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14 P E E H U T SS I
C I R E
| ON ITI ED AL OB GL
WHAT TRUMP MEANS FOR WATCHES And what happened with the five last US Presidents
THE HOTTEST ISSUE IN THE INDUSTRY And the multiple ways through the crisis
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FOLLOW THE SIGNS: PAST
WITTY COLUMNISTS, WATCH YOUR MOUTH! And a last word… to start your reading (because many people in fact read in the Japanese way)
HOW TO (RE)CONQUER THE YOUNGSTERS And what goes through the minds of Millennials
WHAT WE OWE TO JEWISH WATCHMAKERS And the path towards industrialisation
RETAIL: 10 TIPS TO BEAT THE MARKET And make sure your store is a must-go
GLASHÜTTE: THIS START-UP NEVER GETS OLD And how the Germans are defying the Swiss
FRENCH WATCHMAKING: IT’S NOW OR NEVER! And meet Besançon’s next generation
The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily Europa Star. Subscription service |Europa Star Time.Business & Time.Keeper | 5 issues | Worldwide airmail delivery CHF 90 | Subscription orders via: europastar.com/subscribe | Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org www.europastar.com |
or our 90th anniversary, we are proud to present the new Europa Star. In this ultra-innovative concept, the context provides the physical and metaphorical “wrapper” for the content. The product is in two parts: Time.Business and Time.Keeper, with a new, dynamic layout and graphics. This concept provides a solution to a form of “schizophrenia” we have been struggling with. Fundamentally, there are two ways for a journalist to approach a watch: through the product itself, or through its context, which means the strategy chosen by the company that developed it. History shows us that a wonderful product can arrive at the wrong time, a bad product can be a surprise hit, and – happily – a good product can arrive at the right time. We were constantly asking ourselves what was the best journalistic approach to take. How could we oﬀer relevant commentary about watches, and about their context, at the same time? For us, then, it comes as something of a relief to be able to separate these two approaches. The clarification is also welcome, and necessary, given the muddying of genres that is all too common in watch journalism. Our Time.Business folio includes wide-ranging articles, comprehensive dossiers and in-depth reporting on the industry, its business and its economic and geopolitical context. Time.Keeper is devoted to new watches, galleries, brands and their products. The new format has also given us an opportunity to examine more closely how print and digital media can work hand-in-hand. What is the role of each? We believe that the magazine should provide an “experience”. It should be a treat to read, something you might want to keep on your shelf to refer back to. That’s why we have decided to call each issue a Chapter. At Baselworld we will launch our second major anniversary project: a new website in several languages. We will also expand our international distribution to collectors, enthusiasts and the entire watch community, in order to reach what we call the “global watchmaking ecosystem”, from our place at its heart. We strongly believe in the interconnectedness of all those involved in this microscopic and plural universe, where the boundaries of influence are so vague. All of these developments are going ahead in concert with our partners – LargeNetwork, DLG, Opus Magnum, Watchonista and Watchprint – because we believe that networks are essential in our watchmaking universe. For four generations, we have been putting our hearts and minds into all that we do. This has been our greatest satisfaction: taking pleasure in doing what we love, every day, in a climate of freedom and independence, without (overly) demanding shareholders, taking the temperature of our times. We would like to thank all our readers, past, present and future, for their loyalty: this is our strength and our guiding light. The concept of time itself will take a central role in the organisation of our publications, whose content will be innovatively arranged according to past / present / future (follow the signs!). Time is the most fascinating mystery that lies at the heart of our universe. And it will always remain so.
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• Tension on the price front is indicative of the current situation in the watch industry. • During the past ten years, we have witnessed an “explosion” at several levels – prices, styles, a multiplication of innovations, an acceleration in the pace of launches. • This “explosion” has left brands, retailers and consumers bewildered and disorientated and has saturated the markets. • At the same time, traditional distribution has been turned upside down, both by the proliferation of brand boutiques and by new uses of digital technology. • Customer volatility and nomadic purchasing habits have increased. • The simultaneous arrival of smartwatches has added to the confusion. • Saturation has triggered a certain disenchantment with – or even a disavowal of – watches.
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The large groups did not remain impassive as the fever rose, and they too began oﬀering more and more extravagant products – talking pieces aimed first and foremost at generating buzz and showing how modern they were, like trees hiding the more financially rewarding wood. It was against this backdrop of technical, mechanical and stylistic inflation that prices quite naturally soared. Even the most banal watches muscled up in a testosterone-fuelled market ambience, baring their mechanical entrails more and more, as if trying to physically justify their swelling prices.
