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COVER STORY: CHANEL J12 Moonphase, exquisite hour
SIHH 2014 DETROIT SPECIAL MANUFACTURING
www.watch-aficionado.com Watch business paper – USA & Canada – VOL.49 N°6 DECEMber / JANUARY 2013-14 with index of all in-depth articles published online
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Mediterranean Sea. â€œGammaâ€? men in training. The diver emerging from the water is wearing a Panerai compass on his wrist.
history a n d heroes. luminor 1950 3 days chrono flyback (ref. 524) available in steel and red gold
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The air is getting thinner uPierre M. Maillard Editor-in-chief Europa Star
Is it a strong signal, a simple symptom, an “industrial accident” or collateral damage? Whatever the verdict may be, the fact that the GTE (Geneva Time Exhibition) is not taking place in 2014 in parallel with the SIHH in Geneva raised some questions. ”We decided to cancel the 2014 edition of the GTE because we had too few exhibitors. A number of independent watchmakers are experiencing difficulties at the moment and would rather focus their efforts on BaselWorld and their local markets” came the answer from the organisers. Various accusations have been levelled at the GTE, which was set up in 2010 and which only last year brought together 34 exhibitors and welcomed 7,000 visitors in a magnificent venue in the heart of Geneva. The organisers of the SIHH regularly claimed that this exhibition was gratuitously taking advantage of the presence in Geneva, all expenses paid, of thousands of retailers and customers from all over the world. But aren’t other big brands, such as those in the LVMH group or the Franck Muller group with its World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie, doing exactly the same with impunity in the palaces and properties on the shores of the lake? You only have to watch the limousines picking up and dropping off customers more or less discreetly outside the SIHH to have an idea! And isn’t this, after all, the price to pay for success? All of the world’s biggest festivals have their fringe shows. Another often-heard reproach is about the mixture of styles and categories. Because it is true that you could find a bit of everything at the GTE, without too much hierarchy, from artisanal fine watchmaking brands to
quartz fashion watches. But isn’t this reproach, coming from well-heeled brands who certainly don’t want to be mixed up with all comers, akin to eugenics? After all, isn’t there room for everyone? Well, no there isn’t! There is no longer room for everyone. This is a bitter realisation that is corroborated by recent studies, such as those by Credit Suisse and Deloitte, which can hardly be considered “leftist”. Among the brands, distributors and independent retailers surveyed, almost 70 per cent consider the vertical integration of production and distribution, one of the most prominent phenomena of the past ten years, to be a serious threat. [Read our analysis of these two reports in this issue for more information.] The owner of a small, mid-range Swiss brand recently told us, after returning from China, that the only opportunity left for small independent brands was to sell their watches directly, from hand to hand. “Everything is buckled up like a tri-fold strap,” he told us. We did not want to believe it but we cannot help but notice that this complaint from the rank and file in watchmaking is being heard with increasing regularity. In this context, the cancellation of the GTE seems “logical”. And the great caravan of BaselWorld does indeed seem more suitable for the small independent brands, even if the cost has become prohibitive for some of them. But we will never tire of repeating that this reduction in diversity in the watchmaking industry, which is increasingly becoming concentrated into the hands of a few giants, is a loss for everyone. When “biodiversity” decreases, when the industrial and artisanal fabric thins, when alternatives disappear, cultural poverty follows. Macroeconomic figures may continue to skyrocket but the crazy passion, the unbridled invention and the risk-taking are stuck on the ground. In the meantime, the air up at the top is getting thinner. p
J12 MOONPHASE by Chanel 38mm case in high-tech white ceramic with matching multi-link bracelet in high-tech white ceramic. Brushed opaline dial with Arabic numerals, circumferential date scale with central hand indication, aventurine moonphase disc at 6 o’clock with hand indication. Powered by a self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of 42 hours and water resistant to 100 metres. www.chanel.com EDITORIAL The air is getting thinner COVER STORY Chanel – J12 Moonphase, exquisite hour SIHH 2014 Form and function from Cartier Greubel Forsey, feet in tradition, head in invention Van Cleef & Arpels – An horological narrative Piaget and the constraints of size on the watch and the company Panerai – Radiomir in the spotlight Roger Dubuis – The year of the tribute The “missiles” fired off by Richard Mille Montblanc – “To share passion for