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Cover Story Inside CHANEL’s secret garden



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CHF12 / €10 / US$12


SIHH 2015 special reports Smartwatches: the Swiss response Retail: battles on the web


23,237,000 by Pierre Maillard Editor-in-chief

Twenty-three million, two hundred and thirty-seven thousand Swiss francs: that’s the figure on everyone’s lips, the price of the famous Patek Philippe Henry Graves sold by Sotheby’s in Geneva on 11 November 2014. It is the most expensive watch ever sold at auction. This staggering sum places this work of mechanical craftsmanship, signed and commissioned by Patek Philippe but made over five years by Les Fils de Victorin Piguet, watchmakers from the Vallée de Joux, in the realms of a gen-


argued, has always enjoyed a close relationship with money and power – initially this meant royalty and the church. But in the 15th century, the craft was also considered super hi-tech; watches

tions, just as a work of art is ‘gratuitous’. This gradual slide from utility to contemplation, from technicality to poetry, is both watchmaking’s good luck, and potentially its downfall. In a world that has fallen prey to directionless frenzy, the tick-tock is reasThis gradual slide from utility to contemplation, suring, just like a roaring fire in from technicality to poetry, is both watchmaking’s the hearth (which is also pointgood luck, and potentially its downfall. less in our overheated houses). The tick-tock has a human qualiuine work of art. By way of compari- were among the most futuristic objects ty; it connects us with a notion of immorson, the highest price ever paid for a that could be conceived of. A little like tality. It tells us, or helps us believe, that canvas by the Russian master Wassily smartwatches today. not everything has changed, that from Kandinsky was 23 million dollars, and From our 21st-century standpoint, the generation to generation, some things technology showcased in the Graves persist. As Patek Philippe’s advertising that was in an art market gone mad. “This is not a watch you can wear. It is watch, however exceptional, is com- so compellingly suggests, in fact... a watch that symbolises strength, power pletely obsolete. In this respect it illus- But this symbolic power of watchmakand money,” one ‘watch industry expert’ trates perfectly the paradox by which ing, this ‘good luck’, is also its limitatold AFP. Indeed, a price like that, so ut- Swiss watchmaking lives and prospers: tion. As we know, symbols don’t last for terly disconnected from the object’s use it produces exceptional objects that are ever. Not even diamonds: all it takes is a value, illustrates perfectly the symbolic in many respects a technological dead little pure oxygen and a torch, and they power acquired by mechanical watch- end, whose monetary value is com- can vanish in a puff of vapour. p making over the last two decades. pletely divorced from their use value. Sold in 1999 for 11 million dollars, a Telling the time as accurately as possifantastic sum and also a record for the ble (or the least inaccurately possible), time (the watch had been given an es- chiming the hour, displaying the date timate of three to five million), it has (provided it is before 2100) or moon more than doubled in price in the space phase, even calculating the equation of 15 years. Watchmaking, it could be of time, have become ‘gratuitous’ func-

6 EDITORIAL / europa star



MADEMOISELLE PRIVÉ by Chanel 18K yellow gold and diamond case. Dial embroidered with camellias in gold and silk thread, natural pearls and gold spangles. High-precision quartz movement. Black satin bracelet with diamond-set ardillon buckle. Diameter: 37.5 mm.

CHANEL SAS 25, Place du Marché St-Honoré 75001 Paris / France Tel. + 33 (0)1 55 35 50 95 Fax:+ 33 (0)1 55 35 50 22


EDITORIAL 23, 237, 000




COVER STORY Chanel’s secret garden


TRÈS HAUTE HORLOGERIE Patek Philippe’s other jewels


GALLERY Black & White


DIVING WATCHES Blancpain – The man, the watch and the sea


BACK TO THE FUTURE Smartwatches: the Swiss response


STRATEGIES The rise and rise of Louis Vuitton

36 42

SIHH 2015 Ladies’ watches: yesterday and today Internet: new heights for Haute Horlogerie


HONG KONG Watches & Wonders 2014: small is… wonderful


RESTORATION The Jaquet Droz Museum watch


WATCH CLUB Eleven James – Luxury isn’t just for owners anymore


“Luxury brand boutiques all look alike”


DISTRIBUTION Pierre DeRoche – “It’s becoming harder and harder to be represented in a multibrand boutique”






The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily Europa Star.


RETAILER PROFILE Frojo – Selling watches at the top of the world


SERVICE, PLEASE! Softening after-sales delays with “courtesy watches”


ONLINE RETAIL Bricks and clicks: the new battle of the web


LAKIN@LARGE And the winner is… without tears

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8 CONTENTS / europa star



Europa Star subscription service CHF 100 in Europe, CHF 140 International One year, 6 issues Visit: Enquiries:



iWatch vs. Apple Watch

Contrary to common belief, the iWatch is not the Apple Watch. A Dublinbased software company trademarked the iWatch term in 2008. In fact, the company plans to build its own wearable watch in the near future, which is expected to run on Google’s Android 4.4! (Bloomberg)

With the increasing popularity and sales of mechanical watches, watch retailers are struggling to keep up with service demands.“If they didn’tt make another watch, I think there’s enough work for another 50 years. It’s a problem.” Terry Irby, technical director of service at Tourneau. (Wall Street Journal)


The opening of monobrand stores remains a priority for watch companies. According to Deloitte, 63% of watch companies expect to open such flagship stores in 2015, forming a key part of their business strategy.

Classical steel chronographs

Watch executives expect that classical steel chronographs costing more than CHF 5,000 will be the most sought-after timepieces in 2015. This confirms the trend towards high-end watches, but away from the previous trend for gold watches. (Deloitte)

10 SIGNALS / europa star


The watch industry is Switzerland’s third largest export sector. At 95%, almost all of its production is exported, highlighting the dependence on achieving 3-D success internationally. French company A.L.B. (Credit Suisse) is at the forefront of using

3-D printing techniques to create unique dials.“It’s quite easy to copy what other horology companies do, and quite difficult to do something different,” said The launch of Apple co-partner Simon-Pierre products is linked to crime Delord. (New York Times) spikes in major cities. Police predict that high-end gold version of the Apple Watch will be a significant target for theft. (International Business Times)



To commemorate its 175th anniversary, Patek Phillippe has created the “most complicated wristwatch” in its history. The Grandmaster Chime, which has a movement of 1366 parts, displays time on one side and a perpetual calendar on the other. This new “Mona Lisa” was produced in seven models.

Courting Women

IWC, whose tagline is IWC “Engineered for Men”, is increasingly courting women. According to CEO Georges Kern, women and Asian buyers have inspired their new Portfolio Midsize line of more feminine watches. (Barron’s)

Green Watch


With gross sales up 8.5% in the first half of 2014, the Swatch Group has reported the creation of more than 800 new jobs in the first six months of the year, of which over 460 are in Switzerland.

British revival?

Aspiring start-up watchmaker Hunter Green is targeting eco-lovers with its watches made entirely of components that are biodegradable. The green watch concept is made to be lead-free, and mercury-free, with zero toxins. (

Independent watchmaker Roger Smith on the prospects of domestic brands: “I do think that we could revive the British watchTAG Heuer is making industry, but the big focusing on providing a problem is that we have lost the “user fun” smart watch, rather core knowledge and it would than replicating the Apple Watch. take years to get it back.” “Communications is not the business (The Times) of the Swiss watch industry. We don’t “People will make a choice: What do I want to be seen as? Somebody have the technology. And if you don’t with taste and also money? Or as somehave the technology, you have to one who’s smart and connected with the buy it. If you have to buy it, you’re world? I feel that for the younger generaalways late.” Jean-Claude Biver, tion, the Apple Watch is far more interestdirector of timepieces, LVMH ing and a greater status symbol than South Korean startup company Kairos (Bloomberg) Watches has also entered the smart watch an old-world watch today”, says market with an innovative twist. While Piers Fawkes, Editor-in-chief of each watch has a traditional mechanical PSFK. (New York Times) movement and dial, the semi-transparent crystal allows it to double as a smart watch by displaying various apps when selected.


Status symbol

Tradition meets smart watch

Internet: Global Luxury Watch Index The Global Luxury Watch Index established by Digital Luxury Group (DLG) is based on 600,000 queries made every single day on search engines, for 62 luxury watch brands and over 1,500 models. It gives an indication of the desirability of the watch industry over time.

“This period we’ve seen a worldwide growth of interest for the luxury watch segment of +12% (Y/Y). It is driven by more interest for Rolex coming from the United States and more interest for Omega from China.” David Sadigh, Digital Luxury Group 130%

Parmigiani Blancpain Van Cleef & Arpels Greubel Forsey Vacheron Constantin Top 10 fastest & Audemars Piguet A. Lange & Söhne slowest growing luxury De Bethune watch brands Roger Dubuis In terms of evolutions: the brands Patek Philippe

that see the biggest rise in interest compared to a year ago are: Parmigiani, Blancpain and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Bremont Sinn Corum © DemandTracker™ data, Y/Y evolution, Longines Aug-Sept-Oct 2014 vs same period in 2013, Piaget Digital Luxury Group Technomarine Chopard Dior Carl F Bucherer Jacob & co

+12% Y/Y

120% 110% 100%

nov. 14

sep. 14

july 14

mai 14


jan. 14

nov. 13

sep. 13

july 13

mai 13



+75% +61% +54% +42% +29% +27% +26% +26% +26% +24%

+12% -4% -4% -5% -5% -7% -8% -8% -9% -10% -23%

Aug-Sept-Oct. 2014 vs. Aug-Sept-Oct. 2013 europa star / SIGNALS



CHANEL’S SECRET GARDEN The Mademoiselle Privé collection of jewellery watches opens a window on the private universe of Gabrielle «Coco» Chanel, revealing the symbols that the great couturière held dear. The collection illustrates Chanel’s watchmaking philosophy: aesthetics before mechanics, a far cry from the pervasive obsession with technical wizardry.


by Serge Maillard

Gabrielle Chanel was drawn to a poetic universe; since 2012 the collection entitled Mademoiselle Privé – two words that were inscribed on the door of her creation studio – has offered a new interpretation, bringing together the métiers d’art of watchmaking and fine jewellery. The camellia (her favourite flower), lion (her astrological sign), comet and feather motifs, as well as the Coromandel lacquered screens with which she decorated her apartments, placed in the hands of master enamellers, engravers, chasers, inlayers and embroiderers, have written a new page in Chanel’s watchmaking history. “Our gradual acquisition of embroidery, plumasserie, bootmaking and millinery workshops is evidence of our attachment to businesses which share Chanel’s insistence on quality, exclusivity and innovation. We are fortunate to be able to draw on many artistic crafts. From this vast palette we can select the techniques most suited to watchmaking,” says Nicolas Beau, Chanel International Watch Director. The Mademoiselle Privé collection is enriched with new expertise, its dials employing techniques such as ‘grand feu’ enamelling, carved or inlaid mother-of-pearl, Japanese lacquer, engraving, snow setting and, of course, embroidery.

EMBROIDERY AS JEWELLERY Launched last year in a limited edition of 18 pieces, the first model embroidered by Maison Lesage using the ‘needle painting’ technique was honoured in the Métiers d’Art category of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. According to the jury, the prize paid tribute to the alliance between Haute Couture and watchmaking.

The embroiderers dedicated around twenty hours to produce each dial. Even more precious, the new models are designed with gold thread, gold spangles, pearls and diamonds. “They could almost be considered one-of-a-kind pieces,” notes Nicolas Beau. “As each dial is hand-embroidered, there are always small variations from one model to the next.” The new models went on sale last October. The watchmaking division has one major advantage in its métiers d’art-driven charm offensive: the unparalleled worldwide reputation of Maison Lesage embroidery. “Its reputation is so well-established that, particularly for our clients in Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea, these models are their own calling card. For them, nothing could be more natural than to have an embroidered dial on a jewellery watch.”

The watchmaking division has one major advantage in its métiers d’art-driven charm offensive: the unparalleled worldwide reputation of Maison Lesage embroidery. The deliberately understated case, assembled by Châtelain, the Chanel manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds, melts into the background to leave the spotlight for the exquisitely worked dial. “We have always made it our goal to place technical accomplishment at the service of aesthetics.” This philosophy seems to have gained some following in the watchmaking world: after a number of years where the accent has been placed on movements, gears and extreme complications, watchmakers now appear to be engaged in a métiers d’art ‘arms race’; whether this is a good thing is open to debate (see ES edition 5/14). “This collection is a long-term endeavour,” continues Nicolas Beau. “We are legitimately drawing from Chanel’s heritage; we have no intention of being dragged into any kind of arms race.” New models, all inspired by the symbols that populated Mademoiselle Chanel’s universe, will be revealed in the coming years. But the métiers d’art will remain focused primarily on enamelling and embroidery.

u 12 COVER STORY / europa star

18K yellow gold and diamond case. Dial embroidered with camellias in gold and silk thread, natural pearls and gold spangles. Highprecision quartz movement. Black satin bracelet with diamond-set ardillon buckle. Diameter: 37.5 mm.

O Set of two Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel watches, sold as a pair. 18K white gold and snow-set diamond case. ‘Grand feu’ enamel miniatures on 18K gold dial using the Geneva technique and carved motherof-pearl. Self-winding mechanical movements. 42-hour power reserve. Alligator mississippiensis strap with diamond-set folding buckle. Diameter: 37.5 mm. One-of-akind pieces made in Switzerland.

OO 18K yellow gold and diamond case. Black lacquer dial with camellia motif in yellow gold spangles and quail eggshell applied using the Maki-e technique. Self-winding mechanical movement. 42-hour power reserve. Black satin bracelet with diamond-set ardillon buckle. Diameter: 37.5 mm.

O 18K white gold and diamond case. Black dial with rotating diamondset motif. Self-winding Chanel12-WS mechanical movement. 42-hour power reserve. Black satin bracelet with diamondset ardillon buckle. Diameter: 37.5 mm.

“We have always made it our goal to place technical accomplishment at the service of aesthetics.”

The main challenge for Chanel’s watchmaking division is to build on the success of its legendary J12, born in 2000, while developing its other pillars. AFTER THE J12... The main challenge for Chanel’s watchmaking division is to build on the success of its legendary J12, born in 2000, while developing its other pillars, the Première and Mademoiselle Privé collections and continuing to bring out new watch models. “The J12 was a revolutionary product on two levels,” explains Nicolas Beau. “The watch took ceramic to the level of a precious material in its own right, paving the way for its subsequent success in luxury watchmaking. Then, in 2003, the white version heralded the advent of a major watchmaking trend. When you have an icon of this stature as part of your heritage, you must be particularly careful not to neglect the other collections.”