But before we start analysing the current situation, let’s cast our eyes back. Because, although the watchmaking business is all about time, it often has a short memory. We only have to go back about fifteen years to find the source of the problems that the watchmaking industry is facing today. As Denis Asch explains (see next page), attitudes towards purchasing a watch have changed considerably in 15 years. In the early 2000s, Richard Mille (2001) and Greubel Forsey (2004) watches began their steady climb to the top. Back then, Richard Mille oﬀered watches in a totally diﬀerent style from the norm; in particular, he introduced research into new materials and innovative architecture, while the more neo-classical Greubel Forsey sought to take chronometric research and decorative excellence to new levels. Rave reviews and successful sales, at often very high prices (which, in their case, were justified by their rarity) gave rise to numerous emulators. Among them were authentic, original approaches to quality watchmaking, but also numerous opportunist launches based essentially on price, the product being of almost secondary importance as long as it conformed to the latest fashion, as if the watch was the packaging for the price.
This inflation – and success – is corroborated by the Swiss export statistics for timepieces with an export price of CHF 3,000 and over (see graph). The figures are unequivocal: the share in value of the highest-end watches rose from a modest 15.5% in 2000 to peak at 62% in 2014 and 2015. Whereas over the same period, the total number of timepieces exported remained virtually stable, or even fell back slightly, from just over 29 million in 2000 to 28 million in 2015. In other words, watch prices underwent a virtually meteoric rise and the Swiss watch industry got high (and, consequently, dependent) on luxury. While this situation was manna from heaven for watchmakers, it also paved the way for the current slump. The watch industry gradually retreated to the summits, producing fewer and fewer timepieces, but more and more costly ones – witness timepieces with an export price of under CHF 200: they represented almost half of the total value of exports in 2000 against only one-tenth in 2015. The price issue is indeed at the heart of the current delicate situation.
3,000.- CHF AND PLUS WATCHES AS % OF TOTAL OFFICIAL SWISS WATCH EXPORT VALUE
Export value (in CHF)
Export total (in CHF)
No. of timepieces 3,000 +
Source: Swiss Customs / FH. Export prices, add margins up to retailer prices.
I opened in 2001 in the right place and at the right Today, people – at least some of them – are richer, but what time. I was astonished by the ease with which I has changed is the way they buy and the way they spend. And could sell expensive watches. The price was of sec- it has to be said that some brands asked abusive prices and ondary importance. People only asked the price some customers were taken in by false promises or false valat the finish. People didn’t ask for any discount, ues. I asked new brands that weren’t well-known and had no they wanted the watch whatever it cost. Then the economic complications why they were selling such expensive watchsituation and buying habits gradually changed. The curve es? They didn’t really have any answer. But at the same time, was reversed: people asked for the price it’s not solely the fault of the brands. If first of all, then they began asking for a there are stupid programmes on the TV, reduction. it’s because people watch them. Up to 2008, we sold watches, not prices. I wanted to sell watches, not names or I sold Richard Mille or Greubel Forsey prices. But I was one of the few retailers watches at the full catalogue price. Today, that did! Between 2001 and 2007, I had a if you oﬀer 10% oﬀ the same watch, peoprofit margin of around 40%. My lowest ple laugh in your face. average mark-up was 35%. Most brands When I’d sell an Eberhard to a student, were giving 50%. Too many watch bouCOMMENTS BY DENIS ASCH for example, he’d scrimp and save to tiques wanted to sell at any price, or (EUROPA STAR ARCADE, NOVEMBER 2016), buy it, so I’d spend as much time with sell oﬀ stock just to make money, and WATCH EXPERT AND FORMER RETAILER him as with a well-informed collector the brands realised that: “Since you’re WHO CLOSED HIS SHOP RATHER THAN of Greubel Forseys. But gradually, I selling at a lower price, we’ll lower your CHANGE PROFESSION. spent less and less time selling complex margins. You swallow the discount.” watches. People would phone up and It’s because of the ones who sold prices ask “have you got that in stock? I’ll drop in later” – and after and not watches that profit margins came down. Too many five minutes in the shop they’d make out a big cheque, and retailers gave discounts. I got friends to phone up and test that was that. It’s true that customers were better and better boutiques, and it was incredible to see how many retailers informed, by the blogs in particular. gave a discount of 20% without even meeting the customer. The brands realised. Retailers have shot themselves in the foot. As for me, I lost sales because I refused to give discounts “Is it a good investment?” of more than 10%. But not many of us were able to resist. My approach was more purist than commercial. I foresaw The curve was reversed from 2007: people began asking me trends and gave up retail: on the one hand I could see the if a Richard Mille watch was an investment. By the end, one trend towards discount prices and also, people had less need person out of every two would ask if it was an investment. of my explanations and expertise. Or they came to see me There was no more impulse buying from collectors or bank- for my explanations and then went and bought the watch ers who wanted to treat themselves. For them, the word in Singapore.” “spend” didn’t even exist anymore.
“I wanted to sell watches, not prices”
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For the past fifty years, the only so-called ‘watches’ worn by young people have been garish, interchangeable, gimmicky things; accessories rather than real watches. That’s because young people’s relationship with time has changed hugely. Sociologists have now started taking an interest in the subject, revealing how young people have developed this particular approach to time since becoming “hyperconnected”. The watchmaking industry, meanwhile, mostly has a lot of catching up to do.
