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Daytona /day • to • na /: 1. A
beach in Florida synonymous with speed. 2. An iconic chronograph that was born to race. 3. The trophy for every winner of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 At Daytona. 4. Equipped with a tachymetric scale on the bezel to measure speed. 5. Enables precision t im ing to one eight h of a second. 6. Powered by calibre 4130, Rolex’s high-performance mechanical chronograph movement. 7. The Rolex Way.
More Rolex watchmaking at
THE CHANEL MOMENT
by Pierre Maillard, Editor-in-chief
re we looking at the end of a model, the model that has shaped the face of world watchmaking over the last two decades? Given the plethora of factors conspiring to destroy or seriously compromise the foundations of this unique sector of economic activity, we’re tempted to say yes. It would be superfluous to expound upon the worrying state of the world, which is amply discussed elsewhere. All the CEOs we approached to complete our survey (see elsewhere in these pages) had the same things to say: stalled economy in China, fall of the ruble, bloodbath in the Middle East, Europe contending with a refugee crisis of biblical proportions, doubts over Schengen, possible Brexit, rise of nationalism and social inequality, terrorist threats, not to mention the prospect of seeing Trump as leader of the free world or, worse yet, the threat of a monumental environmental catastrophe that would lead to unimaginable geopolitical chaos and human tragedy. Given the seriousness of these threats, it seems almost irrelevant to be worrying about the watch industry. And yet, as we have often repeated here, watchmaking is not like a modular habitat on Mars, it does not exist in its own sterile bubble, and it can hold up a mirror to its time. It faces the same dangers, and it also has to respond to threats unique to its own milieu, which are calling its own models into question. Everything seems to be coming to a head: the rising tide of smartwatches is upsetting the estab-
6 | EDITORIAL | europa star
lished hierarchies and beginning to reconfigure the game board, particularly at the entry level and in the mid-range (although when we asked our CEOs, who represent the entire spectrum of watch products, they were almost unanimous in downplaying the danger). This rising tide that the latest statistics released by the FH appears to reflect comes at a time when retailers’ drawers are overflowing with unsold merchandise. The market is saturated, and yet new brands are jumping into the fray every day. At the same time, serious cracks are appearing in the mono-brand boutique model. They are expensive – extremely expensive – and they are often empty (“Without jewellery, the mono-brand model is stupid,” Corum CEO Davide
Traxler said bluntly to Le Temps). A return to the multi-brand model appears inevitable (Richemont is currently trying out a new multi-brand concept in China, under the name of Time Vallée, which is open to competition). There is no denying that the dizzying upward mobility of Swiss watchmaking was a way of responding to the growing chasm separating the mega-rich from a disintegrating middle class. But this ascent, combined with greater vertical integration of the means of production, is tearing holes in the historic fabric that underpins the pre-eminence of Swiss watchmaking. Many subcontractors have been hit hard. Quietly, but increasingly openly, jobs are being downsized (at the end of February Richemont announced it would be letting go 350 of its 9,000 employees in Switzerland – 2,000 of whom it has taken on since 2010). Euphoria seems in short supply. What will the watch industry look like in ten years’ time? There must be many people who wish they had a crystal ball. The encouraging figures announced by our Japanese friends, who are not afraid of combining fine mechanical horology with cutting-edge technology, may well provide part of the answer. Perhaps we’ll learn a little more when Baselworld opens its doors. A new model looks more necessary than ever. p
Lift by Jennifer Townley 180x100x50 cm – Unique piece | Courtesy MAD Gallery
IN SEARCH OF
LEGENDS LIVE FOREVER EL PRIMERO
I Chronomaster 1969
6 10 14
CARL F. BUCHERER Langensandstrasse 27 CH 6002 Luzern Switzerland Tel. + 41 (0)41 369 70 70 Fax:+ 41 (0)41 369 70 72 www.carl-f-bucherer.com
EDITORIAL In search of a new model ALL EYES ON… The golden move of Carl F. Bucherer Interview with Sasha Moeri: ”We keep the golden wheel turning with our new movement A2000”
18 72 82
BUSINESS RETRO-PERSPECTIVE World CEO survey: CEOs have their say Analysis: Watch exports 2015 SIHH 2016 and the price dichotomy
90 93 94 98 100 102 104
BRANDS After-sales service: Patek Philippe – The manufacture within a manufacture Interview: Patek Philippe – Meeting with Laurent Cantin, Director International Client Services Case Study: Girard-Perregaux, Antonio Calce: ”Let’s show them what we’re made of” Anniversary: Raymond Weil – 40 years of family independence Anniversary: Century – Half a century in sapphire Anniversary: Ernest Borel – A 160-year romance Anniversary: Rudis Sylva – Ten years to preserve three centuries
GALLERIES Tourbillons & Complications, Graphic Elegance, ICY Diamonds, Open, Chronomania, Bold. Girard-Perregaux Esmeralda Tourbillon
136 138 140
EUROPA STAR ARCADE Interview: Laurent Katz, Pequignet – The last bastion of made in France Interview: Yvan Arpa, Artya – The spirit of Bushido Interview: Daphné de Jenlis - In the watch aisle of Les Galeries Lafayette
DEBATES, OP-EDS & CHRONICLES Counterfeiters: Real, fake and real fake watches Analysis: 2015 results for the French watch industry
WORLD CEO SURVEY
ARCADE EUROPA STAR
151 WATCHPRINT BOOK SELECTION 154
LAKIN@LARGE A zest for bargains
70 78 96 134 142
SPOTLIGHTS Emotion France at Baselworld Three new marvels from Casio Seiko Presage: fine mechanical watchmaking, from Japan Citizen – 40 years of pioneering Eco-Drive technology The challenging spirit of Orient Watch
MANERO PERIPHERAL IN ROSE GOLD by Carl F. Bucherer Reference number: 00.10917.03.23.01 Movement: Automatic caliber CFB A2050, chronometer, diameter of 30.6 mm, thickness of 5.28 mm, 33 jewels, 55 hours of power reserve. Functions: Date, hours, minutes, small seconds. Case: 18-karat rose gold, domed sapphire crystal with antireflective coating on both sides, sapphire crystal case back, water-resistant to 30 m (3 atm), diameter of 40.6 mm, thickness of 11.2 mm. Strap: Louisiana alligator leather, 18-karat rose gold pin buckle. Dial: White. Variant: 00.10917.03.33.01 with black dial.
THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL WATCH MAGAZINE
www.worldwatchreport.com / www.digital-luxury.com
The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily Europa Star. Europa Star subscription service: CHF 100 in Europe,CHF 140 International | One year, 6 issues | Visit: europastar.com/subscribe | Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
8 | CONTENTS | europa star
ALL EYES ON…
THE GOLDEN MOVE OF Manero Peripheral
The Lucerne-based brand revitalises its whole identity under baroque symbolic, unveils a very promising family of new calibres and further strengthens its collections. The least we can say is that 2016 is not “business as usual”! by Serge Maillard, Europa Star
n the cover of this Baselworld issue of Europa Star, the Manero Peripheral is not just “any” new timepiece by Carl F. Bucherer. It is a landmark and a stepping stone for the family-owned brand managed by the dynamic Sascha Moeri (read interview on page 14). Just the tip of the iceberg, this new model is indeed the first to feature the new family of calibres CFB A2000, which will appear in future Haute Horlogerie models of the Lucernebased manufacture and open up a wide horizon. At the crossroads between the devotion to a sacred centurylong past in watchmaking and the desire to innovate in a radical way lies the heart and soul of Carl F. Bucherer. The CFB A2050 movement, which drives the Manero Peripheral, is one possible variant of the A2000, whose development took place over several years in secret on the manufacture grounds. In addition to its central hours and minutes hands, the new Manero displays the small seconds at 6 o’clock and the date at 3 o’clock. This new watch movement is housed in a classically designed, multifaceted round case. Visual intensity is created by clear edges, soft curves, and contrasting polished and matte surfaces. The dial is a Manero classic: elaborately finished with raised wedge hour-markers. And, as is usual for the series, the time is indicated by faceted lance hands. The Manero Peripheral, with a power reserve of 55 hours, is being launched in six versions: the 40 mm case is offered in rose
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gold or stainless steel, each with dials in deep matte black or elegant porcelain white. Each variant is complemented with a fine strap crafted from alligator leather. The stainless steel models are also available with a steel bracelet and refined double folding clasp.
REVOLUTION IN THE ROTOR Let us take a closer look at the new calibre series CFB A2000, which offers a glimpse of what the engineers’ imagination has in store, as it can be used in a variety of models and enables new combinations of features. This new movement draws its energy from a double-sided self-winding mechanism with a peripherally arranged rotor (hence the name of the new Manero model). Carl F. Bucherer was the first manufacturer to put this design principle into series production with the calibre CFB A1000, consequently adapting the construction design to the new movement series. With its linear design, it is characteristic of Carl F. Bucherer both from an aesthetic and technical viewpoint. The Geneva stripes adorning the movement’s bridges and balance-cocks are a tribute to Swiss watchmaking tradition.
In order to maintain consistently high accuracy, the watchmakers focused on a completely free breathing balance-spiral that undergoes no change in its effective length. The motion of the watch is calibrated exclusively using pivotable masselottes. These are small weights that sit on the four balance arms and control the inertia of the balance, which oscillates at 4 Hz or 28,800 vibrations per hour. This, in turn, guarantees the movement precise rate stability. The CFB A2000 is a universally applicable movement. Its basic structure was designed so that it can be incorporated into even more future models including ladies’ watches. Because of its impressive rotation momentum, this automatic movement is destined to drive a wide range of additional functions under devlopment in the watchmaker’s own development workshops. Thus, this new movement is merely making its debut in the new Manero Peripheral.
sen to seize this opportunity to put itself into motion and refine its whole brand identity. At this Baselworld edition, the traditional Swiss manufacturer presents a distinctly golden evolutionary look, paying tribute both to the heritage and personality of Carl F. Bucherer and to the baroque influences in architecture that mark the brand’s hometown, Lucerne. An approach meant to be lavish and discreet at the same time. “Carl F. Bucherer has a very distinct heritage that sets us apart from other brands. With this evolutionary look we are reshaping these roots for the future,” states Sascha Moeri. “The root of all is the personality of Carl F. Bucherer, a visionary and bold entrepreneur. His artistic talent and pioneering spirit laid the groundwork for what the brand represents today: an authentic brand that is deeply rooted in the cosmopolitan and exuberant spirit of Lucerne.”
A SPORTY 2016 UNDER GOLDEN AUSPICES One more thing, as the late Steve Jobs would say… So far, we have understood that the Manero Peripheral is not just “any” new timepiece, due to its innovative movement, setting up for future promises. Similarly, the timing of the movement’s release has been carefully calculated. Carl F. Bucherer has cho-
Carl F. Bucherer also comes to Baselworld with a series of novelties in almost all of its collections. Beyond the new Peripheral, the brand introduces the Manero Flyback. The chronograph newcomer for 2016 features the calibre CFB 1970, which is controlled by a gearwheel and also provides a flyback function, allowing multiple time intervals to be measured in quick succession. u
| ALL EYES ON… | 11
Patravi TravelTec Black
Patravi TravelTec II
The automatic chronograph movement is housed inside a classic round case, 43 mm in diameter, and is available in rose gold or stainless steel, perfectly complementing the elegant Manero series. The polished push buttons controlling the chronograph function not only emphasise the classic character of the watch, they are also highly functional with their large surface area. The two sub-dials for the small seconds at 9 o’clock and the stop minute at 3 o’clock are recessed and combine with the surrounding raised border adorned with a tachymeter scale to underline the three-dimensional quality of the dial design. Another sporty watch is the GMT chronograph Patravi TravelTec Black, in deep matt black, distinguished by its three time zones and a robust DLC coating. The main feature of the watch is of course its imposing black colour, which emphasises the diamond-like-carbon finish on the stainless steel case and wristband. The striking design is rounded off with a black dial offering a clear display of contrasting lightcoloured counters, indices, and scales. Two time zones are visible on the dial. The third time zone is displayed via a red 24 hour-hand on a rotating bezel.
BLACK… AND WHITE In the same family, the Patravi TravelTec II, which was presented last year, now gleams in rose gold and blackened titanium. The highly vibrant color combination between the case in warm rose gold and a case back and pushers in lightweight titanium is rounded off by a black dial and a black strap. Measuring 47.4 mm in diameter, the enormous rose gold case has a bold presence…
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The chronograph function in combination with three time zones, a specialty of the TravelTec family, is integrated into the case and can be seen through a lateral viewing window. The pusher at 10 o’clock adjusts the rotating bezel with a 24hour scale beneath the sapphire crystal: depending on whether the wearer is travelling west or east, the 24-hour ring can be moved forward or backward in one-hour steps. When passing midnight, the date also changes both forward and backward. The second time is indicated by the 24-hour hand and the fixed outer bezel, while the third combines the 24-hour hand with the rotating bezel mentioned above. The 24 time zones and associated reference cities are engraved on the base, with Lucerne, the hometown of Carl F. Bucherer, representing Central European Time (CET). Last but not least in the same collection, the Patravi ScubaTec model is as of now available in a 36 mm case. Contrary to the black colour trend that is incarnated in the Patravi TravelTecs, this model is dressed entirely in white. A white rubber strap complements the white dial and white ceramic bezel; a more discreet, slender stainless steel bracelet is also available. Despite its slim look, the watch’s robust stainless steel case can withstand pressures to a depth of 200 m. The new Patravi ScubaTec illustrates its connection with the ocean through the wave pattern adorning its dial. The twelve raised hour-markers, all three hands, and the 12 o’clock marker on the bezel are all coated with Super-LumiNova. The watch is equipped with the automatic CFB 1950 movement. The rotating dive ring in stainless steel indicates dive and decompression times. For safety reasons, it can only be turned counter-clockwise, ensuring the wearer knows when it’s time to surface.
THE SWAN, SYMBOL OF LUCERNE Also a ladies’ watch, but linked to a lake (or rivers of diamonds) rather than oceans, the Pathos Swan showcases the watchmaker’s long expertise in creating haute joaillerie watches. Precisely 922 diamonds and sapphires adorn the case, dial and strap of this sophisticated ladies’ watch. Many cultures regard the swan as a symbol of purity, elegance, love, and beauty, and it is also emblematic of Lucerne and its eponymous lake. Above a mother-of-pearl dial, top Wesselton quality diamonds and sapphires in various blue tones combine to suggest the image of a swan gliding gracefully over water. The many facets of the curved case are elegantly expressed by the gemstone border that follows the shape of the timepiece. This exclusive watch in the Pathos line (a collection which was launched in 2014) is available in two variants. In one of them, the watchstrap and the folding clasp are made entirely from 18-karat rose gold. The second variant offers a combination of white and rose gold, both of which are 18 karat. Both variants are produced in a limited edition of 88 pieces and are manufactured exclusively upon request. p
Li Bingbing, new ambassador The Chinese actress and singer is the new global “face” of Carl F. Bucherer. A way for the brand to reinforce its message in Greater China but also in the rest of the world. Indeed, Li Bingbing is one of the biggest movie stars in China and has also set foot in Hollywood, where she has played in blockbusters such as Transformers or Resident Evil. Perhaps even more interestingly for the brand, she is very active on social media and Carl F. Bucherer can reasonably count on her influence over millions of followers…
EUROPA STAR ARCADE
WE KEEP THE GOLDEN WHEEL TURNING WITH OUR NEW MOVEMENT A2000” Sascha Moeri, CEO of Carl F. Bucherer, on his brand philosophy, relations with the distribution networks and growing in a period of economic instability. What do you expect from 2016? I think it will be a very exciting year, because we already have a fantastic five years behind us: we have quadrupled our figures since 2010. This year will be challenging and tough due to the current economic conditions, the wars and a difficult market environment in key markets. But we are very well prepared with a great package of novelties that we are launching at Baselworld. The Patravi TravelTec Black is just the beginning… There is much more: the key is Carl F. Bucherer’s new manufacture movement. Its name is CFB A2000, an entire new calibre fam-
14 | EUROPA STAR ARCADE | europa star
ily added to the CFB A1000 family. The beauty of it is that we are not only talking about one calibre, but a concept, a whole family that opens up new horizons: each year, we will be able to come up with new models drawing on versions of this homemade peripheral calibre. What is today’s proportion of models equipped with your own calibres? And how much will it increase with the new movement? The goal is to steadily increase the proportion of models equipped with our own calibres. Yet we are proud to be
able to offer very interesting models in the entry price segment of mechanical watches, so the new calibre family will mainly be incorporated in the higher and luxury watch segment. In addition, the new caliber family allows us to implement the peripheral rotor calibers also in Ladies watches. An important development for us, as we strongly believe that also ladies watches more and more convince with outer design and inner values. A concept that drives all our creations. This strong development is supported by the establishment of our new state-ofthe-art manufacturing site in Lengnau where we are substantially investing.
But does it mean that the average price of your watches will increase, hence that you are heading more and more towards Haute Horlogerie? In 2010 we produced and sold 6,500 pieces over the year. Last year, we sold more than 25,000 timepieces! This is a huge growth thanks to the variety of collections that we propose. To answer your question: on the one hand, the luxury segment will of course grow immensely with our new in-house movement with existing Haute Horlogerie timepieces; on the other hand, we have also increased the quantities in the entry-level segment. Overall, the balance will remain the same and we will stick to our current retail prices. Are your expanding the range of collections or rather strengthening the existing ones? Strengthening them! We have five collections and in almost all of them will we be presenting innovations. The first watch with our new in-house movement will be the Manero Peripheral, in reference to the peripheral oscillating mass, which is the DNA of our calibres. A Flyback will also be introduced in the Manero line, a beautiful chronograph in a very classical yet exciting design. I am especially proud of these innovations in the Manero collection. In the Patravi collection, beyond the already mentioned TravelTec Black, there will be the Patravi TravelTec II, a bold variation of the existing model in rose gold. Among ladies’ watches, we will unveil two Haute Joaillerie timepieces in the Pathos collection to underline our long-standing jewellery expertise – the Pathos Swan. What were Carl F. Bucherer’s bestsellers in 2015? Our key pieces are in the Manero and Patravi family. Yet every market has its preferences. In Asia, where they fa-
vour a classical taste, it has been the Manero timepiece in its various versions, Perpetual, ChronoPerpetual or Tourbillon. It’s a similar situation in Europe. While in the US, the Patravi TravelTec and the ScubaTec are more in demand. In Russia and in the Middle East, you find the same two bestsellers as in the US. You have been quite active on the boutique side, opening lately in Interlaken and Dubai. What is the strategy, compared to the channels via traditional retailers? We have our own approach and it is a very important part of our philosophy: we never want to open a stand-alone boutique on our own. There are many distributors and retailers who have helped build the brand in recent years and we highly value their support to this day. We don’t intend to offend them by taking all their margins away from them. It must be the right location and the perfect local partner – only then will Carl F. Bucherer open a boutique. Take for instance Rivoli, our distribution partner in Dubai, or Bucherer of course in Interlaken. Building a brand takes enormous efforts, financially and emotionally. We will never take an aggressive approach towards the partners who helped us so much. Our group is family-owned with family values. Are you able to identify a general profile of the Carl F. Bucherer buyer? As I said before, customers in the US or in China have different preferences. Hence it is very important to us to follow the DNA of the brand. And thus it is one factor of the brand’s DNA that attracts all of our customers: the fact that we are very exclusive. Indeed, very few people will possess one of our watches: in 2016, we will serve a community of only 30,000 people. It is this exclusivity, together with the pursuit to express one’s individuality that mark the Carl F. Bucherer client.
What is the entry price at Carl F. Bucherer? Can we buy it as a first watch? We do offer interesting mechanical watch models in the entry-level segment, yet someone who wants to purchase his or her first mechanical watch will most probably go for what their friends buy. Once they have become an aficionado, and have learned about manufacturing qualities, movements and other details, the educated and experienced watch enthusiast will go for a Carl F. Bucherer. Then he or she will want a watch that not everybody else has on their wrist. We’re addressing these people - they do not follow trends but set the trend and have their own style. What is the split between male and female customers?
OBJECT ZAI SKI The Swiss ski producer Zai is our cooperation partner with whom we share the love for exquisite materials and craftsmanship. They mastered to incorporate stone and carbon in their skis and thus created very exclusive products. Similar to Carl F. Bucherer the production process is fully handmade with a wanted limited output. And the joy of racing down the slope with Zai skis – incredible! (Sascha Moeri)
The split today is 60% men’s and 40% women’s watches. Ladies’ watches have always been an important part of our history as we launched the first Art Déco ladies’ collection back in 1919. Lately the new Pathos collection has further strengthened this segment. What do you think about the arrival of connected watches? It is a very important market and I am happy to see so many Swiss brands investing a lot in R&D. That way the Swiss watch industry stays strong, innovative and competitive. There is certainly a market need for these products. However, our customers are looking for different values in a watch such as sustainability, handmade details in materials and also simply beauty of watch design. They might already possess a connected watch but do not expect one from Carl F. Bucherer. It is rather the opposite and they would even be disappointed if we follow a trend. Moreover, if we were to do something in the connected area, it should be really unique. We should not copy anyone. p
| EUROPA STAR ARCADE | 15
WORLD CEO SURVEY
HAVE THEIR SAY In response to a questionnaire sent out by Europa Star, 50 CEOs from Switzerland, Europe, Japan and the USA reveal their strategies for dealing with the dangers and opportunities that await in 2016. by Pierre and Serge Maillard, Europa Star
Do you see 2016 as a red flag year, or a year of amazing opportunity? Or of vital and inescapable transformation? Given our changing lifestyles, the pace of technological innovation and the geopolitical situation, what are your expectations and what strategies do you intend to implement?” At the beginning of the year Europa Star sent out a questionnaire to more than 50 watch industry CEOs, both large and small, from Switzerland and elsewhere in the world, to find out their opinions with a view to sketching out a watchmaking ‘mood map’ for our international readers, as we embark upon what looks set to be a perilous year. Although the great majority of those we contacted responded openly and willingly, some did not deign to share their opinions. This was true of the Swatch Group brands, who were perhaps under orders not to reveal their intentions, however vaguely. Others declined our invitation on the grounds that this kind of information is not for public consumption, or that they had a general policy of media abstinence (not where their products are concerned, obviously, just their policies...) We respect their choice. We are disappointed, however, because our intention was not to uncover trade secrets, but
18 | CEO SURVEY | europa star
to gain a better understanding of the mood of the watch industry, in order to be able to map out the international landscape as fully as possible for the benefit of the entire watchmaking community. But, as they say, “those who are absent are always in the wrong”! We are therefore particularly grateful to those who were generous enough to respond, on the understanding that sharing their opinion was unlikely to prove to be a bad business decision. And, in passing, we should like to take our hats off to Jean-Claude Biver, who evidently has the quickest reflexes in the business, and was the very first to send in his reply.
WHAT CONCLUSIONS CAN WE DRAW FROM THIS SURVEY? The first point is that everyone, or almost everyone, agrees that 2016 looks set to be a very difficult year. The worldwide stagnation is just one ingredient in a toxic cocktail made up of falling oil prices, a bloodbath in the Middle East, the refugee crisis in Europe, plunging stock markets, a slowdown in China, economic freefall in Russia... need we go on? Despite this precarious situation, the majority of our CEOs remain “cautiously optimistic”. Swiss brands, which saw exports drop by an average of 3% to 4% in 2015, are hoping for a slight upturn in the second quarter. This may be a vain hope, however, given that retailers’ drawers are overflowing with unsold stock, and the future is somewhat opaque, to say the least. But Switzerland is not the whole story. Our Japanese contributors were upbeat: 2015 was a very good year for them. Sales in Japan increased substantially (thanks largely to Chinese tourists), as did exports. They claim this is because of their positioning: high-quality products at a lower
price-point, combined with complete indifference to the taboos of Swiss watchmaking, which means they can happily produce fine mechanical timepieces alongside technologically advanced multi-function tool watches. When asked about the smartwatch, almost all the CEOs were dismissive of the danger. No, they chorused, mechanical watchmaking is not under any existential threat, it fosters an emotional connection, it is reassuringly immune to obsolescence... Vigilance is still needed, however: entry-level models and simple quartz watches could fall prey to the ogre of connectivity, and the institution of Swiss fine watchmaking itself could be damaged if its fabric of subcontractors and specialists is weakened. As a consequence, Swiss watchmaking could find itself confined to the ultra-luxury niche which, however comfortable, is still restricted. (For more discussion, read our exclusive analysis of Swiss statistics for 2015 by our friends at Opus Magnum, which reveals that for the first time, Swiss watch exports were led by watches with a retail value of over CHF 35,000!)
STRATEGIES The industry leaders we talked to represent a broad cross-section of watch products. It is therefore entirely understandable that their strategies should differ substantially, depending on the sector they represent and their size. Nevertheless, one thing was clear to all concerned: in turbulent times it is wise to focus on one’s strengths, reinforce one’s position and clarify one’s message, rather than forging ahead with risky new ventures.
Similarly, very few of them mentioned opening new shops. The trend seems to have reversed rather abruptly: a boutique is expensive – very expensive – and there’s no guarantee that customers will come through the door. One thing seems certain: retailers, those dearly beloved multibrand retailers so often treated with indifference or contempt in recent years, are likely to find themselves assiduously courted in 2016 – those operating in the USA particularly. In the face of a complex situation in China, an equally uncertain outlook in Russia, and the ongoing catastrophe in the Middle East, all hopes are pinned on the United States and the Asian hubs. Europe may appear to be weathering the storm but no one expects a miracle. The vital motors of growth are more likely to be found across the Atlantic or on the Pacific rim. We can expect a certain amount of congestion ahead. Finally, we asked our CEOs about the importance of fairs such as Baselworld, and their relevance in an interconnected world. Are physical platforms such as these still vital to the conduct of business? Despite some reservations, it appears that they are. Almost everyone considered events such as Baselworld to be central, even essential (those present at the SIHH considered their own fair equally vital). On average, the brands involved conclude 50–80% of their business during these salons. There is nevertheless growing interest in more modest local events, like London’s Salon QP, whose star appears to be rising rapidly. Whatever the case, it’s encouraging that the need for these gatherings is recognised. In the digital world towards which we are racing, the ability to touch, meet, converse, see, and share a drink or a meal remain as important as ever. And that’s quite reassuring. u
EUROPA STAR’S FOUR QUESTIONS
What are your predictions for 2016? Do you think that exports will recover, or will the markets stagnate or continue to decline after the slump we saw in 2015? And what do you think were the reasons for the downturn in 2015?
What are your priorities for the coming year: consolidating your existing markets, actively exploring new markets (if so, which), rationalising / consolidating / expanding your distribution network, launching new products, PR initiatives, etc.?
Over the longer term, do you believe that mechanical watchmaking will gradually die out, hybridise, or continue to occupy its own exclusive niche? Do you see the advent of smartwatches as a potential threat, or an opportunity for growth and diversification?
What exactly do you hope to achieve from your participation in Baselworld 2016? Do you feel your presence at the fair is essential to your business, or are such forums less important now than they were in the past?
of these still offer development potential for us, such as India for example. Our distribution network, that I mentioned earlier, is well balanced, between boutiques (300) and multi-brand partnerships (620).That said, we will continue to open boutiques when and where necessary, such as we’re about to do in Moscow for example. And on another but parallel agenda, that of our hotels, we’re accelerating the rhythm with several projects underway: Dubai, mainland China, and others in the future.
JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BABIN, CEO BULGARI B 2016 will certainly be a most difficult year for the watchmaking industry overall. But, here at Bulgari, we’re prepared in that we were aware of the trend beginning to reveal itself to various companies within the industry before summer 2015. This is not a new phenomenon for us, and Bulgari is equipped to continue with its commitments. That said, watchmaking/luxury-goods markets are cyclical industries and history demonstrates this, with peaks and troughs on average every 5 to 7 years. Today the reasons for this are multiple, between the new political policies of the Chinese Government encouraging increased purchasing within the home market and stricter customs controls, global geopolitical uncertainties, an unstable economic environment and the increase in unemployment, etc. All of this has contributed to a braking effect on the very strong growth observed over the last 3 years in the luxury goods market. However, it’s worth remembering that watch industry exports in 2015 were 28% higher than in 2010, which allowed us to redress things a little! Here at Bulgari, we have achieved exceptional results for the year 2015, a tendency which can only take a small downwards turn in 2016 and there are various reasons. I would remind you that contrary to many other brands which specialise
20 | CEO SURVEY | europa star
exclusively in watchmaking, this company consists of several “limbs”: watchmaking, jewellery, fashion accessories, hotels and perfumes. Our spread of activities provides us with the means to resist business downturns much better than single product companies. Furthermore, our distribution channels provide us with a supplementary fire-wall, between directly controlled boutiques and wholesale. Finally, and not the weakest argument, our range of watch products is extremely broad. To sum up, the doors opening into the Bulgari universe are highly numerous. C Our principal objectives remain sacrosanct: continue to win over the market share of our principal rivals, as we did in 2014 and 2015! The key to achieving this highly realistic objective firstly relies upon the development of product mix/ prices in harmony with market trends and the customer base, which are not always the same. Our creativity is our major strength. Imagine that we launch, only in relation to watches, more than 100 different products each year and in all price ranges! Regarding the market place, I would say that we are active on a global scale. Bulgari is a global brand present across the world, even though variations can obviously exist. At this stage for Bulgari, it’s more about carrying out fine-tuning in the markets where we already exist than opening new and totally unexplored virgin markets. Nevertheless, some
D Mechanical “traditional” watches will not disappear, that’s a known fact. The hybridisation that you allude to sets mechanical watches against watches that are said to be “connected” plus other “smartwatches”. I believe that we’re talking about 2 completely different markets, particularly in the over 5,000 CHF price range. We’re therefore talking about 2 completely different client types. Smart-watches concern very specific population groups both in age-group and interests, in relation to their functions: sporting types, the mobile phone generation, etc. I see this high-tech market sector as a “plus” overall, an addition to what already exists within the watchmaking industry. In addition, it isn’t really a watch but a functional wrist gadget, whereas the mechanical watch, although having lost some of its purely functional values has gained others over time, these being centered on emotion, pleasure and hedonism. Smart-watches are by consequence a means of growth, which doesn’t mean however that, mechanical watches are at a standstill, much to the contrary! E For us, Baselworld represents an indispensible platform. Without a shadow of a doubt our presence there is crucial, since it clearly allows us to develop our business, and offers Bulgari an unrivalled opportunity to develop communications and desirability over the space of a few days.
JEAN-CLAUDE BIVER, TAG HEUER B For the greater part, I remain reasonably optimistic for 2016, above all given the overriding feeling at the SIHH that demonstrated this optimism was shared by a great number of the participating retailers. However, being optimistic doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll record growth, in reality to have a second consecutive year at minus 2 or 3% isn’t in itself a bad result, particularly if we take into account the political, economical and financial tensions throughout the world. To these we should add a sense of insecurity linked to world conflict, as well as terrorism and problems being experienced by some of the larger economic powers. If I were to give my prognosis for export development in 2016, I’d say that 2016 would be similar to 2015, but look towards a one to two percent improvement. C In 2016, we’ll continue to invest in our principal markets, these being the USA, China and Japan. There’s no question of reducing our efforts or investment in these three countries. We’ll also continue with our European efforts because this remains a highly interesting market, not least because of tourism. From 1st March, we’ll be addressing our pricing within different currencies in order to find a balance between differences emerging in certain regions due to monetary fluctuations. D Will the mechanical watch which is the only “perpetual” instrument, also continue to be “immortal”? I see no danger that mechanical watchmaking based upon a nearly 500 year old heritage, which has become a veritable artform and is an integral part of our culture, should ever disappear. On the contrary, the built-in obsolescence of modern technology will encourage a new and greater desire for this eternal watchmaking art. Paradoxically, the digital watch positively promotes the traditional watch but it is not detrimental to it. Otherwise, the two formats are perfectly compatible and complementary. E Participation at the Baselworld trade fair is important because over 7 days, we can meet up with the whole world and because Baselworld is a unification of the Craft and not only brand names. Obviously from a purely commercial point of view, Baselworld has, thankfully lost its overall importance, simply because today noone goes to Baselworld just for the trip and to meet their customers!
FRANÇOIS BENNAHMIAS, CEO AUDEMARS PIGUET B Just like 2015, 2016 is going to be a difficult year for the industry. But we’re equipped to cope with it, and my view is that it’s the best time for setting ourselves apart from competitors. When things get difficult, that’s the time to invest and to put on a spurt to get as far ahead as possible. We’re cautiously confident.
D Our industry is its own biggest danger. The challenge
facing us is to remain relevant to the new generation of customers, and to do that we need to find a way of communicating with them, to talk the same language. You don’t talk to a 20-year-old customer the same way as you would to a customer of my generation. As far as smartwatches are concerned, they’re not a danger in themselves. They have a different raison d’être from us, and there’s room for both. To draw a parallel with gastronomy, starred restaurants and fastfood restaurants both have their place, and they might in some cases serve the same customers.