A TOURBILLON TO SURPRISE THE PURISTS Faithful to its mantra – aesthetics before mechanics – Chanel based its choice of movement primarily on visual criteria. Although the Coromandel models are all automatic, the embroidered pieces featuring the camellia use quartz. “Its advantage, as well as being more accurate and reliable than an automatic, is that the hands do not need to be centred on the dial. The movement is not a crucial issue for our female clients, however; they are looking for beautiful objects. Sometimes they are persuaded by men to get the automatic model.” This rejection of Haute Horlogerie dogma has not prevented Chanel from launching grand complications in the past. One such is the Première Tourbillon Volant, developed in association with Renaud & Papi (APRP SA). “This model is the finest

illustration of mechanics in the service of aesthetics. For us, a mechanical complication is first and foremost a work of art; its specific function comes second.” The decision to conceal the tourbillon behind a rotating flower – a camellia, naturellement – nevertheless still managed to annoy the purists. Why design a grand complication if you’re going to hide it? “When this model won the ladies’ watch prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève in 2012, it was the best possible vindication of our watchmaking philosophy.”

A NEW GENERATION OF CLIENTS Chanel watches are distributed through a network of 200 own-brand boutiques and 400 multi-brand retailers around the world. “Our retailers are put through a rigorous selection process. Their clientèle comprises mainly connoisseurs. Nevertheless, over time, more and more people are coming to our boutiques specifically to look for a watch. There is even a sector of our male collectors who are taking an interest in our Mademoiselle Privé models, particularly the Coromandel Email Grand Feu, which is sold exclusively in our Chanel Fine Jewellery boutiques.” Today, for the watch division, the recovery taking place in Japan is helping to make up for the correction of China’s watch market, after years of exponential growth. “Our growth there was managed prudently; we didn’t rush to open scores of new boutiques,” notes Nicolas Beau. “To date we have ten boutiques in the country. In any case, the slowdown is manifesting itself primarily in shopping tourism, outside China. The recent demonstrations in Hong Kong have also had an effect on sales.” In what are known as the emerging markets, Nicolas Beau has also noticed a change in clients’ attitudes: “They are becoming increasingly well-educated about watchmaking; they no longer buy compulsively, with an eye to their social standing, as they did in the past. We are therefore looking at new ways of communicating with this more specialist and knowledgeable clientèle.” For Chanel, 2014 was a particularly good year for new departures, particularly with the launch of its new twists on iconic models: these include the Première double and triple row, the J12-365 and J12-G.10 and the Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel, Maki-e lacquer and embroidered Camellia dial. We trust that the 2015 harvest will reap the fruits of its continuing exploration of new fields of creativity. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Chanel

europa star / COVER STORY



PATEK PHILIPPE’S OTHER JEWELS The Grandmaster Chime is not the only timepiece of note launched by the Genevan manufacture on its 175th anniversary. Here is a selection of new watches deserving of equal attention from watchmaking aficionados.


by Serge Maillard

I Previous celebrations 1989: The Calibre 89 for the company’s 150th anniversary 1996: Limited editions for the inauguration of the Plan-les-Ouates manufacture 2000: The Star Calibre 2000 to welcome the new millennium

“My father told me he was handing over the family business to me for the next twenty-five years. I’m hoping the adventure will last quite a bit longer than that! In fact, we have already started thinking about pieces for our 200th anniversary.” For Patek Philippe president Thierry Stern, the bicentennial celebration doesn’t seem all that far away.

Amid the constant stream of anniversaries of all kinds, of which numerous watchmaking brands, quite appropriately obsessed with the passage of time, have made a fetish, Patek Philippe’s celebrations have a special flavour all their own. Firstly because, with its long history, the Geneva manufacture has the modesty and good taste to mark only the passage of generations. And also because, as a result of its watchmaking abilities, Patek Philippe has accustomed us to expect only truly outstanding timepieces. This generation is no exception. With all eyes naturally on the star of the show, the Grandmaster Chime in its seven incarnations (at CHF 2.5 million each), the most complicated wristwatch ever produced by the family firm, the other pieces

“I myself was trained in-house, by enthusiasts, they didn’t teach me how to make money, they taught me how to make beautiful products. That’s the only recipe for lasting success.”

CHIMING JUMP HOUR REF. 5275 This commemorative Patek Philippe watch, presented in a classic tonneau-shaped case, combines three jumping indications with an acoustic indication at the top of every hour. A closer look at the Chiming Jump Hour reveals that the seconds hand jumps from one scale marker to the next in one-second steps. Otherwise, everything remains unhurried on the gold dial with the floral motif. But as soon as the seconds hand reaches the 60, the minute hand also jumps from one minute marker to the next. And finally, once an hour, the digital display in the aperture at 12 o’clock jumps to the new hour at precisely the same moment as the seconds and minute hands advance. A soft tone can be heard at this moment: the Chiming Jump Hour indicates the top of each hour acoustically as well. The watch pays tribute to the Ref. 3969 with a jumping digital hour, which was launched in 1989 on the occasion of Patek Philippe’s 150th anniversary. The Chiming Jump Hour Ref. 5275 is being crafted in a limited anniversary edition of 175 pieces.

WORLD TIME MOON REF. 5575 & 7175 This timepiece melds the tradition of World Time watches with an innovative moon-phase display that makes this poetic complication come alive in a totally new way. Ordinarily, Patek Philippe World Time watches feature a guilloché centre or, particularly prized at auctions, a polychrome cloisonné enamel motif. The World Time Moon marks a departure from this standard, as the entire centre is now occupied by a large-format moonphase display. Never before have the changing faces of the moon been reproduced by a Patek Philippe watch so realistically and with such prominence. Hence, this commemorative timepiece combines two complications that stand for tradition and innovation. The World Time Moon will be crafted in a limited edition of 1750 pieces: 450 as the diamond-set Ref. 7175 ladies’ version and 1300 in the somewhat larger Ref. 5575 men’s version.

MULTI-SCALE CHRONOGRAPH REF. 5975 & 4675 Chronographs for measuring time intervals are among Patek Philippe’s most popular timepieces. With eight regularly produced chronograph calibres, all of them developed and crafted entirely in-house, the manufacture’s portfolio in this category is highly diversified. A special model was created to commemorate the 175th anniversary; it has a few extra capabilities compared with ordinary chronographs. No type of watch reveals its purpose as a measuring instrument as obviously as the chronograph. If its function is combined with suitable scales, it can even transform itself into a mechanical computer for the wrist, and will execute calculations based on time measurement. Accordingly, the commemorative model – the Multi-Scale Chronograph – is endowed with three logarithmic scales that can be used to compute speed, distance, and heartbeats per minute. Until well into the 1960s, watches with tachymeters, telemeters and pulsometers were commonplace and widely used by professionals. This is what makes the limited-edition Patek Philippe Multi-Scale Chronograph for ladies and men such an attractive homage to the history of the manufacture and of time measurement.

presented on the same occasion were understandably thrown into the shade. In order to redress this injustice, Europa Star has decided to pay tribute to these other exceptional watches, which all reflect the DNA and values of Patek Philippe. So what exactly are these famous values? “It’s very simple: honesty, hard work, and a consistent, logical, long-term vision – not getting trapped in short-term thinking. And it does not just apply to the members of my family: our 2,200 employees share these values,” Thierry Stern assures me. “I myself was trained in-house, by enthusiasts,” he continues. “They didn’t teach me how to make money, they taught me how to make beautiful products. That’s the only recipe for lasting success.”

PATEK PHILIPPE RARE HANDCRAFTS LIMITED EDITIONS Watchmaking has been intimately associated with the decorative arts for over 400 years: engraving, guilloché, enamelling, marquetry, gem-setting, skeletonising, and related techniques. To commemorate this year’s 175th anniversary, Patek Philippe is presenting a number of limited-edition Rare Handcrafts models that pay tribute to these incomparable artisanal skills. And no motif could be more appropriate than the city of Geneva with its landmarks, its citizens, and its harbour. Now, such motifs adorn a collection of forty unique or strictly limited-edition models featuring eclectic handcraft techniques to commemorate Patek Philippe’s anniversary: twenty wristwatches as well as twenty Dome table clocks and pocket watches with their respective holders. They all pay tribute to the different enamelling, engraving, marquetry, guillochage, and gem-setting techniques, individually and in combination.

“It’s not just about complications: the design, materials such as enamel and even the choice of dial were also essential criteria.” The president of Patek Philippe introduced the results of seven years’ work. “It’s not just about complications: the design, materials such as enamel and even the choice of dial were also essential criteria.” The timepieces presented showcase traditional craftsmanship such as engraving, marquetry, guilloché and jewellery setting. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Patek-Philippe




B L A C K & W H I


The dark and the light. Man has defined them as ‘evil’ and ‘good’. Remember how the bad cowboy always wore black and the good guy white? Black has often been associated with the gloomiest of representations... White on the other hand will often evoke innocence, purity, and endearing childhood thoughts of milk and fresh snow... But should one combine the two, old references and common beliefs will lose their tang, making place for a whole new entity: Black & White!


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Since the origins of modern diving, the watchmaking industry has always maintained close ties with the world of the sea. Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms collection embodies these historic bonds. Retrospective with Alain Delamuraz, Blancpain vice-president.


Environmental issues have been added to the simple function of keeping track of time underwater.

“Free man, you’ll always love the sea - for this, / That it’s a mirror, where you see your soul / In its eternal waves that chafe and roll; / Nor is your soul less bitter an abyss.” Measuring time under the sea – an element whose very timelessness was noted by Baudelaire – is something that a number of brands – Rolex, Panerai, Omega and, of course, Blancpain, to mention just the most prestigious – have made their speciality, in the unique form of the diving watch. In 1953, with Jean-Jacques Fiechter at the helm, Blancpain, in close cooperation with the French army, launched the ‘first

modern diving watch’, the legendary Fifty Fathoms, which has since been reissued in multiple variations. Sixty years later, the collection is still current. And, in a telling sign of our times, environmental issues have been added to the simple function of keeping track of time underwater. As part of its ‘Ocean Commitment’ programme, the Swatch Group subsidiary recently launched a new limited edition diving watch, the ‘Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback’ (see sidebar). The programme aims to raise awareness and preserve the submarine world by supporting explorers such as Enric Sala of National Geographic, and diver and naturalist Laurent Ballesta – the first person ever to capture the coelacanth, nature’s ‘living fossil’, on film (see photos).

In 1953 Blancpain launched the ‘first modern diving watch’, the legendary Fifty Fathoms.

In an interview with Europa Star, Blancpain’s vice-president and marketing director Alain Delamuraz sketched out in text and images the close links that have always bound the brand to the world of the sea. u

by Serge Maillard

O NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PRISTINE SEAS ©Blancpain, Enric Sala/ National Geographic, Gabon expedition: Jellyfish with dozens of little silver fish among its long tentacles.

300 The water resistance in metres of the Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback


1953 The year the Fifty Fathoms was launched

O GIANLUCA GENONI ©A. Wong, Blancpain Diving Experience, Fakarava 2014

This underwater chronograph, at 43 mm in diameter, is smaller than the core models of the Fifty Fathoms Collection. It features the brand’s latest in-house movement, the F385, and a special grey ceramic case and blue dial and bezel. This entirely new column wheel controlled flyback chronograph movement runs at the high frequency of 5 Hz – 36,000 vph, ideal for a chronograph, as each second is perfectly divided into 1/10th of a second intervals. It uses silicon for the balance wheel spiral. Because silicon is amagnetic, it provides the same degree of protection from magnetism as constructions that rely upon a soft iron inner case. Unlike the horizontal clutch systems used elsewhere, Blancpain’s vertical clutch guarantees flawless starting and operation of the chronograph.

Two other features of this new timepiece bring important functionality to the world of diving. Unlike most diving chronographs, which paradoxically forbid chronograph use underwater and require that the chronograph pushers be ‘locked down’ when the watch is submerged, the Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback has been equipped with sealed chronograph pushers allowing use of the chronograph during dives to a depth of 300 metres. Second, the chronograph itself incorporates a flyback function. Whereas standard chronographs require three presses of the pushers to time back-toback events (one push to stop the first event, a second to return to zero and a third to start the second event), the flyback function greatly simplifies operation. A single push of the return to zero pusher stops the first event, returns the timer to zero and restarts the timing for the second event. This is particularly useful for divers' decompression stops. Source: Blancpain

europa star / DIVING WATCHES


“At first some divers were skeptical about the ‘X Fathoms’, but when they returned from their dive they confirmed that the depth meter was as accurate as, if not more accurate than, their computers.”

You present the 1953 Fifty Fathoms as the first ‘modern’ diving watch. How was it a pioneer? Were there no diving watches prior to that? Alain Delamuraz: It was around that year that scuba diving began to take off. Before that, divers had to use a rebreather connected to the surface. Popular figures such as Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Hans Haas revolutionised the domain. At that time it also became important to be able to measure time differently under water. Prior to that, it was enough for the watch to be waterproof. Once they were free to move around under the water without being connected to the surface, military and civilian divers needed more information: they needed to be able to measure elapsed time, of course, but they also needed a depth gauge and a compass. It was also necessary to be able to read this information in the dark. We were the first brand to bring together all these different functions in a single case. Our great innovation was the unidirectional rotating bezel to measure dive time, allowing the diver to calculate the amount of oxygen left in the tanks. We put these different elements together to create the first modern diving watch.

Are the Fifty Fathoms customers of today still keen divers? AD: It’s true that diving watches have been fashionable for a number of years, and some clients just like the watches, without necessarily being interested in diving as such. But I can assure you that there are still many of them who dive! They are the ones we rely on to validate our innovative features. When we launch a new watch, they immediately test it on a dive. With them, we’re not allowed to make mistakes. I remember, at first some divers were skeptical about the ‘X Fathoms’, but when they returned from their dive they confirmed that the depth meter was as accurate as, if not more accurate than, their computers. We have great credibility in the diving world. What’s new about the ‘Ocean Commitment Bathyscaphe Chronographe Flyback’? AD: This watch embodies an entire concept of environmental and scientific commitment. But from a strictly technical point of view, the main new feature is the 5 Hz frequency of the movement. In a dive watch, it helps reduce friction and increase accuracy. Is there anywhere that the Fifty Fathoms is particularly sought after? AD: Sales are pretty evenly distributed all over the world. However, in China the Fifty Fathoms is slightly less successful than more classic models such as the Villeret. At the end of the day, the Chinese are perhaps less drawn to the sea; they prefer the mountains. Singaporeans, Americans and Europeans, on the other hand, are very good clients.

O/I LAURENT BALLESTA © Laurent Ballesta and the coelacanth, Gombessa I, South Africa 2013

20% The proportion of ladies’ watch sales at Blancpain

40 The number of Blancpain boutiques around the world

I NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PRISTINE SEAS ©Blancpain, Enric Sala/National Geographic, Pitcairn Islands expedition: Ducie Island reef, formed chiefly by a single species of coral of the most delicate pale blue, which grows like giant roses. Top predators like the grey reef and whitetip sharks dominate the underwater ecosystem at Ducie and Henderson Islands. New Caledonia expedition: A green turtle returns to the sea after a night laying eggs at the remote Huon Island.