Â© Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/ Getty Images
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Ruined, oppressed, plundered – Germany’s watchmaking stronghold has succeeded in rising from the ashes several times over. Its “quartz crises” were real wars, blockades and wholesale dismantling. As Swiss watchmaking suffers the throes of a deep-seated crisis, we travelled to Glashütte to investigate what has been accomplished there since the fall of the Wall. Everything had to be rebuilt from scratch and (almost) everything has been. Travel notes.
e’re sorry we’re not Swiss. But we’re German!” This is the response of Yann Gamard, the owner of Glashütte Original, when asked if it was really possible to produce attractive non-Helvetic watches. His Saxon colleague Alexander Philipp from the Tutima brand backs this up: “There are already so many watch brands on the market. When a retailer already has ten Swiss brands in his portfolio, being German sets us apart a little.” So, how about travelling a little way north of Switzerland? At a time when the Swiss watchmaking industry is experiencing a slowdown of a magnitude it has not seen in a very long time, it does you good to cross the border and head for Glashütte, a small, quiet town surrounded by hills between Dresden and the Czech Republic. This temple of German watchmaking has experienced a remarkable expansion in recent times. One of the best examples of this is Nomos: ultra-edgy and much admired by urban chic aesthetes, the brand allows itself the luxury of oﬀering in-house movements starting at 1,000 euros, and the irony of having a collection of made-in-Glashütte watches christened – Zurich.
Little Germans versus big Swiss The Glashütte watch industry, identifiable by its threequarter base plate developed by the “patriarch”, Ferdinand Adolph Lange, which distinguishes it from its Swiss cousins, acknowledged for the quality of its finishes and attention to detail, and praised for its moderate pricing, could almost teach Swiss watchmakers a thing or two. Although many Swiss businesses proclaim themselves to be “manufactures” while buying everything in, integrated skills have long been a reality in this Saxon valley – including control over their movement assortments. Nomos developed its own in collaboration with Dresden University of Technology. Nomos director Uwe Ahrendt enthusiastically shows us his new, automatic DUW 3001 movement, at the same time noting a diﬀerence in spirit of the “start-up” Glashütte with the well-established Swiss watch industry, for obvious reasons: “A giant and reliable movement maker like ETA, for instance, developed its mod-
as a hed d 1400 s i l b n esta arou ere. 6 150 shütte is aid that works h Gla : it is s glass city e were r the
els in the 1970s; they’re hard-wearing, tried-and-tested and they sell. So why change?” Nomos, which posted growth of more than 30% in 2015 and produces around 20,000 watches a year with a staﬀ of 240 people, intends to double in size over the next three years. Like its fellow manufactures in the region, it can count on a solid domestic market, but also a breakthrough into the US market. It has just expanded its machine tool inventory (which is Swiss) in response to rising demand, and is set to build a second additional workshop.
Courteous respect and subtle digs As for A. Lange & Söhne, their new building is already built, inaugurated with pomp and ceremony by Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015. Wilhelm Schmid, CEO of this haute horlogerie brand, takes a look around him: “In Glashütte, almost all of us work in diﬀerent segments, so there’s very little overlap between our niche markets and we’re all working to develop regional watchmaking, with certain quality standards. They diﬀer, of course, depending on the price segment, but in my view, no cheap watch should ever come out of Glashütte. That would be detrimental to everybody.” At Glashütte Original, it is even explained to us that there exists a “gentlemen’s agreement” between the brands, according to which “one does not poach other companies’ employees”. So, an idyllic world where peace and serenity come before individual self-interest? Let’s not kid ourselves – behind the oﬃcial discourse is the usual backbiting, and employees switch from one company to another, just like in Switzerland. The current CEOs of Nomos and Moritz Grossmann are, incidentally, formerly of A. Lange & Söhne, the veritable mothership of the watchmaking industry. While courteous respect reigns between the brands, competition is crystallising around the Glashütte legacy, in particular. Every brand has its pride and believes that it best embodies the original spirit of the place. All of them resumed their former names in the 1990s and 2000s. Yet this legacy cannot be taken for granted, given the turbulent history of the region, which has been reduced to rubble on several occasions. In fact, everything in Glashütte rose out of the ruins. Let us take a closer look.