C Our objective is to continue to implement the strat-
egy we began in 2012: consolidation of the collections, consolidation of our distribution network, development of our monobrand boutiques, strengthening relations with our main retailers and, of course, quality products that are firmly geared to the 21st century.
E During the SIHH, feedback from retailers about
our new products and the 2016 programme was very positive. Our business model is evolving and the SIHH, though still a crucial event, is evolving too. The best is yet to come.
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WILHELM SCHMID, CEO A. LANGE & SÖHNE B In a period where analytical forecasts have already been superseded by actual events the moment they were announced, we prefer to consider the issues in a broader context. By the end of the decade, world population will have grown from seven to almost eight billion, with a similar distribution of wealth. In the long run, this means that a growing number of affluent individuals will be investing in real estate, buying yachts and collecting watches. C In a changing world the main challenge is to develop a business model that is protected against risks and can react to change in a flexible manner. I think that we have succeeded in this by building up a highly attractive product portfolio and a well-focused sales network. Our new watches, presented at the previous SIHH in Geneva, are characterised by ingenious mechanical solutions, elaborate functionality and striking designs. This year, we will concentrate on our core strengths, by developing and producing sophisticated complications for our customers. With our new, state-of-the-art manufactory building and the best watchmakers, we are well prepared to achieve our next goals. D Since the launch of the first wearable smart devices, I have noticed no change in the perception of the mechanical watch. This is not surprising since it is a separate product category aimed at different target audience. Therefore, combining smart technology with fine watchmaking cannot be the right way. We believe in the long-term and experience and tangible products. This applies all the more to complications that transport watchmaking to the level of an art-form and increase the value of watches as collectable items. E There is no way around it, the SIHH is simply
the most important trade fair for superior quality watchmaking. It also offers an excellent networking opportunity and provides first-hand information and sharing experiences. Again, we made a lot of good contacts. So my feeling is that in an increasingly virtual world, direct contact between people becomes more and more important.
MANUEL EMCH, CEO RJ-ROMAIN JEROME B We’re experiencing an unusual situation with an extremely unstable economic, monetary and political situation. In this kind of context, the emotional factor has a direct impact on consumer behaviour. Add in the strong competition from smartwatches, primarily in the low-end segments and you have the unique situation we’re in now. However, I’m anticipating an improvement towards the end of the second half of the year. On the one hand, customers are going to get used to the instability, and on the other the high stocks resulting from our industry’s very long — too long — time-to-market will have been absorbed. C Consolidation of the major markets, but also revitalisation of some promising markets. What’s happening is a play-off between quality and quantity, but we’re not necessarily anticipating a closing-down of markets. At the same time, we’re planning to open our own boutique in larger premises better suited to grouping all our operations together. As for new launches, we’ll try to go on surprising people with contemporary, innovative products and using traditional know-how. D The advent of smartwatches might strengthen interest in exclusive mechanical watches if we play our cards right. Nevertheless, the competition represents a grave risk for our industry in the short term, especially for low-end watches where we’ve been seeing an acceleration of market losses. We’re in great danger of losing part of the industry’s fabric. E We’re not expecting to generate more sales but to maintain the same level as last year, which was a very good one. That said, our participation in this trade fair is becoming less and less important because it’s not here that we post the major part of our sales. Some of our partners don’t even come any more. There’s a lack of vision about the key component in our business: the end customer. We deplore the organisation’s lack of heed for the realities of today’s markets. However, it’s still an important event from the press point of view. You can meet the media from all over the world in a very short time.
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Escale Time Zone.
MAXIMILIAN BÜSSER, CEO MB&F
B The year will be extremely difficult for the watchmaking industry in general. The worldwide geopolitical and economic situation has never been so uncertain and in some cases is catastrophic. Notwithstanding this, a certain number of the large players still continue to overproduce, thus forcing too much stock onto the market. This weakens retailer cash flow and generates price wars, creating a situation which casts a shadow over everyone. C Given that the sell-out of MB&F in 2015 increased by 42% over 2014 (amazing is it not?), our retailers’ stocks have gone into freefall. We have therefore started to reduce our distribution over the last six months. It has gone from 41 to 32 at PoS. In 2016 we will probably close 5 more retail outlets and not replace these in order to retain around 30. 2016 will be our greatest year for new products. 70% of our turnover will be achieved from new creations - compared with 62% in 2015. D Mechanical watches are here to stay, but they may have to be reinvented in part – either through a love for art and beauty or through clients’ desire for status. Evidently a smart-watch is infinitely more practical but it doesn’t generate emotions, it will never be a work of art and, it would have to go a long way to provide status to its wearer. That said, it’s more than likely that we’ll all wear something on each wrist - a “smart-watch” on one, “something with soul” on the other. E Traditionally MB&F presents the new first half-year products to its retailers during the SIHH and those of the second half-year at Baselworld. The two events are therefore equally important and during the two shows we take in approximately 80% of our yearly orders.
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THIERRY STERN, CEO PATEK PHILIPPE B We’re cautiously confident. We’re hoping
to post the same results in 2016 as in 2015, which was a good year. That will mean having to continue to work assiduously mainly in the local markets, as we’ve always done and as we’ve always encouraged our retail partners to do. Our strategy is unchanged. It’s geared to the long term, so we’re going to continue working to ensure balanced distribution on the global markets while supporting our longestablished markets, more particularly in their work with their local customer base. Training, personal contacts, market presence – I personally take part in numerous events. It’s essential for us as a family business to meet our partners in person, listen to them, keep them informed and meet their customers whenever possible. And of course what’s also essential is the product, innovating at the technical and aesthetic level, working unceasingly on quality and service – in short hard work whatever the period, euphoric or tough. Our customers and partners judge us on the long term. C
D I can’t give an opinion as to the future
of our industry, but personally I’m confident generally about the long term. Where we’re
concerned, we’re in a sector where people are passionate about fine mechanical watchmaking, and what is positive and important for the future is that new passionate enthusiasts, new customers, some of them very young, are joining us. The latter often come from the digital world, and discovering our world of tradition and mechanical innovation, with its humanity and its history, can prove fascinating to these newcomers. Another promising aspect is that the new hybrid watches are finding their place on the wrists of young people who never or no longer wore a watch. It’s the beginning of a story, a habit, which might subsequently evolve towards a traditional watch. E Patek Philippe has been taking part in
this event at Basel since 1931. For me and my family, it’s a crucial annual get-together with our partners from all over the world, a unique opportunity to meet them, talk with them, take the temperature of the markets and above all, present our new products to them. Being present is crucial for our relations with a long-established market, and last but not least it’s an opportunity to meet the world press, both established contacts but also numerous new contacts. It’s also a highly motivating, enriching atmosphere for all our teams, a chance to show and share the fruits of our labours and present our unique stars, our watches.
© 2016 Apple Corps Ltd. A Beatles™ product. - Photo by Bruce McBroom
RICARDO GUADALUPE, CEO HUBLOT B Things are looking pretty good for 2016, but we’re going to have to play it carefully. In a highly uncertain market, choosing the right product is absolutely crucial. In my view, the new collections have to take market trends into account while remaining true to identity and Hublot’s DNA. I can’t really speak for the other brands, but there might be some erosion. We’ll probably see some market consolidation with fewer players and less demand from Southeast Asia. C Speaking for Hublot, the backbone of our strategy is our collection. We have a strong product offering that corresponds to customer demand. We’re strengthening our presence in
our current markets by reinforcing our retail strategy in a number of ways, including opening a boutique on 5th Avenue in New York. Also, as regards communications, as the official watch of UEFA EURO 2016 the thrust of our communications is going to be geared to that partnership. This year, we’ll be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the All Black concept and we’re going to be relaying this “philosophy” to our markets.
not in our segment. Of course, we’re not inactive; we’re working on elements of connectivity in relation to our products. E Better results than in 2015 certainly! To attain a new record! Baselworld is an event no one in our industry can afford to miss. Success at this trade fair is hugely important, because all the market players are present, which gives us a direct measure of the success of our products.
D No way, mechanical watches will adapt to market demand. As for Hublot, we’ll always be striving for excellence in haute horlogerie by aiming to develop new innovative and avant-garde models. Smartwatches have potential, but maybe
YUICHI MASUDA, MEMBER OF THE BOARD, SENIOR GENERAL MANAGER OF TIMEPIECE PRODUCT DIVISION CASIO B In 2015, the sharp appreciation of
the Swiss franc dealt a blow to the global horology market. However, Japanese watch makers posted strong results as our watches were seen in a positive light in terms of price/performance, as their prices were not as high as those of Swiss watches. In addition, Japanese watchmakers benefited from strong demand due to the increasing number of visitors to Japan. As to whether we’ll see a recovery among Swiss watchmakers in 2016, I can’t say until I see what happens at Baselworld this year. If smartwatches develop into a solid trend in 2016, the market might expand again. C In 2016, we’ll be putting more energy into expanding our products for high-end distribution channels. This year, we’re proud to be exhibiting in Hall 1.1 at Baselworld, showcasing watches such as the MR-G and MT-G Series from our leading G-SHOCK brand. With these watches, Casio is pursuing a manufacturing paradigm aimed at delivering high added value in ways that only Casio can. We’ve already been developing high-end distribution channels in Japan, so
26 | CEO SURVEY | europa star
we’re looking to markets outside of Japan for growth. We’ll do more to promote the superb quality of our ‘Made in Yamagata’ products. In terms of technical development, we will continue to pursue the Global Time Sync concept, developing watches that deliver accurate time anywhere. D Mechanical watches have their own traditional appeal. I don’t think me-
chanical watches will easily disappear. As long as the engineering is properly handed down, I think mechanical watchmaking will remain. I have long said that smartwatches fulfil different needs than watches and that the two can coexist. Casio’s smartwatch has been developed by a different division from our watch division, and we think that they can coexist. With the advent of mobile devices, it was feared that young people would stop using watches, but the emergence of something new like smartwatches creates interest in wrist-worn devices. In that sense, we expect smartwatches to invigorate the entire watch industry. E Baselworld is an important exhibition for Casio. There was a time when we didn’t exhibit at Baselworld, but we returned eight years ago and have been here ever since. This year, we’re proud to be exhibiting in Hall 1.1. At Baselworld, we want to get the message across that we’re much more than an assembler of watches—that we manufacture our own movements and make watches that offer an array of cutting-edge technology, which have an air of sophistication and high added value. Since we returned to Baselworld, the number of visitors to our booth has increased every year. We see Baselworld as a successful showcase for Casio.
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VANESSA MONESTEL, CEO LAURENT FERRIER
SHINJI HATTORI, PRESIDENT & CEO SEIKO B Your question is based on Swiss ex-
B Periods of
economic and political uncertainty are always extremely sensitive times for fine watchmaking. The US elections and the bad signals coming out of China are prompting us to be cautious at a time when many of our commercial partners are faced with high stock levels. The traditional areas of growth are sluggish and there’s no indication of imminent improvement. But Laurent Ferrier is a young brand with a highly exclusive product offering, so sales levels do not necessarily follow the overall industry trends. We still have numerous markets to conquer and numerous horology lovers who aren’t yet familiar with our creations. C Laurent Ferrier is pursuing its busi-
ness with a strategy aimed of course at strengthening our position with the brand’s traditional commercial partners, with whom we enjoy a close relationship, but also at raising our visibility both with potential end customers and commercial partners. With 17 sales outlets around the world, we have some interesting room for manoeuvre and the SIHH gave us visibility with players operating in what are new markets for the brand. In 2016, Laurent Ferrier will again be investing in its presence on social media, Instagram in particular, but will also be putting the emphasis on exclusive meetings with lovers of haute horlogerie. D We have to see the advent of smartwatches as an
opportunity, on condition that we know how to address this new generation. Hybrid models are a response aimed at attracting smartwatch owners. On the other hand, it’s our duty to convey the magic of mechanical horology to technology devotees and explain its heritage value. It’s a chance to open up a new era of creativity to gain the interest of tomorrow’s customers. E We started new talks with potential partners in January. We’re hoping that Baselworld will confirm the interest shown at the start of the year. We’ll also have the opportunity to see customers who traditionally don’t go to Geneva. The Basel trade fair is a firm fixture on our agenda which guarantees a significant percentage of our sales. On the other hand, Baselworld alone isn’t enough and the brand has to be present on the markets throughout the year.
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ports, I believe, but for Seiko, 2015 was another year of steady growth in our exports. We saw our sales grow for the sixth consecutive year. In fact, we had strong sales and steady growth in many markets from Europe to Oceania and we also posted rapid sales growth in Japan, with much of the increase coming from tourists from Asian countries. In 2016, demand for Seiko may rise or fall depending on the market, but overall I’m confident that total global demand for Seiko, especially in the higher price segments, will grow. C I have two main priorities. My first priority is, as always, innovation. At Baselworld, we’re launching a new GPS Solar calibre, a new all-mechanical collection and a new design series in Grand Seiko. Innovation is a big part of the DNA of Seiko and our 2016 collection demonstrates this better than ever. Secondly, we’re going to continue to open more boutiques and Seiko corners so that we can showcase our global collections in the best possible way. We have 65 Seiko boutiques today and we’ll be opening several more in 2016. These are our two main priorities for 2016. D The smartwatch is the biggest challenge facing the watch industry for several genera-
tions. It’s still too early to know whether people will think of a smartwatch as an addition to their traditional watch or as a replacement of it. My feeling today is that smartwatches will expand our market and I’m certain that in the foreseeable future, high-grade mechanical and electronic watches will retain their value and appeal. However, I do believe that the simple quartz watch will suffer from the growth of the smartwatch. This is why Seiko is focussing its energy on developing only added-value electronic watches like Solar and GPS Solar, as well as on traditional, mechanical watches. In fact, in 2016, we’ll be expanding our collection of mechanical watches with a new all-mechanical series that we will promote worldwide, and also with new creations in Grand Seiko. E Baselworld is the first date in my diary every year. As we have so much innovation to offer each year, Baselworld provides a vital showcase for our new products, both for our retailers and the media. For Seiko, Baselworld gains importance each time round. This year is the thirtieth anniversary of our first appearance at Baselworld and I’m more than confident that we’ll still be here thirty years from now.
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STÉPHANE LINDER, CEO GUCCI TIMEPIECES B There’s a general consensus that the market
will remain flat, or contract, during 2016; this is largely due to unstable stock markets and an overall lack of consumer confidence. Affecting factors include the election in the USA, and the fact that a lot of department stores are changing their business model with the arrival of e-commerce challengers. I would also add that turmoil in the Chinese market is causing a slowdown in China and Asia in general, and impacting the demand for luxury products, including watchmaking. C Gucci Timepieces, like all watch companies, is operating within an unstable market, but we are fine tuning our strategy and focus accordingly. In terms of our network, we are concentrating on our existing distribution network, with a focus on China/USA/UK and on scaling up our commercial efforts by strengthening our customer relations. We are exploring possible openings in the US, Europe and in the Travel Retail sector, with the objective of increasing our productivity per door,
and expanding our number of Shop-In-Shops. We are remaining fresh and in touch with our customers through a great new communication strategy that showcases our new brand ambassador, Florence Welch, a British singer, and we’re leveraging new digital communication channels, notably through the social networks of our watch and jewelry partners and a dynamic e-commerce expansion. We will also capitalise on our jewellery business – a category that is currently less affected than the watch industry. D No, I don’t think there are any signs of can-
nibalisation between the digital and the mechanical market: if you look at the launch of the Apple watch in April 2015, for example, it did not harm our sales in the USA. On the contrary, our sell-out has increased, so I don’t believe any negative effects have been recorded yet. E Definitely – Baselworld is probably the most
important event of the year. Also, the show helps the whole industry – it’s a significant date for every watch company. Commercially speaking, orders are no longer necessarily solely made at Baselworld – they can take place at any other time during the year – but media-wise, it’s certainly a key event.
MAURO ERGEMINI, CEO SCHWARZ-ETIENNE B In my view 2016 is likely to be a difficult year for watch exports. The numerous geopolitical and economic phenomena (oil prices, stock market volatility, growth in China, the level of the ruble, various wars, etc.) which we’ve been faced with for many months are unfortunately not going to disappear in the near future and restore the confidence of customers geared to high-end products.
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C At the moment, we’re experiencing the “renaissance” of the Schwarz Etienne brand. The task of closing and upgrading our points of sale was completed less than two years ago. So, we’re relaunching the brand on a whole new basis: manufacture movements that are developed and produced in-house; complete command of our product ranges (via E2O innovations); more contemporary designs and a product environment that sets us apart from our competitors. Since we have only a very limited international presence, we are of course looking to tap into new markets that are mature enough to accept the philosophy and high level of our products. I must say I’m pretty confident about this, especially given the attractiveness of our new collections for the major horology players we’ve met since the beginning of the year.
“hybridisation” (unlike running after a train that’s already arrived at the following station) could help us evolve. But I remain convinced that tradition and fine craftsmanship will always be the baseline of genuine luxury products. So smartwatches are both a danger, a diversification and an opportunity, depending on which level of products you’re talking about.
D I really don’t believe that our industry and know-how are going to disappear simply because of the arrival of new technologies. Our industry is an unstoppable vector of luxury and it will be around for as long as people have to express their differences. On the other hand, I think that intelligent
E What we’re expecting of Baselworld is visibility, plenty of press coverage and countless customers, just like everyone, I think. As things currently stand we’re of course taking advantage of the momentum which is bringing the great majority of influential players to the same place. At the moment, whether it’s, Basel, Geneva or anywhere else, it makes little difference to us. By the way, we’re in Hall 2, Booth B61! Welcome to everyone who’s reading and wants to discover our three ranges of manufacture watches and have an Oculus experience that’s something else!
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JEAN-MARC WIEDERRECHT, CEO AGENHOR B The word we hear uttered the most at the present is “complicated” which doesn’t incite optimism! Lots of reasons can be put forward to explain this negative attitude: Chinese political policies, a strong Swiss franc, the worldwide economic crisis. Nonetheless sometimes we need to face up to other, often less obvious but well-hidden reasons which are equally worrying but are linked to the development of our industry and should be studied in depth. I’d like to reveal two that have importance to me: • Where is the great “stockpile” that must exist to keep feeding the omnipresent grey market? The fact that within just a few days, you can have almost any watch, along with its authenticity certification, delivered to your door and, all at tens of percent discount with just a few clicks of a mouse, does not give hope for a tranquil future. How under these conditions can we hope to sell watches through the normal channels at a normal price? • After twenty odd years of industrialisation, of aggressive marketing and financial manipulation of the watchmaking industry, it should be recognised that this has permitted unprecedented growth. It seems to me however, that it’s now time to lift our heads and rethink the “fundamentals”. Should we really not try to apply the “values” touted by marketing, by re-establishing humans at the centre of the creation process and above all production? C Not having direct access to the markets, I think that even more so than ever, Agenhor
should be supplying its customers with high-end watchmaking products based upon permanent innovation, respect for the craft and products genuinely fabricated by skilled, qualified watchmakers. D Deep rooted tremors will probably be felt but I’m convinced that mechanical watch-
making, treated properly, still has a brilliant future! The advent of quartz watches is in some senses, much more of a threat, since these watches could be easily be allowed to replace mechanical watches, they’re much more accurate, are of more convenient dimensions, don’t require rewinding and are generally less expensive. All these benefits have not yet been successful in replacing the mechanical watches which were to the contrary, the basis for our considerably rapid expansion! It’s the incredible mechanical complexity in miniature, mastered by men and not machines, that provides the true value that is still a world wonder. In a time of built-in obsolescence, the inheritable aspect provided by repairable mechanisms is more important than ever. I don’t like the term “smart-watch” because it’s more just a multi-functional object, possibly we need to talk more about a “connection strap”. Their future is surely considerable and will revolutionise many other fields, for example the use or even the existence of mobile phones. Paradoxically however, I think that the ephemeral aspect and “connected” will undoubtedly drive customers to be drawn once more to mechanical watches in the true meaning of the art! E Globally, these great gatherings, undeni-
ably too numerous and too costly, are highly important. They stimulate creativity and put the enormous amount of work accomplished by the various brand manufacturers throughout the year under the spotlight. Not being a direct participant, it’s hard for me to respond relative to the direct commercial interest that brands might achieve.
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ALDO MAGADA, CEO ZENITH B 2016 will be a strong challenge, but it will also be a reflection of what each brand is capable of offering to the consumers. Years such as 2015 and 2016 should drive us towards excellence and creativity. C For Zenith our objectives remain as before, not only to have the brand and its qualities better known outside the current circle of connoisseurs but also to clearly identify where our brand stands. This will happen by re-addressing all sectors. D Deluxe mechanical watches will always be around, in relation to the worldwide market they already exist within an exclusive niche. It’s essential for each brand to be credible and legitimately placed within the market. Nothing can replace the emotion that mechanical watches generate. At Zenith we see the arrival of smartwatches as a stimulus towards conserving consumer interest in mechanical watches, but maybe also an opportunity since smartwatches will be worn on the wrist and perhaps provide encouragement as a steppingstone towards the mechanical watch. E Zenith’s participation at Baselworld is imperative and signifies a great meeting point permitting us to take orders that themselves represent an important percentage of our turnover. It allows us to present our new products, to re-iterate how our collection is made up and to interact with all markets relative to our publicity and advertising campaigns over the remainder of the year. The only complaint we could make, is that the event goes on for too long.
RICCARDO MONFARDINO, CEO MECCANICHE VELOCI B 2016 is likely to be quite a difficult year, there’s no point in denying it. Nevertheless, I think the effort put in by all the companies in the horology sector will in any case make for a solid presence in the marketplace. The different brands are certain to come through this period. Asia remains an important market for Meccaniche Veloci. In my view, the strongest markets will be in North America, which is already showing signs of a recovery, and I think they’ll continue to consolidate. We hope that the situation in Russia will regain and even exceed its previous level, because it’s still a very strong market. There are real lovers and connoisseurs of fine watchmaking out there. The Brazilian and Indian markets are the ones to watch, because great interest is developing there for high-end watches.
DAVID GOUTEN, CO-OWNER MANUFACTURE ROYALE B What about 2016? A good and varied ques-
tion that we can summarise simply: strength and commitment, creativity and a reasonable price. But there will be no recovery in exports because for a number of years these accounted for stock transfers between headquarters and subsidiaries, so retailers hold lots of stock in general. C From the beginning, Manufacture Royale has
tried to offer innovative, creative products of high quality and finish at a very reasonable price. Our challenge from now on is to best discover a public composed of connoisseur customers, via preferred partners. These ambassadors, retailers or otherwise, should be true enthusiasts, capable of offering a different independent watchmaking solution. This is what will be attractive to end-users. D The beautiful mechanical watch will never dis-
appear, because it is complex and refined but also highly creative. There is an easy parallel to be drawn with the automobile industry, which has known mergers, hybrid engines and standardisation and yet at the same time, it regularly produces brands which above all stir up passion. This is where Manufacture Royale is placed and ample opportunities exist. When we buy a luxury item, we no longer wish to be just the same as everyone else. E Baselworld 2016 remains an indispensible
meeting point for world watchmaking, and a breath of fresh air. By presenting our brand and
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C For Meccaniche Veloci, the year will be geared to quality and creativity. Starting in 2016, we’re going to be even more open to the world. Our strategy is clear: in 2015 we attained our objective of centralising all the production and assembly for Meccaniche Veloci, and not just research and development, in Switzerland. The next step now is to launch the new collection. This has been completely redesigned while maintaining the highly distinctive piston feature. This year, Meccaniche Veloci will continue to strive for excellence both in terms of assembly and its distinctive design. We’re aiming for the haute horlogerie sector, as our in-house MV8801 mechanism proves. All our new models will be fitted with the MV8801, developed and manufactured in Geneva. The commitment we have shown in developing the mechanism and the quality level we’re striving for justifies some slight price adjustment. D I think that excellent-quality mechanical watchmaking will never disappear. In the long term, electronic watches will never be more than a gadget for consumers of mass-produced, rapidly obsolete goods, as with mobile phones. Programmed obsolescence, which is typical of the electronics sector, can never be applied to the beauty and living soul of a high-quality mechanism. We can rule out the emergence of a “vintage smartwatch” market in the next ten years. Mechanical watchmaking will always have “best-seller” status the world over. It’s more than just a niche market. Fine mechanical watchmaking is sure to remain exclusive, because every quality mechanism exalts the watchmaker’s art. E Baselworld is as crucial as ever for the whole horology industry. It’s an international showcase that brings the whole world to one place. What are our expectations in being present at Baselworld? A highly attentive, competent audience. It’s also true that we’re currently seeing a gradual reorganisation of the central role played by this kind of trade show in numerous sectors. For Meccaniche Veloci, our presence at Baselworld represents the rebirth of the brand, which coincides with the tenth anniversary of our foundation.
our products at the Palace, we have an excellent shop window. For our worldwide customers, it’s a space for creativity and freshness. We already have 6 calibres within our collection and you can expect even more pleasant surprises at Basel – again we’ll surprise. It’s also true that Basel is still an important period for orders and the press, but the more localised events that we organise with our end-user customers also generate more than they did in the past. Baselworld must preserve and renew the place that is the Palace.
VELOCITY AND FLEXIBILITY
by the motorist of time
HANDS SPEED (200 HAND JUMPS PER SECOND IN EITHER DIRECTION OF ROTATION) CHRONOGRAPH CALIBRE 13¼´´´ - ETA G10.212 Ø 29.80 MM - H 5.12 MM DISPLAY FLEXIBILTY - MULTIPLE COMBINATIONS
SALES QUARTZLINE SCHMELZISTRASSE 16, CH-2540 GRENCHEN WWW.ETA.CH, SALES-QUARTZ@ETA.CH TEL: +41 (0)32 655 77 77
VIVIANE DE WITT, CEO DEWITT B There are numerous reasons why professional buy-
ers are getting cold feet: some of these are structural within the industry, others are geopolitical. In recent years the four biggest groups, with their many brands, their financial clout and their corresponding media visibility have saturated the sales outlets and subsequently emptied the dealers’ pockets. Rumour has it, that it will take a minimum of two years to absorb the surplus stock that was forced upon the distribution networks. At the same time, the traditional markets have reduced their purchasing levels: China with its anti-corruption laws, Hong Kong - which in going into open battle with the central powers, managed to dissuade Chinese travellers from choosing it as a destination – these people now preferring Singapore, Russia with a drastic drop in the value of the ruble, South America, where the economies have collapsed, the fall in the oil price and sabre-rattling in the MiddleEast. Many traditional markets that have not stopped buying but sales levels have reduced dramatically. To compensate for these reductions, demands a lot of travel, meeting professionals – sometimes new to the luxury market or the industry, supporting luxury watch distributors in creating new promotional programmes, providing leadership, coaching, training and explain-
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ing. Today a CEO has to travel constantly, imitating Jean-Claude Biver and Richard Mille, two people who had great successes in the profession and understood this from the beginning. C By being constantly mobile, DeWitt has retained its sales levels but also thanks to having opened many new micro-markets virtually all over the world without choosing prominent zones. In reality the world has become one market and those who travel often offer watches as gifts during their travels. During 2016, I envisage a status quo. If we consider the glass as being half-empty, we’d call this stagnation, if we see the glass half-full, we could say that the loss of easy markets and the necessity to be more creative is an opportunity. In any case whatever the problems are at this moment in time, we can observe that the economic cycles are becoming shorter and shorter and if there are areas of the world that are suffering, there are others whose economies are making a recovery, such as USA and Iran. D For DeWitt the sole purpose of fine watchmak-
ing is to offer enthusiasts and collectors exceptional mechanical inventions and ongoing innovation, all housed in an impeccable and recognisable aesthetic format. No-one really needs a watch or an additional watch! As my son laughingly says; “the time is the
only thing freely given to people when they ask.” Therefore this demands constant innovation and the introduction of new products on a continuous basis. There will always be passionate enthusiasts of these exceptional mechanical innovations and our challenge is to make ourselves known to them. The internet and social networks are more effective to this end than the numerous magazines. DeWitt loves innovation, no matter whether it affects us directly or not and the arrival of smart-watches is an innovation and an additional available offer to a public who like to stay connected and informed at all times. This innovation is totally different from our own research programmes but we welcome its arrival. E For those who wish to encounter new custom-
ers, Basel is irreplaceable. Today we neither have the desire nor the means to compete with the groups whom, with all their financial might behind them, compete between themselves to have the most beautiful, imaginative and spectacular stands. We’re happy to be in our tent at the Palace and alongside innovative manufacturers who are also content. We had asked the organisers of Baselworld for a larger stand but we have had to keep the same area as last year, even taking account of our numerous meetings – proof that the business is not so bad, since there were none available.
Visit us at Baselworld 2016, Hall 2.2, Booth B05 Ernest Borel S.A. +41 32 926 17 26 / firstname.lastname@example.org www.ernestborel.ch
CARLOS-A. ROSILLO, CEO BELL & ROSS B 2016 gets off to a flying start for Bell &
Ross with our entry into Formula 1. I am more or less relaxed about this new year, even if the worldwide economic situation isn’t favourable and is pulling the market downwards with the weakening of oil prices, exchange rates and the strength of the Swiss franc which increases the cost of watches relative to other forms of currency. Even in an unfavourable environment and through its “start up” method, Bell & Ross is familiar with managing these crisis moments which also create opportunities and enable us to gain market share. C We are in the process of integrating our distribution system throughout the Middle East and Asia by creating our own subsidiaries. We are also developing our own distribution network with the opening of new Bell & Ross boutiques throughout the world. We have always had an innovative strategy in relation to our products and we never rest on our laurels! As is well known, our major focus has always been related to aviation and that will be complemented this year with automobiles, not only Formula 1 but also through the unveiling in Basel of a superb concept car entirely created and fabricated by my associate Bruno Belamich. D A beautiful mechanical watch is a cultural
object that gets passed from generation to generation and I’m not aware of any civilisation that does not have jewellery that distinguishes it from others. The smart-watch may represent a threat but in my opinion, it will never replace the mechanical watch that will endure throughout time. Conversely the smart-watch is already outmoded the moment it’s purchased. E Basel remains a crucially important fair for us in that it’s the opportunity for the complete industry sector to come together for useful and convivial exchanges. We have over 1000 pre-arranged appointments before starting the show, during which we will display all our new products and create a barometer for the coming year. This is an exceptional period for meeting the press and retailers from around the world, not to mention the local distributors. The current economic crisis will demonstrate that it’s not the size of the stand that sets the brands apart but the innovation of the products they present.
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PHILIP KLINGENBERG, CEO CENTURY B During 2015, the strength of the franc was a principal factor for the reduction in watch exports. Moreover, since the Second World War, the world has never experienced such great instability. Everything can change very quickly but we shouldn’t lose hope, there are always opportunities and the important thing is to know when to seize the right moment. The Asian countries, particularly Hong Kong and China are experiencing a slowdown, but we shouldn’t forget that for over 10 years, the Swiss watchmaking industry experienced explosive growth that was unprecedented in the past. This slowdown is not a collapse but simply a levelling out process. In view of the continuous improvement in Chinese living standards and free-trade agreements, the market should continue to progress but at a slower pace. However, we shouldn’t neglect that other emerging countries can offer interesting prospects due to their increase in living standards and, although caution is the key, the will to move ahead is clearly there. C This year we celebrate our 50th anniversary and our story will be recounted in a book to be presented at Baselworld. We will carry on concentrating on the essentials: i.e. our products. A fine creative selection where emphasis is given to steel watches, greater affordability, but maintaining unique high quality pieces. Our development programme has led us to patent Nacrilith, a new technical achievement; this consists of sealing mother-of-pearl within our Century sapphire to make it eternal. Our energies are also focused on our sales outlets where new opportunities can be targeted differently and more creatively. Indeed, as an independent and niche brand, we sometimes have more difficulty convincing retailers to commit with us, whilst large group brands certainly have greater bargaining power. D The mechanical watch will never disappear, it will outlive us all! It will remain an eternally functional item whereas the smart-watch will always need to be re-invented. Moreover, the notion of “Swiss Made” would be doomed to extinction if the smart-watch swept the mechanical watch aside, on the basis that the components are not Swiss and cannot be — perhaps a potential danger to the entry level sector! I imagine that despite all, the two worlds could live together and be complementary since their markets are not the same. Finally, if all that was to change, why not have a watch on each wrist: classic left and smart-watch right? Then, both can do well. E Of course it’s important to have a presence at this fair! It’s the only time of the year that we have the opportunity to present our new collection to the world, to all get together in one place over a short space of time. It gives us the chance to invite the industry professionals (retailers, agents, international press, etc.) to experience the brand within its own universe. CENTURY will have a showroom fitted out at the Ramada Hotel to receive our guests and give them the opportunity to touch, wear, test and experience our products. Their opinions are of great interest to us and are of capital importance to our development projects. These meetings are a time for privileged exchanges that maximise networking objectives. Even if the order levels are perhaps not as they were was in the past, the wealth of exchanges and opinions that emerge give us a very valuable overview.