watchmaking” GALLERIES Raymond Weil, Zenith, Chaumet, Chopard, Jaquet Droz, Louis Moinet, DeWitt HIGHLIGHTS Hermès elevated to the ranks of haute horlogerie René Kriegbaum – The collector’s dilemma Darko, the “philosigner” ANNIVERSARY F.P. Journe – 30 years ago, a young rebel made his own tourbillon ARTISANS Roger W. Smith – the watchmaker’s apprentice MANUFACTURING Tag Heuer, an avant-garde production facility Omega enters a new era of manufacturing A new factory for Vacheron Constantin STUDIES Two spotlights turned on to the development of the Swiss watch industry DETROIT SPECIAL The American re-revolution – Detroit, Shinola and the future LETTER FROM CHINA The anti-corruption campaign: reprimand or bluff? WORLDWATCHWEB The most desired luxury watch brands in Switzerland – Insights from the WorldWatchReport™ 2013 LAKIN@LARGE Museums, clocks, planes and a shirt
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CHANEL, J12 Moonphase, exquisite hour The Moon. White. Black. The white moon in the black sky… The white heavenly body in the black night sky has always seduced poets. Fascinating, mysterious, the dream-like whiteness of full-moon nights casts a singular spell over our senses. Quite unlike the vibrant and implacable light of the sun, which cuts distinct shadows, the moon shines with a powdery, silvery white light. As the famous French poet Paul Verlaine says in his poem “The white moon”, this light “vast and tender / an appeasement / seems to lower / from the firmament / star-bedecked… Exquisite hour!”
Breaking the taboo of white In 2003, Chanel broke a taboo by introducing the colour white to the world of watchmaking. After the black J12, which had already upset the aesthetic codes of watchmaking, the birth of the transgressive J12 in white staggered those in the industry. Against all expectations, the white J12 was an immediate success and received universal acclaim. Made out of an immaculate white high-tech ceramic that is totally resistant to the vagaries of time, it es-
tablished itself as a new stylistic reference in watchmaking. White became one of the colours of the moment, henceforth closely linked to the name of Chanel. It was perfectly legitimate for Chanel to introduce white like this because, as Mademoiselle Chanel herself had already said, “white, like black, has it all.” Alongside the deepest black, pure white is one of Chanel’s most ingrained genetic codes. Because black and white, black or white get to the heart of the matter, revealing the clarity
of form, whether in the tailor’s cut, the curves of a camellia, the speed of a comet, the orb of the moon or the sketch of a watch. Since its birth in black in 2000, the J12 in high-tech ceramic, designed as a highly elegant sports watch, has shown its ability to adapt to numerous different horological designs, from the highest jewellery to the most “complicated”. In 2004, Chanel presented the J12 Pièces d’Exception collection, featuring limited editions set with the most beautiful baguette cut precious stones. Black contrasted with the fire of rubies, with the ice of diamonds. In 2005, the white J12 entered the world of high-end mechanical watchmaking with a self-winding tourbillon whose mainplate was made of ceramic, a world-first and a technical revolution. In 2008, the J12 Calibre 3125 was fitted with a self-winding mechanical movement from
Audemars Piguet, exclusively personalised for Chanel. The year 2009 saw the birth of the incredible J12 Noir Intense, whose white-gold case was set with 724 baguettes in hightech black ceramic, cut and facetted like the most precious of stones. Then came the J12 Rétrograde Mysterieuse in 2010, a concentrate of innovations that mixed complications with world-firsts: tourbillon, digital minutes display, retrograde minutes hand, 10-day power reserve, retractable vertical crown. And in 2011 the J12 was for the first time neither black nor white but a new colour, hitherto unknown in watchmaking, the J12 Chromatic. This colour, achieved by adding titanium to ceramic, is like no other, its particular soft sheen is unique. In the meantime there have been even more evolutions in the J12 line: the interplay of materials, with matt and polished surfaces, a touch of gold, stone setting. But also the interplay of function with the J12 Chronograph, in black or white, which allows it to give full expression to its sportiness and show off its resistance, the
toughness of its materials and its great water resistance. It earns its stripes as a genuine instrument without ever losing any of its elegance. With the J12 GMT it then became a watch for the traveller, juggling between time zones. The J12 Marine, with a touch of deep blue on its unidirectional rotating bezel, plunged it into the universe of deep-sea diving. Born at the dawn of the century, the J12 has the ability to assume so many different identities without any loss of its stylistic strength or its immediately recognisable look and fully deserves its label as “the first horological icon of the 21st Century”. But there is nothing fixed about this icon and its destiny is set to continue along its promising route.