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In the mid-nineteenth century, Glashütte was a destitute village. Its economy was deSaxony’s finest hours pendent on metal mining and the mines had dried up. Just as Ferdinand Adolph To understand the history of watchmakLange was asking for financial support ing in Glashütte, you have to start with from the king of Saxony, a development a visit to Dresden and the magnificent programme was being put in place for Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon of the several villages in that rural area. Eleven Zwinger Palace. Peter Plessmeyer, the cuvillages vied with one another to host this rator, welcomes us for a tour of its storied new watchmaking centre. The timing was Automaton clock “drumming bear” (around 1625) halls and its extraordinary mechanical just right, as with the advent of the indusand scientific objects, such as the seventeenth-century me- trial revolution, demand for pocket watches was rising. chanical bear with a drum. Glashütte, the poorest of the localities, was chosen partly beDesigned as an orangery for the king of Saxony, by 1728 the cause it oﬀered to pay for some of the investment, but also Zwinger had evolved into a palace of science modelled on because of its proximity to Dresden. So it was that Lange similar entities in London and Paris: from this period, you arrived in 1845, accompanied by 15 apprentices and fellow can see a cabinet with giant burning mirrors and huge watchmakers; they were the “founding fathers” of the inlenses. “The palace gradually came to specialise in astron- dustry in Glashütte and combined their eﬀorts to produce omy and, as the instruments demand great precision, that the movement typical of the region. However, for many paved the way for the development of watchmaking,” Peter years Lange and his successors would continue to inscribe Plessmeyer explains. “Since Dresden was not a major watch- ‘Dresden’ on their watch dials. making centre, the city acquired its know-how from outside, To start with, Glashütte was a carbon copy of the Swiss watch innotably from British designers of naval chronometers.” dustry – the result of Ferdinand Adolph Lange’s discovery of the The Saxon watchmaker Johann Heinrich Seyﬀert (1751-1818), in établissage system during his travels in Switzerland. By around particular, set out to rival his English counterparts. He gave the year 1900, this loosely grouped manufacture comprised rise to a whole line of great and extremely productive watch- some one hundred tiny workshops. But gradually, the “copy” makers, as the teacher of Johann Christian Friedrich Gutkaes began to develop its own interpretation of watchmaking, the (1785-1845), who was himself the mentor of Ferdinand Adolph most famous characteristic being the three-quarter base plate, Lange (1815-1875). Together, the two men designed the famous a “sandwich” design, whereas the Swiss tended to work more Fünf-Minuten-Uhr in Dresden’s opera house which, with its two with bridges. As new markets opened up, the tiny Saxon town huge rectangular apertures, still influences design at Lange. began to carve out an international reputation for itself.
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© Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
UP D G O SA LA W N SH N D ÜT S T
Although the mentor dreamed in vain of industrialising watch production, his pupil did succeed, after countless trips to Paris, London and Switzerland and the filing of numerous patents. Our next appointment is at the German Watch Museum, inaugurated by the Swatch Group in a former watchmaking school in Glashütte.
t rke ma of l a i g 0 o soc ndin 199 nsition t and fou GmbH. Tra nomy Uhren eco Lange the
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Having just left the army in 1927, I made the decision to get away from the formality of an officer’s uniform. With interviews in the city over the following weeks in mind, I wandered along London’s Oxford Street to visit Mr Selfridge’s large emporium to purchase a new outfit. In the past I used a gentleman’s tailor in Cork Street, next to Savile Row, but my finances no longer permitted bespoke tailoring, nevertheless I found a sturdy three-piece tweed suit in Selfridge’s place, bought two white shirts with detachable collars and cuffs and a handsome yellow paisley bow tie with a matching silk square for my top pocket. I also found a splendid pair of two-tone lace-up shoes in brown and white and given the warm weather chose a straw boater - which I hoped to change for a bowler in the near future. Naturally I could no longer carry a military swagger stick so I completed my outfit with a fine silver-topped cane. To enhance my modern look I thought about acquiring one of the newfangled timepieces worn on the wrist, but having survived several incursions in India with my Camerer Cuss Rolex pocket watch, and despite the case being dented from a stray bullet, I favoured that. I returned to my lodgings in the Strand exhausted and sat down before the fireplace, poured myself a glass of port, lit my pipe and opened a letter that invited me for an interview the following day in the city (I cannot mention the name since that would be indelicate as I am not yet in their employ). The following day, I strolled to the city quite exhilarated spruced up in my new clothes. It was a beautiful day, but I have to admit that it didn’t compare to the exhilaration in India of being shot at early in the morning.
I’ve just read my grandfather’s diary and I can’t believe all the fuss and bother he went through buying his gear. I suppose he looked cool in those days, but what a business. I mean bow ties and two-tone shoes? Can you imagine life in 2017 having to worry about what you wear for work? I’m with Barkers, Grove & Dean one of London’s leading advertising agencies and I’d be laughed at if I went to work in anything but a pair of faded blue jeans carefully torn at the knees, a pair of four-colour Nike running shoes, no socks and a T-shirt with a portrait of Castro chomping on a Havana cigar. Obviously I have a mobile ’phone and my vaping machine since I’m trying, hopelessly, to give up smoking. I loved the bit about grandfather’s pocket watch though. I’ve got three watches: a divers’ watch for looking sporty and a smartwatch that apparently does everything except boil an egg. The third is a Patek Philippe that my father gave me before he left the planet. He told me that he never actually owned it since he was merely looking after it for the next generation, but I don’t wear it ’cos I’d be mugged before I got to the end of the street and it’s quite possible there wouldn’t be another generation.