LEGEND IS REBORN
zrcworld.com Zuccolo Rochet FRance
AKRAM ALJORD, OWNER AND CEO HYSEK B The current context is making it par-
ticularly difficult to make any kind of forecast. Volatile markets due to a strong Swiss franc, the decline in oil prices and the sharp slowdown of the Chinese economy has led to a radical change in the behaviour of those customers who were responsible for the “fat” years of the horology industry. Having built up their fortunes in the early 2000s in Russia, China or the Middle East, those buyers have been destabilised. The other side of the coin is that the positive growth of the American market should allow us to limit the effects of this crisis. But there again, despite that country’s dynamic economy it’s not immune to a reversal of the economic climate. In short, it’s difficult not to be affected by the random effects of the times, economic crisis, currency fluctuations … The only certitude in a particularly uncertain period is the need to stake our bets more than ever on innovation and excellence to ensure the future of Hysek. C Consolidating our network is our num-
ber one priority for 2016, with the goal of establishing our presence firmly on the different continents. Of course, we’re also going to take advantage of the opportunities arising in lucrative markets, especially the United States. As far as our collection is concerned, we’re putting every effort into offering products
that are extremely interesting in terms of quality and innovation. We have verticalised our product offering so that we can offer a range that exactly suits the needs of our different types of customer. Also, we’ve integrated all the stages in the production of our cases and movements into our own manufacture. That means that we have absolute control over production, lead times and quality and complete independence as to our technical and aesthetic choices. D Some surprising and fundamental de-
velopments are certainly in store for the future of horology. As an independent, family, niche brand, Hysek has always been a pioneer in this field. But by integrating the entire production process into our own manufacture, Hysek can also lay claim to a legacy of fine watchmaking. By developing, producing and decorating by hand each and every movement in pure Swiss tradition, Hysek means to pay tribute to haute horlogerie, which is an absolutely irreplaceable part of human heritage. E Baselworld remains a major event for the haute horlogerie world, bringing all the market players together under one roof. It’s the ideal platform for launching new collections, which get the best possible media coverage. Moreover we’re going to be taking advantage of the 2016 edition to present a new line, Kalysta, for women. It’s a fascinating experience to be able to unveil your own creations and we’re already looking forward to seeing what emotions emerge from this new collection of valuable mechanical watches.
MARZIO VILLA, CEO CUERVO Y SOBRINOS B 2016? Difficult. To answer that question we need to start with the problems (causes) we’re experiencing every day, which are the kind that take away the desire to reward yourself or others with gifts. But above all, we can’t go on living a carefree life, that’s finished. But people will always have positive image of watches and brands that show substance and credibility will always recover. C Consolidation of the current market with a few cases — the United States, for example — where we think we can expand our distribution network. We’re also going to focus more and more attention on the existing models in our collections with suitable communications to back them up, in line with trends. D I’m sure that mechanical watches will always remain an exclusive line for people looking for iconic status and the pleasure you can only find in haute horlogerie products. E Basel is certainly less crucial than in the past, but it’s still an important event for brands that are looking to constantly strengthen their brand recognition in the watchmaking market.
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Product Novelty 2016 TITONI proudly presents this latest model from its established chronometer collection – The Master Series. Striking, masculine and elegant, it is the ideal companion for today’s accomplished gentleman who seeks and appreciates the extraordinary. The anthracite-coloured sunray brushed dial reinforces its strong appeal and the transparent bottom of the watch case allows a glimpse into the perfection of the mechanical movement. In the spirit of the Master Series collection, this model offers highest precision as officially certified chronometer. It fully represents TITONI’s true passion for the fine art of watchmaking for generations. www.titoni.ch
BARBARA MONTI, CEO EBERHARD & CO B At this moment in time the international scene is
extremely complex due to various macro-economic problems occurring throughout different world regions. Citing only the major negative and sometimes dramatic events that have marked 2015, we have to consider the state of war that exists in part of the Middle East, the collapse in oil prices, the financial crisis in China and the international terrorist threat. These are all events that have a huge economic and social impact which certainly influences international consumer trends particularly within our price range. I’m not of the opinion therefore, that a drop in exports is due to a specific problem within Swiss high quality watchmaking, but more to highly worrying external elements. When the international community is able to come up with a positive solution to these current serious difficulties, I’m convinced that we’ll see a quick recovery within our sector, which, don’t forget, is a matter of growing interest for consumers throughout the world, even in areas where these products are relatively new. C Even though Eberhard & Co. as a brand has a ten-
dency to create products with a reputation for durability, we also have innovative genes in our DNA. It’s because of this that we continue to conduct research and are constantly developing new products – 2016 won’t be any exception. At this moment, we’re working on a new model for which we have high hopes because within it, it contains a page of our history. As far as product distribution is concerned, we’re carefully exploring new markets based upon our own production levels which don’t always allow us to have a presence in all markets. Europe, despite its current problems, will always be an important market for Eberhard & Co. That said, over the years brand distribution has greatly improved and there will also be further developments in 2016. Being a totally independent brand, Eberhard & Co. try to select partners who share the same independent professional values.
PETER STAS, CEO FREDERIQUE CONSTANT B 2016 should be a continuation of 2015 with
similar issues in China, HK and Russia. This will continue to put pressure on watch industry. With regard to the new direction the industry is taking with smartwatches, we also believe that this will continue. Frederique Constant is responding to geopolitical economic pressure by introducing new, affordable luxury models at Basel. On the horological smartwatch side, we’ll be introducing an attractive women’s model.
D Don’t forget that the Swiss watchmaking industry survived the “quartz crisis” which, at the time had a revolutionary cultural impact and looking more closely is easily comparable to current developments. The two products are quite independent, therefore the drive to buy is based upon completely different motives and desires. We feel therefore that whereas smart-watches will continue to grow and spread, they will find a place to peacefully co-exist with traditional watches. The possibility of collaboration between the two isn’t to be excluded. What’s interesting though, is the possibility of developing new products containing both.
C Frederique Constant grew 3% in 2015 compared to 2014 and we’re aiming for single digit growth in 2016. With our positioning and result in 2015, we are confident that we will achieve some growth in 2016.
E All the big international trade fairs are regularly disputed. Encourage
D Mechanical watches will stay with us as objects of craftsmanship. We’re
change at all cost, that’s part of the game. The reality as far as Baselworld is concerned, is that there is always a very great number of international players participating and to such an extent that this cannot be lightly ignored. The same applies to the presence of industrial concerns, each year in greater number and at a very high level. Even although it would be desirable to pay more attention to controlling the currently extremely high participation costs, I believe that Baselworld is an unmissable event for all the brands, including Eberhard & Co. In our world, tradition always plays a decisive role.
convinced that the future of this segment is sound. At the same time, we’re increasingly of the opinion that quartz watches will become connected. That’s why we’re investing in horological smartwatch technology.
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E Baselworld is important for us as the venue where we introduce new
collections and reconnect with our customers from around the world. We have two booths in Basel to accommodate over 1,200 meetings during the show.
MECCANICHE VELOCI - GENÈVE www.meccanicheveloci.ch
VINCENT PERRIARD, CEO HYT
TOSHIO TOKURA, PRESIDENT & CEO CITIZEN WATCH Business in Japan and the US markets is relatively satisfactory; the Asian economic situation has remained sluggish, especially in China where the market has stagnated through the year. On the other hand, the influence of a booming shopping demand by Chinese tourists in overseas markets is becoming exceedingly high. Under these circumstances, proactive measures against borderless markets is one of the key issues as well as continuous devotion to the Japanese and the US markets which are expected to be in good shape in 2016. B
B 2016 will be a new year that presents a strong challenge. Various events over the last two years, anti-corruption laws in China, war in Ukraine, terrorism, delicate political situations in certain Latin American countries, have created a slow-down in the consumption of watchmaking products, in any case within certain sectors. The result has been an increase in product stocks being held at the sales outlets. I think that 2016 will remain relatively “flat” compared to 2015 but certain smaller organisations won’t withstand the shock. After a complicated 2015, 2016 will be one year too many for certain small brands or suppliers. Nonetheless, I remain optimistic for 2017. C Vertical integration. Better production control
and better control over our distribution. We have already commenced with the opening of our first subsidiary in Asia (i.e. Singapore) to directly control the relationship with the points of sale. On 4th February we are going to open our first boutique under our own name in Kuala Lumpur and have many other projects of a similar nature for 2016. In 2016, we will be launching 7 new products and very likely a development of our advertising and publicity campaign in the second half of the year. D I believe that this question is no longer valid!
We have all been in agreement for months in saying that the smart-watch will have an important place in the 100-1,500 CHF sector but above that electronics cannot topple the magic or the art of mechanical watches. Who would want to wear a smart-watch at 30,000 CHF with a printed circuit inside? The mechanical watch has a status that comes from the watchmakers’ art and the transmission of heritage. Electronics will never have an influence on the world above the 2 or 3,000 CHF mark. E We’ll be at BW2016. Yes, the shows are a less and less determining factor for sales. To be very clear, and this is the case for many brands, we take 1/3 of our orders at the SIHH and deliver the ordered products within 3 months. We do the same at Basel. The last third is done on the ground.
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C 2016 marks 40 years since Citizen launched the world’s first light-powered analogue watch. To celebrate this anniversary, the world’s thinnest light-powered watch, Eco-Drive One, will be introduced at Baselworld 2016. At the same time, in order to extend broader female consumer interest in the Eco-Drive, new Citizen L watches will be launched. We have always concentrated on developing products which are user-friendly with constantly improved design beauty to enrich the individuals’ state of mind, this philosophy will remain unchanged. D We believe that mechanical watches will maintain their presence within a certain market share. However, we don’t foresee a large growth of this category. In other words, we expect that they will continue to constitute a particular and exclusive niche market as suggested in your question. Regarding smart-watches, we consider their arrival as “an opportunity” as opposed to a “threat” since they may create new interest in the field of wristwatches, especially for people who consult the time on mobile phone devices without wearing a wristwatch. For our company, as a true watch manufacturer, we have devoted ourselves to developing “beautiful authentic watches with smart functions”, not “digital devices or gadgets shaped like a watch”, since we launched Proximity in 2012, this stance has remained unchanged. E Baselworld is still one of the very
important opportunities to represent our brand activities. The installation within the booth is an interpretation of the bilateral relationship between light and time since 2013. The relationship between light and time is one of the hallmarks of our brand, as is represented by our EcoDrive technology, a technology that converts any light-source into power. We believe awards such as the Gold Pencil award (Design category) are great opportunities for our retailers and consumers to learn about our brand communication as well as our brand motto “Better Starts Now”. i.e. No matter who you are and what you do, it is always possible to make something better, and now is the time to start doing it.
FAIR LADY www.emilechouriet.ch
Montres Chouriet SA, 7 Place de la Fusterie , 1204 GenĂ¨ve, Switzerland +41.22.989.14.20
RENAUD DE RETZ, CEO ERNEST BOREL B In 2016 Ernest Borel celebrates its 160th anniversary. This longev-
ity, a token of wisdom, as well as Love and Romance are the timeless values conveyed by the brand which allows Ernest Borel to look forward to 2016 with serenity. We estimate that the watchmaking sector will undergo a global consolidation in relation to brands and markets; without forgetting that in comparison, 2015 was a little weaker than 2014 which was a record year for Swiss watchmaking. Even if the international environment is more uncertain than before, Swiss watchmaking remains and harbours a token of quality and reassurance. Amongst the brands, everyone has become aware of how to best rationalise their production and be as close to their sales partners as possible.
AURÉLIE PICAUD, TIMEPIECES DIRECTOR FABERGE
C The objectives of the Ernest Borel brand are multiple; first of all, to consolidate our position within the Asian market and particularly China and Hong Kong where the brand already has a strong presence. Then, continue and accelerate our expansion in the Middle Eastern, European and United States markets. All at the same time, remaining extremely vigilant in relation to developments within the emerging markets. To achieve these objectives, the brand will continue with its policy of launching new models as well as an attractive pricing policy. Its publicity will be primarily driven by its 160th anniversary.
B I’m not certain that it’s really easy to predict anything at the moment, but all we can hope for is that the situation settles down, or even improves, rapidly before it can do too much damage. I think that we’re in a period of change in a number of ways and that we perhaps did not anticipate certain situations, such as that in China, enough. C Fabergé is probably in a slightly different situation from that of other brands, because our products have only just come onto the market. I even think that the current situation could act as a springboard for us, and that we ought to work on genuine innovations to set us apart, whereas betterestablished brands will be drawing back a bit more during this chaotic period. So we aim to strengthen our existing partnerships, but also to explore new markets for Fabergé, such as Asia (Japan, Southeast Asia, …). To do that, we want to offer products at fair prices and give priority to communications campaigns other than solely traditional advertising. D I think smartwatches are a normal development, but that doesn’t make them a threat to traditional watchmaking. In fact I think our society is increasingly in need of reference points and that customers are looking for exclusivity and a return to reassuring, fundamental values. My view is that nothing can replace a mechanical watch if it has been designed and developed with passion. That doesn’t mean you can’t use leading-edge technology to create it, of course. E Baselworld is a key moment in the watchmaker’s year because it gives you a good idea of the trends in the months ahead, even if you have to continue your efforts all year long…
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Mechanical watchmaking is and will remain a refuge for quality and passions. Smart-watches open a new field of opportunity; an entry point to the world of watches before discovering traditional watchmaking and its values. Mutations and the risks are more delicately poised between smart-watches and the quartz models of traditional brands. We’re giving deep and serious thought to a realistic and durable alternative whilst still preserving our identity. D
For a brand such as Ernest Borel, Baselworld provides an indispensable shop-window to display our products and meet our customers. In the current climate, which is affected by great instability, our sales partners are increasingly vigilant and, like ourselves, rationalise their investments. To welcome our customers into the heart of our stand at Baselworld is the opportunity to provide them with proof of our solidity and well as our confidence. Their attendance also allows us to complete a not insignificant portion of our annual order book. 2016 will also be the opportunity to celebrate our 160th anniversary and share this bit of history with our partners. For Ernest Borel, Basel provides trend indicators and allows us to take a pulse. On the other hand, given that our workshops are only one hour away from Baselworld, during the fair, it allows our partners the chance to discover more about us and our history. E
Route de Saint Julien 184, 1228 Plan-les-Ouates · Geneva · Switzerland Tél. : +41 (0)22 794 46 02 · +41 (0)79 311 03 35 · email@example.com · www.greco-geneve.com
XAVIER DE ROQUEMAUREL, CEO CZAPEK In terms of communications, it’s the very notion of sharing this passion that is the principal driver. A pure, unique, almost fragile aestheticism is expressed in our watches; on the wrist they bear witness to the owner’s sensitivity to beauty, the poetry of time … So on paper our quest is simple: to familiarise watch-lovers with Czapek and give them the chance to acquire one of these first-edition models, which are justly baptised “Renaissance”… D As an opportunity, of course! Once B The demand “crisis” in China com-
bined with the anti-corruption legislation goes back to late 2012, yet no significant downturn in exports was observed in 2013 and 2014. So, faced with the natural decline in sales volumes, the big names were probably forced to maintain their export volumes in one way or another… The change in the exchange rate in January 2015 was an opportunity for the markets to “correct” their stock volumes. This corrective action offsets a level of stock that corresponds to several years of sales above current volumes. Consequently, it’s a mathematical probability that it will continue into 2016 and perhaps even into 2017… but in a less marked fashion. Even so, there are no signs that watch-lovers have turned to another passion …. So rather than a crisis we ought rather to talk in terms of a bubble bursting. Someone really passionate about watches buys in a more thoughtful way. We’re not talking about spur-of-the-moment, impulse buying here. 2015 marked Czapek’s return to the watchmaking scene. 2016 will mark our arrival on the markets with our first collection: Quai des Bergues. We’ll be selling it mostly through partner retailers. We made our debut with Chronopassion in Paris and are hoping for the same response from all connoisseurs of haute horlogerie, whether in Europe, the Middle East, the Americas or Asia. For Czapek’s launch, we opted to position ourselves in a reasonable or relatively low price segment for steel to give as many aficionados as possible the chance to be a part of our adventure by owning one of our timepieces.
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again, it’s all a question of the law of numbers: with their ageing populations developed countries aren’t the principal
market for smartwatches and haven’t been for a long time, it’s probably the BRICs and Middle Eastern countries, where the population is considerably younger. The early 2000s were marked by a move away from watches by young people, who preferred reading the time straight from the screen of their smartphones. The arrival of smartwatches is an opportunity to put watches back on the wrists of all those young people out there while waiting for the spell of time to work and mechanical timekeeping to regain its lost territory... Which will happen, because the relationship of people to time is incredibly powerful, rather as if it were a determining factor of the human condition.
E Baselworld is a must for Czapek
and it’s going to be a baptism by fire. This first-time participation is a key milestone in our development, because we deeply believe in the complementarity of the middlemen and of the distribution networks. Baselworld is an opportunity to meet several tens of professionals with expert knowledge of their market and establish lasting relations with a view to developing business together. Multi-brand boutiques have a fine future before them, with all the choice and expertise peculiar to them. Lastly, it’s also a very important opportunity to meet the press and a unique chance to talk with other horology aficionados.
ELIE BERNHEIM, CEO RAYMOND WEIL B Honestly, it’s difficult to be optimistic if we take the current climate into account together with the cumulative effects of the strong franc, the fall in the oil price, economic uncertainties, and conflict throughout the world and the slowdown in Asia. Notwithstanding all of that, we envisage a slow increase in sales for 2016 thanks to our current momentum and the really exciting projects that we’ll be announcing very soon. C Above all, our principal objective remains the reinforcement of our two principal markets, these being USA and the United Kingdom where our market share should show significant growth again this year. We are also about to create a branch office in Hong Kong in order to develop our presence in this vitally important location to the Swiss watchmaking industry. The Japanese market represents an equally interesting option for future years. Although we haven’t yet entered into this market with our brand, it holds a growth potential that shouldn’t be underestimated due to its recent political and economic stability. The 2020 Olympic Games should also create an addition springboard. Lastly, and this is an important strategic point, we have made price adjustments to certain product ranges in an attempt to be more and more competitive and responsive to our customer needs. In conclusion, 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of RAYMOND WEIL and we’ll celebrate this event via two major musical partnerships, since music is always at the heart of each of our developments and the driving force behind our creativity. D Mechanical watches will always be of major importance, because we’re referring to something eternal, precious and above all emotionally stimulating, behind which hides a genuine and sought-after know-how. The arrival of smart-watches opens new horizons and attracts a new range of customers who previously had little or no interest in Swiss watchmaking. This forces us to question ourselves and investigate these new horizons. We have to be more and more creative to anticipate the new demands of a changing clientele. E Baselworld is an unmissable event and above all remains the opportunity to reestablish contact with our partners from around the world.
The Driver Watch Collection
Hall 1.1 Stand A77
CHRISTOPHE CLARET, INDEPENDENT WATCH MANUFACTURER B I think that the first half of 2016 will be as difficult as the last in 2015. Nonetheless, we should see an improvement in the second half of 2016. C Our principal objectives this year are the consolidation of our existing markets, the opening of six new sales outlets and above all our numerous press gatherings and collectors’ events, not only at our new sales outlets but also at the most active outlets that we have throughout the world. D As with the car industry, mechanical watches have always been the fascination of numerous enthusiasts and collectors throughout the world. For my part, this fascination will never subside particularly within the style of watchmaking we find ourselves, where innovation, perfection, passion, uniqueness and exclusivity are all combined. As far as we’re concerned, we don’t perceive any threat from smart-watches either in the ladies’ or, still less, in the gents’ markets. In fact, watches will always have an importance in the image we project or in the manner by which we may be perceived by others. E Our presence at Baselworld has never been less critical to our business.
ANDRÉ BERNHEIM, CEO MONDAINE B Mondaine had its best year ever in 2015 on a global basis, about 15% growth compared to 2014. The new Mondaine Helvetica family is certainly contributing to this, and the very high media attention given to our first connected watch, the Mondaine Helvetica Smart, which we were able to launch prior to the majority of others in the industry, helped to promote the entire brand. As for 2016 we do expect a tough year, but still expect a steady growth. The weaker Swiss franc might help a little, but generally, I think the watch sector in USA and Asia will be tough in 2016. US retailers are overstocked because the big brands pushed a lot of their stock onto them, and are offering high incentives to sales people to push sales. For the first time we see many high-end brands on the marketplace with big discounts, which in return takes away business from retailers making it difficult to buy in, even the lower priced brands like ours. The internet certainly became an issue, especially the discounting on marketplaces, but it is here to stay and
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the industry will have to learn to live with it. Asia, mainly China, is not as strong as it used to be – even though, which other country can show 6.9% growth…? But this is perceived as a catastrophe compared to the growth in previous years. Big brands suffer and are overstocked due to the ‘bad feeling’ there, beside the weak currencies in other countries such as Japan. Apple watch will certainly have some influence, in my view more of a psychological one than by taking away business from the traditional watch industry. Classical watches, luxury brands which stand for prestige and image, but also our Mondaine brand, stand for longevity and classic modernity, which generally seems to be becoming more attractive to consumers again, after a long period where fashion branding created hype. Apple did create some hype too, and is here to stay and will play an important role going forward. However, as consumers today own multiple watches, I think this may be one of them, but certainly not the
only one. I’m of the belief that many Apple watch buyers did not wear a watch before and are now getting used to looking at their wrist again. C We will focus on higher sales per outlet by supporting retailers as much as possible during times of difficulty, as well as trying to limit marketplace discounting by disassociating retailers and other customers, and even in extreme cases distributors who do not respect our distribution policies. We plan to increase our retail network only slightly. D I am strongly of the belief that watches in future will be connected to a mobile device in some way, but in my view, a watch can do certain things better then a hand held device or smartphone, and a smartphone can do other things better then a watch. Every device should perform where it has advantages over the other, and this is precisely what Mondaine will be doing – having started with our first connected watch a year ago, and with something to show in Basel. However, we will stay true to our heritage of building great watches
at affordable prices and of “Swiss Made” quality. But in the longer term, Switzerland might lose its current position in relation to mechanical watches due to its near monopoly and exaggerated prices compared for example to Japan (in my view the new Swissness law will accelerate the tendency for monopoly). E For Mondaine, Baselworld does not have same importance as it does for the luxury brands who achieve their biggest sales there. We also sell, but on a much smaller scale, since we are very close to our distributors in any case. We are not really looking for new distributors either and if we are seeking to appoint one in a new country, we do our homework on site. However, Baselworld is important in terms of contact with the media, and because it focuses us on being ready with all new products, marketing, materials, etc. for a certain date. It also gives us the opportunity to rally the majority of our distributors at our traditional distributors’ meeting on the Saturday of the fair, besides similar continental events which we conduct throughout the year.
MATTHIAS STOTZ, CEO JUNGHANS B On our side, we can look back on a posi-
C The next three years will see investments
in our headquarters with further construction projects: planning for the renovation of the historic terrace building is already underway. We are now embarking on this further step, a manifestation of the strength of the company and the brand. We have presented new models in our Meister collection at the Inhorgenta fair in Munich. The Meister Pilot is a pilot watch based on the historic Bundeswehr chronograph of 1955; the Meister Driver is inspired by classic cars and their dashboard instruments. At Baselworld we will introduce new models from the max bill by junghans range. In order to develop existing markets we will focus on our trade activities and foster more intense and personal cooperations with our international trade partners. A new shopin-shop concept, an event-kit as well as a new Visual Merchandising concept emphasises this, while the new Junghans Academy will bring us closer to the sales consultants at the point of sale. D Junghans was a pioneer of radio-controlled
â€œsmart-watchesâ€? in the late 90s, when we produced watches to open doors or for making payments. For example in 1999 we supplied the Hong Kong Underground with smart card
ÂŠJeta B Photography 2016
tive economic performance in 2015. With sales of 23.5 million euros, our company recorded growth of 9.9 percent compared to the preceding year. Under private ownership we have now been in the black for the seventh year in succession. The international markets were especially well-represented in the growth figures, with the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Spain seeing particularly positive development. A slight decline was recorded in the Asian region, where Japan remains our strongest market. Trademark and product protection also played a significant role in the past business year. In China we succeeded in defending these effectively and we managed to come to a respectful agreement with the Chinese state-owned company Sea-Gull, which recently copied the design of our Meister Classic. Despite this, new infringements occur regularly, which we pursue vigorously. Being aware of challenging markets like Asia, we are still very positive about the international potential of Junghans.
appropriate partner we are surely considering this option for the future. Currently we even expect positive effects of the smart watches, as a younger generation considers wearing watches in general as a life-style accessory. We are happy to see an increasing number of younger customers, asking for traditional mechanical watches and even hand-wound movements, as a contrast to electronic devices. E Baselworld remains the most relevant
watches with access and payment function. Today we mainly concentrate on mechanical watchmaking, while carefully following the development of smart watches. We are aware that at this stage we cannot compete with giants like Apple and Samsung, but with an
watch fair in the world and we are considering greater investment. In 2015 we achieved international growth of 17.8%. Junghans is back on the international market as a strong and successful brand and we receive numerous requests from international distributors. Baselworld is the ideal time to meet partners from all around the world and to hold intense conversations. Our location at Hotel du Commerce, right next to hall 1.0., offers perfect conditions and service to meet existing and potential partners.
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OLIVER EBSTEIN, OWNER & CEO CHRONOSWISS
ALAIN SPINEDI, CEO LOUIS ERARD I’m convinced that the situation will remain very difficult given current world events. But I also think that this will vary enormously between manufacturers. As far as Louis Erard is concerned, and after a difficult 2015, we should see a substantial improvement in that we’ve resolved some inherent problems that existed in certain specific markets. Product development in these “problem” markets will provide us with the re-growth that was missing in 2015.
C We intend to reinforce and consolidate our existing mar-
kets whilst at the same time attempting to respond to the demands of our secondary markets. However, we’re not going to attempt to open new key markets which demand a great deal of support, unless of course, the opportunity should present itself. Our strategy is clear in that we will concentrate on improving and doing more with those which we already have. D I remain convinced that the smart-watch will become a
parallel market but it won’t pose a threat to products such as ours, which are more of a traditional, mechanical nature. E For a relatively new manufacturer constantly looking for
sales opportunities, Baselworld remains an obligatory and necessary stepping-stone. Frequently we manage to develop very rewarding contacts.
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B Whereas 2015 was a year of consolidation, I believe that 2016 will see recovery and gradual growth in some markets. Whereas Hong Kong has decreased, the business in China, a very important market for us, is still comparatively slow. In addition, Chinese tourists continue to travel to Europe and generate sales there. C In 2016, we are going to be busy in many areas: marketwise this means restructuring our existing markets such as Switzerland and Germany in order to make them more efficient, whilst opening up new ones such as the USA, or Africa. As to our pricing, we do not plan an increase in prices, but we have considered the challenges to be faced in 2016 when calculating the prices for this year’s new models. Our most important issue for 2016 is the launch of our Regulator concept, which means focusing on this iconic model which has always played a leading role in the Chronoswiss history. After having strongly supported the sports line Timemaster in recent years, 2016 sees a strengthened classic design line Sirius, and within it a whole collection of striking and innovative Regulator models, some of them being constructed with a “flying” dial. Our publicity and advertising efforts will also be complementing this concept. D No, I do not think the smart-watch is a threat. In my opinion, there will always be a certain group of people who are able to cherish the art of fine mechanical watchmaking. But the smart-watch could even help open up a new target group who were no longer used to wearing watches. Maybe they don’t want to wear a mechanical watch right now, but when they grow older, they may well change their minds. E For us, Baselworld is the most important fair. It is where the whole industry meets once a year, and it is an indicator as to what is happening in the world of watches. As always, we will be curious to see the reactions to our new models.
SAMIR MERDANOVIC, CEO ETERNA MOVEMENT B 2016 is going to be a very tough year for the watchmaking industry, as the situation carried over from last year is not very encouraging. We’re anticipating that the watchmaking companies will not attain the same results as previously and that we’ll see a restructuring of the Swiss horology market. Small, independent companies which aren’t part of a larger group are the most at risk. Luckily, we’re presently in a period of growth and can pursue our long-term objectives and go on expanding our production of watch movements.
SØREN JENRY PETERSEN, CEO URBAN JÜRGENSEN & SØNNER Looking back at 2015, we saw the China anti-corruption policy and a change in the Swiss currency, while terrorist attacks in Europe also put a damper on things. Those trends are set to stay and have a continuing impact. But markets usually adjust to such events, and given that the global economy seems to be experiencing a slightly upward trend—we could see a return to better export market conditions by the end of 2016. B
C We’re looking at multiple key priorities, but our focus has been on evolving the number of collections from 1 to 2 and restructuring our distribution network after taking over the company in the end of 2014. Given the many hand-crafted parts our production is very limited and we want to partner closely with the few select retailers who remain independent and able to support a brand like ours. Lastly, we’re moving into a new atelier, as the expansion and recruitment currently under way are incompatible with our current location. D Mechanical watchmaking is undergoing a paradigm shift from which there
is no escape. High-end, atelier-made mechanical watches will never lose their attractiveness and collector value. It’s rather like an original oil painting versus a printed poster. However, smartwatches will effectively wipe out the value offered by a lower-end mechanical timepiece and that value will never be regained. A lot of industry restructuring will be called for in certain places, and some brands here are losing value by the hour. Coming from outside the industry this is clear to me, and having set in motion such value-erasing changes while at Nokia— and also experienced it happening—I see the usual pattern of many veteran industry insiders having the challenging task of trying to cope with analysing the situation and making the necessary adjustments. For quite basic reasons there are no possibilities for growth or diversification—but that’s a longer topic. E We see great benefits in participating in Baselworld, providing the fair can keep its value as a venue also for smaller independent brands, and not just the conglomerates, where once a year all their customers converge and place orders. As a small independent brand we’re also seeing the smaller fairs like QP in London evolve and take on a life of their own. For us, all these events are great places for meeting retail clients and presenting a full picture of what we have to offer. It’s a great, global showcase.
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C Given that we develop and produce movements, we’re going to expand our range of products, which means we’ll have a more diverse portfolio to present to customers. Our target is to produce 20,000 movements and acquire new customers. Moreover, we’re going to attend a number of world trade fairs to step up communications and raise brand recognition. D I’m sure that mechanical watches will continue to exist and that they will develop in terms of functions, design and materials. We operate in the niche market of mechanical movements. Our customers also have the possibility of choosing and combining the functions as well as the décor of the movement however they like. I’m convinced that this niche is well-positioned and highly promising. I don’t see what kind of a threat smartwatches pose to us, because we don’t represent or target the same markets. We’re remaining true to our principles and assuming that young people who have a smartwatch today will buy a real watch when they’re a bit older. E This watchmakers’ trade fair is important for the entire Swiss watchmaking industry. We make an important contribution, because we offer customisable, affordable movements in the aim of preserving the Swiss watch heritage. And as a young company, it’s evident that we have to be at the Basel trade fair first and foremost to present our new products.
FRANÇOIS-PAUL JOURNE, INDEPENDENT WATCHMAKER B The results for 2015 and forecasts for
2016 are not generally very optimistic. With all the currency fluctuations we’re seeing, it looks as though some markets are saturated. As an independent manufacture at the top of the haute horlogerie segment, we produce around 900 watches a year; collectors have proved loyal to the brand and maintained their interest in our creations. Although 2015 was an excellent year for us in terms of sales, we’re still going to be cautious during the first six months of this year. C For us, it will be a year of consolidation
D I’ve been asked this question several times.
while remaining attentive to our customers. We’re not planning any closures nor any openings. As well as the best retailers, we have a network of 10 boutiques, eight of which belong to us. That puts us very close to our customers. I’m currently working on a watch with large complications and taking advantage of this time to bring some models in our collection into line with current tastes. Where communications are concerned, we’ll continue to cultivate our difference with promotional events by our boutiques for our small group of collectors. Plus a new catalogue and a revamp for our website after ten years of loyal service.
No, the arrival of smartwatches is not a threat to mechanical watchmaking, just the opposite. Young people today read the time from their mobile phones, and for them this new smart gadget is the first watch they’ve ever bought. In time, they’ll want to buy a real watch and they’ll be our future customers – even if an F. P. Journe watch won’t be the first they’ll buy. Watchmaking is 600 years old, give or take a few economy-related interruptions, and this inertia always gives me faith in the future. E We don’t have a booth at Baselworld
since we hold our annual show in January simultaneously with the SIHH but in our
manufacture’s own showroom in the centre of Geneva. For us, the week of January 18-22 should confirm that the year ahead will be a good one and allow us to schedule production serenely. However, in Basel on 17 March, we’re organising a press conference for the second year running on the awards ceremony for the Young Talent Competition, of which I am the sponsor together with the AHCI. That confirms our position as the defender of watchmaking values, one priority being to pass on know-how and help the young watchmakers of tomorrow gain visibility. I wish this kind of competition had existed in my day, it would have made the beginnings so much easier.