The J12 takes a slice of the Moon After transforming high-tech ceramic into a precious material, after tackling speed, sailing, the sea, time zones, being set with diamonds and precious stones, after housing some of –7–
the most astonishing high-end complications, the J12 now takes a slice of the moon with the J12 Moonphase. In the galaxy of horological complications, there is one that has a particular attraction, especially to women: the moon phase display. Symbolically associated with femininity, the moon phase is a horological complication with an eminently poetic reach. But its horological implementation is the result of savvy calculations that convert its particular cycle into the movements of wheels and gears. Its synodic revolution, in other words the interval of time it takes for the moon to return to the same position compared with the Sun and the Earth, is 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds precisely. Since this interval is not the same as the average duration of a month, the watchmaker has to use the reduction of a gear train in order to display the different stages in the lunar cycle: new moon, first quarter, full moon, last quarter.
Traditionally, this is displayed on a small disc on which there is a full moon. This moon, revolving around its disc, alternately appears and disappears behind a window cut out in the dial (the shape of which often recalls that of a cloud), gradually revealing the progress of the lunar cycle. The J12 Moonphase displays the moon phase in a completely different way. The four main stages in the lunar cycle are represented by small indicators – a white disc, two white crescents, a black disc – on a large, deep-blue aventurine disc that glitters like a starry sky. The moon phase is indicated by a slender ser-
pentine hand in polished steel, which shows the interval between the different phases of the moon. This poetic and dreamy moonphase indication, at 6 o’clock on the dial, gives a new look to the iconic J12. The large aventurine disc, framed by metal, is like a window on to the firmament. It is completed by another indication, that of the date, by a hand whose tip takes the form of a fine crescent moon as a subtle reminder of the astronomical consistency. This small crescent underlines the date, which is marked in figures on a scale on the flange around the dial. At the centre, the hours, minutes and seconds follow their regular course, read against hour –8–
numerals in a deep blue. The seconds hand revolves around a fine railway-style minute track. All these indications stand out against an open dial background with alternating brushed and guilloché patterns in the finest horological tradition. The new J12 Moonphase comes in a 38mm case in high-tech ceramic with a bracelet whose links, in the same ceramic, are fashioned and polished one by one and assembled in a taper to offer maximum suppleness and exceptional comfort on the wrist. This bracelet is easily adjusted using a triple folding clasp.