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heeled clients into his mahogany panelled shop. Am I right? The reason these names sound convincing has to be because of the foundations laid by those venerable watchmakers everyone has heard of: Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Girard-Perregaux and the rest. But some of the newer kids on the block just got lucky. I mean, come on: Laurent Ferrier, Christophe Claret, Romain Gauthier, Roger Dubuis – how far would their horological ambitions have taken them if they’d had the misfortune to be named Kevin Pigg? And then there are those who want the reassurance of genuine historical legitimacy. They dig out their history books and – hey presto – meet Ferdinand Berthoud, Emile Chouriet and Louis Moinet, resurrected and rehabilitated. But the funny thing is, some of the most successful and prestigious watchmakers have flourished, even without a double-barrelled aristocratic French name. Just look at Omega and Oris, Zenith and Eterna. They are all well over a century old, and their names sound old-fashioned, in the way that things sound old-fashioned when they are selfconsciously trying to be modern. But at the same time they exude poise, a confiI mean, come on: dent sense of their place at the centre of Laurent Ferrier, things, and a steely optimism that would Christophe Claret, emember all those hours carry them through the turbulent 20th you spent as a kid, trying to century and into the 21st. Romain Gauthier, think up the coolest name There’s one name I haven’t mentioned: Roger Dubuis – for a band, when you could Rolex. It’s another retro-futurist invention, how far would their barely strum three chords although of a slightly later vintage than the together? Now try naming a watch brand. previous ones (the trademark “Rolex” was horological ambiOur columnist and chief translator Jill registered in 1908). The name is so ubiquitions have taken Metcalfe has a go. tous that you’ve probably never thought them if they’d had twice about it. But what does it actually There’s a well-known formula for budding sound like? A bit cheap, maybe, kind of the misfortune to be writers looking for a nom de plume. You like a cross between Rolaids and… Timex? named Kevin Pigg? take the name of a family pet and combine Well, actually no, it doesn’t. No matter it with a street where you used to live. That how many times you say it, you can’t make makes me Judy Carlton – which is as good a chick-lit name as Rolex sound cheap. It sounds like successful businessmen, any, I suppose. (My daughter ends up as Darth Vader Back – expensive cologne and chunky gold links. The brand itself probably not the best starting point for her literary career.) is so prestigious that the name doesn’t actually matter any I’ve come up with a similar strategy for would-be Swiss more. Maybe even poor old Kevin Pigg could make a go of it. watchmakers: take the first name of a 19th century French writer (two syllables, preferably), add a Huguenot surname (extra points if it’s also a respectable trade) and oﬀ you go to Baselworld: Gustave Mercier, Alphonse Chapelier, Victor Chastain, Eugène Delaunay, Edmond Gaillard… You could even add an ampersand for a bit of a calligraphic flourish: Prosper & Girardin, pourquoi pas? You’d save a bundle on marketing and promotion: as soon as the syllables roll oﬀ your tongue, your company’s back story is conjured fullyformed in your customers’ imaginations, like Harry Potter’s Room of Requirement. There’s a couple of bewhiskered old chaps in shirt sleeves and waistcoats peering short-sightedly at some complex feat of mechanical wizardry in a dusty candlelit backroom, while a dapper shopkeeper wearing pincenez and tails rubs his hands together as he welcomes well-
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EUROPE N°340 & INTERNATIONAL N°393 Two folios – Not sold separately
| ON ITI ED AL OB GL
VIANNEY HALTER, THAT BIG KID And all the objects that keep him in this creative spirit
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Between power and discretion, the MONSIEUR de CHANEL watch with Instant Jumping Hour and Retrograde Minute is equipped with the CALIBRE 1, the House’s first inhouse high-watchmaking movement. The choice of a double complication with a digital hour display in a watchcase of extreme sobriety seemed almost self-evident. And accordingly, Chanel expresses its unique vision of beautiful masculine watches. For its launch in 2016, 300 numbered movements were produced of which 150 are for the Monsieur in Beige gold and 150 for the white gold model. This year the Monsieur de Chanel appears in platinum with a beautiful black enamel dial.
