. But if that’s the case, why are brands still investing heavily in events like the Guggenheim show and redesigns like the Bulgari boutique? It’s not just late adoption. Brands seem to be increasingly aware that the digital channels
for sales and promotion can’t provide the totality of experience that can occur in an immersive, physical environment. That’s where architecture comes in, and takes on greater meaning than it could have in the past.
The importance of physical places in an increasingly online era for watches At root, architecture has an indelible relationship to watchmaking. Both are crafts that balance meticulous engineering with a sense of artistry. The greatest figures in each discipline—think of Wright, Gaudi, Hadid, Le Corbusier, or of Breguet, Jaquet-Droz, Daniels, Dufour— are both scientist and artist at once. But, to speak more abstractly, the problem with watches is that we have only so many ways to engage with them. We gaze at them and lust after them, we talk about their craftsmanship or the history of the brand; finally, we wear them and use them to take the measure of our time. Architecture is a field that is equally necessary to the survival of our species—we need shelter and struc-
Importance of sales channels What sales channels do you think will be most important in five years? 2016
42% 34% 28%
13% Online authorised dealers 104 104
Own mono-brand e-boutique
Brick and mortar mono-brand stores
Brick and mortar authorised dealers
Source: The Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry Study 2017
ture just as much as we need to locate ourselves in time— but it is singularly tasked with monitoring, minding, and stewarding our engagement with space. Architects spend years in the study of how people move through a hallway or around an obstruction, how their mindset is affected by light, air, and line. For fine watchmaking to reach more people, the industry has to consider more ways of helping consumers to experience their timepieces. Whether it’s by imagining the endless spiral of the Guggenheim rotunda when you strap on a Mido or by walking through a boutique that contextualises the craftsmanship and high elegance of Bulgari watches and jewellery, these links to architecture help watch brands remain grounded—and even immersive—at a time when more and more of retail is occurring in the cloud. Ultimately, luxury demands a space. Haut-de-gamme brands need the appropriate spaces in high-value areas, like New York City, in order to illustrate their brand values. For now, the most common model for a watch consumer’s journey is still ROPO (“research online, purchase offline”). People like to read up on watches, then go into stores to buy. But even if customers turn to
purchasing online and gather information on watches via social media primarily, luxury brands will still need to anchor themselves to place. Luxury customers desire experience even if it’s divorced entirely from the actual purchase of the product. And that experience means architecture: the enveloping space and values that become the best metaphor for the timepiece. At the press preview of the Bulgari store in October, CEO Jean-Christophe Babin talked about the continued importance of physical places in an increasingly online era for watches. True to the luxuriant materials that surrounded him, he reframed ‘brick-and-mortar’ as ‘marbleand-walnut.’ “I don’t think the marble-and-walnut store will be dead in 10 years,” he said. “For sure, it is more a story of complementarity, rather than a story of either/ or, or the new replacing the old.” He looked around himself at the towering marble columns, the sun-dried wood flooring, and the patterned screens and doors that recalled both baroque and neoclassical styles. “The store itself is essential to providing what’s behind the scenes,” he said. “When you come into a store like this, you feel something. I think each of us feels something.”
Sales channels from watch executives’ point of view Which sales channels will you be putting the most emphasis on in the next 12 months? Brick and mortar authorised dealers Brick and mortar mono-brand stores
Marketing channels from a consumer’s point of view In general, which marketing channels influence your decision to buy a watch the most?
Online authorised dealers Own mono-brand e-boutique
Second best answer
Third best answer
Social media / bloggers
Social media / bloggers
Social media / bloggers
Social media / bloggers
Radio / Television
Social media / bloggers
Social media / bloggers
67% 42% 36% 24%
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Europa Star had the good fortune of receiving Patrick Pruniaux, the new CEO of Ulysse Nardin and the man who contributed to successfully launch the Apple Watch. Naturally, the conversation quickly turned to digital technology. With the qualified view that characterises the man who is probably the best-informed of any CEO in the entire watch industry in terms of new technologies, far from the radical ‘all-on-the-web’ propositions of certain brands... Perhaps it is necessary to go to Silicon Valley, where our online future is being created, to take a qualified view! THE OBJECT: On Patrick Pruniaux’s wrist is the new Freak presented at the SIHH by Ulysse Nardin in 2018. In his hand is Joseph Kessel's book Les Jours de l’aventure, a series of journalistic reports written between 1930 and 1936, from the Red Sea to the banks of the Rhine. “Journalists interest me more than novelists. His reports have retained their full power and pertinence. That is how you can recognise quality journalism: it lasts through time.” Kessel's adventurous life inspires Patrick Pruniaux, reflecting values such as freedom, exploration, nature, the great outdoors... Themes that will probably reveal themselves throughout the year at Ulysse Nardin. Photograph: Fabien Scotti | Arcade Europa Star
atrick Pruniaux began his career with the Diageo company for the Guinness brand before moving on to the Wines and Spirits division of LVMH and then branching off into watchmaking by joining TAG Heuer within the same group. Four years ago, his departure to California to accompany the launch of the Apple Watch made waves, leading to the fear of a watchmaking ‘brain drain’ in the direction of the Silicon Valley giant. Those fears have now subsided. The return of Patrick Pruniaux to one of the most traditional brands of Swiss watchmaking – as the head of Ulysse Nardin – confirms both the ties between these two worlds and their fundamental differences... Encounter. 107