COVER STORY Six lunar variations The first J12 Moonphase models are available in six different versions, from the most understated to the most ostentatious. They are all fitted with a high-quality self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. The most classic of these models is a sober piece in high-tech white ceramic with a brushed opaline dial and aventurine moonphase disc, water resistant to 100 metres. The more ornate second model in white has
a bezel set with 54 diamonds (± 1.42 carats) and a guilloché opaline dial set with 63 diamonds (± 0.34 carats) that surround the aventurine disc, make up the minute scale and act as hour markers. These two models are also available in hightech black ceramic with a brushed black dial for the simplest version and a guilloché black dial for the model that is set just like its equivalent in white. Two high jewellery models complete the range. The first is in 18-carat white gold and titanium
ceramic in a limited edition of 12 pieces, with the bezel, lugs and exterior links on the bracelet set with 554 baguette cut diamonds (± 30.19 carats). The second is a sumptuous model in a limited edition of five pieces in 18-carat white gold that is fully paved with 696 baguette cut diamonds (± 42.45 carats). So that the exquisite hour may be even more so.p Discover more on Chanel at www.watch-aficionado.com
Roger Dubuis - The year of the tribute One of my abiding memories from last year’s SIHH was the unmistakable sound of the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor, whose four balance-spring assemblies beating in unison produced a sound similar to that of a cricket, far removed from any of the usual “tic-tocs” of a mechanical watch operating in the single-figure hertz range. But the Quatuor was much more than just a talking piece: The first watches were delivered immediately after the show and the owners of the three pieces in silicon (retail price: 1 million Swiss francs) will be picking them up directly from the manufacture in Meyrin in December 2013. Despite the Quatuor models taking 2,400 hours to produce and despite the hefty price tag, Roger Dubuis plans to deliver 35-40 more pieces this year, all of which have already been pre-ordered by customers. As if to reinforce the notion that this is not just a “one-shot” product, the brand now presents a resolutely technical model in black DLC treated titanium as a limited edition of 188 pieces. (…)
I Freelancer Lady Urban Black by Raymond Weil For the first time, Raymond Weil is offering a feminine timepiece in black PVD. Like the rest of the watch, the dial, the Arabic numerals, the hands, the 86 diamonds set on the bezel and the lugs, and the sharkskin-style leather strap are black. The automatic winding mechanical movement, visible through an opening at 12 o’clock, is the only non-black exception.
I Excalibur Quatuor DLC Titanium The use of DLC-coated titanium gives this highly technical piece an even more technical look. Its four balance springs are arranged at 45° angles to ensure that whenever one is in its “worst” position for isochronism, the opposing balance spring is in the optimum position. The four balance springs are connected by five differentials that average out their rate. The RD 101 calibre that powers the Excalibur Quatuor is a manually-wound movement consisting of 590 components and 113 jewels that offers a power reserve of 40 hours.
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PANERAI, Radiomir in the spotlight Officine Panerai is one of relatively few watch brands to offer timepieces whose power reserve is measured in days rather than hours. This is the legacy from the brand’s historical links with the Italian Navy. Given Italy’s geography, the country has always been a seafaring nation and the Italian Navy divers have played a crucial role in the country’s military machine. Italy was the first country to use frogmen and human torpedoes in military operations and it was vital that these courageous divers could rely on accurate measuring instruments with a long running life and a clearly visible display. (…)
I Classic Quantième by DeWitt The new Classic collection marks an inspired change for the Geneva workshops, which celebrate their tenth anniversary this year. While introducing a resolutely classic style and extremely pure lines, this new design remains faithful to the DeWitt DNA. Offering a subtle blend of character and elegance, the new Classic collection is balanced and understated. The case is thinner than on the Academia and Twenty-8-Eight collections, and features a refined and understated version of the iconic imperial column motif. The 40mm-diameter rose-gold case and the soft, curved lines of the horns give an impression of extreme lightness. The watch is equipped with a self-winding mechanical movement that offers a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. In addition to indicating the hours, minutes, and seconds, the movement has a calendar with days of the week in the aperture at 11 o’clock, months at 1 o’clock and the date using a central hand. The mother-of-pearl moon phase indicator positioned at 6 o’clock is placed on a “goldstone” sky. Goldstone is a glittering glass discovered in Venice in the seventeenth century, which later developed into the famous Murano glass. Ranging from black to white, through a delicate shade of midnight blue, the sunray dial allows light and shadow to subtly interact with shape and colour.