30 YEARS OF CHANEL TIME And the quest for pure watch pleasure
BEHIND THE PRICE EXPLOSION And why not everyone can win the vintage game
CHANEL Horlogerie – Joaillerie 18, place Vendôme – 75001 Paris – France Phone: +33 1 40 98 55 55 www.chanel.com
THE TAG HEUER CONNECTED And the changing dials of the connected tool
APPLE WATCH SERIES 2 And dive into the secrets of the most controversial watch of the moment
EXTRAORDINARY WATCHES And re-inventing the fundamentals of horology
TRENDS & COLOURS
THE ROSE GOLDEN AGE And why we see rose gold (almost) as often as steel today
HIGHLIGHTS TO WATCH
And brands’ arguments to keep believing in watches
The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily Europa Star. Subscription service |Europa Star Time.Business & Time.Keeper | 5 issues | Worldwide airmail delivery CHF 90 | Subscription orders via: europastar.com/subscribe | Enquiries: email@example.com www.europastar.com |
TAKE PRIDE OF PLACE
ow do you keep your head above water in such turbulent times? By taking another look at your products, obviously. Price, which we examine in closer detail in Time.Business, is not the only lever the watch industry needs to focus on. In this issue of Time.Keeper we offer a few suggestions. In the Highlights segment, more than twenty brands introduce their novelties. It is a place where they can prove their creativity and where products take centre stage: their latest creations will be of interest to both professionals and amateurs alike. We also show a selection of Extraordinary Watches that surprise our senses with limpid transparency or, at the other extreme, the deepest black. Or, in the case of Dominique Renaud, take the art of watchmaking back to the drawing board, starting with a blank sheet. The future of watches will depend on this interplay between art and industry. Vianney Halter was one of the pioneers of the creative watchmaking renaissance of the 2000s; he’s now looking for a way to harness that energy in a way that makes sense for the remainder of the 21st century. The exuberant creativity of the recent Gaïa Prize winner is embodied in his place of work, which we reproduce in photographs in this issue. Don’t expect meticulously ordered tool benches against a backdrop of snow-dusted hills. It’s an Aladdin’s cave bursting with a profusion of treasures, from vintage artefacts to futuristic objects whose purpose can only be guessed at. Then, in Time.Keeper, we play with time, jumping back and forth from the distant past to possible future directions. We look at the reasons for the boom in the vintage watch market, at a time when the market for new watches is enduring a somewhat bumpy return to earth. And we also indulge in an unusual exercise: dissecting an Apple Watch, to discover what lies hidden inside this wrist-mounted UFO. Finally, we would like to seize this opportunity to warmly thank all the watch companies that have placed their trust in us for this special 90th anniversary issue, as well as those that have used Europa Star for decades since 1927 as a favoured channel for their international communication… and ultimately their success. We also look forward to welcoming more partners into our global networks, because we firmly believe that the horological art and industry holds a bright and surprising future if it asks itself the right questions. We are here to support the entire global watch community in this challenging process. So, without further ado, let’s have a look at the products!
SERGE MAILLARD Publisher
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Paraphernalia* * Paraphernalia most commonly refers to a group of apparatus, equipment, or furnishing used for a particular activity. For example, an avid watch fan may cover his walls with horological paraphernalia, such as giant posters of Philippe Dufour, or sleep tight next to his Rolex Daytona 6239 Paul Newman.
THE BIG KID
s you walk into Vianney Halter’s workshop in Sainte-Croix, the first thing you see are the huge aeroplane wings hanging from the ceiling. Is this really a watchmaker’s workshop? “I tinker around and do some watchmaking on the side! What watchmaking and aviation share is that both require big machines.” Childhood dreams, technology, mechanics, science fiction, cars, aviation, naval feats, adventure... This is the universe of Vianney Halter, originally from Paris and fiercely independent. He pioneered an uncompromising and radical form of watchmaking with the Antiqua model, and has received praise for his galactic Deep Space Tourbillon. He produces around fifteen watches a year, dividing his time between Switzerland and Dubai, and—unusually in the current climate— things are going well for him. We take a look at what inspires him. (SM)
1 Landing gear “I am in the process of designing a rotating joystick system to control the front wheel of the plane. My passions for aviation and watchmaking were born at the same time.” 2 A giant tap “This giant tap reminds me of my childhood, when most everyday objects seemed gigantic!” 3 Bells “I collect bells designed for use in turret clocks: this one was produced in the nineteenth century by Amédé Bollée, who was also a French automobile pioneer.” 4 Leonard Nimoy, aka Spock “Science fiction is what has inspired me most since childhood. The Deep Space Tourbillon borrows its style and technical design from the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. During the design process, I suddenly began to sleep up to fifteen hours a day, rather than my usual four to five hours a day. The watch was born from this intense sleep.” 5 The World, the Flesh and the Devil “This 1959 film is about an apocalypse in New York, and it really made an impression on me as a child – in particular, an enormous Harry Winston diamond that appears in a key scene. This world seemed off-limits to me... until I made the Opus 3 for the diamond merchant as an adult!” 6 Light bulbs “I have a collection of around 300 old light bulbs. They represent a really important step in the use of electricity, which is so vital for our whole existence, and combine craft, physics and metallurgy.” 7 Antide Janvier “The Antiqua is inspired by marine chronometry from the eighteenth century, in particular the works of Ferdinand Berthoud and Antide Janvier’s astronomical clocks. I also use the Janvier brand, which I have registered as a proprietary name, for some exceptional pieces.” 8 The heliostat “This object from 1820 is a mirror that follows the path of the sun and provides scientific devices with a source of light. A few days after acquiring it, I learnt that its designer Pierre Gambey had lived in the same house as I did in Paris!” 9 The Gaïa prize Vianney Halter received an award in 2016 for his “contribution to re-imagining contemporary watchmaking style and techniques, whilst respecting craftsmanship and never making concessions to conformist pressures.”