You are young, dynamic and very comfortable with new technologies, and yet you are at the head of a very old, venerable structure, to the point where we almost want to call you the ‘Macron of Swiss watchmaking’... To take the analogy a step further, do you consider that you represent a clean break with the past or rather continuity at Ulysse Nardin? Probably a bit of both! To be perfectly honest, I experienced something rather rare in the case of a succession: a transition period of three weeks in the company of the former CEO, Patrick Hoffmann, and the former marketing director, Susanne Hurni. In a company, you have to get familiar with the figures, but also with the in-house culture. Even one week would have been a luxury, so three weeks...! Patrick Hofmann was very honest about the state of the company and the developments that he had in mind for it. What is your analysis of the state of the company? It is a company with incredible assets, an exceptional quality of manufacture, strong innovation abilities, and a strong human capital with a level of enthusiasm and passion that I have rarely encountered. Incidentally, it is similar to what I have seen at Apple. In principle, employees do not leave Apple. I might be the exception that confirms the rule! Now, it’s about rising to new challenges, and in particular accelerating the presence on certain key markets for Ulysse Nardin. Your key market is historically Russia. Consequently – even before the considerable drop in the Chinese market that your colleagues have experienced over the last three years – you experienced a rapid inversion of growth in your own leading market, with the decline of the rouble and the geopolitical problems of the early 2010s in Eastern Europe... a kind of ‘pre-crisis'. How did Ulysse Nardin cope? Clearly, the Russian crisis was hard-hitting. And yet Ulysse Nardin showed a good level of resilience. We are fortunate to be a leading brand not only in Russia, but throughout the CIS and other geos, which includes several hundred million inhabitants. In the event of a crisis, the strength of the brand offers better resilience. We have good distribution in Moscow and throughout the countries of the CIS. 108
However, the need for diversification appears important for Ulysse Nardin. As does the need for a younger audience and brand image... The brand is rather balanced in terms of prospects. I am, of course, very familiar with the strength of Ulysse Nardin in Russia, but it is more balanced than you might think in North and South America, Europe (including Russia) and Asia. However, there are markets in which we could be stronger. This is the case in the United States, as well as in China. To do so, we must use all the channels available to us, in particular in China: from single-brand boutiques to multi-brand retailers to online sales. The entire watch industry remains very traditional in its distribution. But we can feel the beginnings of change. Today, the world might be talking about ‘digitalisation’, but I am not sure that that’s the right term. What is more important than anything else is direct involvement with the consumer. We can keep our intermediaries in place, but we must also speak directly to our clients as well. E-commerce is the watchword at the moment, but online sales still only represent a very small part of total sales. Digital technology is especially used to build our reputation. And maybe that’s all we’ll need! I firmly believe in craftsmanship, the quality of execution. That is what can make the difference, as I learned in my previous experiences. We can very well maintain traditional distribution channels while adding another channel – digital and e-commerce, even just dealing in small volumes – but in such a way that it will be an accelerator to boost the sales of traditional brands. Clearly, in Switzerland, consumers seek information online but purchase in person. In reality, fresh back from California, I can tell you that the distinction that we make among the different channels – physical and virtual – is no longer pertinent. The only ones making that distinction anymore are in the watch industry. We cannot continue to oppose the two worlds. Look how you yourself shop: the question of the place where you purchase is becoming progressively secondary. You simply seek simplicity and immediacy as much as an outstanding consumer experience, whether on a website or at the boutique next door.
Still, purchasing a Ulysse Nardin watch is not on the same scale as reserving an online ticket for Barcelona on EasyJet! But consumer behaviour has already begun to change. When a client enters a Ulysse Nardin boutique knowing more about a model than the sales representative, there is a good side – the client is familiar with our product – but there is also an uncertainty: are we offering a good instore experience? There is an enormous revolution that we need to lead for the sake of the entire watch industry. I always consider a consumer experience in terms of the amount that is spent. One of the worst client experiences that you can imagine is often the purchase of a luxury car. If you consider the ratio between the money that you are spending and the treatment that you receive, you'll quickly realise how catastrophic it can be. On the other hand, you might step into a bookshop to buy a simple book, or into a store to purchase coffee pods, and you'll be welcomed much more warmly, with a higher level of quality. How can the in-store watch experience be improved, since the products are expensive and the expectations are high? It can be done in a very modern way. A few years ago, someone told me that he doesn't like entering luxury boutiques, since it is too intimidating. And he had the purchasing power! The dress code, the security, the sales staff... All are perceived as hurdles. So we need to work on that aspect: the ‘welcoming’ side of boutiques, including through training.