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ANTOINE PREZIUSO, INDEPENDENT WATCHMAKER
communicating, about our products, but also about the values we convey through our creations: respect, love and fine craftsmanship. D I’m a watchmaker who was born of the
B When I attended the “Basel Trade Fair”
35 years ago, there were about a hundred watchmakers! At Baselworld today there are about 1,600. And two new brands every week!!! Yes, the market is saturated and markets are shrinking. But I think that a certain target group will always be passionate about beautifully created watches made with passion, patience and perseverance. C Our objectives for2016 are to go on build-
ing up the markets we’ve been working in for many years. We don’t have a marketing strategy proper. Every region has its own codes, and there are certain affinities or not depending on the country. We’re not looking for quantity, but for quality in our partnerships. As far as the products are concerned, it’s evident that you have to set yourself apart and innovate. To me that seems easier for a small company where decisions are taken immediately. Apart from that, we’ll continue to have a ready ear for specific requests in our products. And of course we need to communicate, keep on
ALAIN MARHIC, CEO MARCHLAB B As a small independent brand and unlike the majority of the leaders in the watchmaking industry, we don’t invest all our energy on exports. In focusing solely on the Asian market, a true artificial-growth bubble, all these brands will have a hard time finding new sources of growth in the near future. From our perspective, we obviously hope to expand our exports but throughout the whole world. C We are going to open our third single brand boutique at the end of the year. We are on the outlook for quality distributors in countries such as Korea and USA. Our product range will grow with quality non-traditional watches that will remain in a more affordable price range than luxury watches. D Smart-watches will become an accessory for geeks but will never eat into the mechanical watch market. A watch is a piece of art that should never be undignified by having electronics put inside. E Unfortunately we won’t be taking part this year. As a small brand, we prefer to put our investment into the expansion of our independent retail outlets before presenting ourselves at Basel, although we’ll go and meet our distributors and agents in and around the fair.
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quartz crisis in the 1970s. The serious error that the industry made then was to call a complete halt. Many brands simply threw mechanical watches into the bin (literally and metaphorically). The industry had to be reborn, which put the Swiss watchmaking economy back by more than a decade and numerous big brands never recovered. Luckily there was one great man who continued to believe in it!!! Yes, fine watchmaking will have its place on the podium for a long time to come. E Baselworld is a gathering you can’t af-
ford to miss, at the risk of disappearing off the radar! You have to make sure you’re seen at a booth, in the press, or on the terraces of the grand hotels and at parties where everyone talks about everything and everybody. Baselworld is the watchmakers’ Mecca, full of pilgrims. All the same, it’s true that there are more and more exhibitions all over the world, some of which are more important in terms of sales.
HAMDI CHATTI, CEO LOUIS VUITTON B We are confident in our products and our network of shops, and we will remain flexible when faced with international economical and political changes. C For us the most essential factor is always to be closer to our customers. I invite you to visit one of our shops! D Smart-watches are “hightech”; mechanical watches are “high touch”, each one in its place. For we watchmakers, we must continue to surprise, to innovate – if not we’ll vanish. E The market has changed, we don’t exhibit at Baselworld anymore, and our customers want the products without waiting too long between their presentation and availability in the shops. Consequently, we organise the presentation of new products close to the date they’ll be available in our shops.
DANIEL SCHLUEP, CEO TITONI B I think that 2016 is likely to be a year of stagnation. Why? Because the Swiss watch industry has gone through an exceptional period over the last few years. These boom times for mechanical watch sales naturally had to come to an end one day. We now have to reassess the markets and our chances. Business is under pressure, not only for producers, but also for retailers and distributors. In China, for example, there are large volumes of stock due to overstocking in previous years. The market in Hong Kong, the most important for the Swiss watch industry, has declined sharply and China´s growth is adjusting to a “new normal.” What’s more, online sales are increasing and technological progress (smart-watches) will also leave its mark on sales of mechanical watches. Another issue, probably less significant, is the current international situation: too many conflicts around the globe are shaking the business climate and “travelling consumers.” C As an international brand with a strong focus on Asia, especially Greater China, the markets in this part of the world will continue to play an important role in our portfolio. Due to the current volatile situation in those markets and the world economy in general, one of our top priorities will be to improve our distribution network. Price differences in many markets are still a topic that is widely discussed, but we have to make sure that they do not confuse our consumers: our company stipulates valid international retail prices, but because of different taxes and tariffs in different countries, there are still markets where prices are higher than in others. We have to face this issue on a regular basis and we will discuss the best solution for our consumers with our partners. In China, for example, we want to keep our existing sales channels, while at the same time tapping into new areas for opening Titoni Points of Sale in 3rd and 4th tier cities. As a side note, I want to add that we have just begun a new co-operation with a partner in India and Australia. ible fact, and in this sense they pose a serious threat to the Swiss watch industry. I myself greatly admire those watches that, besides time, add many more features and functions, and I can hardly guess what the future will bring us in this respect. Nevertheless, we cannot compete with those companies that invest millions in what are effectively wearable computers, as these smart-watches are. We have to “stick with what we know,” as the saying goes, namely our dedication to producing classical timepieces with a mechanical heart at affordable prices.
D I personally think that a traditional mechanical watch will always represent an object of value, maybe not in the purely monetary sense, but in the way that it evokes and fulfills a longing for tradition. This feeling is part of every human being at one time or another during his or her life. In other words, I don´t think that the mechanical watch will fully disappear. It might become more of a niche product, but it won’t die out. However, I’m fully aware that the younger generation in particular is more and more interested in smart-watches. This is an irrevers-
E Titoni has not attended the Baselworld exhibition for the past few years. There are a number of reasons for this, all connected to the purpose of organising such a fair. First, Baselworld takes place to get orders from clients. However, for us as a mid-range brand, this reason is irrelevant as we have rolling plans for our new products. Second, Baselworld gives your own brand prestige, depending on the luxury of your “performance” during this annual fair. For Titoni as an independent SME, we can no longer satisfy those lofty “requirements”. Third, Baselworld is a gathering for watch producers, component suppliers, clients, journalists and many other interested parties from the world of watches. In this sense, Baselworld is the most important marketplace in this industry, and we usually invite our clients, journalists and guests to our factory during the fair. Thus, they are also given the chance to see our headquarters and production facilities with their own eyes.
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VIANNEY HALTER, INDEPENDENT WATCH MANUFACTURER Concerning the mechanical watchmaking market, I’m not positive for 2016. I feel that exports are going to continue to decline. The factors that lead me to think that way are: market saturation by the offer of far too many “fashionable” and too complicated mechanical watches; the realisation on the part of some watch enthusiasts and collectors of the excessive gap between price and actual value; a regression in purchasing power within the principal market sectors owing to systemic international crisis. B
C To consolidate my image with my
client customers as an authentic watchmaker, strengthen communication on this point and equally on the quality of my products, from both technical and creative standpoints. D I don’t believe that the making of
mechanical watches will disappear. I prefer to believe that it will find the place where it should currently be, that’s to say to fulfill a heartfelt market and not one of need. In effect, there’s no need for watches just to know the time, modern technology permits us to access this information easily and accurately. Mechanical watches will only survive as cultural accessory with emotional connections, a consumer niche belonging to the world of the arts. The arrival of smart-watches isn’t a threat to this activity, and it doesn’t justify a downturn in the mechanical watch market. Smart-watches are not part my working world and are as far from my field, as aeroplanes are from cars.
PHILIPPE DUBOIS, CEO REBELLION B I personally believe that 2016 will be a challenging one and another difficult year for the Swiss watchmaking industry. Among many other factors, there has been an overproduction of watch products in the face of lower demand. But this decline in demand is due to a number of other reasons — the discontinuation of the minimum exchange rate by the BNS, the anti-corruption campaign in China, the fall in the price of the barrel, and Russian customers who aren’t setting foot outside Russia. Usually, we face one problem at a time and can compensate for them in other markets, but in this case all these factors have arrived more or less simultaneously, which is exceptional. Although I’m not an expert, prospects for 2016 are not looking good. C Our objectives for Rebellion Timepieces in 2016 are relatively simple. We have to build up our network of distributors, and that is our principal, priority objective. Besides that, we’re going to continue taking part in trade shows to increase recognition of our brand. Rebellion needs to lean on the reputation of our Rebellion Racing team, which was FIA World Endurance champion for the fourth consecutive year. D The watchmaking industry certainly is not going to disappear, but on the other hand it’s sure to get “hybridised” just as we’ve seen in the automotive industry, and that is without any doubt an interesting opportunity for diversification. But I have no doubts whatsoever as to the lasting nature of mechanical watches. E Baselworld 2016 is a must for lovers of fine horology and incontestably the best showcase for a horology brand. Obviously, the objective is to develop commercial relations with future clients, whether retailers or agencies.
CHRISTOPHE MUSY, CEO MAURON MUSY B Mauron Musy began business in 2016, so a rise in sales is inevitable. C The most important thing is to exercise caution and secure the future
of our small company. Our targets are realistic and were set with a view to the current global situation. Mauron Musy is set to have a peaceful, calm year, unlike larger structures which are facing countless risks. We’re studying a number of distribution and communications networks. Since our marketing budget is very limited, we give priority to the Web, with its strong potential. Our innovative nO-Ring and the fact that our watch is gasket-free have also got people talking about Mauron Musy. As for the markets, we’re still feeling our way around, but we’ve had excellent feedback from Scandinavia, Russia and the US.
E I haven’t participated in Baselworld
D Mechanical watches won’t disappear. Just the opposite—the more
for a number of years. We live in a modern world wherein the means to communicate and to connect with others renders this type of trade fair obsolete. In relation to my watchmaking activities, it’s no longer worthwhile for me to participate in events such as this. Events on a much smaller scale, which target the end-user client directly within their own marketplace allows a far more genuine exchange both from a professional and personal perspective.
the new technologies progress, the richer and more prestigious mechanical watches will become. They will always be a vehicle for savoir-faire and emotion. Smartwatches are a good way of getting young people interested in horology. It’s up to us to turn it to our best advantage! The arrival of smartwatches will probably affect the under-CHF800 price segment.
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E This is our second time round at Baselworld. It’s too early to say if it’s “decisive”.
But we have plenty of expectations this year. We’ve handled the preparation perfectly and we can sense a keenness to meet us on the part of the media and retailers. For us, it will have been a successful trade fair if it allows us to open up points-of-sale abroad. And I’m hoping for some worthwhile informal contacts that might change the course of our history!
BRACELETS Tél.: +39 0444 343434 • www.promotionbracelets.eu • firstname.lastname@example.org
FABIEN DE SCHAETZEN, CEO RAIDILLON B I’m not over-optimistic about the world
market in 2016. Firstly, I’m concerned by the geopolitical instability; and yet, trust is essential in the business market. Secondly, because of the extremely low oil prices, the Middle Eastern markets which account for a significant share may regress and I don’t believe that the Asian market will expand in the short term. At best, I envisage stability but unfortunately at worst, a slump in the world market. C Our objectives for 2016 are very
important in terms of product range and distribution networks. In relation to the second, in 2016 we will be opening new boutiques of our own and concentrating our energy, strength and budget commitments on our own distribution network. However, we’ll continue to support independent multi-brands who are motivated and “play the game” with Raidillon. Otherwise, we will clearly curb the exploration of markets that “turn up their noses” and who for whatever reasons, fail to support us. As far as our product range is concerned, for Raidillon 2016 will be a year for consolidation and for launching a quality range of accessories, closely aligned to our image and standing, that of the gentleman driver and the beautiful eternal object, without ever being old-fashioned or outdated. As such, we’ll be introducing luggage, leather goods and accessories such as: cufflinks, key chains, wallets and travel kits, as well as some “menswear”.
opposed to the several generations offered by a mechanical watch. Imagine if within the watch-clasp we have the means to electronically connect the watch; after three years, just change the clasp to replace it with the latest version. We then retain our watch intact!
D Not for a minute do I think that
smart-watches will have an influence on the volume, the quality or the value of the mechanical watch market, indeed the opposite. On the other hand, I believe that more and more, we’ll find ourselves surrounded by electronic components such as micro-chips, codes etc. These will be found inside rings, clothes, belts, briefcases, etc. and will be able to track an object, measure physical activity, monitor health, set up security systems, open doors, provide communication links, etc. Everything is still to be invented! I’m convinced that we have no need for a second mobile phone on our wrists, and in evidence would cite the fact that the size of smart-phone screens has exploded over the last few months;
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E The question is more than relevant to
the smart-watch does not offer the opportunity to read a screen in comfort. In addition, electronic components are becoming so small and powerful that they can be installed in a bracelet, a buckle, perhaps even in the mechanism of a watch, etc. Certainly, we cannot read the newspaper on the dial of an automatic Raidillon watch but neither can we do so on the screen of an Apple watch. I therefore believe that these electronic components constitute a genuine opportunity and that the market is exciting, particularly for the mechanical watch, especially if we can find interchangeable systems. Indeed, the problem with electronics is their extremely limited life, as
Raidillon; in fact only a few weeks ago we decided not to attend Basel in 2016. The most important reason being, that we have directed budget commitment towards investment in our own new boutiques. Furthermore, another significant deciding factor was the cost: within three years for a business trading within the Euro zone, the cost of the Fair at Basel has increased by almost 50% (including the 20 to 25% exchange rate). The required investment therefore becomes quite staggering for a few hours’ participation and return on investment is too vague. For the moment, we’d rather place this investment in the opening of a new boutique, although we can’t exclude going back in 2017!
YVAN ARPA, CEO ARTYA B I sincerely believe that we’ll again have to en-
dure a worldwide reduction in sales. For me, the traditional watchmaking business model has run its course. It needs to be re-invented. A distribution system that only considers promoting top brand best sellers that pre-sell at comfortable margins – the same top brands that for their part, want to reduce margins and increase shelf space – a distribution system where the sellers flit from one brand to another without qualms, for me that’s a system that’s forgotten the essentials: the customer, the act of purchasing, sentiment, product authenticity, the relationship and the brand. It will just become cut and paste, at the risk and like the vinyl disc industry, finding itself within less than a generation, addressing no-one other than niche aficionados. C Artya is lucky to be a young, innovative, differ-
ent and creative brand, with high add-on value and I’m proud to say that since its launch in 2009, each year has seen our sales increase substantially in sell out. This year we’re embarking upon an extensive programme of high level complications that will again
encourage this dynamic. Even given the underlying situation, I’m highly confident from the stance of an independent, self financed brand such as our own. Today we have a presence and genuine credibility in almost all of the high-quality watchmaking sectors, along with a new message and innovative product. Our end-user customers remain loyal and it’s not rare to have them make repeat purchases up to the point of possessing more than ten Artya watch-pieces. We’re not only seducing the typical watch-buying clientele but also a new young group of buyers who give recognition to our values. D The mechanical watchmaking niche will live on but it has to re-invent itself to be attractive and irresistible to a younger clientele. The arrival of smart-watches is undoubtedly a positive aspect, it’s a creative renaissance that’s on offer with an enormous potential. E Baselworld remains an essential meeting place to present our products to the established movers within the world of watchmaking. But these movers should also make the effort to study the brands which offer something more than that offered by the establishment. Because that’s where the renaissance is.
MARC GAUDREAULT, CEO PARMIGIANI B 2016 will be very interesting. When circumstances are less favourable the quality of
the decisions made and the actions undertaken become even more decisive. The budgeting for 2016 needs to be equally prudent and we have set a budget identical to that of 2015. Obviously the worldwide geopolitical climate is in great part responsible for the prudence being demonstrated by consumers. Greater access to information on true product value is equally an element that influences the clients’ final buying process. C We must take care of distribution. We must work along with distribution partners that understand the brand’s allure and know how to pass this on to their clients. New opportunities will open up: Iran, Cuba, Australia, etc. The consumers are out there but they’re more mobile and more reactive than in the past, we have to adapt. At the SIHH we launched our integrated chronographer, a movement we created 100% by ourselves to celebrate our 20th anniversary, and it was very well received. We also presented the “Senfine” concept model, with more than 70 day’s working autonomy, a real step forward in Swiss mechanical watch technology research. We attach ourselves more and more to the brand’s 100% Swiss heritage along with genuine know-how. D Mechanical watchmaking will never disappear. It will sim-
ply continue to evolve. It must draw from the latest technologies and in the same way pull ideas and energy from other activity sectors to enable its continued development. Aerospace, medicine, electronics, are all incredible research sources for the future of watchmaking. We need to have open, inventive minds. E We won’t be present at Basel but were at the SIHH, which turned out to be highly positive. It allowed us to meet up with everyone over just a few days. Journalists, technical specialists, clients, retailers, colleagues, etc., it’s a one-off venue for exchanging ideas. It also gives everyone an instant opportunity to take an objective look at the market: the strongest and weakest factors, the tangible progress and activities, the really basic questions and the peripheral debates. It’s important.
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STEPHANE WASER, MANAGING DIRECTOR MAURICE LACROIX
MARTIN FREY, FOSSIL GROUP SVP OPERATIONS EMEA
B In view of the macro-economic environment (a strong Swiss franc which is improving but still tense, the HK/China politics, the rate of the ruble and the price of the barrel in Russia, the oil situation in the Middle East), in 2016 we’re anticipating a year of stagnation compared with the previous year. C The principal objective for Maurice Lacroix is to pursue its strategy of posi-
tioning itself in the CHF 1,000-5,000 price range. This strategy is underpinned in 2016 by new models, such as the Aikon collection. This quartz collection—a revival of our emblematic Calypso model—was behind our brand’s success in the 90s. With Aikon, Maurice Lacroix is offering a timepiece that marries design with a finish of outstanding quality worthy of our high-end products. Moreover, our brand is undergoing a digital transformation to be as close as possible to potential customers and raise brand recognition—first and foremost through our partnership with FC Barcelona—to the global level. D On the whole, the Swiss watch-
making industry is still a niche market, given its volume compared with worldwide production, with its own codes, history, environment, reputation and dependability. But it’s continually having to reinvent itself to offer the right product at the right price at the right time and in the right place. For the brand, just like for other brands, all these actions are aimed at providing impetus in that segment and making us ask ourselves (the right) questions about how we can help horology retain its noble credentials. E Basel is still the place where, within a limited scope and for a defined duration, we enter into direct contact with our principal commercial partners, as well as with the press and the end consumer. Like any other brand, it allows us to make a maximum of contacts and appointments and take a maximum of orders while showcasing most of our innovations, not just on glossy paper, but in the flesh. So it still has maximum impact.
B The introduction of smartwatches and other connected accessories has given customers more choices than they’ve had before. And, that’s a good, positive change for our industry. It‘s additive to the traditional watch business. We are still at an early moment in the smart-watch/ connected accessories space and there is room for many brands to succeed. As long as watch companies can quickly come to market with their own take on blending the traditional watch with the latest connected technology, this market evolution will produce positive results for all. C We are launching wearables for several brands in more than 100 styles in 2016. Our retail partners will see the power of Fossil Group’s scale and consumers will see the variety of functionality, style, colours and brands they desire. We’ve already nearly doubled our distribution and are positioned to produce a broad variety of connected products that appeal to both fashion and consumer electronics channels.
Mechanical watchmaking is an art and Fossil Group will continue to create watches for the mechanical watch customer who is often a brand-loyal passionate watch enthusiast. These are D
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valuable customers who generate priceless word-of-mouth references for our brands. Smart-watches and connected accessories are opportunities for brands to deepen their connections with their loyal customers. The more options we can give customers to pair their fashion sense with their connection needs, the more opportunities we have to interact with them and become a part of their lives. E Baselworld is our opportunity to connect with our clients, our business partners and journalists in a setting fully devoted to what we do best – watchmaking. For traditional watches, nothing will replace Baselworld however, as brands merge traditional watches and technology, conferences such as CES (Consumer Electronics Show) and Mobile World Congress are competing as a stage for news-making for watch brands.
JEAN DEPÉRY, CEO EMILE CHOURIET B After record years and then a downturn in 2015, 2016 will again be a transitional year and the indicators are certainly not on the rise for the moment. Consumer and purchasing habits are changing. For example, the results of political and social changes in China (anti-corruption laws, customs controls, protectionism, place of purchase restrictions, etc.) have been being felt for some months now and we have to accept them. The Chinese economy is slowing down and there isn’t another market that’s taking its place to provide the assurance of progress as we experienced after the 2009 crisis. However I see positive growth in the medium term.
We’ve developed our own inhouse assortment and calibration. It’s improvement of product quality that we’re now targeting. We prefer to invest in the quality of our products rather C
We have also opened new sales outlets throughout various European cities and we have great potential within various international markets that we’re opening up this year. D Mechanical watchmaking will per-
than grand scale publicity campaigns. It’s the value for money relationship that is our strength and our customers are aware of this. Consolidation of our Chinese market is a priority, which still remains highly promising and within which we’ve become highly competent.
petuate, because it remains the symbol of longevity and flies in the face of all the objects with built-in obsolescence. It bears witness to a precious skill and know-how and its clockwork magic never ceases to amaze. As proof, we’ve invested greatly in the internal development of our own assortment that remains at the very heart of the mechanical movement. I don’t believe in a hybrid mix between the mechanical watch and the smart-watch, this has been tried for years without any tangible result. The association between the two doesn’t really create an interesting end product. However, quarts watches may, very slowly but inevitably become “con-
UWE AHRENDT, CEO NOMOS B We can only speak for ourselves and not for the watchmaking world as a whole, but contrary to the wider industry trend, Nomos Glashütte posted growth of over 30 percent in 2015. Consequently we can say that Nomos made a very strong start to the new year. Over the next three years we aim to double in size again and draw on our strengths to achieve even greater growth on the international markets. We’ll also continue to invest in research and quality. After all, customers value what NOMOS Glashütte stands for: high-tech and traditional craftsmanship, combined with prizewinning design and a commitment to reasonable prices. C This year we will again be concentrating our efforts on our US business — which is increasing turnover and rapidly expanding its retailer network. In fact, the USA is Nomos Glashütte’s strongest-growing market at present. That said, we’re also pleased by the growth in our domestic and Asian markets. The Neomatik series, first introduced in fall 2015, will continue to be important to our brand — it forms the foundation for our increased focus
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on automatic timepieces. After the huge success of the Neomatik 1st edition, which sold out immediately, we’ll be presenting a successor series at Baselworld. One highlight this year will be the Tetra Neomatik model, a square and decidedly masculine automatic watch. And in the fall, we’ll have even more to unveil. But the overall trend will continue: Nomos Glashütte will be producing this innovative automatic series in larger numbers.
nected”, to my mind that’s where the true development lies. E We’re working hard, to make this meeting truly worthwhile. It’s such a large investment for the brands, that it must show results. If not, it puts its whole existence in question. The show allows us to introduce ourselves to new customers and to get to know and develop our networks and partnerships. This year, we present a fabulous adventure based around the development of one of our own creations. We’re setting up an interactive experience for each person who visits our stand. To understand how the movement works, interact with it, touch it, explore it via tactile screens and get inside the universe that is our brand, that’s our goal. To transform the highly technical developments that occur within our workshops into a cultural and learning experience, open to all our visitors.
D We believe that mechanical watches simply offer something different— our products draw on a long history of craftsmanship, giving customers an elegant timepiece that underlines their aesthetic and values. For this reason, we certainly do not see smartwatches as a threat to traditional watches. In fact, the increasing interest in smartwatches among the younger generation means they’re thinking more and more about what they wear on their wrists — something that we are, of course, delighted about! After a while, smartwatch wearers will realise that their wristwear keeps becoming obsolete after a few years; by contrast, with a mechanical watch they have a fine timepiece for life that can always be repaired. E For us, Baselworld 2016 is once again the place where we’ll be meeting with our retail partners and press contacts to exchange ideas and plans. Nomos Glashütte is in the process of developing and strengthening its international profile — and for us there’s no better platform to do that than Baselworld.
© AlpTransit Gotthard AG
Hauptpartner Partenaire principal Partner principale Main Partner
Mondaine SBB Nord Sud Highlights the union of these two compass opposites thanks to the innovation of the new Gotthard Base Tunnel. At the far north of the Tunnel is the Canton Uri region, a fact immortalised by the Mondaine SBB Nord Sud with the traditional welcome, ‘Grieäzi’, the local Swiss German word for ‘hello’ embossed above the 12 o’clock mark. Completing the partnership are the words ‘Buon di’, the local Italian dialect www.mondaine.com
way of saying ‘good day’ embossed on the black leather strap available in 30 and 40 mm Ø, stainless steel case, curved mineral crystal. Swiss made. Water resistant tested to 30 m. 2 years international warranty.
GEORGES BRUNET, CEO ZRC B For us, 2016 looks like being a good year. In fact,
with the value of the Euro having dropped against the US$ our exports to the USA are by far the best for 10 years. We’re otherwise in full development phase with our GF300 watch, which already promises to be a great commercial, aesthetic and technical success. Finally the reorganisation of our clients into central purchasing groups helps us to strengthen our partnerships and thus increase our dealings with the larger accounts. The only flat-spot is the growth of the yuan and the HK$ which penalise our Far East
purchases and consequently reduce our margins somewhat. In part, foreign currency exchanges help us compensate for this phenomenon without always negating it completely. I think that 2016 will see an increase in our export turnover as well as our relative position in France. C An absolute must is the consolidation of the internal French market, which currently represents 70% of our turnover. With an ever diminishing cake, the slices are costing more and more and it’s imperative we defend our position. The systematic market stimulation through “Push Marketing” schemes has become an absolute necessity in business-to-
JEAN-SÉBASTIEN BOLZLI, CEO AEROWATCH B We approach 2016 serenely but prudently. The numerous conflicts throughout the world, the high value of the Swiss franc as well as the rapid drop in the oil price are many of the factors that give us indication of a difficult year to come, at best we can hope for a market standstill. Nonetheless, we remain confident about the future, thanks to our good results over the last few years and our strategic choice relative to well structured collections offering exceptional value for money. C In the style of the Swiss marketplace where we have 125 sales outlets, our intention is to extend our distribution network into our neighbouring countries, particularly France and Germany. Furthermore, this year sees the launch of the “7 Time Zones” model (a unique and original watch providing the time in 7 cities across the world), which is the result of our first internal development, conceived and executed by my watchmaker brother, Fred-Eric. With this new time piece, we form part of the close-knit circle of creative specialist craftsmen in the Jura region. In communication terms, by offering models that are off the beaten path, we can present ourselves differently from the mass production brands and in a highly positive manner, and subsequently gain in visibility. D In terms of quantity, Swiss watchmaking represented 3% of the watches sold worldwide in 2015, we could therefore deduce that it is already an exclusive niche. Nevertheless, I’m convinced that watchmaking will live on and continue to create desires. The arrival of smart-watches is a real growth opportunity for the high volume Swiss brands where the sale price to the public doesn’t exceed 1000 CHF. Indeed, the built-in obsolescence of these “technological gadgets”, the setting up of maintenance services and issues related to after-sales service, as well as marketing are all questions that only the brands belonging to the large groups can answer. In 2013, we were at the forefront and presented one of the first smart-watches in collaboration with the Japanese giant Toshiba; finally, for the various reasons cited above, we withdrew from launching the project. E Baselworld remains “the great” and indispensable world gathering for all the profession. It’s an exceptional platform to strengthen client relationships, create new contacts, develop new markets and promote the latest creations. As far as we’re concerned, we will be present at Basel and this will be for the 32nd consecutive year with a discreet stand in keeping with our brand’s image. We prefer to offer quality products at attractive prices rather than go into debt for the creation of a booth.
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business to stand out from the opposition, but also between evolving communication methods and others we have the tools to take control. We developed the B to B site in 2015 which accounted for 5% in its launch year and our objective is to increase this to 10% in 2016. Today this type of modernisation is obligatory: access to accounting and sales data, online stock control, order tracking, delivery traceability, etc. Our watch bracelets are now marked with a serial number which allows us to establish when they were manufactured and this is a first in the business. Pricing is a highly sensitive subject in the current context. It’s best to keep an ear to the market and above all don’t try to impose price undercutting at the risk of rapid loss of standing. D I think that a man’s only real piece of jewellery is his watch. The return to basics and a more vintage style appears to me an inescapable and timeless fashion trend. The great industrial food and drinks lobbies inundate us with new drinks, each one apparently more delicious than the last but we always persist in uncorking a good bottle of Bordeaux or Burgundy. For my part, mechanical watchmaking has a healthy future ahead of it if it’s prepared to adapt well in design and look. Perhaps the smart-watch will remind the younger generation that it’s not “has-been” to wear a watch on their wrist and perhaps, in “growing up”, they’ll have developed the habit of wearing a watch to their own taste. Along with their purchasing power, this may well evolve to a point where they chose to move on to a good automatic.
This year we won’t be directly involved in Baselworld, however we’ll be meeting up with more than a few of our customers on site. The most important thing for us is to consolidate our position but above all to do so at our own pace. With the GF300 watch, we don’t yet have the capacity to open too many markets in one swoop, taking into account limited stocks and a fairly narrow collection. That said, for us Baselworld remains unmissable. E
EMOTION FRANCE Nearly 50 French watches, clocks and jewellery brands will be present at Baselworld from 17th to 24th March 2016. Among them, more than 20 brands will be dedicated to watches and clocks. Come and visit us at Baselworld and discover the latest French creations! Berthet 1888
Christian Lacroix (Groupe TWC)
Clyda (Groupe TWC)
Go-Girl Only (SMB)
Jean-Paul Gaultier (Groupe TWC)
Kenzo (Groupe TWC)
Murat (Marcel Robbez Masson)
Ted Lapidus (Groupe TWC)
Vicomte A (Ambre)
Yonger & Bresson (Ambre)
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WATCHES, JEWELLERY & HIGH JEWELLERY HORLOGERIE, BIJOUTERIE & JOAILLERIE
HALL 1 Korloff
1 .1 E 2 1
Marcel Robbez Masson
O F. 5 A
PRESS AND INFORMATION - STAND 1.0 V03 CITY LOUNGE SOUTH
THE SLOWDOWN IS EASIER AT THE TOP, BUT THE HAPPY FEW ARE INCREASINGLY SCARCE In 2015, for the first time, watches priced at over CHF 15,000 (over CHF 35,000 retail price) constituted the biggest export category in terms of value. Analysis. by Caroline Buechler and François-Xavier Mousin, co-founders of marketing strategy agency Opus Magnum
wiss watch exports can be divided into four main price categories, each of which contributes around onequarter of the total value, which was between CHF 4.5 and CHF 5.5 billion in 2015. The categories are as follows: watches under CHF 2,000; between CHF 2,000 and CHF 5,000; between CHF 5,000 and CHF 15,000; and finally watches over CHF 15,000. This latter category, which represents watches with a retail value of more than CHF 35,000, was in 3rd place back in 2008. In 2015 it became the leading category of Swiss watch exports. • The resilience of luxury exports in times of crisis was confirmed in 2015. The category of watches over CHF 15,000, which had held up particularly well during the 2009 crisis, has experienced exceptional growth since then, reaching a record in 2014 of CHF 5.62 billion. • In 2015, the downturn in this category was significantly less than in the other categories, recording a decline of just 2.11%. • If we were to eliminate this category from our analysis, the 2015 export situation would have recorded a drop of 4.33% rather than 3.77%. After excluding timepieces worth more than CHF 30,000 (CHF 75,000 retail price) from the total, this figure would have been 4.8%.
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OVER CHF 30,000 CATEGORY GREW BY 2.8% IN 2015 • The relative good health of this category is driven by extreme luxury. The CHF 15,000–30,000 category actually fell more than 7.4% in value, while the over-CHF 30,000 grew by over 2.8%. • Exports of this category reached almost CHF 3 billion, nearly 15% of total Swiss watch exports in 2015. This trend has been repeated every year since 2012.