Is Blancpain as a whole feeling the effects of the slowdown in the Chinese market, as other brands have reported? AD: We were lucky to have a presence in the Chinese market quite early on. The Chinese remember that. And although growth is slowing down on the mainland, tourists who travel abroad are making up for the drop in sales. We have had a very good year so far. What proportion of Blancpain’s sales are in ladies’ watches? AD: Around 20%. But I should point out that from the beginning, our diving watches were also designed for women, with a reduced size that enabled them to be worn on land, as dress watches.

“From the beginning, our diving watches were also designed for women, with a reduced size that enabled them to be worn on land, as dress watches.”

“Our basic principle is to respect our retailers, who do a good job and are experts in the geographical zones they cover.“

How do you allocate your distribution between dedicated boutiques and retailers? AD: We have 40 boutiques. The first one opened fifteen years ago, and we opened nine last year. We’ve just opened one in London, to boost British sales. But we will be slowing down; we also want to let our retailers help with the overall effort. Our basic principle is to respect our retailers, who do a good job and are experts in the geographical zones they cover. In the beginning, some of them might perceive the arrival of a Blancpain flagship store as a threat. But I can guarantee that for every one of our own-brand stores that opens, there is a corresponding increase in sales among the nearby multibrand boutiques, without exception. It increases the brand’s credibility locally and showcases watches that other retailers may not have in stock. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Blancpain

europa star / DIVING WATCHES



SMARTWATCHES: THE SWISS RESPONSE Tissot is planning to launch a smartwatch that will be very different from current Apple and Samsung products. Interview with director François Thiébaud.


by Serge Maillard


• Tissot will enter the smartwatch market with a “Swiss made” product before Baselword 2015.

• They promise to make a watch unique from the current smartwatches on the market. • Tissot does not consider brands like Apple or Samsung as direct competitors.

When Apple announced the launch of its smartwatch for 2015, all eyes turned to the two Swiss brands that seemed to be in the Californian giant’s sights: Swatch and Tissot. Both companies have announced their intention to launch their own connected products. But ‘connected’ is a very broad term, covering countless possibilities. Although he doesn’t want to give too much away about the specifications of his future smartwatch, François Thiébaud, director of Tissot, agreed to discuss the broad features of the project with Europa Star. This is his vision of the smartwatch, Swiss style. Interview. You have announced that you will launch a smartwatch by the end of this year. Where are you up to? François Thiébaud: Tissot, like Swatch, will be presenting a new smartwatch in the coming months, before Baselworld. As you may recall, the Swatch Group was a pioneer in smartwatch technology, with its Paparazzi and Access models. How will your smartwatches be different from those of Apple or Samsung? FT: First of all, we are a Swiss brand! So we couldn’t take the risk of losing the ‘Swiss made’ imprimatur when we launched a smartwatch. Nevertheless, a number of components have been sourced abroad, although we are keen to retain our independence from external suppliers.

I’m drawn to new technology: when I arrived at Tissot I launched the ambitious T-Touch project, partly because of my personal experience as an amateur pilot with functions such as the compass and accelerometer. But technology is not everything. Our mission is to ‘dress time’, and that will not change. A watch is a vehicle for emotion, not a purely technological product. Without emotion, we’re serving up a dish with no flavour. So what do you think of the Apple Watch? Does it pose a direct threat? FT: It is not at all comparable with the quartz revolution, as some people – who seem to think the world changes drastically every five years – would have us believe. In my opinion, it’s primarily the Asian brands that will be affected, not Swiss watchmaking. Recently, at a conference, I asked all the delegates who were wearing a smartwatch to raise their hands. Just one hand went up, and it belonged to the representative

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“Tissot, like Swatch, will be presenting a new smartwatch in the coming months, before Baselworld.”

Discover the adventurer in you SEASCOPER

TITONI LTD. Sch端tzengasse 18 | 2540 Grenchen | Switzerland | Phone +41 32 654 57 00



The number of watches, in millions, turned over by Tissot in 2013. The brand hopes to reach the target of 4.3 million sales in 2014.


The number of sales outlets around the world


The number of ‘shopin-shop’ sales outlets in department stores


The number of ownbrand boutiques


The proportion of men’s watch sales


of a smartwatch manufacturer! Personally, I have no wish to receive notifications every 30 seconds. I’m not constantly looking at my smartphone now, as I’m talking to you. What, in your opinion, are the disadvantages of current smartwatches? FT: First of all, they have to be linked to a smartphone, such as one of Apple’s expensive models. If you add the cost of the watch to that of the telephone, they’re not really competing with the entry level! Another downside is that these watches have to be charged regularly. If I need one charger for my iPhone, another for my iPad and yet another for the Apple Watch I’ll have more chargers than clothes in my suitcase. What is more, current smartwatches are quite fragile: their square or rectangular shape can never equal the water resistance of a round watch case. And finally, distribution will be a problem for these brands. Probably not for Apple, but for the others: will retailers really want to take their Tissots out of the display cases to make room for smartwatches? They are quite ephemeral products in a way, they very quickly go out of date. They are more likely to be sold in big electronics stores. If the market is so weak, why bother? FT: Competition drives us forward, it stimulates us! Clearly, we can’t fight against technology. But we watchmakers will be offering something different from the electronics giants. Why not, for example, have a mechanical watch with a ‘smart’ strap, that could be used as an access key for secure areas? There is also an advantage for us: young people who are not used to wearing watches will be introduced to watchmaking through the smartwatch. Our products could potentially be complementary. The portable phone didn’t kill off the traditional watch, did it? Once initiated, these novices could progress to higher-quality products. After all, the first time you taste cognac, you don’t necessarily enjoy the taste. You have to learn to appreciate luxury, and that takes time. If that were not true then, as Nicolas Hayek Sr. used to say, you might as well cut your cigars with your teeth... How was your latest solar-powered touch-screen watch, the T-Touch Expert Solar, received? FT: It is still a little too early to say; the first watches were only delivered in August. We always begin with the Swiss market, before we supply the rest of the world. Switzerland is our test market: as a rule, what works here also sells well elsewhere. Here, we have both a local clientèle of connoisseurs, as well as foreign visitors, which makes it a good test

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“Switzerland is our test market: as a rule, what works here also sells well elsewhere.” bench. Our sales staff are also well trained. In addition, if a watch has teething problems they can be fixed quickly. But I do believe that combining the fun aspect of the touch screen with solar technology, which is very ‘now’, will bear fruit. In 2013 you produced more than four million watches, 8.1% more than the previous year. What are you expecting from the 2014 financial year? FT: 2014 will be a positive year. Although we won’t see the same growth as in 2013, there has been an increase in value compared with last year. We hope to reach the target of 4.3 million models sold in 2014. That’s also a sure sign that smartwatches have not affected us! What growth areas are you counting on to compensate for the ‘correction’ in the Chinese market? FT: Our strategy is global, we’re not dependent on Asia. We recently opened boutiques on 5th Avenue and Wall Street in New York, Oxford Street in London and Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, to name just a few. These are prestigious and strategic locations. Brazilians, for example, buy many watches abroad because of heavy import duties at home. How do you allocate your distribution between dedicated boutiques and retailers? FT: We have almost 14,000 points of sale around the world, of which 220 are boutiques, and a further 2,000 are ‘shops in shops’, dedicated counters in department stores. We are in the process of reducing the number of retail outlets somewhat, but we are not obsessed with the concept of own-brand shops. They must not compete with our retail partners. The flagship stores are there primarily to get the brand’s message across. What proportion of your sales is represented by female clients? FT: Tissot is still too masculine in my view, largely because of its sports focus. The ratio is 60% men’s watches to 40% women’s. But I’d like to bring this ratio to 55/45. p

Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Tissot



The Parisian house is continuing its push for vertical integration. A visit to its new watchmaking factory in Geneva and a meeting with Hamdi Chatti, director of the watch division.


by Serge Maillard


• Louis Vuitton has consolidated its watch operations in Geneva, with an eye for synergy and growth.

• The Parisian brand hopes to attract a more specialised clientele with its new timepieces. • Its watch designs are directly influenced by the brand, focusing on the experience of travel.

Louis Vuitton, founded in 1854, certainly took its time. The company waited until the turn of the millennium before entering the watchmaking industry. However, the famous luggage maker didn’t drag its feet: in twelve years it has acquired watchmaking expertise at an impressive rate. The opening this autumn of La Fabrique du Temps, a new building that brings all of the house’s métiers under one roof, provides a telling illustration. This clean, white campus near Geneva is named after the small workshop founded by two masters of watchmaking complications, Enrico Barbasini and Michel Navas, which Louis Vuitton bought in 2011. The two master craftsmen gave a decisive boost to the luxury giant’s watch division. With the

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acquisition the following year of another small Geneva company, Léman Cadrans, Louis Vuitton took another important step on the road to integration, and settled permanently in the Haute Horlogerie capital of the world. Today the process is complete, both physically and symbolically, and all of its teams have been transferred from the old production site in La Chaux-de-Fonds to Geneva. Although we are never allowed to forget that the house’s heart continues to beat in Paris, its brain and its watchmaking technicians now deploy their considerable talents in Geneva. According to the brand’s own publicity, the new manufacture is intended to “promote creative independence”. It admits to three aims: “to master and reinterpret” the secrets of fine watchmaking; to bring together an “independent watchmaking spirit and the dynamism of a venerable company”; and finally, to “nurture the imagination with a sympathetic environment and a high-tech setting.” Judging by the vast spaces given over to the one-hundredstrong team, the watchmaking division clearly has no intention of slowing down. But before looking to the future, we should take careful measure of what has come before. Beginning with its first collection in 2002, the Tambour, the brand has built a reputation on the watchmaking scene with its GMT, chronograph, tourbillon, spin time and minute repeater models. Today the house is launching two new additions to the Emprise range, and a piece inspired by travel trunks, the Escale Worldtime (see sidebars). Surrounded by his new models and comfortably installed in a brand new building, an understandably confident Hamdi Chatti, Louis Vuitton director of watches, welcomed Europa Star to explain his strategy. Interview.

“Geneva is the international Haute Horlogerie capital of the world, and we wanted to really solidify our position in this sector.” Why have you brought all your watchmaking activities to Geneva? It was a natural progression. As you know, our original site, which opened in 2002, was in La Chaux-de-Fonds. But we decided to relocate to Geneva after buying La Fabrique du Temps and Léman Cadrans. Geneva is the international Haute Horlogerie capital of the world, and we wanted to really solidify our position in this sector. There were also practical reasons for the choice. From the point of view of travelling, Geneva is far better connected to our Paris headquarters, where I am based. Communication is easier. Of course, we did everything possible to help our teams from La Chaux-de-Fonds make the transition to living in Geneva. One hundred kilometres might not seem like a long way, but in Switzerland it’s a significant distance!

How many employees do you now have in Geneva? Around a hundred. But we deliberately designed this building with surplus capacity. We didn’t build it for two years, we built it to last at least twenty! We therefore have the possibility to keep growing without having to build. It surprises me, the number of manufactures that start to feel crowded just six months after moving in... In fact, it’s not much more expensive to plan for 30% surplus capacity going forward. What are the practical benefits of this consolidation? There will certainly be a positive effect on volumes and production speed. But the real gain is in terms of creativity and innovation. By bringing together different disciplines under the same roof, we are hoping to create a kind of alchemy. That is why the canteen, where all our staff eat together, is probably the nicest area of the new building! If we want to be innovative, our watchmakers, dial-makers and engineers have to be able to talk to each other, challenge each other.

“By bringing together different disciplines under the same roof, we are hoping to create a kind of alchemy.” How far will you take your drive for vertical integration? What I can tell you is that we will continue to work closely with our long-standing external partners. The reason we came to Switzerland in 2002 was to benefit from this wealth of expertise. In general, within the group we consider that jewellery is Parisian, and watchmaking is Swiss. That is another reason we decided to relocate to Geneva, the capital of Haute Horlogerie. We might not necessarily produce more, but we want to design products that will attract a more specialised clientèle. This is our number one objective.

I EMPRISE by Louis Vuitton Launched in 2014 in yellow gold and steel with diamonds, the Emprise range has been expanded with two new steel models featuring a black or white dial. The horns holding the wrist strap are emphasised by motifs derived from trunk corner-pieces, while the square, symmetrical case is enlivened by reflections in the double-bevelled glass and the sparkle of diamonds. The bracelet is sheathed in leather embossed with a grosgrain ribbon pattern. The dial is either black or white, decorated with lines reminiscent of the wood panelling found in traditional Parisian apartments. The watch face has no numerals, just the initials LV, with an unusual positioning at 5 o’clock.

What about the Poinçon de Genève? That would be the icing on the cake. But it is a long process, taking between 18 months and two years. The Poinçon de Genève not only involves a very precise development process, it also requires specific monitoring. We could apply it to some of our Haute Horlogerie pieces, perhaps by the end of 2015. It will require a great deal of reflection, and the creation of a specific narrative. We don’t want the Poinçon de Genève just for the sake of it, that would be pointless. We still need to find the right story to tell.

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U ESCALE WORLDTIME by Louis Vuitton The Escale Worldtime watch draws on the history of the company to reinvent the distinctive features of the travel watch. Louis Vuitton has always offered clients the possibility of customising their trunks with strips of colour, initials, coats of arms and other hand-painted geometric designs. This colourful universe served as inspiration for the creation of the dial of the Escale Worldtime watch. It takes the craftsmen in the dedicated workshop in La Fabrique du Temps 50 hours to complete each dial, using miniature painting techniques and working with oil paint. Over 30 colours are applied one by one with a paintbrush using tiny overlapping strokes, before the piece is dried in an oven heated to 100°C. The ‘Worldtime’ indication, with no hands, is a first in watchmaking design. It is possible to determine the time in the zone represented by a particular city simply by glancing at the corresponding initials. The minutes can be read underneath the yellow arrow indicating the hour in the reference city.

Going even further upmarket will also mean increasing the average price of your watches. Absolutely. Our entry prices are still at the 2,500-franc mark, but at the same time there is a trend to reach out to a more specialised clientèle who are interested in a particular watch, which may have a higher price tag than a classic product.

“Given our unique distribution model, which relies entirely on the Louis Vuitton boutiques, we’re not going to open or close any shops at the drop of a hat.” It’s unusual to be inaugurating a new manufacture now, given that the watchmaking industry is experiencing something of a slowdown, particularly in Asia. How do you think you will react? Given our unique distribution model, which relies entirely on the Louis Vuitton boutiques, we’re not going to open or close any shops at the drop of a hat. We simply could not do that. But it is also a strength, as we could attract loyal Louis Vuitton clients, who might not normally think of coming into our boutique to buy a watch.