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Your career illustrates both the resilience of traditional mechanical watchmaking that we have just evoked, and the breakthrough of the Apple Watch. What can you tell us about the adventure of the Apple Watch? First of all, we’ve sold a lot of them. Connected watches are already a success, and this is only the beginning. If the CEO, Tom Cook, claims that Apple is today’s foremost watch brand, I can tell you that he is very well-informed. The brand dominates a booming sector, and it is still in the learning phase. At the same time, I sense an increasing need for people to disconnect, and for that, too, this is only the beginning. That is why the themes of freedom and nature are very important, and that is what we would like to assert at Ulysse Nardin. What about the integration of connectedness into the luxury watch? Is it possible to bring these two worlds together? After all, Apple did abandon its gold model... I am very familiar with the field, but for the time being, I do not see how connectedness would improve the value of a luxury watch. In any case, it would not correspond with Ulysse Nardin. You would have to be fast, since Apple has already gained ground in the connected watch field. The question for traditional watchmakers is, rather, what am I offering my client, sincerely, to attract him or her to my product? I truly believe this, otherwise I would not have come back to Switzerland! However, the Swiss brands will not succeed simply by convincing themselves that the Apple Watch is not a success. It is better to just admit it, and to see how Apple is converting millions of people to wearing watches. 109
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The former executive manager of Nokia, Danish-born Søren Jenry Petersen, lead the acquisition of the Swissmade Danish brand Urban Jürgensen with fellow Danish investors. He just inaugurated a new workshop located in a Bienne villa while launching a more affordable watch model through online advertised sales direct from the workshop, the Alfred. Coming from another field, that of communications, he takes a sharp – even severe – view of the functioning and future of the watchmaking industry. Encounter.
Photograph: Fabien Scotti | Arcade Europa Star
You purchased Urban Jürgensen three years ago. You are Danish, like your brand, but you were originally in the telecommunications field. What are the principal points that you remember your first encounter with the watchmaking industry? First of all, we bought a ‘sleeping beauty’, even though the brand has enjoyed 245 years of uninterrupted activity. When we purchased it, it was a relatively unknown brand, only familiar to collectors and connoisseurs. In 2015, we began by laying the foundations of what Urban Jürgensen could become, revising all the aspects of the company’s value chain, production and delivery processes. This is a delicate task when you are taking over such an old brand. There are so many obstacles that easily lead to a dead end in the longer run... We then revised each aspect of the company’s branding, including the logo, website and tagline. All this in order to establish a platform on which the brand may grow. We did not purchase Urban Jürgensen as a ‘matter of the heart’; it is a business. That is why our relocation to the new workshop in 2017 was a crucial step.
Was it harder than you imagined? I didn't have any illusions! I know that embarking upon a takeover of a small, artisanal, independent brand means working 60 hours a week. Now, after a stable year in 2015, we have since shown constant growth, in the range of 80-100% per year. And I mean effective sales, not consignments. Where are you now in terms of production capacity? Last autumn’s launch of the Alfred model was the result of several factors: our new workshop in Bienne; the level of quality that we offer for a more affordable price than before (14,300 euros); direct sales from the workshop of this one piece; and a name taken from the last member of the Jürgensen watchmaker family who died in 1912. The name reflects our heritage but it also represents progressiveness, since Alfred was the most forward-thinking member of the lineage. Because, of course, a name on its own is not enough! We got the idea as we found a movement while moving the atelier from Jacques-Alfred Jürgensen’s time signed Alfred Jürgensen. It all went from there: even the typography that we use today for this watch is lifted straight from the letters engraved on this caliber. In the end, it is easier to base our products on something authentic rather than reusing an old name with a story contrived for marketing reasons. The industry is already saturated with that... Since you come from another industry, what view do you take of how the Swiss watchmaking world works? The greatest surprise that I had was the difficulty that I encountered with suppliers. Their ability to deliver components in time – with the expected quality and for the arranged price – is really very limited. I simply didn't expect that, since I was raised to believe that if you want good quality, you ask the Germans; if you want excellent quality, you ask the Japanese; and if you want perfection, you ask the Swiss! But I found that the quality and process management really lacks a systematic approach. But do you think you are treated differently as a little independent company? Part of it possibly comes from being small and having 112