VALUE RISES, QUANTITY FALLS • While this category experienced the smallest fall in value in 2015, the situation in terms of quantity is the opposite. • Volume fell a record 5.38%, compared with, at the other extreme, a drop of just 1.57% for watches under CHF 2,000. • It is worth noting that this decline represents just 10,000 units, compared with more than 400,000 units in the lowest category. • Watches over CHF 15,000 represent just 0.6% of total export volume, with 166,000 units in 2015, compared with more than 26 million units for the lowest category, watches under CHF 2,000. • Like the evolution in value, the evolution in volume confirms that the over-CHF 30,000 category performed better than the CHF 15,000–CHF 30,000 category, although growth appears to be slowing. • In 2015, 500 fewer watches over CHF 30,000 were exported compared with 2014, as opposed to 9,000 fewer in the CHF 15,000–30,000 category. • After doubling between 2009 and 2013, the volume of exports valued at over CHF 30,000 appears to have stabilised at around 40,000 units. • This is perhaps a weak indication that the market may have reached a plateau with its target clientele. u
WRISTWATCHES EXPORT VALUE EVOLUTION (in billion CHF)
>CHF 15,000.- WRISTWATCHES EXPORT VALUE EVOLUTION (in billion CHF)
WRISTWATCHES EXPORT UNITS EVOLUTION (in thousands)
EVEN THE EXTREMES ARE MODERATING
For further details, please contact the authors of this study: email@example.com
• In 2015, watches over CHF 15,000 were the only category to see an increase in their average price, which was CHF 48,522. • This increase nevertheless remains consistent with previous years, and has the effect of moderating the temporary 10% dip we saw in 2013. • Here too, the average price in this category is strongly influenced by the more expensive pieces, as demonstrated by the surge in watches valued at over CHF 30,000, which reached an average price of CHF 79,059. • This is slightly higher than 2014, though still below the record of CHF 80,673 we saw in 2010. • The average price of watches between CHF 15,000 and CHF 30,000 dropped, however, by 0.64% to CHF 19,909, slightly below the historic record of CHF 20,039, which was set in 2014.
PRINCIPAL EXPORT MARKETS OUTPERFORM IN EXTREME LUXURY AND MITIGATE THE SLUMP IN HONG KONG • Geographically speaking, the fall of nearly 25% in exports to Hong Kong was largely mitigated by the other key markets. • In 2015 Hong Kong nevertheless still represented 18.3% of watch exports over CHF 15,000, compared with 23.8% in 2014. • While the world’s top 15 watch importers recorded an overall decline in imports of 4.8% in 2015, across all categories, compared with just 2.19% in all the other countries, the over-CHF 15,000 category experienced exactly the opposite phenomenon, with a decline of just 0.8% in these countries, compared with an 8% drop in all the others. • This once again shows the resilience of high-end watches in the main export markets. • Thus, of the top 15 export destinations for the category of watches over CHF 15,000, which alone represent 83.5% of their total value, only three experienced a downturn: Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Spain. • The USA, which is the second-placed market in this category, grew by 2.7% while Europe outperformed, with a rise of 38.1% in the United Kingdom, 6.1% in France, 8.2% in Italy and 1.6% in Germany. • In Asia, Singapore recorded growth of 5.5%, Japan 13.5%, Taiwan 5.8%, South Korea 22.4% and even China grew by 30.3%. • In the Middle East, Qatar and Saudi Arabia rose by 23.4% and 23.8% respectively. • Conversely, the United Arab Emirates, which these days can be seen mainly as a re-export platform, declined by 7.6%, Spain by 2.1% and Hong Kong by 24.8%.
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• Looking at watches over CHF 30,000, growth reached record levels in these same countries, with +10.3% in the USA, +44.4% in the UK, +10.5% in France, +13% in Italy, +3.7% in Germany, +13.1% in Singapore, +15.3% in Japan, +14.7% in Taiwan, +24.7% in South Korea, +54.3% in Saudi Arabia and +67.42% in China, despite the anti-corruption measures that have been widely implemented in the country.
OUTLOOK As every year, these figures do not take into account inter-market re-exports, or re-exports from the Swiss and Liechtenstein markets, whose importance remains directly proportional to the volume of tourists, largely from Asia, who travel there, and probably even in 2015 helped to make them one of the top five world markets for Swiss watchmaking. Also, the re-exportation system continues to produce a significant bias, as can be seen from the evolution of exports to the UAE, where many brands have set up Asian export hubs. Nevertheless, this study remains one of the only sources of reliable data on the evolution of a market whose development is always dependent on that of the extreme luxury sector, whether in a period of growth, or slowdown, or widespread crisis such as we saw in 2009, and that which our economies have been dealing with since 2015. At a time when the Swiss watch industry appears to be faced with another difficult choice between volume and exclusivity, the figures in our study cannot provide any definitive answers; they nevertheless offer a clear insight into the major trends in the current markets, and the increasingly deep rift between two diametrically opposed but strongly growing sectors: mass market and ultra-luxury.
As an adjunct to the official statistics of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, which considers almost two-thirds of the total export value in one chunk – the notorious ‘over CHF 3,000’ category – Opus Magnum has for several years, in cooperation with the Swiss Customs Service, endeavoured to analyse these export figures in a way that is more representative of the evolution and structure of the market. This has led to the identification of four main price categories, each representing around 25% of export value, along with seven further sub-categories in the ‘over CHF 3,000’ segment to supplement the values defined by the FH. This has made it possible to paint a far more granular and representative picture of how the market, which for a number of years has been characterised by an increasingly important luxury sector, is evolving. p
WRISTWATCHES EXPORT AVERAGE PRICE EVOLUTION (in CHF)
TOP 15 COUNTRIES vs REST OF THE WORLD> 30,000.- WRISTWATCHES EXPORT VALUE EVOLUTION (in billion CHF)
TOP 15 COUNTRIES > 15,000.- WRISTWATCHES EXPORT VALUE EVOLUTION (in billion CHF)
Swiss watch exports declined 3.8 % year on year in December 2015, with declining shipments to Hong Kong – the largest importer of Swiss watches – mostly to blame. Exports to Hong Kong fell 21 % compared to only a 5.5 % drop for U.S. imports. (Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry)
Japanese telecommunications giant KDDI has developed a smartwatch for children, scheduled to be released in late March. Kids will be able to call their parents just by talking into their wristwatch, and parents will be notified if their child strays too far away from home base. (MS News Now)
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Sex sells A concealed erotic enamelled and gem-set gold pocket watch by James Cox of London sold at auction for $73,200. The rare 18K yellow gold timepiece was produced around the year 1775, and almost doubled its pre-auction value estimations. (ArtFixDaily)
According to analytics firm NetBase, the Apple Watch has beaten Rolex on a list of luxury global brands, as measured by more than 700 million social media mentions and consumer sentiment for the brand. (Business Insider)
10 mm What makes a dress watch a dress watch? Apparently it’s not how you actually dress. The defining features of a dress watch are relative simplicity and relative thinness, usually not much more than 10mm thick. (The Wall Street Journal)
Rival Market analysts estimate Apple’s smartwatch market share to be anywhere between 52% and 61% globally, depending on the report. Whichever way you slice it, Apple is still without a real rival in smartwatch market. (Tech Times)
Smart strap Expect to see more hybrid mechanical watches. According to Ben Wood, analyst at CCS Insight, “They’re obviously not going to want to build obsolescence into their beautiful handcrafted watches. So you’re going to see the rise of the smart strap.” (Financial Times)
Bejewelled Jewelled timepieces are gaining popularity, says Edward Faber, founder of Aaron Faber Gallery, “Bejewelled watches have existed since the beginning of wristwatch-making. In the late 19th century, they were made for queens and other royalty… It showed off wealth and was a luxurious way to wear time.” (Blouin Artinfo) europa star
| SIGNALS | 77
THREE NEW MARVELS from
The Japanese high-tech brand is launching a series of innovative models at Baselworld 2016. Get ready, here they come!
THE G-SHOCK MR-G, A BRILLIANT FINISH MADE WITH JAPANESE TRADITION A 20th anniversary model to commemorate the original launch of the flagship MR-G series in the G-SHOCK line, the new MRG-G1000HT explores the theme of tsuiki1, a traditional Japanese metalworking technique. Casio designed the watch in collaboration with a thirdgeneration master artisan in the field, Bihou Asano. A limited run of 300 watches will be sold worldwide. The MR-G series offers the ultimate in tough watch design. It combines a sense of quality evoked by finely finished titanium with the distinctively solid feel of G-SHOCK, which conveys its shock-resistant performance. MR-G has gained popularity among adults who want to enjoy a G-SHOCK for many years to come. Casio has boldly combined practicality and beauty under the theme of tsuiki in the design of the new MRG-G1000HT, while also realising the MR-G concepts of extreme toughness and highly refined elegance. In collaboration with Bihou Asano, Casio has produced a watch with a stately appearance and a beautifully hammered finish achieved through meticulous workmanship. Asano is a master tsuiki artisan who has created works for the Kyoto State Guest House and participated in restoration work of items designated as Important Cultural Properties in Japan. For the bezel and the band, Casio produced a distinctive lustre by applying a special Japanese oboro-gin (silvergrey) finish traditionally used for sword accessories and ornaments. On the screws and buttons, the watch also features an akagane (copper-colour) finish, which was formerly used to give Japanese traditional armour and Tsuiki is a metalworking technique in which a sheet of metal is hammered out thinly into a three-dimensional shape. Historically it was used to make copperware and other metal containers, as well as armour and helmets, which needed to be made both thin and strong. Nowadays, the technique is applied to produce components for railway carriages, aircraft and other items.
handicrafts their distinctively deep brilliance. Learning from these traditional metalworking techniques, Casio has given the entire MRG-G1000HT a distinguished and attractively brilliant finish worthy of its status as a 20th anniversary model, indicated by a metal plate at the 10 o’clock position engraved with “20TH LIMITED” and a serial number inscribed on the back case. Like the MRG-G1000 model it is based on, the new MRG-G1000HT comes with an advanced timekeeping system that receives both Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite signals and radio wave time-calibration signals, and features Dual Dial World Time, which displays the time in two cities simultaneously.
A NEW OCEANUS WATCH WITH MYSTERIOUS APPEAL Inspired by the mysterious beauty of the exosphere (the space between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space), the OCW-G1100S is a new addition to the OCEANUS, designed to capture the essence of elegance and technology. It features solar and GPS Hybrid Wave Ceptor technologies. A limited number of 200 watches are being released worldwide. OCEANUS is a line of solar-powered, titanium case and band with sophisticated design and advanced functionality: the previous models (OCW-G1000 and OCW-G1100) were both equipped with GPS and standard time signal reception technology, giving users the correct local time wherever they are. A further evolution of the line, the new OCWG1100S’s design captures the deep blue mystery of the exosphere as it transitions into the blackness of outer space. The right side of the two-colour moulded ceramic bezel, which indicates time zones ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), is accented in blue, while the left
side, indicating time zones behind UTC, is rendered in black. The indicator in the two o’clock position represents stars shining through the exosphere, and is realised using recrystallised blue sapphires and natural diamond. The 12 o’clock index marker also features a large recrystallised blue sapphire, evoking a satellite motif. In addition to a natural diamond set on the second hand axis in the centre of the dial, the watch case and band features a DLC coating, giving the new model a luxury finish. The new OCW-G1100S not only includes solar and GPS Hybrid Wave Ceptor technologies, it also comes with a Dual Coil Motor, which enables the watch hands in the inset dial at the 6 o’clock position to move at high speed both clockwise and anti-clockwise. As a result, the time shown on the dial can change quickly whenever world time functions are used. Moreover, the speed of the moving hands is regulated, producing an interesting effect and adding to the wearer’s enjoyment. This premium watch, produced using the sophisticated manufacturing technologies of the Casio Yamagata Factory in Japan, combines a luxurious look with high quality and practicality.
YAMAGATA THE MOTHER FACTORY A
A G-SHOCK MT-G TO TREASURE Built for long-term usage even in harsh environments, the MTG-G1000AR, a new model in the MT-G series with a tough and elegant look, is designed to look better the more it is worn! MT-G watches offer a distinctive combination of metal and resin to give a refined appearance as well as outstanding shock resistance. Among models in the line-up, the MTG-G1000D, released last year, comes with the company’s hybrid time-keeping system for receiving both Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite signals and radio wave time-calibration signals. The MTGG1000D has been highly rated by global travellers for its ability to display accurate time anywhere in the world, along with its comfortable lightweight resin construction and attractively refined metal finish. Casio used the MTG-G1000D as the base model for the new MTG-G1000AR. Designed with a “sunken treasure” motif, this special model has been made to withstand harsh environments without ever going out of style – a distinctive G-SHOCK feature. Casio finished the surface with rose-gold ion plating, added a layer of black ion plating, and then stripped off some of the black ion plating to produce a finish with a well-worn vintage appearance. It also used a matching hue of rose gold to colour each of the glow-in-the-dark minute indicators and hands, as well as the inset dial at the 10 o’clock position. In all of these ways, the watch is inspired by and designed to evoke sunken treasure, down to the last detail.
ll of Casio’s premium lines, i.e. Oceanus, MR-G and the most advanced G-Shock models, in particular the analogue ones, are made in Yamagata, the “mother factory of Casio.” Yamagata is vertically integrated, from the moulding of movement components to assembly and casing-up. As the movement is considered the heart of a watch, Yamagata Casio’s core technologies were brought together to create the Yamagata Japan Movement, which has been installed into Casio’s analogue watches, including the most advanced models. Yamagata also houses the Premium Production Line, which carries out the production and assembly of highend models. Arranged in a “G” shape, the Premium Assembly Line comprises 14 stations staffed exclusively by award-winning artisans who see to the especially complicated casing-up of these multifunction watches. Special attention is given to checking the precision of the position, height and operation of the multiple hands (five stations are devoted to this). Fully utilising their professional skills, these watchmakers are attentive to the smallest details to perfect a high quality product. Thus, Yamagata Casio produces all advanced analogue movements and high-end models, fully integrating the entire process within the facility.
AND THE PRICE DICHOTOMY by Pierre Maillard, Europa Star
s the big day approached, everyone was saying the 2016 SIHH would bring a ‘moment of truth’ about the climate of the watchmaking industry. But, as is the case with conjecture about the climatic, economic and geopolitical future of our planet, no one was capable of predicting the outcome with any degree of certainty: would we see retreating markets, caution, a wait-and-see attitude, or bold wagers on a recovery? Nevertheless, on the first day everyone seemed to breathe a collective sigh of relief. Perhaps things weren’t as bad as that, after all. But how were we to establish the truth – or truths – about the brands’ actual situation in their respective markets? After all, the SIHH, like all salons and fairs, is a stage first and foremost. Everyone plays out their role in the centre of their own stage, and it would be awfully bad form to go up and ask the actors for a look in their wallets... So let us look at the products – and their prices – which, in their own way, can provide some concrete indications about the brands’ intentions. Clearly, not everyone has the hitting power of Cartier, for example, which, thanks to its production capacity and worldwide logistics network is capable of executing a very tight turning circle. For many companies, developing a watch takes
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time – a lot of time – and there is a risk of finding themselves in straitened circumstances when the watch launches. Designed in times of plenty, it arrives on the market when everyone is tightening their belts. But we should draw a distinction between companies of a certain size, and independent watchmakers whose production is limited to the dozens or low hundreds of watches per year. The latter have one overriding obsession: to continue undeviating along their path, ploughing their furrow, in the hope that their rare timepieces will continue to attract well-heeled collectors. This dichotomy between the small brands that operate ‘above the markets’ and the larger brands who have no choice but to get down and dirty was particularly noticeable at this SIHH. The reason was the presence for the first time of the now famous Carré des Horlogers (which Europa Star previewed exclusively in its BREAKAWAY issue in September 2015). In the tastefully refurbished SIHH the Watchmakers’ Square, decked out as a kind of caravanserai courtyard, was impossible to miss, being right by the entrance. Some commentators have called this initiative the ‘kiss of death’, on the premise that the SIHH is bringing in these independents to clasp them more firmly to its bosom, all the better to suffocate them out of existence. We don’t set much store by this view, since the global visibility afforded these nine brands (unlike Baselworld’s practice of relegating them to the Palace) was, by their own admission, ample reason to come.
DB25 WORLD TRAVELLER by De Bethune The different time zones, which radiate out from the centre of the dial, are set via a pusher at 8 o’clock, which advances the cities disc clockwise, one hour at a time. The time on the first 24-hour time zone, or reference time, is indicated by the mysterious ‘microsphere’ which appears to float around its track. The sphere can be adjusted in both directions via the crown, and rotates at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. to display either its front in rose gold, for daytime, or its back in blued steel, for night. Local time is indicated by blued hands. The date is read off the outermost disc by a jumping pointer, which is set by an adjuster at 10 o’clock.
GMT EMAIL TROMPE-L’OEIL by Voutilainen The Voutilainen GMT Email Trompe-L’oeil, inspired by Vasarely, is the perfect embodiment of the extreme technical and aesthetic refinement of Kari Voutilainen’s timepieces. Entirely designed, built, produced, finished and assembled in the master’s own workshop, the movement has a very special and highly efficient escapement that sends a direct impulse to the balance wheel through the ruby roller.
“I make 50 watches per year with 19 employees,” explains Kari Voutilainen, standing at his rather spartan booth. “I’m not here to look for new retailers, I don’t need any. I much prefer dealing with collectors directly. Also, I largely make unique pieces, and my order book is full until 2019. In fact, I will tell you: I want to make fewer watches – or at least not more – but make them even better.” “Fewer watches...” That must be the first time anyone has expressed such a wish in the inner sanctum of the SIHH. On the other side of the Square, David Zanetta, the great aesthete who along with Denis Flageollet co-founded De Bethune – one of the most consistently noteworthy independent brands – appears to be singing from the same song sheet when he confides that he too wants to “make fewer watches but even better.” So why is he here? “You’ll see,” he says, as the SIHH welcomes its first visitors. He adds an aside, “It’s nothing but marketing hype... If you ask me, everything
is falling apart. The system is dead. It’s every man for himself. No one has a clue what’s going on. The drawers are all full, turnover is sluggish...” As if in a gesture of apology for his anti-marketing tirade and dark mood, he unveils his latest creation, which is a masterpiece: the brand new DB25 World Traveller, which combines a second time zone and universal time in a way that is both ‘mysterious’ and simple to use, in keeping with one of the brand’s central tenets, which places a priority on comfort and usability. In its 16 years of trading, De Bethune has produced 28 original calibres. The current climate of uncertainty surrounding the company places it at a crossroads: whether to grow its production, or batten down the hatches and stay small. As we all know, it’s dangerous to stand too long at a crossroads, but David Zanetta seems to have decided which way he’s going. The DB25 World Traveller, however ingenious, beautiful and useful it may be, will be produced in a limited run of just twelve. Paradoxically, the future is looking pretty restrained. u
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HM&SV by MB&F
MECHANICAL FOLLY AND HYBRIDISATIONS Another reason to visit the Square is to discover the latest mechanical flights of fancy, which the more well-established Maisons generally prefer to give a wide berth. And who better than MB&F to propose what was to become the unofficial mascot of the SIHH: Sherman the little robot, developed in collaboration with L’Epée. “Sherman doesn’t walk, talk, weld cars or roam Mars. He doesn’t try to kill Sarah Connor, help Luke Skywalker, warn Will Robinson, vacuum the floor, star in feature-length films or enforce the law. In fact, Sherman really only does two things, but he does both extremely well. Sherman tells the time. And Sherman makes people smile, which is probably the world’s most useful and (emotionally) valuable complication. That’s a superpower!” Humour in the watch industry – that’s something you don’t see every day. While MB&F continues to build its science-fiction-inspired universe, Max Büsser’s brand also knows how to win over connoisseurs of fine watchmaking. Just take the new 20-piece limited edition (in platinum
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SHERMAN by MB&F and L’Epée 1839
or rose gold and sapphire) of the über-futuristic HM6, the HM&SV (S=Sapphire, V=Vision). By baring all 475 components of its movement through the contoured sapphire crystal, it provides ample demonstration of watchmaking’s adaptability to “biomorphic shapes”. It’s true that, with a price of CHF 350,000 in rose gold or CHF 380,000 in platinum, this object is not for the great unwashed. Nevertheless, the latest reports suggest that MB&F filled its dance card at the SIHH.
H2 TRADITION by HYT The first HYT with classic guilloché finish, and the first HYT with delicate lacquered dials and blued hands, the H2 Tradition nevertheless keeps both feet firmly in the 21st century. Its visual expression remains hydromechanical, thanks to the capillary through which the blue fluid moves as the hours go by. It is driven by two bellows positioned either side of 6 o’clock, developed in 2013 for the very first H2. The traditional side is expressed by the diamond guilloché main plate, the lancet-shaped crown and the blued hands. HYT wanted its watch to be classical and easy to read, with the most subtle of aesthetics.
Hybridisation is another avenue being actively explored by HYT. HYT has had a remarkable journey, succeeding in a few short years in making its iconoclastic vision of telling
the time with fluids seem like the most natural thing in the world – almost. As if to mark the symbolic acceptance of innovation into the inner circle of tradition – but probably also for commercial reasons – HYT unveiled its H2 Tradition. As Vincent Perriard says, with just a touch of defensiveness, “We always said we’d never make a classic piece. Well, now we’ve made one. Although the original idea was simple – to produce a classical HYT – we constantly had to look for ways to preserve the identity of the watch, while observing codes that weren’t a natural fit. It was an interesting challenge suggested by our collector clients, and this is the result.” It was probably a necessity, given that HYT’s goals are ambitious compared with most of the other brands in the Square: 13 new models launched in 2015, more than 70 points of sale and annual production of over 450 pieces (with an average price of between €50,000 and €150,000). But HYT is pushing the envelope of hybridisation, notably with the H4 Metropolis which, in addition to its fluid display, conceals two LEDs powered by a mechanical generator which illuminate the dial with a bluish glow. u
The spectacular RM 50-02 ACJ TOURBILLON SPLIT SECONDS CHRONOGRAPH is confirmation of Richard Mille’s strong affinity with world of aviation. “Like ACJ’s jets, which are designed to satisfy their owners’ demand for the highest standards of luxury, this new watch uses cutting-edge skeletonisation techniques on the components and in the manufacture of its bridges and mainplate in grade 5 titanium to significantly reduce the overall weight.” A limited run of 30 pieces will be produced.
PRECISION AND POWER RESERVE – THE RACE IS ON On the subject of hybridisation, we gave a detailed rundown of Piaget’s Emperador Coussin XL 700P in the last edition of Europa Star. The 700P, Piaget’s first hybrid movement – with mechanical power generation and transmission, paired with a quartz alternator for regulation – gives extraordinary performance of plus or minus one second per day, which is beyond the reach of any exclusively mechanical watch, as well as resistance to magnetic fields and shocks as a further guarantee of reliability. It’s true, the Seiko Spring Drive, which works on substantially the same principle, has been around for quite some time, but Piaget’s offering opens up some interesting new prospects for Haute Horlogerie. The only slight sticking point is the price – around CHF 70,000 – which is pretty expensive, in the current climate, for a concept watch focused exclusively on chronometry.
The REVERSO ONE by Jaeger-LeCoultre was one of the prettiest watches on display at SIHH 2016. Its unflashy design boasts a rare degree of precision and refinement, making it one of the most stylish watches of the season. We will come back to it later in the year, when we cover the Reverso’s 85th anniversary.
WITHOUT END... Another interesting foray into the domain of precision and, in particular, power reserve, is the Senfine concept, an unexpected contribution from Parmigiani. Parmigiani is celebrating its 20th birthday by introducing its first integrated chronograph, manually wound with flyback hand and big date, entirely designed in-house and magnificently finished. Nevertheless, the Fleurier company is apparently in trouble; its production capacity is considerable (oversized, perhaps), and the brand has yet to find its niche. That said, Parmigiani unveiled one of the most interesting technical concepts of the SIHH. According to the company’s head of movement development, Takahiro Hamaguchi, it will result in a power reserve of several months. We will return at greater length to this promise of a major leap in performance. For now, we can tell you that it is the brainchild of Pierre Genequand, and its principle lies in eliminating all friction within the regulator (a classical regulator loses 65% of the energy it receives) by exclusively using silicon in a monolithic oscillator that combines the functions of balance, balance spring and pallet fork, fuelled by a constant contact grasshopper-type escapement wheel.
The SENFINE movement by Parmigiani Fleurier: classical watchmaking structures, traditional energy supply but a revolutionary regulator.
DRIVE by Cartier
The technology has been in development for eight years. We were able to see – and hear – a working prototype. The next step will be to make the Senfine compatible with COSC standards, which require constant isochronism over all internal temperatures between 8° and 38°C. And that’s not a foregone conclusion. But given that the technicians have already been working on it for eight years, they will no doubt take as much time as they need to get it right.
THE PRICE GAP One of the big questions asked during this SIHH was about prices: are they going down, moving up, or remaining static? The answer is, to say the very least, contradictory and complex. Montblanc and Cartier, for example, are both performing gymnastics to cover the broadest possible spectrum, from the depressed markets to the happy few at the top of the ladder.
HYPNOSE by Cartier
In addition to the amazing complicated timepieces bearing witness to the exceptional imagination of Carole Forestier (head of Haute Horlogerie), who is in the prime of her horological abilities, and the fabulous 23-piece collection of mechanical High Jewellery, Cartier is launching two new moneyspinners: one for the ladies – the new Hypnose collection – and the Driver collection for the gents. Both collections demonstrate absolute stylistic mastery, with the kind of looks that make you think the design has been around forever. The Driver in particular is a genuinely complete collection, and has every chance of becoming an instant men’s classic, with its strong but elegant lines and Roman detailing on the dial. The price is also particularly compelling, at €3,300 for a Driver in steel. u u
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VILLERET TOURBILLON CYLINDRIQUE POCKET WATCH 110 YEARS EDITION by Montblanc
HERITAGE CHRONOMÉTRIE TWINCOUNTER DATE by Montblanc
cially as it’s available online) and, infinitely more affordable but still in the same 4810 collection (the height of Mont Blanc in metres), a very elegant Day Date, a snap at €2,690. Examples such as this abound in the other four collections unveiled at the SIHH, including the ultra-conservative and ultra-readable Twin Counter Date for €2,950.
ANOTHER STRATEGIC CONTORTION The same strategic contortion is apparent at Montblanc. Since Jérôme Lambert, formerly of Jaeger-LeCoultre, took the reins, the company has been putting out collection after collection, in an apparent attempt to throw a spanner in the works of the competition and earn its spurs as a legitimate watchmaker and ‘complete’ manufacture, with a full range of products. The journey is not an easy one, however, given that Montblanc remains synonymous with writing instruments in the eyes of the public. Nevertheless, at one end of the scale, we were treated to a sumptuous pocket watch with cylindrical tourbillon, featuring two domes representing the two hemispheres of our planet, entirely hand-carved, with a price tag of €295,000, and at the other, a raft of products at prices defying all competition, whether in the more exclusive categories, such as the Exo Tourbillon Slim with micro-rotor, stop-seconds and Haute Horlogerie finishes (offered at €34,500, which is ‘entry level’ for an automatic tourbillon, although Jean-Claude Biver’s forthcoming Tourbillon TAG Heuer, priced at €15,000, is likely to overshadow it, espe-
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Audemars Piguet made a resounding impact with its ROYAL OAK SUPERSONNERIE. Stylistically, the watch has undeniable character, but the success is scientific and technical, as we have never heard such a loud gong with such a clear and precise timbre.
PETITES PROMESSES by Baume & Mercier
CLIFTON CHRONOGRAPH COMPLETE CALENDAR by Baume & Mercier
PLEASANT SURPRISE Montblanc, slashing prices left, right and centre, is closing in on the territory of another Richemont brand, Baume & Mercier, which has hitherto found itself somewhat isolated at the SIHH in that price category. CEO Alain Zimmermann doesn’t beat about the bush: “It’s a complicated situation. We have to take risks, be bold.” The ‘risks’ at Baume & Mercier remain calculated, as befits the brand’s conservative aesthetic, but this year those risks have led to some genuine success stories. The elegant Clifton Chronograph Complete Calendar with moonphase, at just CHF 4,300 with leather strap, is one of them. Simply unbeatable. But the most striking example is a delectable small watch with colourful double-wrapped strap, the 22 mm Petite Promesse. The
astonishingly supple double-wrapped metal bracelet is particularly enchanting. With brilliant-cut diamonds and mother-ofpearl dial, this little beauty will set you back just CHF 2,500. Who can say fairer than that?
THE ‘S’ WORD On the final day of the SIHH it suddenly occurred to us. The dreaded S-word had not been mentioned once. Does this mean that these Haute Horlogerie brands are not the slightest bit concerned about the advent of the smartwatch, and couldn’t care less about this new horological avenue? Are they right? Only time will tell. p
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THE MANUFACTURE WITHIN A MANUFACTURE Patek Philippe’s famous slogan, “You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation,” places its creators under something of an obligation to put those words into practice. If not, this dogmatic declaration would be just another advertising cliché. I thought the best way to find out whether this promise of longevity had any substance was to go and see first-hand how a company like Patek Philippe manages its after-sales service. I was not disappointed. In fact, I was blown away. by Pierre Maillard, Europa Star
We will take on anything, and I do mean anything, made since 1839, provided it is signed Patek, Czapek & Cie – Fabricants à Genève, Patek & Cie – Fabricants à Genève, Philippe & Cie or Patek Philippe. Everything in our current collections is handled by our aftersales service, and the rest goes to our restoration department,” explains our guide Jan-Philip Senger, who joined the company in 1964. As he speaks, he gesticulates towards the benches where a hundred or so watchmakers are working.
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Every discipline is represented: watchmaker, watch-repairer, restorer, escapement maker, timing adjuster, pivot maker, jeweller, polisher, micro-technician, assembler, case-fitter and quality controller. All the branches of a complete manufacture are here under one roof. This Patek Philippe department is more than just a factory: it is also a repository of watchmaking lore. People sometimes say that the cemeteries of the Vallée de Joux are full of watchmaking secrets that have been lost forever. Here, however, these trade secrets are proudly passed on. When it comes to restoring or rebuilding the spindle of a gear-train that was cut out by hand not long after 1839, there’s no CNC machine that’s up to the task.
RESTORATION BY EAR Let’s meet Franck Pernet, one of the ‘stars’ of this workshop, which is probably unique in the world. Despite his
work demanding an almost Buddhist degree of concentration, he becomes garrulous and animated as he describes his job with infectious enthusiasm. “When I’m drilling pivots on the lathe all my senses are heightened. I listen to the metal, I hear the sound change with each micron, and it’s my ears that tell me when it’s right, when it’s time to stop.” Rebuilding spindles and gears is the basis of all restoration work.
Everything begins with the gear train, the fundamental moving part, which is the most subject to wear and oxidisation. “Right up to the start of industrialisation each handmade watch was, to all intents and purposes, a unique piece. Standardisation only came in gradually. In order to restore or rebuild a timepiece you have to, in a way, retrace the steps of the person who made it, a century or more ago.” No sooner has he finished his explanation than he turns back to his bench to demonstrate the use of the bow. We are told it takes ten years or more to master the lathe – an invention that has been traced back to Ancient Egypt in 1300 BC – with the hair’s-breadth precision necessary. But however ancient it may be, the lathe is by no means obsolete. Once set in motion with the bow or motor, it is capable of performing actions that are invisible to the naked eye, so infinitesimally fine that only the ear, the eye (aided by a loupe) and the hand of the craftsman can detect them. Surely there can’t be too many people left who master these techniques? “When I arrived, 22 years ago, there were two generations. Now, there’s just one, and
I’m currently training up two new young lathe turners!” he says proudly. “But we work as a team. All the different disciplines have their role to play.”
150 YEARS’ WORTH OF SPARE PARTS There are not many people who know how to use a depthing tool compass, which measures the distance between a gear and the adjacent pinion, or operate a mandrel lathe (which, despite its rudimentary appearance, makes it possible to increase the precision of placing gears, pinions and escapements in three dimensions), or perform chamfering, knowing which particular wooden or metal file to use, or the bevelling and polishing of plates and bridges, flat polishing or rounding, or countless other skills, some of which very nearly disappeared without trace. Here, the tools and the activities that go with them are carefully husbanded, like a living treasure. And a second treasure is to be found close by, in the ranks of cupboards, cabinets and miniature wooden drawers. “The enormous advantage we have is that Patek Philippe has operated
B Dial C Stocks of old components D Wheel blanks E Pivot making F Balance pivot control G Control wheel pivot centring H Driving in of balance pivot tool I Balance setting J Balance adjusting K Wheel flat control L Toothing machine
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R M Hands N Hand pivot making O Hand polishing P Winding mechanism arbor
Q Winding mechanism adjustment R Oxidised movement S Manual polishing T Hand-drawn plans
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continuously since its creation, and we have never thrown anything away. Our drawers are filled with period components which were deliberately produced in excess, blanks dating back decades, which we are now finishing today. It means we can meet 90% to 95% of our restoration requirements. If anything is missing, we make it. You should also be aware that every watch made by Patek Philippe is catalogued in our archives. Using the serial numbers of the cases and movements we can keep track of the history of each watch. We call this the ‘carnet de santé’ or health record,” notes Jan-Philip Senger. “We have 150 years’ worth of components, which is 6 to 8 million parts,” he adds. “It’s extremely expensive to keep these stock levels, not to mention all the tools, but it’s a priceless asset!” Alain Battmann, former head of the Restoration Workshop (he still works there, seemingly disinclined to leave) explains how the workshop’s structure evolved. “Before, the department was called watch repair, but after the incredible boom of the early 1990s, when thousands of people suddenly seemed to realise that their grandfather’s old Patek Philippe might actually be worth something, we were inundated with watches. That was when we split the workshop into two parts: one for everything from 1839 to 1970, and the other from 1971 to the present day.” He goes on to explain the procedure. “We examine the piece and start by cleaning it up, dismantling it, keeping as many components as possible, evaluating what can be kept and what needs to be replaced, and we draw up an estimate. Once we have been given the go-ahead we rebuild the gears, rebush the components, give them to the watchmaker to assemble, repolish the steel components by hand, lubricate, get the balance wheel/hairspring in working order,
and make adjustments. The same goes for the case: we replace the crown, refurbish or rebuild the dial, polish and check everything over, both before and after the movement is replaced in the case, which comes to 2 x 18 days for checking alone...”