Read the full article on www.watch-aficionado.com – 10 –
The “missiles” fired off by Richard Mille The rumour did the rounds for a few months: Richard Mille was allegedly for sale. The denial came during the Watches & Wonders exhibition in Hong Kong in September from the founder himself (who personally holds 90 per cent of the company, with the remaining 10 per cent controlled by Audemars Piguet): “This is old news!” Richard Mille confirmed in an interview given to the magazine of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, whilst admitting nevertheless that he “had progressed quite far with the negotiations because there are some offers that it would be criminal not to consider, especially when you consider the long-term future of
the brand. But I have to admit that when a dozen ‘specialists’ arrived for the due diligence, I realised that integration within a major group did not correspond at all with the company spirit. I’m not very good at being held to account. And having to stay on several years to ensure the transition would have made things even worse. It would have been a hostage situation for me and I would not necessarily have developed Stockholm syndrome! So, for the moment, that chapter is closed!” The executives dispatched by Kering, ex-PPR, which is looking to increase its portfolio of watch brands therefore returned empty-handed. This is undoubtedly good news for lovers of avant-garde fine watchmaking, not because Kering is incompetent but because the originality of Richard Mille timepieces, which first appeared a mere 13 years ago, is genetically linked to the personality, the passions and the dreams of its founder. (…) Read the full article on www.watch-aficionado.com
Van Cleef & Arpels - An horological narrative A watch does not usually tell a story. At least none beyond that of its own way of measuring and beating out the passing of time. A watch can, of course, refer to a story – a sporting achievement, a notable event, for example – but this remains external to the watch itself. The watch merely “commemorates” this story, recalling it with a sign, an engraving or a miniature painting. With its Poetic Complications (a registered trademark), Van Cleef & Arpels goes much further. The story that the watch tells is no longer external to it but is instead the visible expression of its own internal life and the movement that powers it. The watch thus becomes the location for its own story. (…)
Read on at www.watch-aficionado.com – 11 –
I Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane Grand Voyage by Zenith On the dial side, an open architecture provides a chance to admire the three original mechanisms in action: the barrel with its fusée and chain transmission (at 10.30 and 1.30), gyroscopic gravity control system, and the high-frequency regulating organ at 6 o’clock. The three gold subdials (hours/minutes at 12 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock, power reserve at 4 o’clock) are finely guilloché, enamelled in white and fitted with blued steel hands and screws. The plate has been entirely hollowed out by hand so as to leave only the Zenith logo and a flurry of stars standing out in relief; and the troughs thus created have been filled with midnight blue lacquer. The counterweight of the gravity control system has also been enhanced with a hand-crafted micro-painted depiction of the Southern hemisphere. The back of the Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane Grand Voyage springs a big surprise with a vividly coloured and lively evocation of the famous navigator’s many adventures. In the foreground, on either side of the mechanism reminiscent of the gimbal suspension typical of marine chronometers, one may admire the finely engraved portrait of Christopher Columbus along with a sextant. The background bears a reproduction of the Santa Maria, the flagship with which Columbus sailed on his first voyage in 1492. The tiny manually cut-out and micro-engraved décor depicts the vessel in abundantly rich detail, particularly in terms of the ropes and rigging. Behind the sailboat, the going-train bridge has been chosen to represent the ocean with a background engraved with tiny waves and then coated with a layer of translucent lacquer. In the background, the barrel bridge opens up the horizon with a micro-painted décor depicting a sky divided into day and night. In a subtle detail, the watchmakers of the Manufacture have arranged the movement structure in such a way as to reveal a small gilded gear train evoking sunrise or sunset. Integrating this décor called for a wealth of ingenuity, including finding points to which the applique elements could be fixed, while reducing the movement thickness and the spaces between the calibre and the ornamentation to an absolute minimum (less than a tenth of a millimetre beneath the sails).
TAG Heuer, an avant-garde production facility “I totally respect Nick Hayek’s decision to no longer deliver movements to third parties. I even thank him for it, because now we will be able to truly innovate,” Stéphane Linder, the new CEO of TAG Heuer (where he has worked for the past twenty years, most recently as the head of the North American markets) tells us. The gently provocative tone hides a genuine strategic necessity: that of ensuring and safeguarding the brand’s movement supply, specifically that of mechanical chronographs, the spearhead of the brand.