ultra-high requirements – but I am almost completely convinced that that is not the problem. However, I believe that the big groups have purchased and integrated a big part of their supply chain in order to spare themselves the delivery problems that I am currently encountering. It all depends on that. When you cannot count on your suppliers, it's not a good feeling... Any other surprises? The other big surprise was the watch industry’s train wreck of the demand/supply balancing, and the process of market destruction when faced with inconsistencies between the demands of end clients and the production. This lack of connection between brands and their clients is something I’m not used to. I worked for decades in telecommunications, an industry obsessed by the client: where the client comes from, and how and why he or she consumes our products. In the watch industry it was most likely a combination of the previous consolidation and M&A frenzy, combined with seemingly endless growth – many just took the eyes off the ball. Where is the problem coming from, then? Majority of the blame falls back on the brands that really did not do enough basic work to understand the true demand for their products and develop a demand/supply balancing process in their management systems. ‘Flying blind’ for more volumes into existing retail network and at the same time aggressively building out own flagship stores is something very difficult to do while building this visibility. True demand numbers are hard to come by. In the end, these practices saturate the retailers' stocks. It is not really natural – nor is it a sign of a balanced market – to see so many watch boutiques lined up, one after the other, on the Bahnhofstrasse of Zurich. And this persistence of production overcapacity has led to very harmful phenomena such as the explosion of the grey market and the discrepancies revealed by the transparency of the internet. This means that no one trusts anyone else, and clients feel increasingly ‘alienated’ by the market... In such a landscape, what is the role of an independent brand like Urban Jürgensen? It is very difficult. I have had a number of discussions with retailers about the state of the industry, and without
exception, I can sense their weariness with brands which have no clear strategic direction. Everyone is edging forward hesitantly, but in fact, no one is really changing. Moreover, the same situation exists on the retailers' side: many of them have nothing to do. They take on the branding, marketing and shop-in-shop concepts of the brands and conglomerates that they represent and that take care of everything for them. As a result, they are not evolving in the face of upheavals in consumer behaviour, or have forgotten the art of selling exclusivity. It’s all about discounts against a website, and many end up being simple showcases, and their destinies depend on being on the right address... Or not. Many retailers are currently more like real estate agents than watch retailers! Also, let us not forget the current assault of the connected watch on traditional watchmaking. We might not be so far from a time when classical timepieces will end up like typewriters... Very interesting, but with an almost nonexistent market. You buy a watch because you love the tradition or the symbol, but not for its utilitarian function. But I don't want watchmaking to end up in a museum! Aren’t you a bit alarmist? You are suggesting that a whole industry could come to an end! And yet it is still taking in billions and creating desire throughout the entire world. I’m terribly sorry, but the watch has already become redundant in terms of its basic functions. It is a foolish object, if you think about it. If you sit down today and think about how to tell the time, you might consider about twenty effective means, but current-day watches will only come up in the twenty-first place. To make a mechanical watch, you must first create hundreds of micro-components to finally achieve – after highly complex, expensive and lengthy processes – a very fragile structure that tells the time more or less correctly. Inside an industry like that – the saying: Fish can’t see water – is very applicable here. But I have seen markets much bigger than this one fall away in the face of such a paradigm shift when the tipping point is reached. Kodak and film replaced by digital, and bespoke tailoring in London killed by video conferencing to name a few. At the same time, you would not have invested in the traditional watch industry if you did not believe in its future... Of course not. To me, the essential point is that the in-
dustry – and this is particularly the case for the big brands – is taking hold of itself as it realises the degree of effort and the treasures of the imagination that will be necessary to produce in order to adapt or even to reinvent itself. The world’s digitalisation is changing everything. No one believes in the brands’ words any more. When vintage watches and production series from 50 years ago are so successful today on the internet, it is precisely because people trust the sincerity of those old productions, which they often consider more authentic than the pieces coming off the assembly lines of the same brand these days. Most bigger brands need big changes in the corporate governance to manage this. It will not happen from within the old rank and file. I am familiar with sudden paradigm shifts, because I worked at Nokia. Losing your position as a leader can happen within just 24 months! Millennials want substance, and because the internet provides transparency, they will research you attentively before buying your product, and they will ask their friends what they think. There is no such thing as blind trust anymore! Part of the outdated management in the industry you see by the increasingly thinly veiled attempts to ‘innovate’ on a basic mechanical construction where a great solution was found two hundred years ago. Remember – the more modern materials and ‘innovation’ is deployed – the faster the value declines. Most of the brands’ true value lies in their heritage – and that’s where they need to focus. Investing in marketing aimed at retaining and building that brand equity, and concentrate more on clients’ needs, providing them with high quality for the right price. I do not believe the category will sustain ever more elaborate ‘event’ marketing campaigns – it is more than enough when you build correctly on the fine legacy many have. Urban Jürgensen certainly has attracted a lot of attention by being true to the legacy, deploying old crafts and avoiding all manners of external co-branding to prop up our offerings. Think of a company like Hermès! They do not ‘innovate’ – they execute on legacy, craft and quality like few – and the results are clear. I believe in a future for real authentic mechanical watch brands that stay carefully in tune with their legacy, and pay insane attention to their messages to the market and clients. At Urban Jürgensen we still make products that easily last three generations – and are solely built using historic legacy methods where the amount of handcraft involved means every watch is unique. This type of artistic product of high value will remain a family treasure and keep value for centuries to come – but the market will shrink and it will continue to be a challenging industry! 113