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“We want to offer products that are different but which nevertheless reflect the spirit of the times.” If you are looking to reach a more specialised clientèle, won’t you also be working through specialised watch retailers? No, that has never been our policy. We will continue to distribute our products solely through our own boutiques. Our hope is that the most devoted watch connoisseurs will spontaneously visit a Louis Vuitton boutique to see our watches. Distribution know-how is part of our DNA, as is keeping our design entirely in-house, and never having sales. Those are our sacred cows, they are non-negotiable! I should also point out that our primary source of inspiration is the company itself. The Escale Worldtime watch, with its time zones and characteristic colours, was directly inspired by our heritage. Louis Vuitton and its history of travel is the point of departure from which we approach the future. We want to offer products that are different but nevertheless reflect the spirit of the times. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Louis-Vuitton

SIHH 2015

LADIES’ WATCHES: YESTERDAY AND TODAY As we approach this year’s SIHH, Europa Star looks back at the origins of the ladies’ watch. There follows a selection of past ladies’ models from brands that will be present at the exhibition, and a comparison with current models, reflecting the evolution of ladies’ movement design and characteristics.


by Isabelle Guignet

IWC LÉPINE, 1903 “Lépine-Damenanhängeruhr (ladies’ trailing hours) with brooch, 1903. 18-carat gold-plated, decorated with an emerald-and-diamond dragonfly. Enamelled dial with Arabic numerals and ‘poire corps renflé’ hands. Gold-plated IWC calibre 63-12-H4, 15 jewels, three screwed chatons, bimetallic balance wheel, Breguet hairspring.” Source: IWC

cations. Among the rarest pieces that can be found on display today at the Audemars Piguet Museum is a brooch with minute repeater created by the Le Brassus watchmakers for Tiffany New York in 1894. A superb example of the juxtaposition of technical wizardry and ornamentation, its mechanism can strike the hours, quarter-hours and minutes on demand, while its 18-carat gold case is embellished with translucent royal blue enamel over a guilloché ground, framed with a row of diamonds, and topped by a finely worked, enamelled and jewelled brooch. At the beginning of the 20th century the bracelet watch gradually conquered women’s wrists, before vanquishing the men’s. Audemars Piguet was one of the first and only houses able to equip their very small cases with mechanical gong movements. Each was capable of playing 720 different melodies, equivalent to one every minute for twelve hours! At a time when every watch made was one of a kind, a number of clients asked Audemars Piguet to transform their 19th-century pendant watches into wristwatches.” François-Henry Bennahmias, Audemars Piguet CEO



REPEATER, 1894 “Since its earliest days, Audemars Piguet has created feminine watches that marry elegance with fine mechanics. Their history reflects a perpetual quest for perfection, punctuated by spectacular technical achievements. From the early 1880s, the key to this quest was miniaturisation; where ladies’ models were concerned, the epitome of refinement, in those days, was synonymous with absolute discretion. In the space of just a few years, Audemars Piguet established itself as the master of diminutive minute repeaters, in one twenty-five-year period producing 47 movements with miniature gongs, the smallest of which measured barely 18 mm in diameter! They demanded such virtuosity that their value exceeded that of grand compli-

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ROYAL OAK, 2014 “The Royal Oak 41 mm was introduced in 2014. It comes in a rose gold case set with 166 diamonds. The dial is carpeted with 345 diamonds (1.07 carats). The watch is driven by an automatic manufacture movement – the calibre 3120 – which displays hours, minutes, seconds and the date. The strap is made of grey alligator.”


VACHERON CONSTANTIN BRACELET WATCH, 1889 “Vacheron Constantin’s tradition in ladies’ watchmaking dates back to the beginning of the 19th century. The company archives contain a number of requests from ladies for pocket watches. As a rule, the small diameter of these timepieces suggests that they were intended to be worn by women, although we have no pictures. It was around that time, in fact, that the first pocket watches designed specifically for women appeared. They were smaller than men’s models, and also more whimsical; they required miniaturisation techniques and decorative talents that very few watchmakers of the day had been able to master. Vacheron Constantin was one of them. One of the house’s first ladies’ creations, a quarter-repeater pocket watch dating from around 1810, proves that watchmaking complications weren’t a solely male preserve. In 1889, the manufacture created a ladies’ bracelet watch (Ref. 10531). In keeping with the company’s reputation for fine craftsmanship, it features a revolutionary system for winding the watch and setting the time by simply turning the bezel, thus dispensing with the need for a crown. The watch made its début at the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris.” Source: Vacheron Constantin T

“A quarter-repeater pocket watch dating from around 1810 proves that watchmaking complications weren’t a solely male preserve.”




MOONPHASE AND POWER RESERVE SMALL MODEL, 2014 “Introduced as part of the Traditionnelle collection, which proudly proclaims its ties with the purest watchmaking traditions and a timelessly classic spirit, the new Vacheron Constantin ladies’ model features gentle curves and a delicately gem-set case. The hand-wound calibre 1410 beating lightly at its heart, entirely developed and crafted at Vacheron Constantin, drives one of the most poetic of all Haute Horlogerie complications: moon phases. Equipped with a high-precision gear train, the sophisticated mechanism of this function – also referred to as an ‘astronomical moon’ – requires a single-day adjustment only once every 122 years. In addition to displaying the hours, minutes, small seconds and moon phases, this manufacture movement offers a pointertype indication of its over 40-hour power reserve.” Source: Vacheron Constantin

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BAUME ET MERCIER PLATINUM, 1920 PROMESSE, 2014 “For a hundred years, women have been an incredible source of inspiration for our House, and our history has been marked by many iconic Baume & Mercier ladies’ timepieces. The popularity of our models with women is closely linked to their ability to reveal the different sides of their personality. This tradition, initiated by Louis-Victor Baume in 1869, when he gave his daughter Mélina a gold pocket watch, turned into a genuine love story when William Baume and Paul Mercier joined in 1918 to form Baume & Mercier. From that time on, they began to create jewellery watches that were emblematic of the Art Deco period, when the fashion of wearing them on the wrist and their inspired forms reflected the greater freedom women enjoyed. One of the first platinum and diamond creations appeared in the 1920s; it contained a miniature rectangular movement known as a ‘baguette’ and was worn on a slender cord. Its design elegantly incorporates diamonds into



“They began to create jewellery watches that were emblematic of the Art Deco period, when the fashion of wearing them on the wrist and their inspired forms reflected the greater freedom women enjoyed.”

the palm leaf motif that is so redolent of the Art Deco period. Generously-proportioned hand-painted Arabic numerals draw the eyes to the dial. Today we are perpetuating this tradition with an intensely delicate and timeless collection, a genuine ode to femininity: Promesse. Referring back to the jewellery watch via a case that reinterprets its rounded form, the design of Promesse draws inspiration from the opulent ladies’ models to be found in the Baume & Mercier museum collection.” Source: Baume & Mercier


IVY MINUTE REPEATER, 2014 “Jaeger-LeCoultre has always paid particular attention to ladies’ watchmaking creations, in terms of both their aesthetics and their mechanics. One of our earliest women’s pieces is a very old pendant watch. Made in the 1890s, it reflects the watchmaking skills and craftsmanship within the manufacture at that time. The watchmakers perfected a very small movement, the Calibre 10HP. The alliance of artistic crafts and watchmaking technique is apparent in this watch, which combines a small-sized LeCoultre calibre with extremely refined decoration, featuring a carved translucent burgundy enamel caseback and diamond-set floral motifs. The design of this pendant watch inspired us to create the Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater, which was launched in September. The white gold dial is embellished with a sunburst guilloché motif and enamelled, and the ivy leaves that decorate it are adorned with snow-set diamonds, a technique invented by Jaeger-LeCoultre.” Daniel Riedo, CEO


“L’Arkade tells a charming story, with love taking centre stage.”

“The Arkade, whose launch coincided with the Lange manufacture’s return in 1994, contributed to the resurgence of the sophisticated ladies’ watch. The Arkade tells a charming story, with love taking centre stage. Its shape, which could not be further removed from that of a stereotypical timepiece, can be traced back to the earliest days of the Lange watchmaking dynasty, and reflects the architecture of the arcades in the courtyard of Dresden’s royal palace, where the paths of two famous Saxons – Gutkaes, court watchmaker, and Adolph Lange, his apprentice and future son-in-law – were to cross. The Arkade could be considered a monument in miniature to Adolph Lange’s love for Antonia Gutkaes, the daughter of his master and mentor, mirroring the passion that was born beneath the arches of the royal court. This architectural jewel, built by artisans of the Italian Renaissance, is an important landmark in the history of Saxony. The nation enjoyed its artistic apogee under the reign of Augustus the Strong, whose admiration for the arts and masterpieces of precision engineering was equalled only by his passion for the fairer sex!”Source: A. Lange & Söhne

PIAGET JACKIE KENNEDY WATCH, 1965 PIAGET COLLECTION, 2014 “Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was a woman who symbolised both elegance and the new freedoms women demanded in the 1960s. She became a legend, to the point that she is still known universally as ‘Jackie O.’ Her name is associated with a particular look and fashion accessories. Her elegance, her simplicity and her beauty made her one of the most popular and most photographed First Ladies. She rose to public prominence in 1960, when her husband John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States. She became a queen of tragedy when her husband was assassinated before the television cameras, in Dallas on 22 November 1963. Five years later, she stunned the world once again when she remarried one of the richest men on the planet, Aristotle Onassis. Already a legend in her own U


“Jackie owned a Piaget watch created in 1965. Its green jade oval dial is set with emeralds and diamonds. “

lifetime, Jackie O.’s legacy continued to grow after her death in 1994. Jackie owned a Piaget watch created in 1965. Its green jade oval dial is set with emeralds and diamonds. The watch has a very flexible gold bracelet, whose links are embellished with a ‘palace’ décor. Our 2014 collection includes a number of models inspired by this watch, which are now part of Piaget’s heritage.” Alain Borgeaud, Piaget’s director of heritage

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CALIBRE RM007, 2005 “Modern ladies’ watchmaking is just as entitled to sophistication, complications and technology. Richard Mille was a pioneer in this domain. In 2005 our house launched the RM007, the first ladies’ watch in the collection. Its breathtaking harmony and balance, and its taut and edgy lines, provide a magnificent lesson in watchmaking. We wanted to produce the women’s calibre to the same exacting standards as the

“Modern ladies’ watchmaking is just as entitled to sophistication, complications and technology.”


HEURES MERVEILLEUSES, 2013 UU BOHÈME PERPETUAL CALENDAR, 2014 “Montblanc’s first ladies’ watch collection to come from our Villeret Manufacture is Les Heures Merveilleuses, presented at the 2013 SIHH and produced in a limited edition run. It was particularly appreciated for its links with the craftsmanship aftsmanship of movements by the Montblanc Villeret Manufacture, its gemsetting and the workmanship of the watch dial. Its design combines the Haute Horlogerie expertise that has continued to be a feature of the Montblanc Manufacture in Villeret illeret since 1858, and the beauty of fine jewellery. The he collection went on sale in 2012 and 2013. Our latest ladies’ watchmaking range is La Bohème, launched in 2014.” Source: Montblanc

men’s collection, incorporating unprecedented technical innovations such as a gold rotor with micro-ball bearings. The grade 5 titanium movement, despite being a highly technical solution, is designed for daily use. The cases, in gold or titanium, are embellished with baguette-cut diamonds, brilliants or rubies. The precious stones are showcased to produce a range of different harmonies. Each watch becomes an exceptional creation, where fine jewellery and Haute Horlogerie work together.” Richard Mille, founder and CEO T AUTOMATIC

CALIBRE RM 07-01, 2014 “The RM 07-01 is the perfect mechanical synthesis between the elegance of Haute Horlogerie and the strength of the modern materials used in this new ladies’ watch. Launched in 2014, the RM 07-01 is driven by the new CRMA2 house calibre, an automatic skeletonised movement specially developed for the RM 07-01. With a baseplate and bridges machined from grade 5 titanium, the CRMA2 also includes a variable-inertia balance in order to maintain exacting long-term performance, and a rotor in 5N 18K red gold with variable geometry in order to optimise automatic winding according to the wearer’s activity. In addition to the 18K red or white gold versions, the tripartite case is available in white or brown ceramic, a first for the Richard Mille ladies’ range, both with a red gold caseband.” Richard Mille, founder and CEO


1940 ORO ROSSO “Panerai watches were originally created from 1936 onwards for the commandos of the Italian Navy, and all the characteristics of the models that make up the contemporary collections of Officine Panerai today are still derived from that original function. Solid and reliable, with large dimensions, and remarkably readable even under conditions of very low light, they have a strongly masculine character but are nonetheless also much appreciated by the female public for their strong personality and the purity of their design. The Radiomir 1940 Oro Rosso – 42mm, with its simple, elegant lines and its warm-toned red gold cushion case, is also perfect for a lady’s wrist, particularly when fitted with a coloured alligator strap. The watch is equipped with the P.999 mechanical calibre made in the Officine Panerai manufacture in Neuchâtel.” Angelo Bonati, Panerai CEO


SMALL, 2009 “For Ralph Lauren, a watch, whether for a man or a woman, must convey elegance, refinement and timelessness. Above and beyond these essential elements, a women’s watch must also embody grace and glamour. It is an expression of her personality as well as being an item of jewellery. In 2009, Ralph Lauren unveiled its Stirrup collection on an equestrian theme, a unique and immediately identifiable collection that embodies the universe of its creator. It also represents a resoundingly feminine refinement and sophistication. The Stirrup Small in white gold,

entirely encrusted with diamonds, is a perfect example. Its design is impeccably crafted, from its transferred Roman numerals and white lacquered dial to its perfectly cut, contoured sapphire crystal. In 18-carat white gold, the timepiece is set with 297 diamonds (~1.61 carats). Its crown is also set with a diamond. At its heart is a manual-wound Swiss movement developed by Piaget exclusively for Ralph Lauren. Its balance oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 beats per hour, ensuring perfectly balanced operation. The Stirrup collection enhanced its feminine credentials further with the introduction of Stirrup Links. This bold innovation includes four different case sizes and bracelets with interlocking links for guaranteed flexibility. In white gold, rose gold or steel, with a white, black or mother-of-pearl dial, with or without diamond embellishment, there are currently 11 models of Stirrup Link.” Nicolas Sestito, COO of Ralph Lauren Watches and Jewellery O STIRRUP

PETITE DIAMOND LINK, 2014 “In 2014 Ralph Lauren added a new size to the Stirrup collection: the Stirrup Petite Link. There are thus six new models with cases measuring just 23.3 x 27 mm and chain-link bracelets offering even greater flexibility for the more delicate wrist. The Stirrup Petite Diamond Link is probably the most extravagant of the new models. In 18-carat white gold, this timepiece fitted with a quartz manufacture movement is completely encrusted with diamonds. It has transferred Roman numerals against a lacquered white dial, and an 18-carat white gold click clasp integrated into the bracelet with a security mechanism.” Nicolas Sestito, COO of Ralph Lauren Watches and Jewellery

europa star / SIHH 2015


SIHH 2015

INTERNET: NEW HEIGHTS FOR HAUTE HORLOGERIE While other segments record a decline, the online interest for brands active in Haute Horlogerie is surging all over the world, except in… Switzerland. China remains the top country on the list, with almost half of all searches originating from the country.




by Sophie Doran, Digital Luxury Group

16% EXECUTIVE BRIEF: • Consumers have never asked so many questions of luxury brands. • The lion’s share of searches related to Haute Horlogerie originated in China. • Luxury consumers are increasingly looking for pure players. It feels like there is a bit of a craftsmanship renaissance going on in the world of luxury. One reaching far beyond the postcrisis brand-driven marketing campaigns, one firmly led by a new group of sharper, savvier luxury consumers. Consumers have never asked so many questions of luxury brands, wanting to know what - more than ever - makes these ‘exceptional’ products so ‘exceptional’. And whilst such a hard line of questioning is undoubtedly leading to a drop in sales for some less fortunate brands, it’s the perfect time for the watch industry, particularly Haute Horlogerie, to shine.