THE TRACES OF TIME Watch restoration, like architecture, has its schools of thought: some feel it is better to leave some evidence of the passage of time, others want their timepiece to look like new. At Patek Philippe, the rule is to change as few components as possible, in order to leave the piece in its original, historic, condition. Twenty years ago many collectors thought differently, and it was usual for watches to be completely repolished. Today, it seems, collectors prefer their timepieces to retain some trace of their past. But whatever the aesthetic, Patek Philippe always seeks to leave the watch as close as possible to its original state. For example, the pinion axles are always the first thing to go. Generally, thanks to the extensive inventory, the watchmakers in the workshop can make them from semi-finished blanks. But if a particular blank no longer exists, they redesign this minuscule component and insert it into the original sprocket wheel. The same goes for the case. The ‘manufacture within a manufacture’, which is equipped with every machine that could possibly be needed, is capable of rebuilding anything, as well as soldering, filling and polishing. The service is necessarily personalised because, as the watchmaker at his bench points out, “Every watch has led a different life, it has passed through the hands of different owners, sometimes been ‘repaired’ more or less carefully on the other side of the world... Each watch has its own face, its own personality, its own emotion, if I can put it like that.” p
Laurent Cantin is Patek Philippe’s friendly and approachable Director of International Client Services, and he is clearly passionate about his work. He told us more about how the company organises its international service centres.
How do you structure your training programmes, here in Geneva and in your international service centres?
Does Patek Philippe consider its customer service department a profit centre?
It’s not uncommon to hear about very long waiting times for servicing.
No, absolutely not. We don’t even break even, and what we charge often doesn’t cover the actual costs. We lose money, but our absolute priority is customer satisfaction. In order to make aftersales service a profit centre you’d have to industrialise. There’s no industrialisation here. I can’t claim that we have the best after-sales service in the world, but we do have unique skills, and any watch that comes through our hands increases in value. We have earned our reputation because of our restoration ethic. There’s nothing here that’s ‘cobbled together’.
Yes, it can appear to take a long time, but we fully acknowledge this because it is justified by our handcrafted approach, something we are very proud of, and by the high quality of our workmanship. We apply the same adjustment and control criteria as we do for our regular output. But I can assure you that our clients understand, and we have very few complaints about waiting times, which can be anything from one month to a year, depending on the particular problems of a given watch, and the condition it’s in. For instance, we have been sent watches that have spent quite a long time under water. Also, whatever the nature of the work we carry out, the watch is returned with a twelve-month guarantee.
How do you organise your international service centres? We have 56 official service centres around the world, employing around 250 people, two-thirds of whom are watchmakers; the rest deal with administration and logistics. Last year we performed 84,000 interventions, including 30,000 full services. This figure is growing by 7 to 10% each year, and is far greater than our annual production [Editor’s note: currently 58,000 pieces].
BRANDS AFTER-SALES SERVICE | INTERVIEW
time, which is not bad at all. Every time a particular model is discontinued, we produce an additional run of components to cover our needs for the next 35 to 40 years. It’s expensive, but that’s how it is, at this level of quality. Having said that, the quality is also a result of our ongoing efforts to conserve and develop our most specialised areas of expertise. As well as maintaining the continuity of all the different disciplines, and refurbishing old machines, we make sure that the human skills are passed on, by training up young watchmakers to take over.
Your inventory of spare parts is particularly impressive. Apparently you have enough to last 150 years. Yes, we keep everything: components, diagrams and tools. Our goal – which is impossible to achieve in practice – is that nothing should ever be ‘out of stock’. In fact we achieve this 90% to 95% of the
Our training team is based in Geneva, and from Level 2 (*) up, everything is done here. We train 200 people every year, and the training course is adapted to the mix of products that the watchmaker will be dealing with at the branch he comes from. We also run regular refresher courses. Whenever a new collection comes out, all returns come through Geneva for the first year, sometimes longer. This experience benefits the entire Manufacture. And how do you guarantee the quality of the work carried out at your centres around the world? We conduct an audit every year at each service centre, to evaluate not only the quality of the repairs they carry out, but also the standard of their customer service, their communication and the manner in which the pieces are returned to their owners. Recently we have also introduced ‘mystery visits’. This point is not negotiable, because service is one of Patek Philippe’s ten core values. [Editor’s note: the full list is independence, tradition, innovation, quality and fine workmanship, rarity, value, aesthetics, service, emotion and heritage.] p
(*) The four levels of training: • Level 1: Quick Service, for point-of-sale watchmakers (1 week) • Level 2: Simple quartz and mechanical calibres (4 weeks) • Level 3: Complicated calibres (4 weeks) • Level 4: Grand complications, 4 modules lasting (3–4 weeks each)
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INTERVIEW | CASE STUDY
ANTONIO CALCE: “LET’S SHOW THEM WHAT WE’RE MADE OF” Just over a year ago, Antonio Calce was appointed CEO of Girard-Perregaux, after a career that included managing Corum for seven years before being edged out by its new owners, the China Haidian group. His unenviable task was to revive, or more precisely, to restore to its rightful place, the venerable manufacture founded in La Chaux-deFonds back in 1791. His arrival coincided with the brand’s buyout by the Kering Group. One year on, it’s time to find out how things are going. by Pierre Maillard, Europa Star You’ve never been shy of the limelight, but we’ve hardly seen you this last year. I eased off on communication. Everything in good time. Also, to be honest I wanted to focus on being fully in sync with my retailers. Plus, it goes without saying, a group like Kering* has obligations to its shareholders and there are rules that have to be observed. Having said that, I knew when I arrived that there was work to be done, I just didn’t realise there would be so much!
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People often forget that it is also a highly integrated manufacture that produces 100% of its excellent movements, which are universally respected. But the manufacture was showing its age!
What were the main areas needing work? Girard-Perregaux has a rich history, 80 patents, a pioneering spirit that led to the introduction of quartz**, and some iconic models. The brand is highly respectable and highly respected. But it didn’t have a clear image. In many ways the company was living and working in the past, both in the way it selected models and in its marketing. There was a real problem with the brand’s global identity. *The watch brands owned by Kering are: Gucci, Girard-Perregaux, Jeanrichard, Ulysse Nardin and jeweller Boucheron. ** Girard-Perregaux was the first Swiss company to begin mass-producing quartz watches in 1970. The frequency of 32,768 Hz defined by Girard-Perregaux has become the standard universal rate for quartz watches.
I would go so far as to say that, outside of watchmaking circles, the manufacture was largely overlooked by the public, if its name was known at all. And yet it has been in continuous operation all along. When Kering arrived we invested heavily in upgrading the machinery. We now have a network of Fleury machines which enables us to produce all the movement parts, plates, bridges and barrels flexibly and rapidly. Everything is laser-adjusted, with 28 tools per machine which, when paired up, can perform up to 90 operations in a single pass. Over the years we have never lost our know-how, as you have seen yourself in our Haute Horlogerie workshops. Now we have the tools too. But, to come back to the ‘work’ that needed to be done: what was the company’s situation in the marketplace? We had to rebuild the company’s organisational structure from the bottom, and put decision-making processes in place. In the absence of any accurate or centralised sales data there was no real market analysis. The result was a stock management problem. In the absence of a strategy, there was a lack of direction in terms of products, sales and therefore
communication. The vectors of communication were often unsuited to their target markets. Similarly, and far more seriously, the products themselves were also sometimes unsuited to local conditions. We had to establish greater clarity, and in order to do this, we had to raise the organisational and strategic level. But above all, we had to place our products back at the centre of our business. So did this mean getting rid of some collections, simplifying and providing clearer direction? It meant redefining our strategy through the product and by the product, and providing more structure. Now, things are much clearer. Girard-Perregaux is four collections: the 1966, a ‘vintage’ collection if you like, as its name suggests; the Trois Ponts which is growing into a broad collection of historic tourbillons that spans the gamut, beginning with an entry-level model in steel, with one bridge. Then there is the Cat’s Eye, which stands on its own as an enduringly successful ladies’ model. And finally, to showcase the brand’s passion for chronographs and chronometers, a new collection called Competizione which is sporty, chic and elegant. In 2015 we withdrew 90 references, either because they were unprofitable or because they were too expensive, but we introduced 60 new ones to cover the price ranges where we were underrepresented, which is between CHF 5,000 and CHF 11,000. You mentioned at the start of our interview that your main concern was to remain close to your retailers. When the offer is well-structured and clear, the markets understand and start listening again. Because, and there’s no point denying it, the markets had gradually lost interest in the brand. In order to
win back this interest, we have to get closer to the markets. We therefore restructured our distribution model, creating new affiliates in Spain and the USA, with Ulysse Nardin, as well as in Russia and Dubai. For each market, we defined distribution strategies that were appropriate to local conditions, defining the product range, the target mix depending on the type of sales we were looking for, etc. Market by market, we are redeploying the brand. In Japan, for example, we had far too many references. We asked them to work with just 60. There’s a whole process going into improving management at every level. Today we have monthly visibility of what we’re selling. What about your image, the public perception of Girard-Perregaux? We had to fill a gap: our campaigns did not reflect the high quality of our products, or the firm’s historical depth. We have been working on redefining our identity, and our new campaign will be unveiled at Baselworld. But we are also looking at opening up new communication channels, some of them completely new. For example, we will be inaugurating a new museum in La Chaux-deFonds. It will be fun and interactive, and it will explain our history, our savoir-faire, and the people who built the brand with the latest presentation techniques. It will be a journey of initiation, a GirardPerregaux “trail”, including our manufacture, our museum, our headquarters and our workshops within a limited perimeter. It’s a way of saying, of recognising, that if Girard-Perregaux had not had this past, the company would long since have disappeared. The brand’s ‘model’ seems to be ready. What are you waiting for? Our projections and expectations are realistic, we don’t have any false illusions.
We will open up a dialogue in those areas where Girard-Perregaux was not really present, maintain and clarify where its image was confused, and strengthen where we our position was already strong. We don’t have any great ambitions for opening boutiques, but we do want to reinforce our contacts with retailers and local agents everywhere. As things stand, 2016 doesn’t look particularly auspicious for a relaunch. If you’re ill and the medicine you’re taking isn’t having any effect, you ask questions and you try a different medicine. We are coming not only with a new proposal, but with an entirely new approach, based on the DNA of a brand that will be 225 years old this year. We will emphasise our heritage and our history, but in a completely contemporary way. To mark this decision, in 2016 we are bringing out 225 unique pieces, one for every year since 1791, each of which will have a specific story to tell. This history belongs to us, and it’s a tangible way of showing exactly what we’re made of. p
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40 YEARS OF FAMILY INDEPENDENCE Raymond Weil is one of the rare Swiss watch brands to have remained a family concern. The Geneva-based company, now in the hands of the family’s 3rd generation, continues to thrive in a highly competitive sector. Retrospective of a genuine success story. by Pierre Maillard, Europa Star
n 1976 the Swiss watchmaking landscape had been devastated by the quartz crisis, which had erupted the year before leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. Nearly 60% of watchmaking companies and 50% of related jobs would disappear over the coming years. 1976 was also the year Raymond Weil chose to launch his own brand. Was he completely oblivious? He had just turned 50 and had extensive knowledge of watchmaking, and for the last 26 years he had worked at Camy Watches, most recently as managing director. However, a young scion of the owners, fresh from his studies in the USA, was looking to shake things up and impose his ‘modern’ vision. Raymond Weil decided not to stick around, and left to create his own brand. (Camy would vanish without trace a few years later.) Before he even had a single watch to show, he forked out for a 16 m2 booth at the 1976 Basel Fair, just big enough to fit a folding card table and four chairs. This was the start of a unique family
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From left to right: Pierre, Olivier and Elie Bernheim
saga. Today the family’s third generation holds the reins of Raymond Weil, one of the few family watchmaking businesses left in Switzerland. This totally independent firm makes 200,000 watches a year, and has sales outlets in 139 countries.
THE KEY TO SUCCESS Raymond Weil very quickly found the key to success. His starting niche was the quartz watch: a high-quality quartz watch, a wide range of collections, carefully researched pricing, strong creative focus and a commitment to regularly bring out new models. This business model was backed up by two essential advantages: Raymond Weil’s amazing ability to get on with people, and his dogged persistence. In very short order, these qualities helped him build up a formidable international distribution network whose stability and integrity have carried it through the intervening decades. As his grandson Elie Bernheim,
now the brand’s CEO, says: “The strength of personal relationships is vital. Even today I make an effort to meet our 3,500 retailers in person. This direct relationship and unwavering loyalty are all the more necessary today, when our partners are coming under enormous pressure from the major groups seeking to drive all competition out of the shop windows.” In order not only to maintain this network but to strengthen it, develop it and support it, Raymond Weil has passed through a series of stages that closely mirror the development of Swiss watchmaking.
BUILDING A BRAND IMAGE In 1982 Raymond Weil brought in his son-in-law, Olivier Bernheim, who was to become CEO in 1996, and is today the company president. Olivier Bernheim had come from marketing, and would focus on giving the Geneva watchmaker a strong and recognisable identity, modernising its structure and organisation, developing new markets and investing in communication. A particular theme – music – would also emerge. One of the company’s first big successes was the Amadeus collection, which was launched in tandem with the eponymous Milos Forman film about Mozart. Since that time, the fertile territory of music (which, we should point out, is a genuine passion for the family) was to become one of the brand’s signature themes, as witness the plethora of collection names that borrow from the musical lexicon (Fidelio, Traviata, Toccata, Othello, Parsifal, Tango).
The brand identity gradually solidified, and its products became more focused. The products were refined, the number of references was slimmed down, mechanical movements came back strongly and communication became more sophisticated (many people still remember the remarkable Precision Movements campaign of 1994, with its breathtaking images of dancers suspended, weightless, in the air). At no time, however, did the brand fall into what for many would turn out to be a dangerous trap, that of an unbridled race to the extremely high end. Quite the reverse: throughout the years, Raymond Weil has remained faithful to the quartet of values – quality, creativity, price and service – which have proved its greatest strength. In 1999 Raymond Weil opened an R&D department with the aim of gaining complete control over its designs and developing its own technical solutions. The gambit paid off, and a series of innovative models ensued, including the Don Giovanni Cosi Grande, a collection of automatic men’s watches, and the exclusive Two Time Zones complication.
NABUCCO CELLO TOURBILLON
THIRD GENERATION The arrival in 2006 of Olivier Bernheim’s two sons, Pierre and Elie Bernheim, would mark the start of a new era. The third generation brought with them a more hightech view of watchmaking, which led to the launch of new ultra-contemporary collections, further expanding the brand’s horizons. Watches such as the 46 mm carbon fibre Nabucco, water-resistant to 200 m, the Nabucco Cuore Caldo, a flyback chronograph, the men’s and ladies’ mechanical collection Freelancer and the women’s Noemia collection left no one in any doubt of the company’s watchmaking maturity and legitimacy.
They were followed by the Maestro automatic collection, with moon phases, calendar functions, day, month and week or, very recently, the first Raymond Weil tourbillon, the Nabucco Cello Tourbillon. Does this herald a future move up-market? When Europa Star recently popped the question, Elie Bernheim left us in no doubt: “No, that’s absolutely out of the question!” he said. “We are staying in the CHF 800–3,000 segment, with our core range at CHF 1,000–2,500. I will never move away from that, it’s our affordable luxury niche. The tourbillon was mainly about image management and flexing our muscles.” As the global economic situation continues to cool down and many companies feel obliged to adjust their pricing downward, the course set by Raymond Weil, who had the foresight to resist the temptation to aim for unlimited upward mobility, looks more judicious than ever. And it will no doubt enable the 3rd generation of the family to embrace the future with confidence. p
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HALF A CENTURY IN SAPPHIRE For 50 years the family company Century has specialised in producing elegant jewellery watches, calling upon an exceptional material, sapphire, whose hardness is surpassed only by that of diamond, for its cases. It looks to be a safe bet, as the future of the industry seems to be increasingly relying on the wrists of women. by Serge Maillard, Europa Star
ans-Ulrich Klingenberg, the founder of Century, had a dream, which quickly turned into an obsession: like a few other Swiss watchmakers of course, he intended to create a timepiece of eternal beauty, but he also longed to develop a completely water-resistant case. After all, this was one of the main challenges of the industry in the 1950s. The young inventor was fascinated by a diagram of an experimental system designed by Otto von Guericke, a 17th century German scientist who was an expert in the physics of vacuums. Von Guericke had designed the first system that could evacuate all the air from within two hemispheres assembled to form a sphere. The vacuum was so effective that 16 horses were unable to separate the two halves. For Klingenberg this was a revelation, and he saw it as a system that could be translated into watches. The result emerged at
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the end of the 1950s, when he designed a watch case made from a single piece of metal, where the glass was held in place against a flat joint solely through the pressure exerted by the external air. The mechanical movement was sealed inside the vacuum and protected by mineral glass and a crown whose stem featured no fewer than three seals with a “dynamic” effect. To this day the system remains the only watch case design that is assembled to form a permanent vacuum. Hans-Ulrich Klingenberg quickly turned this dream to profit, commercialising the exclusive technology for a variety of watch brands. In 1966 he launched his
own brand, which he named Century, with the ambition of “creating timepieces with an eternal beauty that outlasts the centuries.” The businessman continued to study the properties of “everlasting” materials. In 1968 he developed the first watch case made from boron carbide, nicknamed “black diamond” – the only colour in which it then existed. Sapphire, now firmly anchored in the brand’s DNA, is the second hardest mineral after diamond (9 on the Mohs scale, where diamond has a value of 10). Its aesthetic qualities are not to be overlooked – particularly its colours. The variant baptised “Century sapphire” has become the brand’s mineral of choice, allowing all the possibilities of shape, cut and colour that are available with jewellery gems. Since 1993, the brand has been managed by his son Philip Klingenberg, who had the idea of sculpting sapphire cases into “time gems”, with high-level craftsmanship for the hand-cutting and polishing and by using machines with diamond-faced tools. A new range of complex faceting for sapphire watch cases and new colours were introduced: ruby red, emerald green, and a purple similar to amethyst. Century was heading into a promising sector: women’s watches, which constitute the majority of the brand’s portfolio today. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Century is launching a “virtuoso” piece featuring 224 facets (the highest number so far on any of its sapphires). It is also unveiling a new patent-pending watch case construction system, the “Nacrilith”: this highly complex technique seals motherof-pearl within a sapphire case. p
A 160-YEAR ROMANCE This ‘romantic’ brand with a strong client base in China, known for its logo of a dancing couple, is now hoping to revive the spark with its old flames in Europe and the USA. We take a look at its history. by Serge Maillard, Europa Star
It is not as easy as one might think to treat these matters as one would wish, particularly when one is embarking upon such a complex endeavour.” The letter is dated 1859, but the content remains highly relevant as far as the watch industry is concerned. The letter was signed by Jules Borel and Paul Courvoisier, who three years earlier had got together to set up a watch workshop that would become one of the oldest manufactures in the town of Neuchâtel.
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JULES BOREL 160TH ANNIVERSARY
The two entrepreneurs were new to watchmaking, and had neither inherited savoir-faire nor extensive networks to rely upon, yet they were determined to set themselves up as producers of meticulously crafted watches, as we can see from another letter from the time: “The Maison will concern itself mainly with good watches, preferably gold (...); we have no intention of producing dross.” Watch manufacturing in Neuchâtel at the time was not necessarily synonymous with high quality, and its products had acquired a somewhat poor reputation. The new brand was hoping to distance itself from this. The first foreign buyers, in 1859, were companies based in Hamburg, Genoa, London and the United States, which
was a particularly important market. Members of both families travelled widely and made the most of all available distribution channels, including local Swiss consulates! It was around that time that the company began to forge links with China, which would eventually become its main market. The strong relationship would later prove decisive. The Communist regime, which came to power in 1949, was in favour of domestic production, but the personal contacts Borel had built up over the years enabled the company to maintain its relationship with China. The brand had a strong focus on the Middle Kingdom well before the boom of the noughties, and its trajectory over recent decades has been marked by the surge in the Asian market. Today the company has a solid customer base in Hong Kong, but it is hoping to reestablish itself outside its historic hunting grounds. Under the influence of its current CEO, Renaud de Retz, it has turned its attention back to the United States, India, the Middle East, Europe and Oceania. Ernest Borel is readily identified by its logo depicting two dancing figures, inspired, we are told, by a waltz its founder once enjoyed with a gracious damsel. The brand’s communication and identity continue to focus on a romanticism that has become a symbol of the company. Even today, Ernest Borel still offers many watches for couples in its (numerous) collections. Other references are more sporty: Ernest Borel is one of the major clients for COSC certification. To celebrate its 160th anniversary the brand has unveiled a collection designed as a tribute to its founder, Jules Borel, with ten new models, including one in a limited run of 888. p
« Not just a job, but a passion Not just a glance, but a vision Not just a skill, but an expertise » Arnaud HAEFELIN
Gainerie 91 CEO
www.gainerie91.com firstname.lastname@example.org +33 (0) 1 69 03 21 53
Gainerie 91 - 11, Rue Mercure 91230 Montgeron - FRANCE Packin’G91 SA - Rue de Montagu 38 - 2520 La Neuveville - SUISSE
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TEN YEARS TO PRESERVE THREE CENTURIES Founded in 2006 with the aim of preserving the artisanal expertise of the Franches Montagnes, which was in danger of dying out, the brand based in the Jura has nevertheless not been afraid to innovate, as its Harmonious Oscillator amply demonstrates. Its newest model places case decorating techniques in centre stage. by Serge Maillard, Europa Star
his is a young brand, but its aim is to preserve the knowledge of centuries. Since 2006 Rudis Sylva has been working to ‘aggregate’ the skills of watchmakers from the Franches Montagnes, in the Swiss Jura. This is the land of the famous farmerwatchmakers, to whom the brand’s founder, Jacky Epitaux, has dedicated a museum in the small village of Les Bois, where Rudis Sylva has its headquarters. The idea behind Rudis Sylva was to collate what remained of this heritage and preserve the skills of the last of the watchmakers of the Franches Montagnes. All that remained was to find the right product. That is where the Harmonious Oscillator came in. Launched in 2009, it put the company’s name on the world’s watchmaking map.
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This revolutionary movement comprises two toothed, interlinked balances. The symmetry and energy of the balance springs are constantly opposed, enabling instantaneous average correction in the vertical position, which eliminates the effect of gravity. The construction has a more accurate setting capacity than a conventional tourbillon, thanks in particular to the asymmetric deployment of the balance springs in all positions – hence the name Harmonious Oscillator.
KNURLING PROVIDES TEXTURE For its tenth anniversary Rudis Sylva is introducing a new pocket watch in rose gold, equipped with the Harmonious Oscillator. Particular effort was made with the case decoration. The cases of Noirmont, the next village over from Rudis Sylva, have always been highly
prized. In 1906 some 636,000 cases in precious metals were produced there. “Just a few steps away from here, we found one of the heirs of those days, Georges Cattin, who still performs the technique of fluting or knurling using a home-made machine,” explains Jacky Epitaux. “The machine is equipped with a contoured knurling-roller made of hardened steel, which compresses the perimeter of the case, giving it a structured and regularly patterned profile. It’s a technique that is rarely used these days, because the tools and knowledge have virtually disappeared.” This limited series of ten, priced at CHF 280,000 each, is named ‘Poilie’. Why? “That was the name given to the inhabitants of the Noirmont. It referred to their woodcutting past, when they used to sell ‘la poix’ or resin, as it is more usually known.” p
VISIONNAIRE DTZ by Fabergé The self-winding Fabergé Visionnaire DTZ adopts a logical and intuitive method of displaying two time zones simultaneously: the hours and minutes of the home time zone are displayed by peripheral, open-worked hands rotating around a raised, decorated dome located at the centre of the dial. The hour of the second time zone can then be viewed through an aperture at the centre of the dome. This jumping hour second time zone is displayed using a small 24-hour numerical disc mounted on the reverse of the watch’s Agenhor-developed AGH 6924 calibre. Only the current hour numeral is visible through the aperture, optically amplified to a bold, legible format by a magnifying element and brought into sharp focus by the mirror-finished interior of a cone that runs from the back of the movement through to the uppermost point of the dial. The clever use of the 24-hour disc means that no AM/PM indication is needed, keeping the dial free of superfluous registers. Two versions of the Fabergé Visionnaire DTZ are offered: one in titanium and 18K rose gold and the other in Anthracite DLC-treated titanium and 18ct white gold.
TOURBILLONS & COMPLICATIONS
B U10 TOURBILLON LUMIÈRE by Angelus Swiss watch brand Angelus has returned to the forefront of contemporary high-end watchmaking with the launch of the U10 Tourbillon Lumière. Boasting a radically deconstructed movement, the Tourbillon Lumière features hours, minutes and dead beat seconds on a concave, translucent grey sapphire dial, plus a 90 hour linear power reserve indicator on the case-band. The clean, modernist displays pay tribute to the Angelus’ acclaimed travel clock as well as taking cues from iconic industrial designs of the 60s and 70s. C 1941 REMONTOIRE by Grönefeld Intended to appeal to the most discerning of watch collectors, the Grönefeld 1941 Remontoire features an eight-second constant force mechanism, ensuring the force serving the balance wheel does not wane. From the mainspring being fully wound to the last minute of the 36 hours of power reserve, when the stop works intervenes, the force never fluctuates. The result is that the amplitude and rate remain consistent, leading to superior precision. For the first
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tourbillon. The latter, which is clearly visible between 7 and 8 o’clock, stores energy from the balance via a spring, which it releases at each elapsed second only. The seconds hand therefore advances incrementally, allowing time to be read with greater ease and precision. 28-piece limited series. D
time, Grönefeld offers the new 1941 case in 18-karat white gold, alloyed with palladium 150. This form of gold alloy is costlier but obviates the need for rhodium plating, hence its surface will not wear out. Alternatively, a 5N red gold case option is available. D CONSTANT FORCE TOURBILLON by Arnold & Son The Constant Force Tourbillon is a technically superlative wristwatch that reflects the eighteenth-century watchmaker’s ingenuity. The manufacture movement is equipped with a constant force mechanism and true beat seconds. The former has two seriesmounted barrels at 12 o’clock that ensure an optimal and regular flow of power to the
OCTO ULTRANERO FINISSIMO TOURBILLON by Bulgari While black is often said to be slimming, this model is definitely not about optical illusions. The Octo Ultranero Finissimo Tourbillon combines the world’s thinnest mechanical tourbillon movement with an opulent contemporary black exterior. The matt appearance of the black DLC-treated case makes a powerful contrast with the brilliance of the lacquered dial. This totalblack look provides a majestic setting for the flying tourbillon measuring a mere 1.95 mm thick. Highlighted by pink gold elements, it appears to literally burst out of the dial, a precious touch echoing that of the crown, also made of pink gold.
TOURBILLONS & COMPLICATIONS
B THE DIAMOND MAGISTER DONG SON by Speake-Marin The Grand Diamond Magister Dong Son Tourbillon features an 18K red gold dial intricately etched with a motif inspired by ancient Dong Son bronze drums inspired by the prehistoric bronze drums of the ancient Dong Son people of Vietnam. Polished bevels lead the eye towards the animated 60-second tourbillon. The Diamond Magister Dong Son is a unique piece in series of 8 tourbillon watches with this design. The meticulously detailed dial is complemented by the drum-like Speake-Marin Piccadilly case in 18K red gold. C CUMBERE TOURBILLON by ArtyA Delicately hand-carved in the exclusive ArtyOr alloy, this Cumbere Tourbillon is shaped like a guitar. The baguette-type movement equipped with a flying tourbillon appears at the centre of an entirely skeleton-worked X-shaped structure. This light-flooded watch thus reveals all details of its Haute Horlogerie finishes, including hand bevelling and artisan-style ageing of the engravings.
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D AUTOMATIC TOURBILLON REGULATOR by L. Leroy
H1 FLYING CENTRAL TOURBILLON by Haldimann
Leroy demonstrates the full measure of its expertise with the Automatic Tourbillon Regulator. A large flying tourbillon freely orbits at its summit, unobstructed by any bridge. Its heart is in diamond with an openworked structure. The pure technique behind this regulating organ ensures a degree of precision that is certified by the Besançon Observatory. The entire movement, oscillating weight and dial of the Automatic Tourbillon Regulator have been delicately skeletonised and chamfered by hand. A meticulously fashioned rosette, with echoes of the early 1900s, adorns the off-centre hour dial, signalling the regulator configuration of this seven-piece limited series.
Watchmaking is a tradition that goes back centuries for the Haldimann family, to 1642 precisely. A mechanical wizard and the inventor of the flying central tourbillon, Beat Haldimann production never exceeds a handful of pieces a year. The H1 Flying Central Tourbillon is one of these rare works. Fitted with three barrels, it has been entirely designed, developed and produced in the Haldimann workshops in Thun. The platinum or gold case is also crafted inhouse and hand-finished. This watch’s classic aesthetic, together with its mechanical sobriety, unequivocally convey the brand’s artistic vocation. Were there a competition for the most beautiful flying central tourbillon, few if any could challenge the H1.
TOURBILLONS & COMPLICATIONS
B MERRY GO ROUND by Okletey A new name in watchmaking, Okletey makes an impressive debut with Merry Go Round, an aesthetically amazing flying tourbillon. The rectangular steel case with black PVD treatment frames a silver dial, composed of a central circle with an original guilloché motif, surrounded by a skeletonised structure. The tourbillon, at 6 o’clock, completes the tableau. Sharing the dial is a power-reserve indicator at 9 o’clock and, at 11 o’clock, an opening that reveals the differential. Two other lines make up the collection, with an automatic chronograph and a three-hand automatic variation. C TOURBILLON SKELETON EARTH by Armin Strom The Tourbillon Skeleton Earth accentuates its structure through extensive skeletonisation of the ATC11-S calibre. This exclusive in-house movement incorporates a tourbillon regulator whose parts are also skeletonised. The
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prowess lies in this mastery of technique, with a movement that delivers a full 10 days of power reserve, but also in the spectacular sight enclosed within the 43.40-mm black case. D TRIPLE AXIS TOURBILLON by Cabestan Entirely the work of master-watchmaker Eric Coudray, the Triple Axis Tourbillon is inspired by the catamaran’s sleek lines. The case – a hand-polished sapphire tube made as a single block – contains a triple axis flying tourbillon. Each of the three cages rotates at a different speed. This superposition of 17, 19 and 60-second durations brings stunning kinetic complexity to the movement, heightened by its position in the watch. It also benefits from the positive effects of a fusee and chain transmission. The 507 parts in this chain are assembled in-house. As for the movement parts, they are chamfered, polished and finished by hand, and remain perfectly visible. The uniquely constructed case is proposed in a range of precious metals or treatments, at the customer’s request, within a limit of 135 pieces.
CARRERA HEUER-02T BLACK PHANTOM by TAG Heuer Less than a year after the launch of the Carrera Heuer 01 in-house chronograph, the new generation of Carrera incorporates a chrono plus a flying tourbillon. The Carrera Heuer 02-T is entirely designed, developed and produced at the Manufacture TAG Heuer. For the Black Phantom model, the new Carrera case, made from 12 separate modular parts, is fashioned from black titanium. It houses the very latest TAG Heuer calibre, the Heuer-02T. This chronograph movement is directly inspired by the CH-80 and is COSCcertified. Here, it combines with a tourbillon regulator that stands out for its black and grey design, its lightness thanks to the use of titanium and carbon, and its flying construction. This new timepiece naturally shares the skeletonised, sleek, contemporary design of the new generation of Carrera watches, with its skeleton bridges, openworked hour circle and geometric bridges. The Carrera Heuer-02T Black Phantom is a 250-piece edition and positioned, amazingly, at under CHF 20,000.