RECOMMENDED READING BY FABRICE MUGNIER, WATCHPRINT.COM
The Beauty of Time Published in partnership with the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, this book presents a panorama of the most beautiful timepieces from the Middle Ages to the present. Lavishly illustrated, The Beauty of Time contains a selection of nearly two hundred wonders from mechanical and pendulum clocks to pocket and wristwatches. As a counterpoint to the timepieces, extensive reproductions of artistic masterpieces provide perspective regarding the technical advances of each period and demonstrate the evolution of aesthetic tastes over time. This unique book is intended as much for horology enthusiasts as history lovers. 280 pages | CHF 90.-
Vacheron Constantin, Reference 57260 This handsome volume showcases master watchmaker Vacheron Constantin’s innovative Reference 57260 timepiece, a horological masterpiece and the most complicated watch ever made. Vacheron Constantin’s latest creation, the Reference 57260, sets a new benchmark in the realm of horology. Developed by a team of master watchmakers over eight years, this double-dial watch combines the classic principles of watchmaking with modern innovations to create a unique and entirely original piece with a total of fifty-seven complications, many of which are brand-new inventions. Detailed photography of the masterpiece demonstrates the extraordinary craftsmanship behind this historic timepiece. 144 pages | CHF 124.-
Longines through time, the story of the watch Longines has created around 50 million watches. Each model features a unique serial number and has its own individual history. Taken all together, each of these individual tales adds up to the tome of the Longines brand’s own history. Ranging from the 19th century to today, Longines’ creations are part of everyday local anecdotes, as well as more universal stories. It’s impossible to discuss aesthetic changes without first mentioning technical progress. Equally, it’s impossible to talk about manufacturing without mentioning advertising and sales. The influence of communication and transport, military requirements, and changes in our lifestyles are also elements of Longines’ story. Longines is sharing its singular heritage with enthusiasts of fine timepieces through the brand’s lovingly preserved archives. 280 pages | CHF 70.115
NEO TOURBILLON WITH THREE BRIDGES SKELETON TRULY SPECTACULAR
In unveiling the first ever skeleton version of its Neo Tourbillon with Three Bridges, Girard-Perregaux is showcasing a new exercise in horological architecture, making light of gravity, mass and opacity.
The Neo Tourbillon with Three Bridges Skeleton is a natural extension of several Girard-Perregaux fundamentals. The first is the 1884 patent for a tourbillon with three bridges visible on the dial side, the principle underlying the â€œThree Gold Bridgesâ€? architecture and unique signature of Girard-Perregaux fine watchmaking. The second is the skeletonisation on this type of movement, which Girard-Perregaux has been practising since 1998. The third stage was the birth in 2014 of the Neo Tourbillon with Three Bridges. The latter were not straight, flat or in gold, but instead arched, taut, rounded, openworked and black. These technical and aesthetic characteristics have made it an exemplary embodiment of modern Haute Horlogerie.
The Neo Tourbillon with Three Bridges Skeleton is presented in a 45 mm-diameter titanium case measuring 15.85 mm high. With its ample curves and large glazed areas, this shell resembles a panoramic observation platform looking out onto a horological monument. The satin-brushed convex case band is distinguished by the total absence of any bezel. Its polished lugs are perched high on the case so as to create a strong and early inflection.
The Neo Tourbillon with Three Bridges Skeleton is crisscrossed with slender black finely rounded bridges. Their curves and cut-outs define the structure of the visual effect and support an incredibly slim mechanical structure. The ethereal suspended masses appear truly improbable given the extreme transparency of this complex calibre. Stretched like cables over a precipice, the bridges of the skeleton calibre are a nod to the architecture of their monumental counterparts around the world, such as the Millau Viaduct.
A REVOLUTIONARY CHRONOGRAPH Fabergé has again pushed the boundaries of technical innovation with a powerful new addition to the Fabergé Visionnaire collection. The automatic calibre 6361, developed by award-winning movement specialist Agenhor, is a revolutionary movement that imparts unprecedented clarity, precision and efficiency to the chronograph complication. The Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph marks a new standard in charting time: the hours and minutes are read at the periphery of the watch dial while the chronograph function takes centre stage, offering a new intuitive display that is radically different from that of any other chronograph ever made.
The Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph is available in rose gold or black ceramic.
It is the modern-day analogue to a Fabergé egg – a mechanical opus with wonder at its heart. As an homage to the unfinished Constellation Egg of 1917, the Visionnaire Chronograph carries a laser-engraved etching of the egg, visible only to those who know where to look for it.
Fabergé is honoured to be the first to introduce a chronograph that houses this ground-breaking movement, which deploys five horologically significant patents and nearly a decade of development.
LINK 41MM WITH DIAMOND BEZEL
WHERE COMFORT MEETS ELEGANCE The famous Link model, which received a masterful makeover in 2016, is presented today in a luxury version with a diamond bezel.