SINCE 1987, CHANEL GIVES TIME
A UNIQUE ALLURE
BY PIERRE MAILLARD
In 1987 Chanel decided to make its watchmaking debut, with the aptly named Première. Since then, a great deal of water has flowed under the horological bridge. In the 30 years since, the status of the wristwatch has changed: no longer a tool designed to tell its wearer the time as precisely as possible, it has become an object of pure pleasure: a style statement, a status symbol and an aesthetic indulgence. Thirty years ago, Chanel had already anticipated the profound changes that would aﬀect the watch industry. In thirty years, through a series of watches with an utterly distinctive allure, watches devoted to pleasure, time has proven Chanel right. A testimony of 30 years of Chanel Time.
EVERYTHING BEGINS WITH
Thirty years ago, women were immediately won over by this watch designed specifically for them. The Première watch was neither a scaled-down version of a man’s watch (which is so often the case), nor a jewellery creation; understated yet sophisticated, it was an object of beauty whose simple function of telling the time gracefully ceded the limelight to beauty and style.
30 years of transformation
the very first Première In 1987, Chanel marked its first foray into the watchmaking arena with the aptly named Première. In homage to the place where it was born, it featured the exact geometry of the Parisian square where it was designed – the iconic Place Vendôme. This square plays a central role in the history of Mademoiselle Chanel, who lived in a suite at the Hotel Ritz on the Place Vendôme, and in that of the Maison Chanel, whose headquarters and flagship store share the same address. With its octagonal case topped with a bevelled sapphire crystal, the Première, designed by Jacques Helleu, artistic director of Chanel’s watchmaking division, mirrors exactly the shape of the Place Vendôme. Its two deceptively simple baton-shaped hands recall the shadow of the Vendôme column that rises in its centre, as they sweep around the plain, unadorned dial.
Over the course of its first two decades, the Première really came into its own. It retained its peerless allure through a number of metamorphoses, appearing in white and yellow gold, ceramic and steel, mingling confidently like the most accomplished socialite. Rarely have we seen such a slim and delicate watch, with such distinctive architecture, lend itself so felicitously to innumerable transformations. Never before had a watch provided such an inspiring canvas for the creative potential of its strap. The bracelet of the Première watch, slim,
supple and delicate like Mademoiselle Chanel’s beloved ribbons, has appeared as a chain of plaited leather and yellow gold, rubber and white gold, Akoya cultured pearls mounted on a white gold thread, a cascade of diamonds, a series of alternating black and white octagonal rings, links of white ceramic interspersed with links of yellow gold, or black ceramic and white gold, and magic mirrors of steel and ceramic, rubber and diamond. For its 20th anniversary the Première watch appeared in a smaller and more precious variant, subtly studded with pearls. But that is just one of its many faces, and the costume parade is far from over. For its 25th anniversary there’s going to be quite a firework display. With a lacquered black dial on a chain that is astonishingly supple despite its powerfully designed links, it will have a completely different look. In steel, yellow or white gold entirely paved with diamonds, the links forcefully echo the now iconic shape of its octagonal case. But the watch will also be venturing into the fascinating world of complications, for which it provides a superlative setting.
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HIGHLIGHTS In this section, Europa Star is providing brands with the possibility to express themselves. The concept is straightforward: one watch per brand, on one or two pages, and deliver your arguments to convince the markets! So, do you accept the challenge? This is a visually efficient way for retailers, distributors, collectors or simply watch lovers to catch up with the latest offerings on the market. We give a price indication of the watch presented, using the following categories: Less than 500 dollars $$ 500 – 1,000 dollars $$$ 1,000 – 3,000 dollars $$$$ 3,000 – 10,000 dollars $$$$$ 10,000 – 50,000 dollars $$$$$$ 50,000 – 100,000 dollars $$$$$$$ More than 100,000 dollars $
INVENIT ET FECIT
The grand-strike clockwatch is the most complex of all horological creations. For the first time in history, a striking watch offers true comfort and total security. Indeed, it features patented security systems that keep the watch from striking when the winding crown is pulled out, and that ensure that the winding crown may not be pulled out during striking. This ensures for the first time that the striking mechanism cannot be damaged by incorrect manipulation.
Produced in a run of just four per year, the F.P. Journe Sonnerie Souveraine strikes the hours and quarters in passing. In petite sonnerie mode, it only strikes the hours. It also strikes on demand, like the “Répétition Souveraine”, the hours, quarters and minutes. Protected by ten patents, it attests to the “Invenit” while the six years of research and development attest to the “Fecit” in the Manufacture’s motto.
Revealed through the sapphire crystal case-back, the four hundred and fifty or so components have been meticulously and patiently crafted by a truly skilled watchmaker to form a reliable and resolutely innovative mechanism.
Each year, time is thus audibly measured out by 35,040 automatic chimes and 332,880 hammer strikes. A single main$$$$$$$ spring ensures 27 hours of striking, while the going train features 30 additional hours. F.P.Journe has exceptionally abandoned precious metals such as gold and platinum for a noble cause: to ensure the best possible striking tone that makes optimal use of the crystalline structure of steel.