Consumers have never asked so many questions of luxury brands, wanting to know what - more than ever - makes these ‘exceptional’ products so ‘exceptional’. WORLD WATCH REPORT Q3 2014 According to Digital Luxury Group’s WorldWatchReport, overall online interest in luxury watches advanced by 4% in Q3 2014, when compared to the same period in 2013. Definitively leading this increase was the Haute Horlogerie category, where interest surged by 16% year on year. The 18 brands tracked in this particular category now capture 16% of global online searches for luxury watches. “We have witnessed an explosion in terms of interest and awareness on five continents,” Aurel Bacs recently confirmed to Luxury Society, discussing the overall health of the Haute Horlogerie sector. “Today, awareness of fine watches has grown beyond our wildest expectations.”

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pPrestige (55%) pHaute Horlogerie (16%) pHigh Range (13%) pWatch & Jewellery (12%) pCouture (4%) GEOGRAPHICAL MARKETS Despite many of the financial barriers associated with becoming a serious collector of Haute Horlogerie, interest in the category and its ‘star’ brands continues to grow around the world at a rapid rate. Most interestingly, search volume increased at the fastest rate in Brazil in Q3 2014, advancing by 32% in just twelve months. The lion’s share of searches related to Haute Horlogerie originated in China, which commanded a whopping 45% of all such queries. Despite whispers of a sales slowdown on the Mainland, linked to nationwide anti graft measures, online consumer interest increased by 21% in Q3 2014 compared with Q3 2013. Searches for Haute Horlogerie brands originating in Hong Kong were down 23%, suggesting a potential cooling of one of the world’s most important markets. The decrease in search volume cannot be categorically linked with the Occupy Central protests, but as the movement has severely impacted luxury sales in the territory and restricted inbound tourist traffic, it is possible that it is influencing interest in high-end luxury goods. u

The lion’s share of searches related to Haute Horlogerie originated in China, which commanded a whopping 45% of all such queries.

Crown Royal headgear or watch winder? Discover the world of Fine Watchmaking at Crown | The winding crown is a knurled or fluted button of various shapes, held between the thumb and forefinger and used to wind the watch. Some crowns incorporate a mobile pushbutton for operating a chronograph mechanism or to release the cover of a hunter case.









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Online interest also dropped in Thailand to roughly the same degree (-24%) as Singapore, which also experienced a decline of 19%. Across the board in countries such as Mexico, Qatar, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, online interest in Haute Horlogerie remained reasonably stable, increasing or decreasing by no more than 3%. Despite a relatively flat outlook for European economies, searches in Italy increased by a respectable 28%, followed by the United Kingdom (+20%) and France (+18%), ahead of Germany (+13%). In line with more optimistic forecasts for the North American and Japanese luxury markets in 2014, search interest increased by 15% and 20% in each country respectively.

HH VS ‘LUXURY’ WATCHES Ironically, the only market to register a decline in search volumes for the Haute Horlogerie category was Switzerland (-6% on Q3 2013). Despite this dip in interest on home soil, Haute Horlogerie is globally on the move. And its 16% leap in interest shines even brighter when compared to a decline in search volume within two key categories. CATEGORY COMPARISON Q3 2014 (Y/Y Q3 2013)






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Ironically, the only market to register a decline in search volumes for the Haute Horlogerie category was Switzerland (-6% on Q3 2013). Luxury consumers are increasingly looking for pure players, fatigued by brands trying to be everything to everyone. First, interest in Couture watches - those made by brands with their original roots in fashion or fine jewellery – dropped by a significant 10% (compared to the same period in 2013). Second, searches for brands in the High Range category – below Haute Horlogerie, above Prestige – experienced a 7% drop. Depending on how sensational one wishes to be, these simultaneous declines in online consumer interest could reflect two greater industry trends. One is that luxury consumers are increasingly looking for pure players, fatigued by brands trying to be everything to everyone. Another is that the ‘middle’ market for luxury is indeed in danger, as consumers increasingly refuse to spend their money on anything less than exceptional. As we can see by the 6% increase in the Prestige category – which already accounts for 55% of all online interest - the world is still intrigued by the idea of ‘luxury’ but is equally as concerned by the notion of ‘value’. Today, consumers will buy either the exceptional or the functional, with less and less interest in the products that constitute the middle.

Today, consumers will buy either the exceptional or the functional, with less and less interest in the products that constitute the middle. Consumers will no longer be fooled into thinking that a product is indeed a luxury item because it has the name of a big scale brand sprawled across it. This is not to say that the market will reject the category expansions of fashion branded watches, or car branded homewares, but at the very least there must be a logical and authentic reason as to why these products exist. In the information age, luxury has become much more about understanding and knowing, than it has about status or showing. Luxury can be found in knowing the history of the brand you choose to wear on your wrist and understanding what makes it special. It can be in the understanding of complicated mechanical timepieces, or in the joy of knowing that brands such as Voutilainen even exist.



Overall, the category is incredibly well positioned to thrive in the shift from owning to experiencing luxury. Of the 18 brands tracked in the Haute Horlogerie category in the WorldWatchReport, almost every single one is a pure player in the watchmaking space. Many have histories spanning decades and both protecting and communicating their savoir-faire. Perhaps it is without surprise that the WorldWatchReport confirms that Patek Philippe is the most-searched-for Haute Horlogerie brand on a global scale, capturing 29% of searches within the category in Q3 2014. Vacheron Constantin ranked #2 with 18% share-of-search, as Audemars Piguet came in third, commanding 12%. Jaeger-LeCoultre and Franck Muller rounded out the Top 5. (TOP 10) MOST SEARCHED FOR HAUTE HORLOGERIE BRANDS




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BRAND Parmigiani Richard Mille Vacheron Constantin Greubel Forsey Audemars Piguet













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just one year – almost on par with that of Vacheron Constantin. Granted they are starting from a comparatively miniscule base, accounting for a much smaller share of search, but given the number of pieces produced by Greubel Forsey each year (approximately 100) such an increase remains significant. The brand has perhaps also benefited from additional interest surrounding its 10th anniversary. Building interest in Richard Mille could also be attributed to a mix of models and column inches, as rumours continued to circulate throughout 2014 that Kering would take a majority stake, as the French conglomerate continued to restructure and bolster its Watch and Jewellery Division. The brand was involved in several golf, car racing and film industry events over the European summer. It also opened its first UK boutique on Mount Street in September.

FAST MOVERS Interest in the top three brands remained robust if not impressive, as they all placed in the Top 10 again when ranked by growth in online search interest. Vacheron Constantin ranked #3 across all Haute Horlogerie brands, as searches increased by 34% in Q3 2014 compared to the same period in the previous year. Audemars Piguet ranked #5 registering a 21% increase, slightly ahead of Patek Philippe (#8) which increased by 18%. This continued interest in these particular brands is no doubt a combination of both new models and recordbreaking sales at auction. It is also important to remember that Patek Philippe celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2014, with campaigns likely to spark significant online buzz. What is exciting to see is an increase in the acceleration of newer brands such as Richard Mille (#2) and Greubel Forsey (#4), where search volume surged by 35% and 32% respectively in

Despite progress from many brands, the star performer of Q3 2014 was undoubtedly Parmigiani, despite the fact it captures less than 1% of all Haute Horlogerie searches. Search intentions on a global level increased by 65% when compared to Q3 2013, fuelled by massive surges in online interest originating in the United Kingdom (+295%), Brazil (+70%) and Germany (+77%). Though it is difficult to pinpoint the exact catalyst for such dramatic increases, one cannot ignore a global increase in brand publicity in mid-September, related to a scandal surrounding Parmigiani’s involvement in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Parmigiani watches were distributed in gift bags from the Brazilian football federation in June to the 28 members of FIFA’s executive committee during the summer’s tournament. FIFA's ethics committee eventually decided that was a breach of the organisation's code of ethics and asked officials to return the watches.

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This incident could help to explain such huge shifts from ‘football mad’ nations such as the U.K., Brazil, Germany and France. Football controversy aside, online interest in the brand is still largely derived from China, which accounted for 23% of all searches, followed by the United States (18%) and the aforementioned United Kingdom.


A spotlight on Richard Mille’s online desirability paints a different picture, where exactly one quarter of all search intentions in Q3 2014 originated in the United States. France (13%) and the United Kingdom (12%) account for the second and third-largest search volumes respectively, trailed by China (11%) and Japan (14%). Somewhat surprisingly, the biggest increases in interest came from Italy (+120%) and once again from Brazil (+92%), which generally appears to be a country increasingly fascinated by Haute Horlogerie.

The story changes yet again when we dice the DemandTracker data by searches for specific models. Here we find no mention of Vacheron Constantin, nor Richard Mille or Greubel Forsey. When evaluating the Q3 2014 search volumes, it is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak that registers the most queries globally, followed by the Royal Oak Offshore and Patek Philippe’s Nautilus. Indeed Patek Philippe is the most represented brand in the Top 10, with the Nautilus at #3, the Calatrava at #6 and the Sky Moon Tourbillon entering for the first time (#10). Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master (#4) and Reverso (#5) both dropped one place each compared to Q3 2013, making way for the increase of Patek Phillippe’s Nautilus. Looking exclusively at the Top 5 most-searched-for Haute Horlogerie models, the results suggest that consumers are still looking for trusted products from trusted brands: authentic pure-play brands with longstanding watchmaking legacies and a reputation for excellence in product, service and after-sale value appreciation. This is by no means to say there is no room for new Haute Horlogerie brands, nor that Couture watch brands will not be successful. In both these categories it is a case of building legacy and legitimacy in the field, as opposed to crafting a marketing message. The nomination of Louis Vuitton in 2014’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve, in the category of Women’s complications, is a sign that this can be achieved. But what is applicable to all brands trying their hand at Haute Horlogerie is that consumers will continue to demand the best; the best quality, innovation, experiences and service. To compete in an increasingly saturated marketplace across all levels, brands must have crystal clear identities and a razor sharp value proposition for consumers. Lucky for some, the majority of Haute Horlogerie brands are sitting pretty in this position. p










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+1 NEW


A unique window to the universe of watches and jewellery where all key players showcase trendsetting creations and innovations. Seize this opportunity to experience passion, precision and perfection.

M A R C H 19 – 26 , 2015




Although the Asian version of the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) is in only its second edition, its influence is already being felt. The 13 prestigious brands present welcomed visitors with a festival of innovation.

by Woody Hu & Jean-Luc Adam Watches & Wonders, Asia’s premier Haute Horlogerie exhibition, took place in Hong Kong from 30 September to 2 October. Be warned: it featured ‘only’ the brands in the Richemont group, plus Richard Mille, an independent manufacture. Neverthless, their widely different personalities and unique histories ensure that A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, Piaget, Roger Dubuis, IWC, Vacheron Constantin and Van Cleef & Arpels together form a representative cross-section of the watchmaking world. Whether by pure coincidence or simply attention to detail, navigation around the exhibition proceeded as if it were the dial of a giant rectangular watch and, appropriately, in a broadly clockwise direction! The 16,000 visitors and 800 journalists no doubt had their heads full of tourbillons, and some certainly had capacious wallets: who, for example, went home with the Astronomica – Vacheron Constantin’s unique super-complication, for sale at the astronomical price of two million Swiss francs (see below)? Over the three days of the exhibition, some of the display cases were noticeably empty. “Any one-of-akind models that are sold are immediately withdrawn in order to avoid conflicts with other potential purchasers,” the staff at the Cartier booth confided. The exhibition is aimed particularly at buyers from mainland China; prices are often displayed in Chinese yuan. And why not; they are helping to support

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master watchmakers and craftsmen of exceptional talent, as you will see from our selection of new models, listed in alphabetical order by brand.



The understated elegance of the dials contrasts with the complex workings of the A. Lange & Söhne manufacture movements. This approach appeals to the Chinese, who avidly follow the smallest developments. In Hong Kong, they were amply rewarded with the new edition of the Richard Lange Tourbillon Pour le Mérite, originally launched 20 years ago, which marks the renaissance of the German brand. Its white gold case and blued hands and indices produce a stunning effect. It is worth remembering that the L072.1 calibre features a refined fusée-and-chain transmission, which ensures constant drive torque throughout the power-reserve period, but it also offers the possibility, by pulling the crown, of immobilising the balance inside the

tourbillon cage, stopping the movement and allowing the time to be set to onesecond accuracy! Finally, Pour le Mérite features a pivoting dial segment between 6 and 12 o’clock which, outside this time period, swings away to offer a complete view of the tourbillon.

AUDEMARS PIGUET The Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Tourbillon Chronograph caused quite a stir. This series limited to 50 pieces picks up the forged carbon case, ceramic bezel, titanium pushers and rubber bracelet of the Royal Oak Offshore, and adds an innovative bespoke self-winding calibre. Made up of 335 components which are shaped, polished, bevelled and decorated by hand, the 2897 calibre is equipped with a peripheral oscillating weight in platinum (one of the heaviest metals), thus optimising winding efficiency, and granting a totally unrestricted view of the movement through the sapphire case back, which avoids adding extra thickness to what is already a substantial watch. In terms of style, the iconic case and ‘Mega Tapisserie’ dial will appeal to connoisseurs of the Le Brassusbased brand. The Royal Oak Offshore Selfwinding Tourbillon Chronograph is

distinguished by the opening at 6 o’clock, which reveals a magnificent tourbillon.