B SLIM D’HERMÈS 39.5 MM The Slim d’Hermès, one of the finest collections on display at Baselworld 2015, is back with a vengeance this year. Versatility is the watchword, as shown in these two men’s models, in slate grey and blue. C CLASSIQUE PHASE DE LUNE DAME 9088 by Breguet This discreet yet remarkable white gold watch with finely fluted caseband and Grand Feu enamel dial is enhanced by ‘Breguet numerals’ in reference to the founder of the company, who designed them in 1783. The minutes track, made up of tiny stars, as well as the the use of stylised fleurs-de-lis for the five-minute fractions are another tribute to the Breguet watchmaking tradition. The pure lines of this Classique Phase de Lune Dame 9088 faithfully reproduce the hallmarks that have ensured the success of Breguet for over 240 years.
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D JULES BOREL COLLECTION 160TH ANNIVERSARY by Ernest Borel
together express the quintessential expertise which the brand has deployed since 1856. Limited edition of 888 pieces.
For its 160th anniversary, Ernest Borel unveils a collection of ten watches that pay tribute to its founder, Jules Borel, and his watchmaking legacy. Among the models in this anniversary line, Ernest Borel presents an exclusive timepiece that lends an air of classic elegance to the much-appreciated indications of day, date and power reserve. A highly legible silvered dial, the perfect proportions of the pink gold PVD steel case, and the superlative reliability of the mechanical automatic movement
ELITE CHRONOGRAPH Classic by Zenith
Zenith presents a new chronograph equipped with the prestigious El Primero movement. A subtle blend of classicism and modernity, the Elite Chronograph Classic beats at the high frequency of El Primero Calibre 4069. Its finely curved 42 mm steel or rose gold case frames a restrained dial featuring engraved hour-markers and slender leaf-type hands.
B GALET SQUARE BOREAL by Laurent Ferrier
A beautiful reinterpretation of the Art Deco hour-circle, coated with green or beige Superluminova gives this design a contemporary look and perfect readability. The exclusive FBN 229.01 automatic movement, with its micro-rotor, offers a 3-days power reserve. C GRANDE SECONDE OFFCENTERED ONYX by Jaquet-Droz Originally designed in the eighteenth century by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, the Grande Seconde has never ceased to reinvent itself, balancing a sense of history with modern elegance. For this supremely sober interpretation, Jaquet Droz has revisited the “figure 8” aesthetic by offsetting the seconds and, at the same time, enveloping the two interlocking rings in an air of mystery. Presented for the first time in a 43 mm steel case, the Grande Seconde Off-Centered amplifies the intensity of black with an onyx dial that has been cut and polished, in the grand tradition of mineral dials by Jaquet Droz.
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a dial defined by a single gold dot at 12 o’clock. In this supremely understated new version, the intense black dial is enhanced by the gold-toned hands and the famous concave dot symbolising the sun at high noon, once again confirming the timeless appeal of this design.
D MUSEUM CLASSIC by Movado
BOY FRIEND STEEL U ALLIGATOR by Chanel
A true icon of contemporary watchmaking, Movado’s legendary Museum dial was designed in 1946 by American artist Nathan George Horwitt. He held that “we do not know time as a number sequence but by the position of the sun as the earth rotates.” Applying this theory, he eliminated the numerals and designed
Retaining the familiar Premiere case shape, the Boy Friend combines it with a clean dial, bringing to mind the 1970s when such form watches were in vogue. The dial is plain, lacking any markings, with a stamped oblong form. For nuance, it has a silvered finish with a concentric guilloché pattern known as azurage.
B HAPPY FISH by Chopard In 1993, Caroline Scheufele created one of the Chopard icons, the Happy Sport watch. Ever since, recurrently reinterpreted over the years in occasionally humorous and consistently elegant ways, it has appeared under countless highly evocative identities. Today, the Happy Fish collection is enriched with a model that vividly evokes the underwater world. The textured mother-of-pearl and gold leaf fish swims gently amid an ocean of blue sapphires, appearing to make its way around seven moving diamonds. Amid the darkness of the depths, a gentle turquoise light suffuses this luminescent décor. The bezel is set with diamonds of three different alternating sizes for a softer effect. This 25-piece limited edition is exclusively available in Chopard boutiques and counters. C LES ETERNELLES MORGANITE by Chanel Inspired by Gabrielle Chanel’s beloved matelassé, the Signature Diamond Secret Watch is a bejewelled white gold bracelet with an elongated quilted pattern. A centred 5.26-carat briolette diamond is located atop a hidden round dial embellished with round diamonds on an extremely flexible
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bracelet that feels like a lamé. The Signature Morganite Secret Watch is a supple bracelet made from white gold with a 43.66-carat pink morganite cabochon in the centre of a quilted design created of rounded squares set with diamonds. In both models, a concealed mechanism enables the wearer to lift the center stone to reveal the tiny watch dial. D PREMIER MOON-PHASE 36 MM by Harry Winston Whereas in the majority of moon-phase mechanisms, the moon disappears completely before beginning a new cycle, here the golden moon takes cover behind a delicate motherof-pearl lattice, hidden but not completely out of sight. The deep blue mother-of-pearl sky forms an eloquent contrast with the immaculate white mother-of-pearl dial, a composition that irresistibly draws the eye to the centre of the watch. Bringing this
tableau to life, 18 brilliant-cut diamonds are set just above the date at 6 o’clock, like a sunbeam reflecting the halo of precious stones that adorn the dial, bezel, arches and buckle. Together they form a dazzling ensemble of 104 diamonds for 2.58 carats.
SERPENTI INCANTATI by Bulgari In this original interpretation of the snake theme, Bulgari teams the sensual curves of the legendary reptile with an entirely revised and redesigned aesthetic. For the very first time, the serpent actually coils around the dial. The softer and more contemporary stylised silhouette surrounds the wrist with the shimmering sparkle of diamonds and rubellites. The result is an enchanting jewellery watch whose perpetual motion conveys its charm through four versions in pink or white gold paved with precious stones.
B GOLDEN AFTERNOON by DeWitt In 2016, Swiss Manufacture DeWitt is celebrating women, with a collection of jewellery watches that will be unveiled throughout the year. The first two models pay tribute to Japanese artistic crafts. These exceptional dials were produced in partnership with a Japanese artist, trained since the age of five in the ancient arts of calligraphy, painting and the history of Japanese art by the great masters. Her utterly unique technique involves combining precious pigments with Indian ink to produce decoration. Powdered diamond, platinum, gold, pearl, agate and other gemstones give her creations a particular sheen and subtle, textured effects. No paint is used and the dials are formed using only dots of powder fixed by hand, requiring extreme meticulousness and very fine tools. Around 30,000 to 50,000 dots are necessary to create the delicate decoration on each dial. The Classic jewellery model, with its 18K rose gold case set with a row of diamonds, is dressed in springtime shades tinged with yellow, orange and green. The floral motif shines with the pigments of powdered diamond, pearl, platinum, gold, tiger’s eye, malachite, quartz and other gemstones. The watch is fitted with a matching shiny green alligator wristband.
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D C BUBBLE HIGH JEWELLERY by Corum Corum celebrates the revival of the landmark Bubble wristwatch with the Bubble High Jewellery Skeleton, a trio of wristwatches with open-worked, ultra-thin movements – each a one-of-a-kind creation set with exquisite diamonds and gemstones: rubies, blue sapphires and black sapphires. D LADYBIRD ULTRAPLATE by Blancpain Amid the current renewed craze for tiny ladies’ watches, Blancpain reinvents the enchanting design codes of the Ladybird in an ultra-thin contemporary version. First unveiled in 1956, this watch was equipped at the time with the smallest round movement on the market. Sixty years later, its slim white gold case highlighted by diamonds is powered by a tiny automatic movement
equipped with a silicon balance-spring. A delightfully retro-chic look of which Blancpain gives a stylish new interpretation in this 60-piece limited edition.
UTREE OF LIFE by Kerbedanz The horological creations by Kerbedanz are infused with symbolism. These messages are conveyed through an artistic interpretation of the cases and dials on Kerbedanz watches. The Tree of Life is a jewellery anthem to immortality, symbolised by the tree after which it is named. Framed by a case entirely set with green emeralds, a hand-sculpted gold tree adorns the green enamelled dial. The scene is suffused with the light of sparkling diamonds. The dainty chatons embedded into the gold and enamel are the fruits of the tree. Kerbedanz has also decorated the original Technotime base calibre with equally meticulous care. A 41-piece limited series.
C B D B ROYAL PYTHON SKELETON TOURBILLON by Ulysse Nardin The Royal Python Skeleton Tourbillon takes the beautiful complexity of its predecessor to an entirely new level. Natural, freeflowing light passes through the timepiece, creating radiant luminosity. Silicon technology and an in-house-developed flying tourbillon honour the mechanics of the collection, featuring a silicon balance spring, anchor and escapement wheel. Hand-painted movement bridges dotted with rubies reveal the skill and sensitivity of the artist, while exhibiting the wondrous world of Ulysse Nardin’s métiers d’art. A python strap finishes the snakeskin-inspired aesthetic of the entire timepiece. Limited edition of 18 pieces in rose gold 4N.
unique character and extreme simplicity, with thin polished baton-type hour markers, along with a supremely pure dial, either dark grey or silver. The overall design of the new Slimline Auto Heart Beats make them light, both visually and physically.
C SLIMLINE AUTO HEART BEAT by Frederique Constant
D PRIVATE LABEL by Walca
It was Frederique Constant in 1994 that developed the very first Heart Beat watch, showing the mechanical movement and thereby setting a trend throughout the horological industry. These new timepieces incorporate specific codes that enhance their
The leader in 100% Swiss Made private label watches, for the past 40 years Walca has cultivated the finest watchmaking tradition. Watchmakers and technicians at this independent manufacture deploy their expertise to provide well-known brands
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and prestigious names with a range of services that are tailored to their needs: trend analysis, concept and design of watch lines, accessories, POS advertising, technical studies, 3D modelling, prototypes, logistics, assembly, quality controls and delivery anywhere in the world. But giving life to a custom timepiece or imagining a complete range of watches takes something in addition to expertise; it means listening to the client and understanding their exact requirements. This philosophy presides over each creation, and positions Walca as the link that will transform its clients’ wishes into reality.
TRUE OPEN HEART by Rado Entirely clad in high-tech white ceramic, the new True Open Heart immediately immerses us in the avant-garde world of Rado. Ultralight yet five times harder than steel, both non-metallic and hypoallergenic, it fits like a second skin that is particularly suited to wrists that find it hard to bear metal. The pure lines of the monobloc case are matched by the refined elegance of the diaphanous dial. A stylised cut-out in the mother-of-pearl plate barely a few tenths of a millimetre thick provides a tantalising glimpse of the mechanical movement without revealing its secret. This True Open Heart is issued in a 500-piece limited edition.
B R07 LEGEND MAGICAL WATCH DIAL® by Revelation The new R07 Legend Magical Watch Dial® inaugurates the Grand Sport line by Revelation by asserting its distinctive identity codes through an extreme interpretation of the fundamental brand concept: the Revelation System®. A simple 90° turn of the bezel transforms the dial to reveal large date and retrograde day displays. This second face is revealed in an original manner by means of mechanical elements cut out and staged in a graphic and colourful way. The innovative and adrenalin-packed case of the R07 Legend Magical Watch Dial® is designed to associate various materials and structures with high-tech accents. The strap has also evolved, attractively revealing its core material along the edge.
presented today in titanium, makrolon®, titanium and gold or gold.
C R-50 by BRM
D 3429 SKELETON by Epos
In 2006, BRM presented its first “disruptive” R-50 in titanium. With its movement directly inspired by a motorcycle engine, mounted on carbon arms, the R-50 rapidly became BRM’s iconic model. Since then, it has permanently evolved and is
Transparency and versatility guided Epos in the creation of the 3429 Skeleton. This wristwatch transforms effortlessly into a pocket watch, simply by releasing the case attachment system on one of the vertical sides. A foldaway stand means it can also be admired as a desk clock. The
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Unitas 6498 calibre is thus reunited with its original function, which is to equip pocket watches. Epos has embellished this movement with engraving, while skeletonisation creates magnificent transparency. Such meticulous finishing is highlighted by the simplest of dials, comprising a minute track, small seconds and hour-markers, and proposed in a choice of colours that includes ruthenium grey and bright green. This transformable timepiece is produced as a 2,015-piece limited series.
CLASSIC ARS3351 by Emporio Armani The Emporio Armani Swiss Made collection welcomes a new reference inspired by Art Deco elegance. The Classic line now includes a tonneau-shaped case with a flowing design. On this rectangle with subtly softened sides, the roundness of its flanks is accentuated on all levels. The crown is surrounded by a gentle swell, a curve shared with all Emporio Armani Classic watches. Its caseback is also rounded and this fluid design extends into pleasantly ergonomic lugs. Beneath the sapphire crystal, the dial with its sunburst motif is a bright blue that stands out against the pink gold glow of the case. Emporio Armani also introduces a new evolved version of the automatic STP1 calibre, and a 12 oâ€™clock opening offers a plunging view of the balance-wheel and its openworked bridge.
B ALPINER 4 MANUFACTURE FLYBACK CHRONOGRAPH by Alpina Three years of development were needed to equip this model with the Manufacture AL-760 calibre and its flyback chronograph module. Easy to handle via its two pushers, this timepiece also ensures perfect readability of the indications, even in dim light. With its sophisticated look, taut lines and high-tech dial, the Black Edition Alpiner 4 Manufacture Flyback Chronograph pushes the boundaries of sporty watchmaking and expresses its strength with style and efficiency. C THE GRAND SEIKO 55TH ANNIVERSARY SPRING DRIVE CHRONOGRAPH LIMITED EDITION by Seiko This Limited Edition, fitted with a ceramic bezel, houses the unique Spring Drive movement, specially tuned for enhanced accuracy. The crystal oscillators are selected individually with time and care, achieving an accuracy of +/- 0.5 seconds a day (+/- 10 seconds per month).
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D HISTORIADOR VUELO by Cuervo y Sobrinos In Havana in 1882, time moved to a different beat. This was a “tiempo lento”, an unhurried time that allowed each moment to be savoured. Cuervo y Sobrinos has transposed this celebration of life into a flight – “vuelo” in Spanish – between past and present. The Swiss watchmaker with the Latin soul is reviving one of its historic models, which it revisits with the elegance and style of today. The case benefits from a highly complex construction. The lugs, meanwhile, are fashioned as separate parts then perfectly adjusted as a continuation of the chronograph pushers. The dial displays information in a carefully orchestrated
layout on three levels: small seconds and minute counter on the first level, the 24-hour scale for the second time zone, hour-markers and numerals on the second level, with minutes and seconds on the third level. SPEEDMASTER MOONPHASE U CHRONOGRAPH MASTER CHRONOMETER by Omega The Speedmaster is no stranger to the lunar surface, given that it was the first watch worn on the moon. And as a Master Chronometer, this watch celebrates another pioneering moment: OMEGA’s exacting new standard of testing, set in late 2015, by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS).
B ROADSTER BLACK NIGHT by Wenger Sporty and robust, the new Roadster Black Night from Wenger with highly luminescent hour-markers and hands for perfect readability in even the darkest conditions, comes equipped with a choice of six different straps – from leather to steel through nylon. The detail that makes all the difference: the brand’s logo, also luminescent, sports the distinctive white cross on a red background in reference to this timepiece’s Swiss origins. Made to the high standards of the Swiss watch industry, this chronograph comes complete with an exceptional three-year warranty. C AVENGER BANDIT by Breitling The Avenger Bandit is a COSC-certified chronograph that lives in step with the takeoffs and landings on the decks of aircraft carriers. These ocean fortresses govern the demanding features that Breitling has incorporated into the Avenger Bandit. Its 45 mm case is lightened by the use of satin-brushed titanium, a favourite metal in the aeronautical industry. The graduated rotating bezel is topped by engraved stencil-type numerals and distinguished
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C by its four rider tabs, a classic signature feature on Breitling watches serving to memorise times. The non-slip grip of the screw-lock crown and chronograph pushers guarantees optimal handling. The strap is made of rubber topped by a supple, sturdy and light high-tech textile fibre exterior. D T-TOUCH EXPERT SOLAR NBA SPECIAL EDITION by Tissot Setting the seal on its partnership with the NBA, Tissot has created a special version of its T-Touch Expert Solar watch, presented in a black PVD-coated and gold version designed to highlight the biggest sponsoring programme in Tissot’s history. It is also distinguished by the red-arrow tip of the minutes and by the NBA logo engraved on
the caseback. Beneath this distinctive exterior, the T-Touch Expert Solar NBA Special Edition has maintained all its functions and features – notably its lightness, with a PVD-coated titanium case. Its hypoallergenic and stainless nature makes it entirely suited to athletes. Finally its 20 functions are as ever controlled via its tactile sapphire crystal.
BR-DESERT TYPE by Bell & Ross The BR 03 Desert Type was designed to meet the requirements of military pilots working in a hot climate. It is therefore appropriately sand-coloured, to match the flying suits of fighter pilots on desert missions. Essentially a professional tool, the BR 03 Desert Type is a perfect illustration of Bell & Ross’s four fundamental principles: legibility, functionality, precision and water-resistance. The chronograph function will make this watch particularly useful to pilots who need to measure short elapsed times.
B BIG BANG UNICO SAPPHIRE by Hublot After several series of totally black and opaque watches, Hublot goes in completely the opposite direction by focusing on absolute transparency. Bezel, case, caseback and crystals: the case of the Big Bang Unico Sapphire is entirely made from the watch industry’s hardest material: sapphire. It is indeed so hard that only diamond can scratch it. One can thus easily imagine the difficulty involved in machining it to make a case and the hundreds of production hours required – especially with the complex shapes of the Big Bang. The Manufacture Hublot UNICO calibre appearing beneath the transparent dial and visible from all angles has never been so fully revealed, including its column-wheel at 6 o’clock. This 500-piece limited series heralds a new era for sapphire cases. C TNT CHRONO 43 by Pierre DeRoche Powerful designs and complex mechanics confirm the TNT collection’s explosive character. Sculpted from steel and titanium, the TNT Chrono 43 nonetheless brings a subtle classicism to the wrist. This is the first
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time in the TNT collection that functions are displayed on a dial, specifically a sapphire dial whose bold hour-markers and transparent openings envelop the hands to confirm the overall force of the design. The brand’s values are clearly in evidence, such as the 60-minute counter, a hallmark of Pierre DeRoche, and the visible mechanism, an automatic chronograph movement by Dubois Dépraz. Mounted on a stitched rubber strap, the TNT Chrono 43 is the brand’s eighth chronograph. A 201-piece limited series. D MIG-35 CHRONO by Aviator The Swiss brand Aviator dedicates its watches to the world of aviation. Each of its models stirs genuine interest among professional pilots, including a certain number of military personnel who enjoy testing the new models in the most extreme situations. Numerous key aesthetic details of the MiG-35 Chrono are directly inspired by this
fighter: the fine-brushed case middle and pushers echo the aerodynamic curves of the fuselage, while the crown evokes the shape of a jet engine; the ribbed rubber band is a direct reference to the oxygen tube used during high-altitude flights. Like any good pilot’s watch, this chronograph features ADD (partial-time measurement) and SPLIT (intermediate-time measurement) functions. VORTEX PRIMARY U by Hautlence Inspired by post-modern architecture and the deconstructionist movement, the Vortex Primary (the second collaboration between Hautlence and Eric Cantona) features a case composed entirely of juxtaposed windows glazed with tinted mineral crystal. In the absence of a dial, these high-tech stained-glass windows provide visual access to the incredible HL2.0 movement with its tank-tread spooling hours
alloy containing zinc. Prominent at 12 o’clock and protected by patented mobile hinges, the crown meets the demands of a true professional tool, with optimal grip and indications that are set in the most uncomplicated way imaginable. Since its creation in 2001, the Militare Chrono Bronze has embodied the most accomplished combination of Italian design and the best Swiss technical developments.
B RENAISSANCE 7 TIME ZONES by Aerowatch With the new Renaissance 7 Time Zones model, Aerowatch offers a unique mechanical watch that complements local time by a displaying the time in no fewer than six cities across the planet. At a glance and with the help of 24-hour displays, the user can check whether any given city is waking up or going to sleep. This in-house developed model perfectly embodies the determination manifested by Aerowatch to offer ambitious mechanical watchmaking at affordable prices. C OKTOPUS MOON GOLD 3DTP CARBON by Linde Werdelin Take the classic gold watch and view it through the prism of Linde Werdelin’s design language. The resulting timepiece unmistakably shares the Linde Werdelin DNA of forward-thinking, innovative
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E HYDROSCAPH GMT POWER-RESERVE CHRONOMETER by Clerc D
design, but equally belongs to the realm of sophisticated timepieces. The Oktopus Moon Gold 3DTP Carbon is a dress watch as much as it is a sports watch. Linde Werdelin’s in-house moonphase complication serves a real purpose, providing an easy way for the wearer to track the full moon and plan the best time for night dives. D MILITARE CHRONO BRONZE by Anonimo Part of a longstanding collaboration with Italian Navy divers, the Militare Chrono Bronze is sculpted from a bronze
With its 83 components, the case of the Hydroscaph GMT Power-Reserve Chronometer is one of the most complex yet. It also lives up to professional divers’ demands with water-resistance of 800 metres. Added to this is a system that locks the rotating bezel by means of a second crown at 10 o’clock to prevent this vital tool from accidental activation underwater. The pink gold bezel with its four sloping corners is also a hallmark of the Clerc brand. Its movement is an officially certified automatic chronometer that displays a large second time zone in a mother-of-pearl counter. The ergonomic case, in pink gold or black DLC-treated steel, makes a bold statement with its generous 48 mm diameter. Mobile lugs ensure excellent comfort on the wrist.
CARL BRASHEAR LIMITED EDITION by Oris Bronze makes a noteworthy entrance into the Oris collection with this commemorative model paying tribute to Carl Brashear, the U.S. Navy’s first African American master diver. Previously little used in watchmaking, this metal is distinguished by its oxidation giving it a unique patina. Initially bright and shiny, the case and the unidirectional rotating bezel gradually darken over time, according to its owner’s habits, thereby making each timepiece in the Oris Carl Brashear Limited Edition truly unique. Clearly referencing the history of deep-sea diving, this eminently legible and functional model – a nod to the deep-sea diving helmets from the 1950s – is ideal for underwater exploration, since the 2,000-piece limited edition is water-resistant to a depth of 100 metres.
LA ESMERALDA TOURBILLON by Girard-Perregaux La Esmeralda is a tribute to the iconic Girard-Perregaux pocket watch that won the Grand Prix at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889 and established the triple gold bridge tourbillon as the high watchmaking standard of the brand. This interpretation shares the exquisitely decorated movement and understated case design that made the historical model a triumph, but above all it reveals the finest craftsmanship of the manufacture through its signature complication: the automatic tourbillon under three gold bridges. Europa Star will unveil more details about La Esmeralda in a special report to be featured in the May issue.
40 Years of Pioneering Eco-Drive Technology
Behind the scenes of Eco-Drive development Eco-Drive is CITIZEN’s unique technology
other companies by developing a new “eco-
for generating power from any light source.
friendly watch” that kept running virtually indefinitely without the need for batteries.
It was born from the advent of battery-
In 1976, CITIZEN succeeded in the release of
driven quartz watches in the 1970s.
the world’s first light-powered analog
CITIZEN quickly recognised a key drawback to these new timepieces
quarts. Later, this proprietary technology
— it was not easy to replace
was named “Eco-Drive,” to communicate the message about the technology’s
batteries. That period also saw a rise
social and environmental value. Now, it
in awareness of the Earth’s ecology, which highlighted another concern — the
has become a key symbol of CITIZEN’s
spent batteries created chemical waste. In
technological prowess and enjoys popularity
in more than 100 countries around the world.
this environment, CITIZEN leapt ahead of The world’s first light-powered analog quartz watch “CRYSTRON SOLAR CELL”
How Eco-Drive works
Benefits of Eco-Drive
1) Watches powered by light 2) Easy to charge even in dim light 3) Works even in total darkness Converts any light into energy. Energy is stored in a power cell. Keeps most watches working, for at least 6 months, even if stored in the dark.
Ongoing vision of the Eco-Drive watch lineup Continuous improvement of light-powered technology helps to refine the Eco-Drive watch lineup with more functions and beautiful designs. Reducing energy consumption enables more compact solar cells, which translates into more attractive dials and higher levels of functionality. It also enables thinner and smaller watches that deliver greater accuracy.
Here are some example Eco-Drive advancements. More accurate CITIZEN PROMASTER F900 SATELLITE WAVE -GPS Latest Eco-Drive watch combines greater accuracy with more function In 2011, CITIZEN launched the world’s first watch capable of syncing with GPS satellites in space to get time and location information for automatic time and calendar correction. Eco-Drive SATELLITE WAVE brought accurate time to more people around the world. Now CITIZEN are adding the PROMASTER SATELLITE WAVE -GPS pilot watch to this family.
Launched in 2009
Radio-Controlled Watch Launched in 1996
Launched in 2009
Photo: Carlo Fachini
EUROPA STAR ARCADE
PEQUIGNET: THE LAST BASTION OF MADE IN FRANCE A manufacture of indomitable Gauls is still holding back the invading hordes. While all the major Parisian fashion houses have opted for Swiss made, Pequignet remains the standard-bearer of indigenous French watchmaking. With in-house calibres and affordable ladiesâ€™ models, the companyâ€™s history is punctuated with creative successes as well as a few wrong turns. We met one of its saviours, current managing director Laurent Katz. | by Serge Maillard
In the summer of 2012 you and your associate invested a considerable sum to save Pequignet from bankruptcy, despite having no background in watchmaking. Almost four years down the line, how have things turned out? We’ve come back from the brink! I must say, however, that when I took over the company I never dreamed how much personal investment I would put into running it. I never thought I would end up spending every week in Morteau. We had to learn about the watchmaking business very quickly. In 2012 Pequignet had launched its in-house movement, the Calibre Royal, which was a considerable achievement. But the brand had cut itself off from its main source of revenue – midrange ladies’ watches. That’s what led to bankruptcy. We read in the press that Pequignet was going into receivership. Things were in pretty bad shape, and it was by no means a foregone conclusion that we would be able to turn it around. What steps did you take at that point?
OBJECT USB STICK “My associate and I came to watchmaking from the high-tech industry. I worked for Microsoft, for example. He launched LaCie, where I also worked for 10 years, and one of the things he did was to design USB sticks in collaboration with great designers such as Philippe Starck. Today, all our lives are recorded on these portable hard discs. They also reflect the nomadic side of our civilisation. Speaking for myself, I’m always on the road, travelling between Morteau and Paris, and all over the world. That’s what it means to be a watchmaker these days!” (Laurent Katz)
The first step was to resolve the technical problems and payment deadlines that were destroying the brand’s reputation, and restore the confidence of suppliers, retailers and clients. We rolled up our sleeves, established some ground rules, and began to learn on the job, with the invaluable support of our technical director. We were able to keep the workforce in place. It was tough going, but exhilarating at the same time. The element that wasn’t really working was the non-manufacture range. It was difficult to establish a brand identity when we were swinging from entry-level to highend. The original idea was to produce a complication watch for CHF 5,000. It was ambitious but ultimately unfeasible. Only a high-volume brand could have made it work. We could certainly have chosen to go further upmarket, and raise
prices accordingly, but we decided to keep things more down-to-earth. What did that mean, exactly? For six months we stopped all sales of models equipped with the Calibre Royal, and concentrated on removing the bottlenecks in our after-sales service. At the same time we also breathed new life into our women’s collections. But timescales in watchmaking tend to be very long, and between 12 and 18 months can elapse between a decision being taken and it being implemented. Coming from the hightech industry, that took some getting used to. The measures began to take effect after Baselworld 2014, when things began to start moving again, particularly the new Moorea collection. That year we were able to celebrate Pequignet’s 40th anniversary in the presence of its founder, the self-taught watchmaker Emile Pequignet. It was a wonderful symbol. You are the standard-bearer of the Made in France label, at a time when the vast majority of French watchmakers have crossed to the other side of the Jura. What impact has this had? We never really wanted to be in this position. I would have preferred the Parisian fashion houses to have been fighting alongside us to gain greater recognition for the Made in France label. As a French manufacturer, I must say we are rather disappointed that the perception of French consumers hasn’t changed in this regard. I nevertheless remain hopeful that we will earn greater recognition, at least within our borders, because France still represents 50% of our sales. We would like to see the same rate of growth at home as we have seen abroad. The Japanese are increasingly interested in French products, and there are encouraging signs in Singapore, and also in the Arab countries. In the end, it’s
mainly in Europe where not being Swiss Made can be perceived as a handicap. Elsewhere in the world the design is more important than the label. Which are your most profitable lines at the moment, those with manufacture movements or those without? In some markets, such as Germany for example, we offer only our most high-end models equipped with in-house movements. But we would like to introduce other collections. Generally speaking, we have seen a clear slowdown in sales of our most expensive manufacture models, those between €4,000 and €7,500. However, they represent only one-third of our output. Our core range remains in the €1,000–€3,000 price bracket, and the Trocadero is our bestseller. When we took over we intended to continue producing solely women’s watches. We nevertheless launched some men’s models, and this proved to be a good move. Today they make up 40% of our sales! What was 2015 like for you? Growth was good, although less than we initially anticipated, given the difficult market conditions for the watch industry. We produced 8,000 watches, and we’re aiming for 10,000. Exports to the more distant markets grew, while European sales remained stable. In terms of products, the most successful model was an updated Equus, launched to celebrate the brand’s 40th anniversary. This suggests that our clients are unlikely to be convinced by any bold new departures. We have a rich heritage to exploit. In our price range, we have to be careful not to give in to the temptation to make fashion watches. p
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Photo: Carlo Fachini
EUROPA STAR ARCADE
ARTYA: THE SPIRIT OF BUSHIDO He is known as the White Wolf. Feared by some, admired by many, hated by a few, Yvan Arpa, the founder of ArtyA, one of the most ground-breaking watch brands of the decade, leaves no one indifferent. | by Serge Maillard
How did you end up in watchmaking? My journey has been an unusual one. I started out as a maths teacher. After a while I quit teaching and went to Thailand, where I was able to indulge my passion for martial arts, fighting in a discipline that you could call the precursor to MMA. At the time there were very few foreigners practising this discipline in Asia. I then decided to cross Papua New Guinea on foot, which took some time. I experienced a creative epiphany there: there are hundreds of different ethnic groups, art forms and language groups on the island. On my return to Switzerland I decided to devote myself to an ‘indigenous’ Swiss industry. Banking didn’t appeal to me, so I chose watchmaking. Where did you start out?
OBJECT BLACK BELT “Before ArtyA I launched a watch brand aimed at martial arts enthusiasts, called Black Belt Watch. What I liked about this concept was that money alone was not sufficient to buy the product: you had to show your black belt. At the same time, the market was huge: there are 17 million black belts around the world! There was just one basic model, but I didn’t want to exclude people, as long as they liked the product. Now, to buy a Black Belt Watch you ‘simply’ have to pledge to respect the code of bushido. It’s about ethics and personal growth: if you feel you embody these values, the watch is for you! If you don’t, that’s a matter for you and your conscience...” (Yvan Arpa)
I began in analytical marketing with the Italian brand Sector, which is associated with extreme sports. I worked on the ‘No limits’ concept, which became emblematic of the brand. Richemont then asked me to join their group, and that brought me closer to the products – watches remain central to the industry, after all! At Baume & Mercier we tightened up the number of references and launched successful lines including the Catwalk and the Hampton. I moved to Hublot during the Big Bang era. I had great respect for the owner’s values and activities – he donated part of his profits to an orphanage in India. I remained four or five years with each of these companies, on average. But emotions always win out in the end; even with a rational approach and ambitions, the boss will make decisions according to his instincts. In a group, just when you think everything is under control, you can be sure that it isn’t!
In 2006 you embarked upon the Romain Jerome adventure.
supported me was Jacob Arabo: I helped him to relaunch his brand.
The owners of this young brand, which at the time specialised in golfing watches, initially contacted me about an audit. This turned into a bold relaunch of the brand. My condition for joining them was that I had to have real creative freedom. The first watch I launched was the Titanic, a provocative piece containing some fragments of the ship. Because the brand name wasn’t very well known, it was important to link it with an icon, and also some ‘antimatter’ - which in this case was rust! In the absence of a distinguished history the product had to be the star of the show. People think I’m a crackpot, but I have a rational approach and my ideas are serious. To start with, everyone was on my case, apart from a few enlightened journalists who took the time to hear me out. And in the end, my creative approach was fully vindicated. What may shock the more sensitive souls is that I don’t make compromises. My philosophy rests on the values of bushido, the conceptual basis of the martial arts.