LADY GOLDEN BRIDGE ROUND 39 MM
A RAINBOW OF COLOUR AND MECHANICS Early in 2016, Corum revisited a round design of the Golden Bridge with the introduction of the Golden Bridge Round, whose manually wound inline baguette-shaped movement CO113 was housed in a 43 mm round red gold case created by renowned designer Dino Modolo.
“The Golden Bridge is the capstone of Corum’s collections, an illustration of Swiss horology at its best,” Corum’s CEO David Traxler said. “Its innovative aesthetic and unique movement construction are timeless. With this, we wanted to go further with the architecture of the movement and timepiece itself.”
For the past 35 years, the unique Golden Bridge movement has been cased in many exceptional variations, case shapes, and materials. The pinnacle of Corum’s collection, this timepiece in its many versions is innovative and unique – in great part due to its eminently visible inline movement construction. The Golden Bridge’s uncommon calibre is sheathed in sapphire crystal, allowing the skill of the watchmaker to be fully appreciated from every angle.
Now Corum returns with a new Round model sized for a woman’s wrist that likewise allows the observer to see how one is able to think outside the proverbial box to create an astonishing play of geometry featuring round and rectangular shapes. Following the design codes of art deco, the Golden Bridge Round focuses on the harmonious electricity between shapes, materials, and functionality. The combination of round case and beautifully engraved and finished inline movement turned on its side perfectly complement one another, while the extra embellishment of precious resin and diamonds surrounding the fully visible calibre add colour, sparkle, shine, and eye-catching brilliance. The colourful natural resin elements of the variations of the Golden Bridge Round are housed within a gold micro structure “cage” set with diamonds and handcrafted embellishment. The diamonds are expertly set by a local Swiss artisan.
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INNOVATION IS THE BEST RESPONSE TO THE CRISIS BY PIERRE MAILLARD
The existential crisis currently gripping the watch industry is no reason to throw in the towel. On the contrary, the best response to the crisis is surely to innovate! Slashing prices is not the only road to recovery for the watch industry. People, software, machines, and technicians’ hands are producing pieces capable of proving that the watch industry still has a bright future. It is teeming with ideas, and its story is far from over. It could even be on the verge of a real mechanical revolution, as Dominique Renaud and his incredible DR01 TWELVE FIRST proves, with its ‘blade oscillation’ and ‘rotary escapement with nine lost beats’. We will humbly do our best to explain this in more detail. Just like this portfolio, innovation is about pursuing mechanical art, certainly, but it also involves all aspects of watchmaking. Watchmakers research the materials, they develop innovations for the structural design of their movements, they suggest new displays, they tint the sapphire glass and work with liquids, they experiment with shapes... in other words, these ‘extraordinary watches’ are the laboratory of the future. They don’t just connect pixels, they bring together materials, shapes, and mechanical expertise. DR01 TWELVE FIRST by Dominique Renaud
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VENTURER TOURBILLON DUAL TIME SAPPHIRE BLUE SKELETON by H. Moser & Cie
TRANSPARENCY Has transparency become a sine qua non of our time? The fact remains that sapphire is now a favoured material in luxury watchmaking. It is hard, durable, and scratch-resistant. But it is expensive and terribly diďŹƒcult to machine. And yet it offers crystalclear transparency, a delicate touch, and a subtle sparkle. In a sapphire casing, the complex interweaving of wheels, levers, bridges and the mechanical heart of the watch takes on a whole new dimension.
Presented at Baselworld for the first time in 2015, the Venturer Tourbillon Dual Time Sapphire Skeleton, a unique piece, was instantly purchased by famous Parisian retailer Laurent Picciotto, for the princely sum of 1 million Swiss francs. He then went on to order a second, as transparent as the first but this time featuring a nickel silver skeletonised movement with an all-over blued finish (created through CVD, a process where a chemical vapour applies a thin film). The result is a quite extraordinary piece that marries a classic movement with a totally sapphire case, in convex shapes that recall the 1960s. The clear sapphire contrasts with the blue movement, the rose gold of the tourbillon and delicate hands, and the red GMT hand. A precious mechanical palette of colours.
X-ray of the BR-X1 Tourbillon Sapphire by Bell & Ross
BR-X1 CHRONOGRAPH TOURBILLON SAPPHIRE by Bell & Ross The BR watch was presented for the first time at the Basel show in 2005. Its very military-style square design, inspired by on-board aviation instruments (as though a dial had been take from an instrument panel and added to your wrist) immediately drew attention. Going against all expectations, its bold and unusual design â€“ that seemed to be targeted at a very specific category of buyer â€“ was a hit, and inspired thousands of imitations. Twelve years later, the original BR has been through many iterations, all the while retaining its tough structural design and imposing dimensions (45 or 46 mm). Little by little, it has gained a good reputation in the watch industry, becoming a chronograph, receiving the additions of a tourbillon and a skull pattern, at each turn demonstrating its military origins or moving into the realm of jewellery watches. Today, it appears in the totally transparent form of the BR-X1 Chronograph Tourbillon Sapphire. Combining a flying tourbillon and a single push-piece, its totally transparent construction gives an unobstructed view of the mechanical workings of the watch.
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