This model houses an automatic Calibre 5 movement visible through the sapphire case-back. The Link is also available in a version where the first three rows of the bracelet are set with diamonds.
Link. A design that dates back to 1987. Its defining feature is the immediately recognisable bracelet, boasting the signature S-shaped links. It is both an iconic design and a standard bearer in terms of ergonomics and wearer comfort. True to its image as a luxury Swiss watchmaker, TAG Heuer today presents a new, more luxurious version, with a bezel fully set with 54 diamonds of 1.80mm. With a diameter of 41 mm, the open blue sunray dial allows for maximum readability, while the bezel features two components, combining two designs: a cushion base and an overlaid ring, on which are set the 54 diamonds. Thanks to its four subtle corners, the case shape lies between round and cushion, giving it a softer, more understated design. Made entirely of steel, the bracelet is totally integrated into the case, making horns superfluous, and providing an even more fluid and ergonomic design. Wearing this timepiece is an incomparable comfort: indeed, the bracelet in which each component is polished, front and back, gives an exceptionally smooth feel on the wrist and flexible movement. This meticulous attention to detail makes wearing this watch a refined and enjoyable experience.
INSPIRED BY THE STARS, DESIGNED TO PERFORM The Delma Klondike Moonphase, preselected in the Calendar Category of the 2017 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, recently returned to Switzerland from its whirlwind tour with the crème-de-la-crème of global watch brands. Born out of more than 90 years of a family-led passion for Swiss watchmaking, the Klondike Moonphase represents the peak convergence in innovative design, steadfast performance and elegant styling. A focal point of the Delma Racing Collection, characterised by advanced watch design quality, aesthetic excellence and functional navigation ease, the Klondike Moonphase celebrates the energy of life with unparalleled precision, style and durability. Celestial guidance, an essential skill of seasoned navigators and a joy of ardent stargazers, inspired the striking design of this automatic chronograph. The full calendar, moon phase, and distinctive day-and-night indicator, on which a star-scattered night sky is intricately offset by a radiant depiction of the sun, combine beautifully to make this watch a unique and elegant timepiece.
The Klondike Moonphase automatic chronograph features a sophisticated day-and-night indicator inspired by centuries of celestial navigation. A transformation of the sun into a night sky sprinkled with stars atop a rotating disc suitably depicts the progression of time. The seethrough case back showcases the decorated, Delma-customised automatic movement to let you witness the pulsating balance wheel and the oscillating mass of the self-winding movement.
Mirroring a full and vibrant life, the rotating disc urges you to keep up the pace by illustrating the exhilarating rhythm of day and night. The moon phase indicator beneath the chronograph’s hour counter and the pointer date hand with a small red half-moon add further distinctive touches.
C47 RADIAL WING
BORN IN AUSTIN, MADE IN SWITZERLAND Tockr, a new American watch brand, made its debut in October 2017 with unique designs, top of the line Swiss made quality and accessible price points for watch enthusiasts of all levels.
The new brand Tockr pays tribute to Eugene Xerxes Martin Jr., who served as a lieutenant in the Army Air Transport Command. Beginning his service as a P 51 Mustang flight instructor, Lt Martin went on to fly C47 skytrain transport planes over the “Hump”, the infamous Eastern end of the Himalayan mountains between China and India. He successfully flew 52 missions, for which he was awarded the China War Memorial Medal.
Tockr originates in Austin Texas, the hometown of the brand’s co-founder Austin Ivey, who wanted his next endeavour to involve his two lifelong passions, watches and aviation. Austin’s inspiration can be traced back to his grandfather, a US Army pilot who flew C47 aircraft during World War II. He founded the brand with watch consultant Sophy Rindler. Tockr takes flight with the introduction of the C47 radial cushion (C47C) and the C47 radial wing (C47W), named after the Douglas C47 Skytrain. These are the only watches ever to feature designs based upon the radial engine found in the C47 aircraft, in which the pistons radiated outwards from the central crank case. The engine face is cast in bronze, then finished in silver, dark gray, or black and finally polished by hand. All hands on the C47 series have an application of lime green Superluminova for increased visibility in low light conditions. Both models are powered by a Swiss automatic calibre, manufactured by Leschot with customised hands height. They have a power reserve of 42 hours. The case of the C47W is a 45mm curved wing shape in 316 L stainless steel with sapphire crystal. The finish is sandblasted, and it has a customised case back. The straps are interchangeable and are made of hand-stitched calf leather. The case of the C47C is cushion shaped in 316 L stainless steel with sapphire crystal. It has a brushed and polished finish and a customised case back. Its diameter is 42 mm and it also comes with interchangeable hand-stitched calf leather straps. This model also has a pointer-date function. The Tockr collection has an additional chronograph model called the Air Defender. This watch is the entry-level model of the brand, starting at $1250 on leather strap. The C47C starts at $2300, and the C47W starts at $2400.