BAUME & MERCIER The Clifton collection – a reinterpretation of 1950s Baume & Mercier watches – has boosted sales at the seventh-oldest watchmaking brand still in activity (it was founded in 1830). The collection was actually unveiled in China in 2012, and has since grown to encompass two new pieces: the Clifton MOA 10180 and the MOA 10194, both characterised by an elegant and timeless 39-mm case. On the 10180, the harmony between the luminous anthracite satinfinished dial set with nine diamond indices, and the polished 18-carat red gold case approaches perfection. Its Swiss made automatic movement is visible through the case-back, and a hand-sewn alligator strap, closed with a pin buckle, completes this exemplar of ‘affordable luxury’. The 10194 is more visibly opulent, with a bezel encrusted with 72 diamonds and a pure white dial.

CARTIER All the luxury brands have attempted to seduce the Chinese market by borrowing symbols from Chinese culture. By creating a skeletonised manufacture movement in the shape of a dragon, Cartier could have fallen into the realms of cliché. However, the fantastic creature captured within its sapphire cage, with its 233 diamond scales and its 9617 MC hand-wound calibre, adroitly integrated into its shape, is a work of genius. Nevertheless, this Pasha de Cartier remains true to its signature features: serrated screw-down winding crown ornamented with a brilliant-cut diamond, ‘gun screw’ attachments and an indented bracelet. Its three jewellery-watch versions are equipped with a case set with brilliant-cut diamonds and a black

alligator strap or an articulated bracelet of white gold links set with brilliant-cut or baguette-cut diamonds.

IWC With its Portofino Midsize Automatic Moon Phase collection, IWC takes us on a nostalgic journey back to the 1950s and ’60s. Portofino, the ‘Italian SaintTropez’, was a favourite haunt of stars including Maria Callas, Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren, who were often snapped by paparazzi in the cafés of the fishing village’s piazzetta. IWC’s first Portofino dates back to 1984, and the new 2015 collection borrows its iconic moon phase display and reframes it in either a classical or a more imaginative setting. With its restrained 37-mm diameter, the Portofino Midsize Automatic Moon Phase is also suitable for slender wrists. The hands and moon phase display are driven by the mechanical selfwinding 35800 calibre. The white gold model on display attracted a great deal of attention; for the first time in its history, IWC has created a dial coated with several layers of jet-black lacquer, offering a stunning backdrop for the pure white diamonds. The Schaffhausen designers set the complete moon phase display against a star-studded night sky, making the moon and stars appear to float in infinite space. The poetic imagery extends to the diamond-set inner circle of the dial and the case encrusted with


Luxury brands have attempted to seduce the Chinese market by borrowing symbols from Chinese culture.

90 precious stones. Slim baton-style indices radiate from the centre of the dial like a glittering crown, while the minutes are indicated by dots that parade around the outside of the dial like distant planets. Each of the 174 precious stones on the dial, bezel and bracelet lugs is meticulously placed so as not to detract from the minimalist lines of the watch. It is worn with a black alligator strap by Santoni.

JAEGER-LECOULTRE Two new models arrested visitors to the Jaeger-LeCoultre booth: the Master Grande Tradition Grande Complication and the Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater. The former is a masterful reinterpretation of the tourbillon and perpetual calendar functions, featuring the brand’s latest innovations, the crystal gong and trébuchet hammers. As well as being a grande complication, the timepiece is also a marvel of the jeweller’s art. Its night sky is represented on an aventurine dial with cut diamonds that sparkle like stars. Sapphires and midnight blue lacquer give the dial a stunning appearance. The case is carpeted with baguette-cut diamonds, underlining the exceptional character of this timepiece. The most enchanting feature of the Rendez-Vous Ivy Minute Repeater is the dial with its extraordinary decoration; the numbers appear to melt into the floral motifs, in this case ivy, which is figured in 255 diamonds. Its beauty con-

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ceals the brand’s latest inventions, which required the creation of a new automatic calibre. The highly accurate 942A beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour and has a 43hour power reserve. Its minute repeater features two trébuchet hammers, which are able to deliver greater force simultaneously to two ‘crystal gongs’ connected to the sapphire crystal, producing a loudspeaker effect.

MONTBLANC Creating a perpetual calendar that can display the exact date up to the year 2100 would be a trivial problem for Casio’s electronics experts. But in micro-mechanics, solving the problem of leap years over almost 90 years is a significant technical challenge, and one that Montblanc has overcome in its Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar. No adjustment is necessary for the twenty-two 29 Februaries that occur between 2016 and 2100! Nevertheless, the watchmakers of Villeret and Le Locle took the complication to a new level with the Metamorphosis II which, for Watches & Wonders 2014, was revealed with new, more lustrous finishes. It was one of the exhibition’s main attractions, and for good reason, as the mechanism is made up of 746 parts, 494 of which are required solely for the Metamorphosis function! The idea was to offer a choice of either a classic watch or a chronograph, using the same movement and the same dial.

An ingenious mechanism transforms the classic dial into a chronograph; pivoting shutters part like theatre curtains, and the chronograph module comes forward to take centre stage. And if you think the metamorphosis is impressive, so is the size: it has a diameter of 52 mm and a thickness of just 15.8 mm.


PANERAI Officine Panerai presented a rare special edition of the Radiomir in red gold, with a GMT function and a transparent case back that reveals the subtle details of the P.3001/10 movement. The case of the new Radiomir 3 Days GMT Oro Rosso – 47 mm borrows the size and characteristic cushion shape of the first watch created by Officine Panerai in 1936 for Italian Royal Navy commandos. From an aesthetic point of view, this special edition is remarkable for the harmony between the deep blue shade of the dial, the alligator strap and the warm 5Npt red gold case. The special alloy owes its distinctive colour and high resistance to oxidation to its high copper content and the presence of platinum.

PIAGET For over half a century Piaget has been the acknowledged master of the ultra-slim watch. The new Altiplano 38 mm 900P (available in four jewellery finishes) has set a new record as the world’s thinnest mechanical watch. In order to achieve a

The new Altiplano 38 mm 900P has set a new record as the world’s thinnest mechanical watch.

thickness of just 3.65 mm, the watchmakers of the La Côte-aux-Fées manufacture in the Neuchâtel Jura, and the case builders based in Plan-les-Ouates (near Geneva) worked hand in hand to literally fuse the movement with the case. This is an unparalleled achievement for Piaget, which is celebrating its 140th anniversary, as the Altiplano 38 mm 900P is breathtakingly beautiful. Some of the 145 components measure no more than a hair’s breadth, notably the 0.12 mm gears. In order to guarantee the brand’s legendary accuracy, mechanical tolerances have been brought down to one-hundredth of a millimetre, which has in no way detracted from the 48-hour power reserve.

RICHARD MILLE If the following paragraph contains too many exclamation marks for your taste, blame Richard Mille, whose technical achievements seem to demand them. This was the case again in Hong Kong, where we encountered the RM 56-02 Sapphire – limited to a run of 10 – whose case is made entirely of sapphire crystal, requiring 40 days’ machining! What is more, the baseplate, bridges and third wheel are also made of sapphire, and their machining takes 400 hours! Never before has this material been given such complex treatment, and in one of the most complicated timepieces too. The Sapphire is in fact a descendant of the RM 27-01 Rafael Nadal, whose tourbillon movement was suspended from a cable. It remains to be seen whether the apparent lightness conferred by the glass will be compromised by its own weight... It was impossible to check, given that the display piece was itself inside a glass case!

ROGER DUBUIS The Geneva manufacture is a leader in movement R&D within the Richemont group. This was amply demonstrated

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at Watches & Wonders 2014 with the Minute Repeater Tourbillon Automatic in rose gold, which boasts exceptional technical prowess, refinement and the company’s signature aesthetic. As well as the mellifluous complication itself, the timepiece conceals other technical features that bear the Roger Dubuis stamp: automatic winding via a double micro-rotor in hand-guilloché pink gold, and a flying tourbillon in a new carriage guaranteeing optimal inertia, equilibrium and anti-shock protection. Like all the timepieces that emerge from the manufacture workshops, this model bears the Poinçon de Genève hallmark, the ultimate guarantee of quality and reliability. Indeed, 328 of the 1241 hours of manufacturing involved in making the movement are dedicated to meeting the Poinçon de Genève criteria. The Minute Repeater Tourbillon Automatic is issued in a limited edition of 20 pieces to mark the manufacture’s 20th anniversary.

VACHERON CONSTANTIN It was worth the trip to Hong Kong to visit the Vacheron booth alone: through a series of workshops, visitors were able to try their hand at engraving and enamelling, visit a small museum and, best of all, discover a number of innovations first-hand. The Traditionnelle Calibre 2253 L’Empreinte du Dragon grabs the attention with its entirely hand-engraved case adorned with a dragon scale motif,

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executed by a master craftsman who was awarded the title ‘Best Artisan of France’ in 2011. Equally fascinating are three exceptional and unique pieces from the Métiers d’Art L’éloge de la nature collection: Wild Golden-Coated Mustangs, Chamois Amid an Alpine Setting and Flight of Cranes from the East. Their dials read like an encyclopaedia of every conceivable technique: gemsetting, engraving, guilloché, enamelling, Japanese lacquer, stone cloisonné, and also marquetry – the Alpine setting uses 130 pieces of wood! And yet, despite being incredible works of art, another one-of-a-kind piece almost puts them in the shade: the Maître Cabinotier Astronomica. Its manual-wound 2755-B1 calibre brings together 15 of the most demanding Haute Horlogerie complications, giving pride of place to astronomical functions. It is the first of a new highly exclusive range of timepieces produced in the spirit of the Genevan Cabinotiers of the 18th century, combining the principles of limited quantities, personalisation and highly skilled craftsmanship. A distillation of watchmaking excellence, the exceptional movement hallmarked with the prestigious Poinçon de Genève resides in a white gold case with a 47 mm diameter and a thickness of 19.1 mm. It would take up the rest of this edition of Europa Star to describe the model in detail, so we shall restrain ourselves to just the ‘bare’ functions: hours,


minutes, small seconds at 6 o’clock over the tourbillon, minute repeater, tourbillon, perpetual calendar (date, day, month, leap years), power reserve indicator, equation of time, sunrise, sunset, sky chart, age and phases of the moon, sidereal time, season and zodiac sign. This watch, priced at two million Swiss francs, rapidly found a buyer and was consequently removed from display.


Parisian manufacture Van Cleef & Arpels wants nothing less than to pack our entire galaxy into a 44 mmdiameter watch case!

There are some who would like to bottle Paris. Parisian manufacture Van Cleef & Arpels wants nothing less than to pack our entire galaxy into a 44 mm-diameter watch case! Thankfully, the ambition of the Midnight Planetarium is purely poetic. Its dial is a miniature planetarium fashioned from aventurine discs and spheres of differently-coloured stones representing each of the five planets visible from Earth (depicted as a turquoise marble). Mercury (serpentine), Venus (chloromelanite), Saturn (sugillite), Mars (red jasper) and Jupiter (blue agate) waltz serenely around the sun (rose gold). The complex automatic movement scrupulously mirrors the time it actually takes each planet to orbit the sun, from the longest (Saturn, at 29 years) to the shortest (88 days for Mercury). The time is indicated by a shooting star that rotates around the dial over a 24-hour period. Two apertures on the back of the timepiece indicate day, month and year. p

BRACELETS Tél.: +39 0444 343434 • •


THE JAQUET DROZ MUSEUM WATCH The Swatch Group subsidiary has inherited a pocket watch dating back to the 18th century. A delicate operation for its watchmakers.


by Isabelle Guignet

Museum is the new name given to a watch dating back to 1780, which was recently restored by Jaquet Droz. After studying its movement, the La Chaux-de-Fonds manufacture was able to accurately establish the date the model was created in Pierre Jaquet Droz’ native region. Europa Star wanted to find out more about the restoration, and gained a fascinating insight into the efforts required to trace the genealogy of an old watch, and bring it back up to date. Despite the company’s extensive research, some facts have remained elusive: it has proved impossible, for instance, to find out who the timepiece originally belonged to, its initial price, or to trace the owners of all the pockets it graced throughout its venerable history. The watch came into the manufacture’s possession in 2012, when its former owner came in person to offer it to the watchmaking house. Jaquet Droz responded with a detailed offer to restore the piece and create a new case for it, as the original case was missing. The former owner was delighted with the idea, and decided to bequeath the watch to the manufacture.

“Thanks to our archives, we were able to reconstruct the design and techniques that would have been used originally.” REPAIRING THE RAVAGES OF TIME

“We only had the movement, and we had to breathe new life into it, recreating all the external parts from scratch.” Pierre Jaquet Droz

It is not the first time the brand has undertaken to restore historic watches. Its artisans regularly carry out maintenance work on pieces in the Jaquet Droz museum. Nevertheless, as Jaquet Droz vice-president Christian Lattmann explains, “The Museum was a new departure in this respect; it was the first model where we only had the movement, and we had to breathe new life into it, recreating all the external parts from scratch.”

54 RESTORATION / europa star

The restoration project took two years, including six months for the movement alone. The Museum pocket watch was given a complete overhaul, and an entirely new case was created. “Our artisans drew inspiration from existing models, to get closer to the spirit of Jaquet Droz,” explains Christian Lattmann. The watchmakers began by dismantling the movement, after which it was thoroughly and painstakingly cleaned. The calibre was then rubbed down in order to restore its period golden lustre, and the pivot holes were bushed, in order to repair the wear caused by more than two centuries of daily use. It was also necessary to rebuild and reinsert a missing tooth (editor’s note: the protruding part on the circumference of a gear – this is watchmaking, not dentistry!) The clock is wound in the same way as it was originally, by means of a key inserted below the 2 o’clock index. As the original key was lost, a new one was designed and construct-

ed by the manufacture workshop. “Thanks to our archives, we were able to reconstruct the design and techniques that would have been used originally.” Once the movement had been restored, the Ateliers d’Art of the Jaquet Droz house took over the next stage in the restoration process: creating a hand-finished enamel case, into which pearls and rubies were set using a period technique. The original gold plating of the plate and bridges was conserved, the pivot holes were rebushed and the pivots themselves repolished.