People sometimes find ArtyA hard to define as a brand. Can you give us a few pointers? As an independent family firm we didn’t have the visibility or hitting power of the watchmaking giants. Our aim is to do things that have never been done before in innovative and creative high-end watchmaking. I work with my wife, Dominique, who pioneered the Butterfly dials – before Harry Winston, I should point out! Where we are different is that we cover every price range, with watches that cost from CHF 3,000 up to CHF 800,000. This is completely unheard-of for a new, independent brand. Other newcomers have either targeted the entry level with high volumes, or they focus on the high-end. Our first models were struck by lightning using a special process. That’s how we made our name. Then I launched the ‘Son of ...’ series. The brand’s DNA is creativity. This year I have two aims: to launch some grand complications and to promote the new Race collection, which has come explosively out of the starting blocks.
What does that imply? What is your client demographic? Respect, courage, compassion and loyalty. I’m very up-front. I’m not afraid to say what I think, and I’ll say it to your face. I don’t beat about the bush. That’s what helped me to bounce back and keep going, when the adventure with Romain Jerome came to an abrupt end. I could have gone into a downward spiral, both financially and psychologically. It took iron discipline. In my life I have been involved in 34 court cases. I have never initiated any myself, and when I’m attacked I hit back. I won them all. That’s what enabled me to launch ArtyA in 2010. You need to be brave to launch an independent brand, with no compromises, and also no money... One of the only people who
I attract people who are looking for a little bit of soul. At the end of the day, buying a watch is a tribal thing. I don’t target people who feel proud about owning a branded watch, but clients who are looking for a more highly-developed product, something out of the ordinary, clients who are tired of seeing the same old conventional models on their friends’ wrists. I could have chosen to remain in a gilded cage, bringing out variations of the Russian Roulette model, for example, which has sold very well, but that wouldn’t satisfy me on a creative level. On a financial level, maybe. But creation is my outlet, my catharsis, it’s what drives me! p
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Photo: Carlo Fachini
EUROPA STAR ARCADE
IN THE WATCH AISLE OF LES GALERIES LAFAYETTE In addition to its Parisian department store, the company owns France’s largest watch distribution network Louis Pion as well as Royal Quartz, a leading French luxury watch distributor. We met with Daphné Barré de Jenlis, Managing Director of Louis Pion – Royal Quartz. | by Serge Maillard You belong to Galeries Lafayette group, widely known for its department stores in Paris and across the globe. Could you elaborate for us on the relationship between this group and your company?
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In 2007 Galeries Lafayette bought Louis Pion, completing the portfolio begun with its 2005 acquisitions of Goldy and EuropaQuartz in France. All these entities were then reorganised, and today the company is composed of two branches:
one for luxury distribution, Royal Quartz – with partners including Rolex, Omega and Cartier; and the second for fashion and lifestyle distribution, Louis Pion – with more than 70 brands including the latest smartwatches. Both brands can be found everywhere in France, in airports and of course in most of the Galeries Lafayette stores. We have a third activity: our teams are also in charge of buying and marketing watches for the Galeries Lafayette flagship store on Boulevard Haussmann.
Are you the main watch distributor in France? Yes, for Louis Pion. We have more than 135 points of sale. This broadly-based and long-established network is one of our core assets, strengthened by our ability to distribute our own Louis Pion brand. Royal Quartz, on the other hand, has fewer stores (10) but the range is much more exclusive.
“Multi-brand clients will always need fair and unbiased advice. They will remain loyal to quality retailers.” Who was Louis Pion? Ah yes, the famous Monsieur Pion! (Laughter) In fact we are currently working on creating both a masculine and a feminine identity for the brand, because our points of sales target both women and men. But no, Mr Louis Pion never existed. The brand was created in 1980 and was originally called Pion. To make it more personal, the name “Louis” was added later. It is interesting to see how this name added timelessness, especially now that it is fashionable again! Brand awareness is quite strong, especially in the Parisian region where both the network and also the Louis Pion brand are popular. What price range do you cover, and where are you located? For Louis Pion, prices go from €35 up to €1500. As for Royal Quartz, prices start at €1000 and… the sky’s the limit! The Royal Quartz flagship store is located in Rue Royale in Paris, near the prestigious Faubourg Saint Honoré district. We also have a strong presence in Paris’s airports, where we are seeing increasing sales to international clientele. We have an exclu-
sivity agreement with the airports, making us their sole watch distributor. In 2012 we also bought Augis, Lyon’s most wellknown watch and jewellery company. When did you take over as Managing Director? I joined in 2014 from Galeries Lafayette where I was in charge of buying and merchandising for luxury accessories. It was a natural evolution: I began by gaining an understanding of Galeries Lafayette’s DNA and buying savoirfaire, before moving into a stand-alone watch business, which represents some of the group’s finest accessories. When I arrived at Louis Pion, I discovered a new universe with its own codes and legends, a passionate and talented team and a large array of opportunities. But not everything was completely new, as part of my family lives in Switzerland and I am very attached to this region. The watch department in Galeries Lafayette Haussmann is surprisingly huge. Why is that? First, more than 37 million visitors came to the store last year, which makes it a tourist destination in its own right. So you need to make sure you can please every one of them! Overall, we represent almost all the major watchmaking names. And one of our great strengths is to offer a wide range of brands and a broad spectrum of models within each brand. We have to showcase the wide diversity of watches available, to ensure we can serve Chinese as well as Russian customers when they visit the store. The rest of our network, however, is mainly aimed at local customers: we need to understand and meet the needs of our loyal French clients! There must be fierce competition between the watch brands to secure maximum visibility in an important
store like Galeries Lafayette. How do you manage this? I can confirm that we have many intense exchanges of opinion with all the brands we represent! For me, it is important to go and see them, to build a solid relationship with each brand so we can get to know each other. I talk to the brand representatives in France and I also travel to Switzerland regularly. The important thing is to be able to put yourself in the client’s shoes: in the end, it is the client who decides. I believe that multi-brand clients will always need expert, fair and unbiased advice. They will remain loyal to multi-brand retailers who know how to convey their passion for the diversity and the beauty of unique products. What about the internet? We have a Louis Pion online store, and we manage the watch section for the Galeries Lafayette website. After only two years of activity, its sales already match those of a top Louis Pion store, and the average price is higher on the website. But it is also a great way to drive traffic to the store. The success of our “click and collect” service proves that customers may choose online but they still enjoy interacting directly with our highly qualified staff in store. What are the current sales trends? There are many uncertainties that have an impact on our business today, such as national security issues in France, the anti-corruption campaign in China and the changing price of oil in Russia and the Middle East. However, the weak euro is also very appealing for our international clientele. Additionally, we have accelerated work with our local clientele over the last 18 months, and this has proven quite successful. As a result we see more opportunities than threats in the mid-term. p
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THE CHALLENGING SPIRIT OF ORIENT WATCH
espite ORIENT WATCH’s solid reputation for producing substantial and regal masterpieces, connoisseurs will nevertheless be familiar with the watch manufacturer’s pioneering attitude of promoting cutting-edge watchmaking.
Driven by a longstanding corporate culture of embracing challenge, ORIENT WATCH has often been willing to try things before anyone else in the industry, and has enjoyed doing so. For example, the “Grand Prix 100”, which aims for a world record in the number of jewels with 100 jewels set around the movement, and the self-winding “Fineness”, the thinnest watch at the time, are extremely famous models that are admired by every watch enthusiast. The watchmaker’s achievements also include a diver’s watch whose water resistance was instantly boosted to 1,000 metres from some 100 metres, which was then commonly deemed to be the limit. These are just some examples of the many products ORIENT WATCH has launched that bear witness to its determination to be the world’s number one. Nevertheless, the manufacturer also has a playful and open-minded side: the vividly coloured “Jaguar Focus” proved to be a big hit as soon as it was launched, at a time when almost every dial was coloured white or beige. The manufacturer was also quick to adopt the nine-sided cut glass method that is now common in the watch industry. Working with resolute persistence, yet out of the limelight, it has turned one innovative idea after another into a commercial reality, setting new standards for the industry at the same time. In 1951 ORIENT WATCH announced the launch of its flagship brand “Orient Star”, destined to become a shining star for the company. This brand has devoted itself to the domestic manufacture of mechanical watches, showcasing Japanese technical capabilities to the world. While the brand has continued to improve its ranges and models, the in-house Calibre 46 series, born in 1971, remains emblematic of this endeavour. The movement has undergone repeated updates and
improvements in its power reserve, world time and GMT functions since it first went into production 45 years ago. Very few manufacturers can boast a single calibre with such distinguished and long-running service.
INTRODUCING THE ORIENT STAR “OPEN HEART - MODERN” Among the company’s latest models, the ORIENT STAR “OPEN HEART - Modern” features a greater see-through area than the conventional semi skeleton models while also implementing the dial design characteristic of an automatic watch. Its case, with sharply cut lugs, gives an edge to its contemporary design. The movements visible from the bold, open windows of the dial are ORIENT WATCH’s Japan-made movements that offer the user the joy of owning an automatic watch. The dial, with its brave new design and visibility, comes in black, navy or white as well as brownish grey. Also available in a model that incorporates pink gold indices, it is intended to display elegance in a sharp, contemporary interpretation. ORIENT WATCH offers two types of bracelets: a dimensional metal bracelet that features varying polishes, and a calf leather strap with crocodile embossing. Finished in a simple yet refined style, the bracelets fit a wide range of fashion styles, from business to weekend casual. p
SPECIFICATIONS • Glass material: sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating • Caseback: screw-down see-through crystal caseback • Water resistant: 10 bar • Case Diameter: 41.00mm • Thickness: 12.35mm MOVEMENT : • ORIENT calibre 40S62 • Made in Japan • Drive system: self-winding movement with manual winding mechanism (stop-second mechanism) • Vibrations: 21,600 vibrations/hour • Daily accuracy: +25 - 15 sec/day • Running time: more than 40 hours • Number of jewels: 24 jewels • Function: power reserve indicator
DEBATES, OP-EDS & CHRONICLES
REAL, FAKE AND Counterfeiters are increasingly turning their attention to collectible watches, whose prices have skyrocketed. Sometimes all it takes is one tiny detail, which is easy to fake, to treble the price of a watch. by Fabrice Guéroux
interesting to consider the revolution it has brought about. Although some people, even today, consider the second-hand watch market to be entirely separate from that of new products, there are clear indicators that this is not the case. In order to flesh out this hypothesis, let us look at some collectible watches that have increased in value, and analyse the influence this has had on the new watch market.
he face of the second-hand watch market has changed somewhat over the last fifteen years. While in the 1990s there were relatively few resellers to share the spoils, the situation is rather different today. And it’s understandable, when one sees the price disparity in the great majority of watches made from 1990 up to the present. This market now has its own little community of collectors and bargain hunters who have come to play in the big boys’ playground. It is not uncommon these days to attend watch auctions whose record sales figures are on a par with those seen at sales of classical or contemporary artwork. The origin of this turnaround may be found, first of all, in a resurgence of interest by the public. Some watches already considered expensive fifteen years ago have now crossed squarely over into the realms of the frankly unaffordable, or have joined the pantheon of collectors’ watches that are quite simply in a different league altogether. Rather than looking solely at the speculative side of this phenomenon, it is
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THE RED AND CORNINO ROLEXES Leafing through auction house catalogues, we can see that what was commonplace fifteen years ago has now become a sought-after commodity. Take a look at the Rolex Submariner and GMT-Master. In both these cases it is now almost impossible to find a bargain, because the prices are virtually set to the nearest penny. Added to this phenomenon is the ‘special model factor’, where particular models are I Fake Rolex military dial (British army) adaptable on Submariner 5513-12
given a special name, such as the ‘Red’ for the Submariner, or the ‘Cornino’ for the GMT-Master 1675. In fact, the Cornino is no more rare than the ‘ordinary’ 1675, despite fetching up to three times as much, for a model that originally sold by the thousands. Without wishing to lay any blame at the feet of the collectors, or to decry the ‘creation’ of rare models, it is nevertheless true that from the moment a small detail on a mass-produced watch can make such a huge difference, the door to counterfeiting begins to gape wide open. In fact it is very easy for a counterfeiter to create a specific fake, thereby trebling the potential upside, just by beginning with a regular Submariner reference 1680, for example, which currently sells for between EUR 5,000 and 6,000. What if it could be turned into a ‘Submariner Red’, or a Comex? Or even a particularly prized version specially produced for Qatar? The sky’s the limit. A vintage watch enthusiast, when considering purchasing this kind of model, would almost always be motivated by the hope of being able to sell at a profit. He will be well aware that the prices of certain models doubled, tripled or quadrupled between 2005 and 2014. What makes these particular models so soughtafter? It could be the dial. But there is nothing easier to fake than a dial! And what happens when, five years down the line, the buyer learns that his Red Rolex Submariner is just a fake? If he wants to restore it to its authentic condition he will need to find an original dial, unrestored and with its vintage patina. These days,
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old watch dials change hands for between EUR 1,000 and EUR 15,000. Investing such a sum in a watch dial, and decreasing the value of the watch in order to make it authentic (replacing the dial with what is known as a ‘service dial’) simply represents a net loss. And any means that there may be of gaining redress for this kind of fraud would also add considerably to the final bill. There are dozens of similar examples. Many have paid the price, some very dearly. Anyone who has been scammed with a dodgy Submariner will recover relatively quickly, but when it’s a so-called Comex, or a Daytona Paul Newman, that’s another matter entirely. The bill can mount up pretty quickly.
THE COLLECTIBLE WATCH MARKET IS FLOODED WITH FAKES So, fakes are not just a problem for the contemporary watch market. The most prized models have seen their prices rise, some of them very impressively. And to the great astonishment of all concerned, they do not look likely to fall any time soon. But the collectors’ watch market has started to become polluted with counterfeit pieces, and the phenomenon
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Counterfeit of a Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263
is spreading like an oil slick. It’s quite an achievement these days to find an authentic Tudor Marine Nationale. It has also become practically a full-time job just keeping up with the collectible watch market. All it takes is for a particular model to have a record sale, and prices across the market are completely skewed. Let’s look at one well-known example: Jean-Claude Killy’s Rolex was sold for nearly 650,000 dollars by Sotheby’s in 2013, on the high side for a watch considered to be worth around EUR 160,000 on a good day. A few weeks later it was impossible to pick one up for less than EUR 250,000. Another factor, the condition of the watch, is also beginning to lose its importance. Some buyers these days are prepared to jump off a cliff for an oxidised dial. It’s a complex situation. But how can you be sure of getting good value in a marketplace where fakes are becoming endemic? The solution is to withdraw, regroup and don’t jump head-first into a sale without doing your homework. It is far better to think things through, and learn what has become almost a profession in itself. Some watches are relatively easy to
fake, and the reason is simple. Often, what makes a model rare is some visible detail: typography (characters used on the dial), a production error in a particular year, colours, logos, etc. Also, given that a watch consists of just a case, a dial, a strap, hands and a movement, there’s not a lot to it. The most banal example we can think of is this: Rolex apparently (according to ‘experts’) produced a series of GMT-Master models for the army. Which army? Some will say Peru, others might say Argentina, Saudi Arabia, or even Italy. But consider this: no record or document discovered to date has identified the origin of these models with their full blue bezel. While these watches look superb, particularly when the hour markers are nicely oxidised with a brassy patina, we are bound to point out that the model is rare, and that makes it very expensive. Today, we can find regular Rolex GMTMaster ‘Blue Bezel’ models going for over EUR 10,000. What’s the problem, you might ask? Well, the only thing that makes this 1675 ‘very rare’ is its blue bezel. And a counterfeit blue bezel can be sourced on the black market for under 50 dollars. In conditions like these it’s not easy to know what to do. So it is a very real problem. The situation would be quite different if it was about pure watchmaking details, such as the mechanism or a given complication, but that is not the case. Today, the high ground is occupied by a maximum of three brands. It is therefore more essential than ever to learn something about the subject before making hasty purchase decisions. p
Would you like to know more about the second-hand watch market, and learn how to recognise genuine models with the aid of technical resource materials? Real and Fake Watches by Fabrice Guéroux is available from Watchprint Editions – www.watchprint.com.
DEBATES, OP-EDS & CHRONICLES
ANALYSIS | INTERVIEW
FOR THE FRENCH WATCH INDUSTRY Lower volumes but higher values: the French market holds a mirror to global trends, with a few Gallic peculiarities, such as the importance of the Asian client base, the desire of some to rebuild the national watchmaking industry, and the emergence of new start-ups. Simon Beillevaire, a partner at Mazars France, spoke with Serge Maillard.
seen the emergence of new French brands driven by young entrepreneurs such as William L.; made in China, these watches combine design codes borrowed from the major French and Swiss brands with high-quality materials and a low price (€149). What impact have the terror attacks and the security situation had on the French watch market?
by Serge Maillard, Europa Star What overall conclusions can be drawn from the results of 2015 on the French watch market? In 2015 the French watch market once again recorded a slight decline in consumption (in volume terms). Traditional watchmaking products are suffering from competition from new products such as smartwatches, and the widespread availability of other devices that can tell the time (e.g. smartphones and tablets). Nevertheless, consumption in value terms is gradually increasing, indicating that watches have become a fashion accessory in their own right. The higher end of the market is enjoying particularly strong growth. Manufacturers, however, are subject to greater competition on the domestic market, with a significant increase in imports, particularly from Switzerland and Asia.
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In terms of market segments, which price ranges worked best, which worked less well, and what brands are we talking about? While watches priced under €50 still have the lion’s share of the market in volume terms, sales of watches costing over €100 have increased year on year, and this extends into the luxury sector. Here, the majority of sales go to the big watch names (Swatch Group, Richemont, Rolex, LVMH) whose brands (Longines, Tissot, Cartier, Rolex, Hublot, TAG Heuer) enjoy strong recognition among consumers, whether they are French or visitors from abroad. Mid-range watches (around €100), where names including Morellato, Swatch and Fossil dominate, are also popular in France. Finally, we have also
It is still difficult to evaluate the real impact of the security situation on the French watch market, but some consumer trends can give us food for thought. First of all, more than 50% of watch sales in France take place in city-centre jewellers, with around 25% in shopping malls and department stores, a trend that has remained more or less stable since 2008. Also, online shopping continues to strengthen its position in this market. While consumers have chosen to turn to local businesses and the internet for their Christmas shopping, and assuming that watches are appropriately packaged for shipping, it seems highly unlikely that the slight decline in watch sales in France (around -2% in 2015) might be due to a feeling of insecurity. Nevertheless, as the Swatch Group noted in a recent press release, it will be interesting to see whether sales of luxury watches, which are largely the province of wealthy visitors, correlate with the significant downturn in tourism we have seen, particularly in Paris.
Has the global slowdown in the watch industry had an effect in France? Watch purchases are declining in France, as they are in all the other neighbouring countries. Nevertheless, this decline (in volume) should be no more than -1% for 2014–2015, returning to similar levels to 2009. As far as client demographic is concerned, which group dominates: foreign (mainly Asian) clients, or local clients? The French remain loyal wristwatch wearers, but they tend to focus mainly on watches priced between €50 and €100. Luxury product sales, however, are strongly influenced by tourist visits to Paris. While the Japanese and Americans have historically been regular clients of French highend boutiques, the Chinese and, more recently, the Brazilians are now entering the luxury market. As far as French watch exports are concerned, the main markets in 2014 were Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. Has the slow growth in France had any impact on the local watch market? Given that watches have become fashion accessories rather than utilitarian products in their own right, their consumption is clearly linked to the standard of living of the French. If we take the sales volumes figures published by the Comité Francéclat since 2005, it is clear that sales are closely correlated
with financial crises. Between 2007 and 2008, then between 2012 and 2013, sales fell by around 9%, reflecting the unstable economic situation in France. On the other hand, the average watch price and the total value of watch sales has continued to rise, reflecting stability in sales of mid-range and high-end watches (with the exception, perhaps, of 2015, when Paris, the international mecca of luxury, was virtually deserted by wealthy tourists).
“We have seen the emergence of new French brands driven by young entrepreneurs such as William L.” What about the French brands (Michel Herbelin, Pequignet, Bell & Ross)? Is the national market a vital outlet for these companies? France still possesses some fine watchmakers, most of them in the luxury watch sector. The biggest of them, in terms of revenue, include Christian Bernard, Bodet, Montres Michel Herbelin, Montres Ambre and Pierre Lannier. Bell & Ross is representative of the sector, in that almost 80% of its revenue comes from exports. Nevertheless, the French market remains key for many watchmakers. In 2011, just 16% of revenues of the Christian Bernard group came from exports. And, to give just one more example, Michel Herbelin watches now make up around 30% of
the French watch market in the price range from €300 to €2,000. Do you think that reviving the French watch industry is a feasible scenario in the medium to long term? It’s a scenario very dear to the hearts of many seasoned entrepreneurs, who want to promote the Made in France label. Alexandre Bianchi is one of them, along with Lip, which has moved back to the Franche-Comté region. Nevertheless, there are some obstacles in the way. To begin with, there’s the issue of profitability: in order to be able to make mid-range watches, many components have to be imported, often from Asia. In terms of human resources, the watch industry requires highly-trained professionals, and there is a dearth of candidates going into the professional lycées. Those that do complete their training, notably in Franche-Comté, which adjoins Switzerland, are often drawn to work for Swiss companies, where salaries are higher and where they enjoy international recognition. Finally, from a social standpoint, the community spirit among manufacturers of parts, bracelets and movements has broken down over time, as the factories have gradually closed. Nevertheless, with the support of great historic brands such as Pequignet, Yonger & Bresson and Michel Herbelin, and the arrival of new actors on the scene who are beating the drum for the values of Made in France and the power of innovation, we can still hope to see a French watchmaking renaissance. p
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CHRONOGRAPHS FOR COLLECTORS by Joël Pynson and Sébastien Chaulmontet An original reference work that traces the history of chronographs which have made their mark on the 20th century. 30 detailed chapters, lavishly illustrated with 450 previously unpublished photographs, describing, comparing and eveluating the watches in detail. Legendary chronographs such as the Omega Speedmaster, Heuer Carrera, Rolex Daytona, Longines 13 ZN, Universal Tri-Compax, Breitling Navitimer, Zenith El Primero and more can be found between its covers together with their principal variants. And there are numerous other, often overlooked, classics: for example the Mido Multi-Centerchrono, Minerva 13/20, Excelsior Park 4, Index-Mobile of Dubey & Schaldenbrand, Eberhard Contodat, Enicar Jet Graph and many others. You can even find details about those rare pearls such as the Invicta Chrono-Sport, Blancpain Air Command and Angelus Chrono-Datoluxe. The work gives the amateur the chance to discover all the richness and variety of collectable chronographs. To the expert collector it gives valuable advice that will refine their knowledge and lead to pastures new. It has taken no fewer than two doctors to bring this enterprise to fruition and it has been more than three years in the making
• 232 pages | format: 24x28 cm | price CHF 160
TWELVE: WATCH BUYER ’S JOURNAL by Jacob Tomkins / Contributors : Andrew Hildreth, Simon de Burton, Ken Kessler This book provides watch lovers with the tools to become more informed buyers. It examines watches in the same way as any valuable investment; through fact and not opinion. It covers subjects like history, materials, artisanal skill and longevity within watches, alongside factual information on auction prices and performance tracking. Issue One is the start of a desirable collection of its own – the first of twelve editorial issues as valuable to a collector or watch lover as any of their most prized purchases. Contents: Understanding Value – Buying Vs Collecting – Complications – Longevity – Materials Science – Case Manufacturing – How To Collect – The Internet – Auction Index – Brands and Milestones – Observatory Competitions – Industry Profiles Hand made cloth-covered slip case, soft cover, foil pressed, limited print run.
• 150 pages | color ill. | format: 176 x 250 cm | price: CHF 90
ULTIMATE ROLEX DAYTONA, THE MINI EDITION by Paolo Gobbi, Pino Abbrescia, Fabio Santinelli The infinite world of Daytona in the palm of one’s hand. All the captivating appeal of the Rolex sports icon encompassed in a sophisticated miniature. The right synthesis of inimitable beauty. The compact version of “Ultimate Rolex Daytona” was created with this objective in mind: emphasising the detail of unique images, preparing them in a format that is small as well as precious. A capsule version of a text summarising the over 50-years life span of the Daytona, going over all the milestones that marked the existence of one of the watches that changed forever the history of collectibles. Few words for many stories, a miniature book describing a giant in the world of watchmaking.
• 608 pages | 2,000 colour ill. | format: 17 x 13.6 cm incl. case | price: CHF 415
IN STEP WITH TIME: FROM SWISS INDUSTRIES FAIR TO MCH GROUP by Patrick Kury & Esther Baur In 1917 the Swiss Industries Fair in Basel opened its doors for the first time. Over the course of the last hundred years the event has grown from a national display of Swiss Industry into an international corporation operating numerous fairs and events of its own, in Switzerland as well as abroad, including the world-renowned watch and jewellery fair Baselworld and Art Basel. Every year the fairs bring together hundreds of thousands of visitors and exhibitors to do business and create new networks. In this richly illustrated volume thirteen authors tell of the courage of the founding years, the rise of the fair to a national institution and of its success in the international fair industry.
• 368 pages | format: 24 x 28 cm | Price: CHF 59
EDITORIAL & ADVERTISERS’ INDEX A, B A. Lange & Söhne 22 Adriatica 151 Aerowatch 68, 130 Agenhor 32 Alexandre Bianchi 149 Alpina 124 Ambre 149 Angelus 106, 151 Anonimo 130 Anson 147 Antoine Preziuso 56 Apple 76, 77 Armin Strom 110 ArtyA 62, 108, 138, 139 Audemars Piguet 21, 88 Aviator 128 Baselworld 153 Baume & Mercier 89 Bell & Ross 38, 126, 127, 149 Blancpain 118 Bodet 149 Breguet 112 Breitling 76, 126, 151 BRM 122 Bulgari 20, 106, 107, 116, 117 C, D Cabestan 110 Carl F. Bucherer COVER I, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 Cartier 82, 87, 148 Casio 26, 78, 79, 80, 81 Century 38, 100 Christian Bernard 149 Citizen 44, 53, 134, 135 Chanel 4, 5, 114, 115, 116 Chopard 116 Chronoswiss 52 Christophe Claret 50 Clerc 130 Comité Francéclat 70, 71, 149 Corum 6, 118 Cuervo y Sobrinos 40, 124 Czapek 48 De Bethune 83 DeWitt 36, 118 Dubey & Schaldenbrand 151 E, F Eberhard & Co 42, 151 Emile Chouriet 45, 66 Emporio Armani 123 Enicar 151 EPHJ 145
Epos 122 Ernest Borel 37, 46, 102, 112 ETA 35 Eterna Movement 54 Fabergé 46, 105 Follie Follie 63 Fossil 148 Fossil Group 64 F.P. Journe 55 Frederique Consant 42, 120 G, H Gainerie 91 103 Girard-Perregaux 94, 95, 132 Greco 47 Greubel Forsey Grönefeld 29, 106 Gucci 30 Haldimann 108, 109 Hautlence 128, 129 Harry Winston 116 Hermès 112 HKTDC 150 Hublot 26, 128, 148 Hysek 31, 40 HYT 44, 85 J, K, L Jaeger-LeCoultre 86 Jaquet-Droz 114 Junghans 51 Kerbedanz 118, 119 Kolber 69 Laurent Ferrier 28, 114 Linde Werdelin 130 Links of London 49 Lip 149 L. Leroy 108 Longines 148, 151 Louis Erard 52 Louis Vuitton 23, 56 LVMH 148 M, N Manufacture Royale 34 March LA.B 56 Maurice Lacroix 64 Mauron Musy 58 MB&F 24, 84 Meccaniche Veloci 34, 43 Michel Herbelin 149 Mido 151 Mondaine 50, 67 Montblanc 87, 88 Morellato 148 Movado 114 Nomos 66
O, P Ogival 65 Okletey 110 Omega 77, 125, 151 Orient 61, 142, 143 Oris 131 Parmigiani Fleurier 62, 86 Patek Philippe COVER IV, 24, 90, 91, 92, 93 Pequignet 136, 137, 149 Piaget 86 Pierre DeRoche 128 Pierre Lannier 149 Promotion SpA 59 R, S Rado 121 Raidillon 60 Raymond Weil 25, 48, 98, 99 Rebellion 58 Revelation 122 Richard Mille 85 Richemont 6, 148 RJ-Romain Jerome 22 Roger Dubuis 76 Rolex COVER II, 3 (Europe), 76, 77, 144, 146, 148, 151 Rudis Sylva 104 Schwarz-Etienne 30 Seiko 28, 86, 96, 97, 124 Speake-Marin 108 Swatch 148 Swatch Group 18, 148 T, U TAG Heuer COVER II, 3 (International), COVER III (Europe), 16, 17, 21, 88, 110, 111, 148, 151 Timecrafters 133 Tissot 27, 126, 148 Titoni 41, 57 Ulysse Nardin 120 Universal 151 Urban Jürgensen 33, 54 V, W, Y, Z Vianney Halter 58 Voutilainen 83 Walca 120 Wenger 126 Westar 101 William L. 148 Yonger & Bresson 149 Zenith 32, 112, 113, 151 ZRC 39, 68
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The one unmissable trendsetting show for the entire watch and jewellery industry, where all key players unite to unveil their latest creations and innovations. Be a part of this premier event and experience passion, precision and perfection in action.
MARCH 17 â€“ 24, 2016
A ZEST by D. Malcolm Lakin
ne of the world’s great bargains is the Star Ferry in Hong Kong. For 30 Swiss centimes (HK$ 2.50) you can take the ferry from Wan Chai to Kowloon, or vice versa, and if you make the trip at night enjoy a spectacularly colourful skyline. I used to take it regularly when I attended the HKTDC Watch & Clock Fair, happily paying my fare until one day I was alerted to the small notice at the ticket counter stating it was free for people over 65 years of age. Initially I refused to admit to myself that I was an old age pensioner, but one day, late for the ferry, I simply jogged through the gate, nodded to the controller and enjoyed one of the world’s best freebies. From that moment on … Down here in Menton with its own impressive panorama, there’s another bargain to be had: a fourteen-seater Zest bus that runs from the Pont St. Louis, which is literally on the border of France and Italy, to Monaco, a 9 kilometre trip along the scenic coast road for the bargain price of 1.50 euros (1.60 Swiss francs). A less spectacular but more fascinating Zest trip is from the covered market in the centre of town to where I live via a narrow, hilly and tortuous winding route that is offered for a mere 1.10 euros. The trip to Monaco is a delight, but the trip home is both entertaining and informative since the regular passengers openly discuss what’s happening in town and reveal intimate details of each other which you cannot avoid overhearing. Last Saturday I was the only male passenger on the bus, surrounded by a dozen elderly good-humoured ladies who embrace each other as they get on and off
154 | LAKIN@LARGE | europa star
the bus. They laughed and moaned about everything from the price of vegetables, their pensions, the politics of President Hollande and their ailments. However, the real fun started when the first two ladies descended halfway up the hill and the wagging tongues revealed that they lived together and, with a nudge, nod and a wink, whispered that they were in a ‘relationship’. A couple of minutes later, a lady with two vast shopping bags filled with everything from baguettes to highly pungent onions rang the bell for the driver to stop and left to a chorus of au revoir and à bientôt. Once the bus was on its way again the lady’s medical history was discussed in semi-whispered terms, “you know she’s had her ‘machin’ removed and now she’s going to have her varicose veins seen to.” At this point the driver, a friendly and jovial Italian, burst into song and as all the ladies quickly joined in the bus sounded more like pensioners in a charabanc on a day’s outing as we zig-zagged along the mimosa and fig tree lined road to the next stop, the cemetery. At the Cimetière du Vieux-château all but yours truly left the bus. It’s very popular with locals and tourists alike
since there is a magnificent view of the bay of Menton and the old town with the eye-catching baroque Saint-Michel Archange Basilica. It hosts numerous white Russians and local dignitaries, but the most eminent of its residents is the Reverend William Webb Ellis, an Anglican clergyman and the presumed originator of rugby football. There’s even a statue of Webb Ellis as a schoolboy holding a rugby ball that was unveiled in 2006 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of his birth. Alone at last, the driver continued his recital regaling me with a highly animated version of O sole mio, the first lyrics of which are Che bella cosa è na jurnata ’e sole - What a beautiful thing is a sunny day - and all for 1.10 euros. For those of you who stockpile trivia, Zest is a part of CarPostal France which is a subsidiary of the Suisse CarPostal company. Unsurprisingly this reminded me about a man who was laying some flowers on his mother’s grave. As he was leaving he walked past a man sobbing and crying “Oh, why did you have to die, why did you have to die?” Moved by the man’s distress, he went over, apologised for the intrusion and asked if it was his wife or his child who had passed away. The mourner looked up with tears streaming down his face and said, “No, it was my wife’s first husband.” Well, you’ve got to laugh haven’t you. p