AND THE NORTH WEST PASSAGE Kickstarter can kick very far… And French watch brand ZRC knows it. It has raised more than half a million Swiss francs on the crowdfunding platform, in order to fund a challenge in the Arctic: crossing the North West passage on a solo ski kite journey and diving under the Arctic ice for nearly 1500 kilometres! In March 2018, adventurer Alban Michon will depart from the Inuit village of Kugluktuk, where temperatures reach -45°C, for a journey that should bring him to Resolute Bay in the Canadian ‘Great North’ by mid-May. Alban will follow in the footsteps of the Norwegian explorer Amundsen, who was the first to cross this route with his crew after a three-year journey in 1906. 126
A world premiere for sure! But also a sporting bet serving generations to come. Today the legendary North West Passage connecting the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans is at the centre of major economic and political stakes. Threatened by global warming and by increasing commercial activities, this poetic and majestic world is now endangered. On the wrist of Alban Michon, the GF300 North Adventure was naturally designed to resist harsh weather conditions. A real tool watch that is at the same time a direct heir to the first GF300 ZRC watch developed back in 1953… and reborn three years ago. In order to fit Alban Michon’s wrist, it has been equipped with an XL black NATO strap. It will therefore be possible to wear it over his specialised Arctic gear thanks to a single buckle closing system that makes it easy to adjust.
GF300 North Adventure The ZRC North Adventure is an extreme tool watch version of the iconic GF300. Thanks to its sandblasted antimagnetic stainless steel case, it shows a more sober and professional look. The NATO strap is bearing the white bear logo symbolizing Alban Michonâ€™s initials. The case features a 4 mm anti-reflexion thickness sapphire glass with a specific treatment resisting to any form of condensation due to high thermic variations. It also displays a glass magnifier for a better date reading since the adventurer will face constant daylight during his exploration.
AND THE SNOB BY D. MALCOLM LAKIN
Warning: this page contains horological blasphemy
rowsing on the internet I came across a blog by ‘Watch Snob’ on which a potential buyer wrote that he knew nothing about watches but was interested in a Reign RN1506 Worldtimer. He asked if it was any good and whether or not it had a Swiss movement. In my opinion, for what its worth, the Watch Snob, an erudite gentleman of unknown origins with a distinctive British usage of language and some vague uncorroborated yankee doodle dandy attachments, should have said “Why bother with a watch when you’ve got an iPhone.” But instead he wrote, ‘That’s quite an ugly wristwatch. It is cheap looking. It is probably cheaply made.’ For those of you interested, it was Louis Cottier, a watchmaker in Geneva who possibly dreamt of far-off places whilst enjoying his second bottle of wine, who had a sudden eureka moment and decided he would construct a timepiece that showed the time in different places around the world based on the known time zones. The year was 1931. And so was born the won-drous ‘Worldtimer’. But in those days aeroplanes were mainly for military purposes, although the monied adventurers were often seen in leather jackets and goggles messing about with these new-fangled flying machines. There was no easyJet back then, so holidaymakers and intrepid travellers had to make do with long train journeys to reach one of Europe’s capitals or board a Cunard, P & O or Union Castle liner to cross the Atlantic or travel to Hong Kong or Australia. Today, travel to anywhere in the world is relatively easy and in many cases inexpensive. However, if for some bizarre reason you want to know the time in the Azores whilst sitting at home looking through your holiday brochures, the idea of a Worldtimer watch might suddenly have an appeal. That’s when you drop your brochures on the cocker spaniel lying on your feet, open your laptop and start
the search for the watch that will meet your needs. If you start with brands like Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin, you’ll quickly discover that you need to take out a second mortgage on your home to purchase one. But there are many less expensive and goodlooking models from brands like Omega, Breitling, Frédérique Constant, Citizen and Seiko to name but five. There’s also a Corum model that has nautical flags as hour markers in case you decide to travel by yacht. You pays your money … etc. But be honest, how many timezones do you really need on a wristwatch – one, two, twenty-four, twenty-eight? If you are in business and you work with companies dotted around the globe you already know their local time, along with the time differences between Geneva, London, Paris, Moscow and New York. But do you really need to know the time in places such as Anchorage, Noumea, South Georgia, Denver and Salt Lake City that some Worldtimers indicate? You’re thinking about a holiday and all you really need is local time and home time to check up on how your dog’s doing in your absence. So what you really need is a simple dual-time watch, and for that the Rolex GMT is more than adequate and it looks great on the wrist. But back to the Watch Snob blog. He completed his reply to the enquiry, and I quote: ‘The movement is almost certainly not Swiss, not that that matters as the Swiss will merely give you terrible quality at three or four times the price.’ So Mr Watch Snob, here’s hoping you’re now hidden away in one of those remote place names you find on a ‘terrible quality’ Swiss Worldtimer because I understand that the Swiss Secret Service (Watch Division) have circulated a ‘Wanted, Dead or Alive, Reward $10’ poster for your horological blasphemy. That’s in addition, of course, to the hitman contract already taken out for your previous anti-Rolex comments.