OLD USES FOR NEW MATERIALS The next step was to design a case. “Our enamellers, engravers and jewellers designed a new casing combining references to watchmaking of the time to the brand’s own codes: its secret signature, the four-leafed clover, and the combination of using Roman numerals for the hours and Arabic numbers for the minutes on the dial.” Nevertheless, both technology and materials have evolved in the last two centuries, which posed something of a technical

“The use of mercury in gold plating baths is not permitted these days. We therefore had to develop a unique cleaning process to revive the lustre and subtlety of the baseplate.” challenge... “For example, the use of mercury in gold plating baths is not permitted these days. We therefore had to develop a unique cleaning process to revive the lustre and subtlety of the baseplate. The glass is made of sapphire, a possibility that did not exist at the time.” Now entirely restored, the Museum pocket watch will join the Jaquet Droz Enchanted Journey exhibition, which is currently touring the world, before returning to the house museum. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Jaquet-Droz

europa star / RESTORATION



ELEVEN JAMES Luxury isn’t just for owners anymore Keith W. Strandberg

Eleven James allows watch customers to “try before they buy.” The jury is still out as to whether this is good or bad for the watch industry.


The trend for everything, recently, has been toward accessibility. Experiences previously only available to VIPs are now sold to anyone who can put together the cash. Custom watches, typically the province of the rich, are now available on websites for as little as $150.00. Now, in the USA, it is possible to wear luxury watches without even buying them, as a member of Eleven James. This company is a membership club that allows members to “test drive” watches, wearing them for a number of months, then switching them out for something else. Randy Brandoff, Founder and CEO of Eleven James, came by the idea honestly, as he was the first employee of Marquis Jets, a private jet club that allowed members to share the use of the planes, making private airplanes accessible to many more people than before. He hopes he can repeat this success in watches. “With the success of Marquis and Net jets, vacation clubs, car clubs, Bag Borrow Steal, Shared Art and yacht programs, Randy Brandoff, Founder and CEO of Eleven James

“I love watches and have a great collection but I have tended to gravitate to just a couple of brands. I love Panerai, but I also love the fact that as an Eleven James Member I am going to wear something different, something I have never owned. I am also a part of a community of people that are passionate about watches. I am definitely more likely to buy a new timepiece in the future. My experience wearing Hublot and Glashütte Original watches as a member of Eleven James has made me a big admirer of both of those brands and I can definitely see buying one or both for my collection.” Paul Wigdor of New Jersey, Eleven James’ member

56 WATCH CLUB / europa star

I came to realize that you could take any asset that was previously exclusively owned and make it available for shorter times,” Brandoff explains. “Watches are reasonably expensive, they are good but not great assets, and the more you have the more they sit idle at home, since you can only wear one at a time. I asked myself why I couldn’t apply the same annual program club model to watches? You pick the collection (Aficionado, Connoisseur, and Virtuoso) and you pick one of two frequencies (six two-month rotations or three two-month rotations).” The price to belong to Eleven James ranges from $2,700 to $17,250 per year, depending on class of watch and frequency of rotation. Eleven James aims to know its members

“I thought it would make it less likely that I would buy a watch, but I actually went ahead and made a timepiece purchase much sooner than I was expecting. Overall, I think Eleven James will make people more likely to purchase, because it keeps them in the mindset of fine timepieces.” Brent F. Sibley, a lawyer from Miami and a member of Eleven James

so well to be able to match each person’s taste with the appropriate watch. “When you become a member, we create your personal watch profile by asking questions, the history of your collection and the ratings done in Eleven James,” Brandoff explains. “With all that information, we can confidently match you with a watch, and if we are wrong, we will switch it out. It keeps the element of surprise, like receiving a gift from a loved one. We catalogue the data of individual preferences, demographics and psychographics, and in the longer term we envision sharing that info on a macro level with the brands, to help inform their product and distribution. We think that will help the industry and see that we are friends not foe.” That is one big issue, as no one in the watch industry, neither brands nor retailers, know what to make of Eleven James. The concept could really take off and help sales, as customers fall in love with the watches they are wearing temporarily and buy them for their collections. Or, it could decrease sales, if

the collectors are content with their rotation and don’t feel the need to buy. “We are seeing two things – Eleven James is a try before you buy program, and it is a way to get new people into watches. their training wheels to try a luxury watch,” Brandoff says. “Every member we add is a watch we have to acquire, and a lot of our members are going to buy the watches because they don’t want to give it back. They can buy it pre-owned from us or we will put them in touch with a retailer to buy it new.” “We have had quite a few members sign up who have said that they are Panerai guys or Rolex guys, but because trying something else is so much cheaper, it’s their safety net to try other watches,” he continues. “Our members are finding out that there is a lot more out there than they are aware of.” Anything that helps raise awareness of fine watches and gets more people wearing watches in general can’t be all bad. It remains to be seen how Eleven James is received, both by customers and the industry, and what effect does have on the watch purchasing habits of its members. p

europa star / WATCH CLUB




Window dressing and shopfitting are crucial elements for brands and retailers alike. Here are ten tips from visual merchandising expert Brigitte Beeler.


by Isabelle Guignet The Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali had a special, almost obsessive, relationship with clocks. Who could forget his famous 1931 canvas, ‘The Persistence of Memory’, where pocket watches melt like Camembert cheese on Catalonia’s Portlligat beach? This disturbing landscape, redolent of the passage of time and death, must have tickled the unconscious of quite a few watchmakers!

58 EXPRESS INTERVIEW / europa star

In 1939, Salvador Dali was invited to dress a window for the New York department store Bonwit Teller. It ended poorly. But Salvador Dali also took an interest in shop displays. In 1939, for example, he was invited, along with a number of other surrealist artists, to dress a window for the New York department store Bonwit Teller. The Spanish painter incorporated concepts of day and night, and peopled his windows with bizarre mannequins. The experiment was shortlived. Customers complained, and the store replaced the mannequins, to Dali’s evident fury, since he shattered one of the windows – whether this was an accident or not remains unclear. This amusing anecdote appropriately illustrates the fascinating, but also con-

I A photo of Salvador Dali by Denise Bellon © Les Films de l’Équinoxe Fonds Photographique Denise Bellon and Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dali, DACS, 2014.

troversial, power of the shop window. Their appearance is a critical factor for all watchmaking brands and retailers, all over the world. It has also become a discipline in its own right – visual merchandising – which is taught around the globe with a view to identifying that indefinable ‘something’ that will bring the clients in off the streets. And Dali was probably a pioneer, albeit an unwilling one. Brigitte Beeler, head of the discipline at the Centre d’Enseignement Professionel in Vevey, Switzerland, has consulted for Piaget, Ebel, IWC and Zenith. Here is her ten-point vision of visual merchandising.

1. Visual merchandising is... The act of displaying and showcasing a product, whether in a shop or on the internet.

Brigitte Beeler, head of visual merchandising at the Centre d’Enseignement Professionel in Vevey.

2. What draws customers’ eyes to the window… Modesty, authenticity and discretion: the contemporary codes of luxury, in other words. Plus an artistic setting, and an element of emotion! 3. The key ingredient in a successful display… At the risk of repeating myself, it’s... emotion. There must be an interaction between the product and a human

“Consumers have had enough of hard selling and information overload.”

I Dali Atomicus by Philippe Halsman, 1948

being, not just a typical consumer; personal consideration, not a one-sizefits-all approach. 4. The fatal mistake… An overcrowded window. It destroys all legibility and visibility. Consumers have had enough of hard selling and information overload. 5. If you had a boutique, it would look like… It would showcase a concept dear to the brand’s values, with a scenography that would not be out of place in an artistic installation. 6. A brand that is a visual merchandising expert… Hermès, no question. They are brave enough to showcase their differences while remaining authentic.

7. Anything that caught your eye recently… The Citizen booth at Baselworld 2013. They developed an unusual concept combining time and light, which was more artistic than purely commercial. 8. Any pet hates… There’s a tendency among luxury brands to imitate each other; unfortunately their boutiques all end up looking the same. 9. A word of advice… You must be able to deconstruct your brand in order to reconstruct it; demarcate in order to reinvent. Don’t be trapped by classicism, take risks. 10. Internet… It is an essential element in any strong, cross-disciplinary strategy. p

I Citizen booth at Baselworld, 2013 europa star / EXPRESS INTERVIEW



PIERRE DEROCHE “IT’S BECOMING HARDER AND HARDER TO BE REPRESENTED IN A MULTIBRAND BOUTIQUE” As the head of watchmaking brand Pierre DeRoche – which has just celebrated its 10th anniversary – Pierre Dubois shares his views on the ongoing challenges faced by independent watchmakers today.


Do all your watches have complications? Pierre Dubois: Absolutely. I’d like to think that when people are talking about the brand, they associate it directly with our complications. It’s our defining feature. We want to preserve our originality with timepieces including retrograde hands, seconds, minutes or hours.

by Isabelle Guignet

Born into the fourth generation of watchmakers, Pierre Dubois didn’t follow the path of his family straight away. First a sports instructor, then a finance graduate, he started his career by working in a Swiss bank for a few years. That is, until Audemars Piguet recruited him as a financial director and finally production manager. Supported by his wife Carole, he then created his own prestigious watch brand called Pierre DeRoche in the Vallée de Joux, specialising in timepieces with complications, like the brand’s iconic Royal Retro watch.

60 DISTRIBUTION / europa star

Which markets are you aiming for? PD: All of them of course! But not everybody wants us (laughs). We’re now facing an enormous challenge when it comes to the brand’s distribution - as big groups gained even more importance, we haven’t been left with a lot of space. It’s becoming harder and harder to be represented in a multibrand boutique. In 2012 your goal was to reach the American market. Achieved? PD: Yes, we are now present in the United States. But it’s a difficult market: during the past ten years we had to change distributors three times and we’re currently taking legal ac-

Where does the name Pierre DeRoche come from? PD: From my childhood! In fact I wanted to avoid naming the brand Pierre Dubois to avoid creating confusion with my brothers’ Dubois-Dépraz company. I remember a farmer in the village who used to make fun of my name: he thought that my parents’ choice to name me Pierre (‘stone’ in English) when my last name was Dubois (‘From wood’ in English) was very funny… so contradictory! He would call me Pierre DeRoche (‘Stone of Rock’ in English). I liked the name. I TNT ROYAL RETRO and REYNOLD by Pierre DeRoche

tion against the last two. We were misled. We now have a retailer in New York and we try to manage the sales in the most direct way possible. How many pieces do you sell per year? PD: Between 200 and 250 per year. We hope to reach between 600 and 800 pieces within the next five to six years. The issue remains the access to retail sales. We’ll need to work on that in order to find new distribution channels. Your timepieces are predominantly masculine… PD: You’re going to think that we’re a macho brand (laughs)! It is true that nowadays we create between 80 and 90 percent of our watches for men. At first, we used to have a better balance between masculine and feminine creations. But quartz is not part of our philosophy… nonetheless we do not neglect female demand: the ladies’ Royal Retro enjoyed a lot of success. Moreover we notice that many women buy men’s watches for themselves!

You are in fact a family business. How do you allocate tasks and responsibilities? PD: I work on the technical aspects with my two brothers at Dubois-Dépraz. My cousin oversees the research and development side of the business and my wife and I work on design, colours and other subtle details. She’s also in charge of communications, the production of our catalogues and marketing. This organisation apparently works since we’ve been in the business for ten years! How do you project the brand’s future? PD: I hope we’ll be able to follow our current path, keeping our work and our originality focused on complications and retrograde hands. I can already reveal that we are going to launch a new Royal Retro in 2015, featuring another complication – a unique GMT with six hands. It should please our customers. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Pierre-DeRoche

europa star / DISTRIBUTION



FROJO – SELLING WATCHES AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD Mountain resorts provide a very interesting customer base for watch retailers. French group Frojo recently made the move to Val d’Isère to grab a piece of the action. Interview with CEO Edouard Frojo.


by Serge Maillard

In 2014, the French watch and jewellery retail group Frojo celebrated its 160th anniversary. Its first boutique opened in 1854 in Marseilles, where two shops still exist today. A little over 30 years ago, another boutique opened its doors in Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera. Val d’Isère is the newest addition to the family. For this winter issue, Europa Star wanted to focus on the daily business of a mountain resort watch boutique. CEO Edouard Frojo answered our questions. What is different about selling watches in a winter resort, compared with a city? Edouard Frojo: The customer base is very different between Val d’Isère, where we opened our first boutique only four years ago, and a big city such as Marseilles, where we put down our roots 160 years ago. Whereas in

62 RETAILER PROFILE / europa star

Edouard Frojo

Marseilles we have a local reputation, most of our customers in Val d’Isère are international tourists. On the other hand, we see a very strong complementarity between our sales outlets in Val d’Isère – which is open only in winter – and Saint-Tropez – which is open only in summer. The customer base is the same. Before, we had trouble managing our stocks out-of-season. Now, it is possible for us to sell luxury watches all year long, on the beach in summer and on the ski slopes in winter. We also see a difference in customer behaviour between a resort and a city. Most of them are in Val d’Isère for their holidays and they feel relaxed, carefree, unstressed and above all,

they have more time to spend in our shop than in a city like Marseilles. Why Val d’Isère? It’s not a resort that’s immediately associated with high-end tourism. EF: True. We were pioneers when we opened our shop. In France, you can count the luxury winter resorts on your fingers: Courchevel, Méribel or Megève. The competition in Courchevel was already harsh, the watch retail market was blocked there. So we chose Val d’Isère. It was a risky bet. But we are happy today, because the resort has developed a lot in recent years. You see more and more 5-star ‘chalets’ being built. The resort is changing.