OMEGA enters a new era of manufacturing The first phase of the ambitious project to reshape the site of the headquarters of Omega is already under way, with the former Swatch headquarters demolished and ready to make way for the future Omega manufacture next to the company’s existing head office, which is a listed building. Until this ambitious new project is completed in the summer of 2015, however, some 500,000 Omega co-axial movements are produced for the brand on assembly lines at various facilities of the Swatch Group’s ETA division. Europa Star had the opportunity to visit the dedicated assembly line for the most recent of these co-axial movements, the Calibre 9300 co-axial chronograph at one of ETA’s six factories in its home town of Grenchen, a 15-minute drive from the Omega headquarters in Biel.
the assembly line proper, where 124 of the 337 components are assembled on them, mostly by hand. The “line” itself is a model of lean manufacturing and a far cry from the more familiar scenes of rows of watchmakers working alongside each other. (…)
Here, the movement blanks are produced in the basement and their jewels set in the same building before they arrive in the clean room that is
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TAG Heuer’s first initiative in the field of traditional mechanical chronograph movements (we are not talking here about the brand’s concept movements) dates back almost four years with the launch of the Calibre 1887, the result of an exhaustive re-engineering of a Seiko chronograph movement. Component production for this Calibre 1887, an integrated movement with 320 components, which oscillates at 28,800 vibrations per hour and has a column wheel and the oscillating pinion patented by Heuer in 1887 (hence the name of the calibre in question), was set up at the brand’s Corniol factory, in the Swiss Jura, which was built in 2004 for production of cases in steel and gold. An ultra-modern and semi-automated assembly line was set up in la Chaux-de-Fonds for the assembly of this movement.
A new factory for Vacheron Constantin Forty professions grouped together over 9,000m2, 200 people today, eventually increasing to 350, 35 million Swiss francs’ worth of investment, gives you an idea of the size of the new factory that Vacheron Constantin recently opened in Le Brassus, in the Vallée de Joux. It brings together under the same roof all the skills required for prototyping, research and development, compo-
The Calibre 1887 is what is known as a “6–9–12” (because of the way the counters are positioned). TAG Heuer soon felt a need for a second architecture: a chronograph with counters at “3–6–9”, for other, more stylistically classic products. (…)
nent machining and decoration that were previously scattered across several sites. According to Juan-Carlos Torres, “this is the start of a new era for Vacheron Constantin”. The implementation of a new planning system and the importance attached to new production technologies should not lead to a brand such as Vacheron Constantin losing sight of the essential: “human competence remains at the centre”. Proof of this is the impressive finishing workshop, where drawing, bevelling, rounding off, jewel setting, circular graining and côtes de Genève are applied by hand, organised in independent lines that group the professions around a common product. Each of these lines is responsible for its own quality controls. (…)
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– 12 –
Two spotlights turned on to the development of the Swiss watch industry One after the other, two studies have recently been published that attempt to analyse the Swiss watchmaking industry. Credit Suisse has published its research, entitled “Swiss Watch Industry – Prospects and Challenges”, while consultants Deloitte present a report with a similar title “Challenges and opportunities of the sector”. The two studies differ in their analytical approach. While Credit Suisse bases its analysis on the facts and figures available, Deloitte’s is based on a series of interviews with senior executives
The most striking phenomenon of the past ten years is without doubt the move towards vertical integration that is radically transforming the Swiss watchmaking landscape. in the sector and the results of an online survey. It is worth noting that of the 53 executives questioned by Deloitte, only 17 work at a watch brand, the others being employed by component manufacturers (28) or “a company involved in the value chain”, without further precision. But irrespective of the methodologies used, there are some clear overlaps in their observations, with some divergence nevertheless. Here, we highlight some of the notable conclusions, beyond the generalities that our readers are already familiar with.