IT MAY BE SMART, BUT
IS IT CLEVER?
BY JILL METCALFE
018 is upon us and we don’t appear to have reached peak smart. Google’s fascinating Ngram Viewer, which measures the frequency of word use, traces a gently undulating course for this Old English adjective through much of its life since 1800, descending to a valley around 1963, when it begins to ascend at roughly the same angle as the North face of the Eiger. We already have smart cities, smart weapons, smart pills, smart meters for our electricity, even smart fridges, as well as the ubiquitous smart phones and, of course, smart watches. The Internet of Things promises a multitude of additional smart devices that will embed internet connectivity into even more areas of our lives, making everything so much easier, more efficient, and more fun. That’s what we’re told, anyway. But what is so smart about these smart devices? There’s more than one definition, but the one we need – “quick, clever, shrewd, intelligent” – dates from around 1300 (a later meaning – “sophisticated, fashionable” – may also have some tangential relevance here). The implication is that these objects go one better than a mere tool, and incorporate some sort of
intelligence. Your smart fridge will see when you’re about to run out of milk, for example, and helpfully order some more. It will notice if you’ve been eating rather a lot of cheese and hide it under some lettuce, or alert the paramedics, or something. What about your smart watch? What intelligent functions does it perform, in addition to telling you the time? Generally, it tells you everything your smartphone can already tell you, and, by capturing heart rate and motion data at the same time, also tells you everything your partner can already tell you, such as that you didn’t sleep very well last night, and you really should think about going to the gym. It turns out that, in many cases, the intelligence of these smart devices is all about collecting a lot of data, analysing it, processing the results and outputting them in some more or less interesting or useful way, something that computers are far better at than humans. But the promise of truly clever electronic devices would appear to be some way off still, and, to people like me who are occasionally kept awake at night by thoughts of rogue paperclip-making machines consuming all the matter in the universe, that’s probably not such a bad thing. I’m reminded of the old tale of NASA’s efforts to engineer a pen that would write in space (actually just an urban legend but hey, as Mark Twain said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story”). The story goes that, back in the 1960s, the US space agency embarked upon years of research and spent millions of dollars to develop a pen that would work without gravity. The Russians gave their cosmonauts a pencil. It may not be true, but it is pretty smart. 129
A last word to start
WHERE TO? BY PIERRE MAILLARD
Change, but in what direction?” This apparently simple question was put by French philosopher André Comte-Sponville at the most recent Forum de la Haute Horlogerie, which took place in Lausanne at the beginning of November 2017. Reminding his audience that change is not an end in itself, but merely a means – “to endure, you have to progress” – and that “anthropologically speaking, no one wants to change,” the French thinker asked the watchmakers present a question for which none of them had a ready answer. Where exactly are we going? The times in which we’re living, defined by incredible acceleration and perpetual transformation, and their profound influence on geopolitics, the economy, ecology, technology, health, customs, behaviour, information... give watchmakers plenty to think about. And there’s one nagging question that they can’t escape: what will become of our art, and our industry? Is mechanical watchmaking doomed to go the same way as, for example, the music box – a splendid and ingenious object of pure nostalgia (notwithstanding the laudable efforts of Reuge, the last remaining music box maker, to refurbish its passé image)? Even the market for nostalgia is unstable – you don’t feel the same kind of nostalgia as your parents or your children. It’s a double bind. Does that mean that mechanical watchmaking, if it is to survive (and not merely survive, but thrive) will be forced to transform, to change, as André Comte-Sponville says? Yes, of course. But again, change in what direction? Will watchmaking find its salvation and its future in a headlong rush towards the aesthetically and technically spectacular, at the risk of excluding all but a fringe of (very) rich enthusiasts, or becoming an elite status symbol? Or does the future lie in the ethical expression of an outstanding product, designed around the needs of its end user – which would apply across every price range? Here’s another question: What does the explosion of watch start-ups on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms tell us about the future? What does this deluge of meteorites, almost all of them mechanical and with a strong vintage flavour, mean? It would be deluded to merely roll one’s eyes and opine sagely that, smartwatch or not, this too shall pass. Chi lo sà! It may well be a generational thing, but it will nevertheless create lasting behaviours, change perspectives, and transform the meaning that objects have in our daily lives. “Change, but in what direction?” In the absence of any neutral perspective or hindsight, in the absence of any signposts indicating the correct path to take, some are saying, why even bother trying to change? The watch industry has taught them that the hands keep turning, and that sooner or later they come back to where they were. Only, in the meantime, everything has changed, including you, even if you have stayed still. Whether you go in this direction or in that, or remain in the same place; whether you like it or not, you change. Time makes sure of that. The question is not, as the philosopher put it: where to? We might have a few ideas but, in the end, that’s something no one can ever know.
22 – 27 March 2018
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