Vertical integration and the challenges of supply The most striking phenomenon of the past ten years is without doubt the move towards vertical integration that is radically transforming the Swiss watchmaking landscape. This vertical integration has accelerated sharply since the first announcement, made ten years ago by Nicolas Hayek, of the Swatch Group’s intention to pro-
gressively reduce its movement sales to third parties and takes place on two fronts, both within the big groups and through acquisitions of all kinds of suppliers. Credit Suisse publishes a revealing, yet partial, table that summarises ten years of acquisitions. Today, the effects of this tightening up of the independent industrial fabric are clearly being felt. And this mainly in the strategic area of movements and components, which account for the majority of acquisitions. As a result, some 50 per cent of the executives questioned by Deloitte consider that ETA movements are difficult to obtain, even though 65 per cent judge them to be “superior in reliability and quality”, only 3 per cent considering the alternatives “better” and 32 per cent seeing no difference. There are also supply problems for dials. For Credit Suisse, the dial is “essential for the recognisability factor.Thus it is understandable that watch manufacturers target these companies in the vertical integration process.” Another component for which demand surprisingly outstrips supply is the watch hand. The executives questioned by Deloitte ranked problems with the supply of hands in third place after balance springs and movements. For 45 per cent of the survey respondents, the 60 per cent increase in the threshold required by the new Swiss Made legislation will further aggravate these supply problems. “Despite the current drop in sales volumes [editor’s note: 100,000 fewer units in September 2013, for 1.9 billion Swiss francs more revenue] the current 15 per cent reduction of Swatch Group deliveries compared with 2010 figures is already causing supply bottlenecks,” Deloitte notes. And there are “only limited alternatives to Swatch Group”, according to Credit Suisse. Developing one’s own movement internally is a “costly and time-consuming” alternative, says the report, “and thus not an option for smaller manufacturers”. (…) Read the full article on www.watch-aficionado.com
Hermès elevated to the ranks of haute horlogerie
The Hermès boutique on Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the centre of Paris was chosen for the launch of the timepiece that signals the brand’s entrance into the world of high-end watchmaking. The unusual name of the piece, the Arceau Lift, is an indication why the store was chosen over, say, BaselWorld, for such a significant launch. It is because this new watch has been designed from scratch based on an idea that came to the brand’s product manager, Philippe Delhotal, after a visit to the store. In the 3,000 square metres that make up this bastion of luxury, Mr Delhotal spotted an intertwined double H motif on the principal lift in the store, which symbolises the union of the Hermès and Hollande families when the grandson of the company’s founder, Emile Hermès, married Julie Hollande. Philippe Delhotal chose this symbol as the basis for the design of a new flying tourbillon using the Arceau case with a new movement that has been designed and produced exclusively for Hermès by La Joux-Perret. (…)
Read on at www.watch-aficionado.com – 13 –
F.P. JOURNE – 30 years ago, a young rebel made his own tourbillon…
The American Re-Revolution Detroit, Shinola and the future The Detroit train station, Michigan Central Station, is a beautiful, iconic Beaux-Arts Classical building, but it is in complete disrepair, a symbol of the Rust Belt’s urban decay in general and, in particular, of Detroit’s fall from greatness. There are a number of neighbourhoods filled with derelict buildings, once-beautiful homes now abandoned, roofs collapsing and walls falling down. Yet, there are sections of Detroit that are beautiful, whole and doing quite well, thank you. Downtown Detroit is certainly on its way back – General Motors has moved back into the city and there are a number of other companies that have made Detroit their home – like software giant Quicken. Detroit’s sports teams (the Lions, Tigers and Red Wings) are performing well, bringing people back downtown. There is a vibe in Detroit, that the city is on the verge of coming back to its former glory as a centre of industry, design and innovation, and Shinola is a big part of the city’s revitalisation.
Some 30 years ago, in 1983, a young man who had just turned 25 put the finishing touches to his first timepiece: a pocket watch with tourbillon. It took him five years to develop and produce. He made each of its components by hand, including the gold and silver case, and proudly signed it F.P. JOURNE – A PARIS. The young François-Paul Journe was a rebel whose parents tried to tame by enrolling him at the watchmaking school in Marseilles. Here, for the first time, the man who himself admits to being a “dunce”, enjoyed learning to cut, to file and to assemble a movement. But at the time a watchmaking school trained up specialist workers in horology, not genuine dyed-in-the-wool watchmakers who could make their own movement. (…)
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Shinola: Built in Detroit
sidered a number of cities. Detroit was the most compelling and fit the Shinola story the best. “Part of picking Detroit was that we were assembling the engine of the watch and what better place to be than in the heart of the auto industry, where so many engines have been produced?” says Heath Carr, CEO, Bedrock Manufacturing. (…)
When Shinola’s founders, Tom Kartsotis of Fossil and Bedrock Manufacturing, were trying to decide where to base Shinola’s operations, they con-
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