FACTS AND FIGURES Name: Frojo Location: Val d’Isère (France) Established: Since December 2010 Employees: 3 Size of store: 50 square metres Price range: From 995 €

“Unlike Courchevel, which is very dependent on Russian tourists, we can rely on a very broad variety of nationalities.” Where do your customers come from? EF: Unlike Courchevel, which is very dependent on Russian tourists, we can rely on a very broad variety of nationalities, from Brazilians to Belgians. We also received a warm welcome from the inhabitants of Val d’Isère, who were pleased to find luxury jewellery and watches ‘at home’. Also, Val d’Isère is very famous all over the world, thanks to its FIS World Cup. This variety is a very strong asset, because we are less affected than other resorts by the geopolitical turmoil in Eastern Europe, the crisis in Ukraine and the wave of Western sanctions against Russia. How was business during the 2013/2014 winter season? EF: We had stable results, despite a generally challenging market. There were fewer people in the Alpine ski resorts, due among other things to the Olympic Games in Sochi and the first troubles in Ukraine, which discouraged some Eastern European tourists from coming here. But as I told you, we are fortunately not really dependent on this customer base. I do not rely on

Russians alone, and other customers can replace them if necessary. So it did not impact our turnover. Which watch items are your bestsellers? EF: We sell watches from brands such as Rolex, Chanel, Cartier, Hublot, Parmigiani, Zenith, TAG Heuer and also the smaller brand SevenFriday, which is quite popular at the moment. It should be mentioned that there is a special relationship between Rolex and Val d’Isère. French ski champion JeanClaude Killy partnered with the brand. Its executives trusted us and allowed us to open this boutique. Hence, our story here started with Rolex and our relationship remains very strong. For this new season, we also welcome a new brand in our shop: Panerai. I am very proud of it, because this chic and elegant brand will surely attract a strong following in a sports resort like Val d’Isère. What are your expectations for the 2014/2015 winter season? EF: Since we opened our shop in 2010, we have seen steady growth in terms of visitors and turnover, so we

Best-selling watch: Rolex

are quite optimistic. As we are a very young boutique, every new season completed is a victory! I remember when we started our business in Saint-Tropez 30 years ago, turnover was very low in the beginning. It is really hard work and it takes time. Our customers are mainly “rich” to “very rich”, not in the highest “ultra luxury” segment: many of them are CEOs, they are not impulse buyers. So we have to work hard to create customer loyalty, in the French Alps in winter and on the Riviera in summer. Apart from that, the most critical element for a successful season remains… the amount of snow. Many mid-altitude resorts have been in trouble because of the lack of snow and cancellations by tourists. And global warming risks making things even worse. So we think high-altitude resorts such as Val d’Isère are the most likely to remain attractive. But we too pray every year for snow! How do you organise your boutique? EF: All of our sales points share a similar “Frojo” look. In Val d’Isère, we are lucky to be located right in the middle of the resort, we are even more visible than the tourist office. We created a very bright space, in order to contrast with the night, which falls very early in the mountains. After all, we are all a bit like moths: attracted to the light! Do you offer after-sales service? EF: We provide after-sales service for every brand we sell. Here in Val d’Isère, we offer a basic level of services such as strap sizing, simple adjustments and other minor assistance. Our watchmaking and chronometry workshop in Marseilles is certified by Rolex and we can take care of our clients’ watches directly on site. p

europa star / RETAILER PROFILE



SOFTENING AFTER-SALES DELAYS WITH “COURTESY WATCHES” The increasing demands on after-sales service have resulted in long delays for customers. In order to minimize the bad mood that accompanies this period, the watch industry is investigating new solutions, such as loaning replacement watches to customers. A good idea?


by Velibor Jakovleski

EXECUTIVE BRIEF: The increasing popularity of mechanical and • Haute Horlogerie watches has created a service problem for the watch industry. • The introduction of “courtesy watches” has turned the problem into an opportunity. • However, customer satisfaction happens only when this system is carefully applied.

Ironically, the watch industry is a victim of its own success.

Much like owning a car, a mechanical watch requires regular service, whether it is a routine tune-up or a more complex repair. However, service is usually an afterthought when making a watch purchase. According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH, between 2000 and 2013 the number of mechanical watches exported by Switzerland alone tripled to about 7.5 million. It is common understanding that about 10% of watches in circulation at any given time are being serviced. But with the number of watches in circulation increasing by the year, companies will eventually need to service more watches than are being produced in a given year. For example, the New York Times has reported that while Patek Phillippe produces about 50,000 watches annually, it has anywhere between 30,000 and 50,000 return for service each year. Ironically, the watch industry is a victim of its own success. This “service prob-

64 SERVICE, PLEASE! / europa star

lem” can be a ticking time bomb for the industry. Unfortunately, the number of highly qualified watchmakers has not increased to alleviate the problem. The result is high costs and extended waiting times for servicing. More complex repairs, which often require shipping the watch back to manufacturing headquarters in Switzerland, can take up to 6 months or more and cost thousands of dollars.

BRANDS DIFFUSING THE TIME BOMB The service issue seems inevitable, but some have prevented the time bomb from going off. In response, brands and retailers have placed service directly in the spotlight, as an integral part of their marketing strategies. One approach is providing so-called “courtesy watches”, where Hublot has made headlines. Hublot has prioritized after-sales service as part of its overall business strategy, considering it as ‘the company’s visiting card’. Based on that philosophy, they announced the introduction of an “Atelier Watch” in late 2012. According to the brand, the idea behind the watch is to maintain the connection with their customers. “The Hublot customer is an integral part of our Hublot family. While his personal watch is being taken care of, we will be very pleased to provide him with an ‘Atelier Watch’. With this, he will remain both physically and emo-

Hublot has prioritized after-sales service as part of its overall business strategy, considering it as ‘the company’s visiting card’. tionally connected to Hublot until his personal timepiece will be returned in perfect condition”, declared Ricardo Guadalupe, Hublot’s CEO.

MIXED REVIEWS Based on its intended purpose, the watch is aptly named. Meaning “workshop” in French, the “Atelier” name on the dial reminds its new (and temporary) owner that their personal watch is on the workshop desk for service. True to the Hublot style, the face has visible steel screws and a composite case. Perhaps not so typical is that it houses a quartz movement. The choice of movement has been met with mixed reviews. Some customers have equated this gesture to purchas-

Bulgari and Swatch also tried something similar, but they ran into a problem: some customers reportedly refused to return the loan watches. ing an Omega and receiving a Swatch as a replacement. After spending thousands of dollars on a luxury mechanical watch, to receive a quartz might be a let down to some. In part it is an issue of cost and practicality. The cheaper quartz is indeed less likely to break down itself. Another point of controversy has been that Hublot has stamped “not for sale” across the dial. The concern of resale was not unfounded: Bulgari and Swatch also tried something similar, but they ran into a problem: some customers reportedly refused to return the loan watches. Ironically, the bold statement on the watch’s dial implies a lack of trust by Hublot, fearing its own customers’ intentions. If the objective of the watch is to avoid breaking the emotional connection between the customer and the brand, the gesture might not help.

RETAILERS ENTER THE GAME Retailers have also introduced similar service options. According to WatchPro, U.K. based John Pass Jewelers introduced a line of Tissot PR100 loan watches. The watches were so popular among customers that the number of Tissot they sold also increased. They were also more discreet - unlike Hublot, “loan watch” was engraved on the back of the case. As part of their Watch Valet Service, Australia’s Define Watches introduced courtesy watches for customers whose service time is more than three weeks. According to owner Lydia Dalle Nogare, the strategy has been a success. “In many cases, courtesy watches from the likes of Sinn and Mühle-Glashütte ended up being purchased by the customer who has had them on loan.” Customers also appreciate the retailer’s domestic service centre, which prevents excessive delays associated with shipping watches from Australia to Europe for servicing. German-based Wempe also has a very comprehensive service program. With onsite watchmakers across their international locations, waiting times are reduced to around three weeks. Nevertheless, the retailer provides approximately 13,000

JAEGER-LECOULTRE: NEW MATERIALS TO PREVENT AFTER-SALES SERVICE Courtesy watches are, in effect, a reactive strategy. They assume that watches will always need servicing, and customers appreciate a replacement watch to address the issue of long waiting times. But what if a watch would not require regular service in the first place? For years, brands like Jaeger-LeCoultre have been experimenting with new materials as a preventative approach to service. By anticipating issues in the design phase, the objective is to make watches that do not come back for servicing. For instance, their pioneering Master Compressor Extreme LAB houses an oil and lubricant free Calibre 988C movement. The use of new compounds (such as easium carbonitride) allows moving parts in the watch to run dry. The execution is complex, but the underlying idea is simple: with changing temperature and use over time, lubricants degrade, which affects the accuracy and longevity of a watch. As a result, their watch can work at temperatures of -40 degree Celsius, where conventional lubricants and oils would freeze and stop the movement. The use of new technologies can be the next revolution in mechanical watchmaking. The consequence of such innovation for service is clear: waiting times are not only reduced, but they are nearly eliminated altogether.

“In many cases, courtesy watches from the likes of Sinn and Mühle-Glashütte ended up being purchased by the customer who has had them on loan.” courtesy watches every year, often without requests by customers. According to Wempe, “customers are surprised when they receive a courtesy watch” and the service has been very well received. Such retailers are not only keeping customers happy with courtesy watches, but they have also leveraged after-sales service to inadvertedly boost sales. However, the Hublot experience shows just how discerning customers can be. The choice and execution of after-sales strategy must therefore be well thought out. p

europa star / SERVICE, PLEASE!


Artisans d’un temps nouveau


BRICKS AND CLICKS: THE NEW BATTLE OF THE WEB Can the online market place replicate the success and personal touch of the traditional brick-and-mortar store experience? Actors of the watch industry have their say about this critical question and share their mixed experiences.


by Velibor Jakovleski

EXECUTIVE BRIEF: The watch industry has followed the growing trend in online • retail, but with mixed results. • Independent start-up watch brands have benefited greatly in terms of online sales and brand building. • However, authorized luxury watch dealers have struggled to do so, and most of their business remains in physical stores.

Does the web really signal a deep change in the way the watch industry conducts its daily business in stores? The Internet has started to “democratize” the watch industry. By providing additional channels by which to connect with consumers, it has on the one side contributed to both retailers’ and manufacturers’ competitiveness. On the other side, it has created trouble for the industry, with among other things the boost in sales of watches by unauthorized dealers in the so-called ‘grey’ market. But one of the most critical questions today remains, without doubt, the following: how to efficiently use the web to complement a “physical” strategy? Does the web really signal a deep change in the way the watch industry conducts its daily business in stores? We spoke with two retailers and two watch brands, of which half are so-called “pure players” (active only on the web). Here is what we found.

68 ONLINE RETAIL / europa star

RETAILERS Michael Pollack Co-founder of Hyde Park Jewelers (Denver, U.S.A.) “Hyde Park went online in the mid1990’s, and today we operate two fully functional e-commerce websites. We now have a dedicated staff that works solely on our digital marketing efforts (website, email marketing, social media). Using a multi-channel strategy allows us to interact more directly and frequently with our clients, through the platforms most relevant to them. It helps enhance our understanding of our clients and also allows us to determine what matters on a client-by-client basis. Online, we also have to balance promoting our own brand, while also represent-

ing our brand partners. We must adhere to their individual online policies and guidelines. Rolex only allows us to display their badge in the top right corner of our website, which links externally to their site. Cartier and Omega require us to embed their own online content with-

“We understand and respect that watch brands wish to preserve the integrity of their own global branding. However, I think there are several challenges with their strategies.” Michael Pollack in our website, known as an iframe. In many cases we are restricted from selling or even displaying their products online. In fact, we currently have only two watch brands that can actually be purchased through our websites. Ultimately, we are very limited in creating our own user experience for our audience. Ideally, we would like to have a consistent user experience across all brands, that serves as an extension of the instore experience. We understand and respect that watch brands wish to preserve the integrity of their own global branding. However, I think there are several challenges with their strategies: foremost, Google searches do not differentiate between the embedded iframe

Michael Pollack

“The majority of consumers do not discern between an authorized retailer with an online presence, and the remaining ‘grey market’ sites.” Michael Pollack

content of the brands on our website, and our own content. And we are usually not provided with digital content by the brands in advance, meaning we are always trying to catch up with their public developments. Also, the majority of consumers do not discern between an authorized retailer with an online presence, and the remaining ‘grey market’ sites. The result is that our luxury environments are simply becoming “showrooms” for consumers, who then go online and take a risk by buying from an unauthorized dealer. The online experience has its positives. It has expanded our brand, opening global opportunities beyond our regional store locations. Our online outlets also serve to bring in customers for in-store sales. However, online sales currently account for less than 1% of our overall business. Without being able to sell all watch brands online, it is challenging to keep up with the brick-and-mortar model. I strongly believe there is an opportunity for brands and their authorized dealers to create win-win online sales strategies.” Marc Frankel Owner of Island Watch (Long Island, U.S.A.) “Island Watch was established in 2003 as a solely internet-based retailer. I was actually brought up in the retail industry. My father owned a physical retail store, and I witnessed the issues he encountered. Online shopping represents a big shift in the way people purchase items. For example, cultivating customer data allows us to change our offerings to our customers, and fine-tune our selection. This is something that is not as easy to accomplish in conventional retail. With the luxury watch brands dominating, it was clear that lesser-known watch

“Cultivating customer data allows us to change our offerings to our customers, and fine-tune our selection. This is something that is not as easy to accomplish in conventional retail.” Marc Frankel brands were underrepresented, particularly on the web. We also realized that people living in the U.S.A. would rather purchase from a domestic seller than purchase from overseas. As a result, we started importing watches to sell to a local consumer base. Overtime, we have become a worldwide seller. Our store became more popular organically, starting with the forum community. To this day, I feel our biggest referral audience is from the online watch community. We have also been active on Facebook for several years. It is increasingly playing an important role in our online presence, and it will continue to grow. The watch community started talking about us as a ‘go-to’ store for excellent watches and honest service. It is because I treat customers how I would expect to be treated. Sometimes I can spend 30 minutes on the phone with someone, without making a sale. But I am still thorough! We answer emails within the hour. And because we stock everything, we can give customers more precise details about the watches that might be missed in online photos or descriptions. After the sale, the service keeps going. Any issues with the purchase, we take care of it quickly and efficiently. However, while the Internet is extremely powerful, it can also be very finicky. One or two ‘bad experiences’ propagate online like ripples in a lake. This places a greater demand on service, ensuring every customer is beyond satisfied.”

Marc Frankel

WATCH BRANDS Daniel Niederer Founder of SevenFriday (Zurich, Switzerland) “Today, the online space is part of everybody’s life. It is simply too important to ignore. I have always appreciated the ability to order online, and my wish was to extend this service to the watch world. So we have been online since the first minute of our operation. But ‘online’ means many things, not just online sales. It means use of the various social media channels, like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. We don’t make our own branding, the online connection with the public does! Of everything we do online, it is paramount to ensure that we portray our brand according to our core values. That means keeping things consistent, crossfertilizing across different channels, engaging in two-way communication, all to remain personally close to our followers. The web is not as impersonal as some people want us to believe. To the contrary, it provides a great opportunity to be closer to global markets, and to learn through input and great discussions. Offering the online opportunity to customers is first and foremost. At the moment, only about 10% of our sales are online, and we expect this percentage to


Daniel Niederer

“At the moment, only about 10% of our sales are online, and we expect this percentage to increase.” “It helped younger clients learn about our brand, because they mostly gather product information online.” Daniel Niederer europa star / ONLINE RETAIL



increase. But the web is clearly one of the most important elements that helped grow our brand quickly, and bring us to where we are today. It helped younger clients learn about our brand, because they mostly gather product information online. Online communication, interaction and engagement are critical pillars of brand building, irrespective of sales figures. Of course, the other important pillar is the real-life experience and physical interaction. As always, I believe it is about finding the right balance. Today, the web provides an opportunity for new brands to compete with the established big brands, without having millionaire investors. The web was necessary for us because we didn’t have huge sums to invest, nor did we want to increase our prices to finance exorbitant marketing expenditures. These kinds of possibilities are the greatest game changers I have seen in our industry.” Mike France Co-founder of Christopher Ward (London, U.K.) “Online retailing is eroding the perception that luxury goods must always be experienced in a physical store. The luxury watch industry was slow to respond to the trend and underestimated its true potential. But we saw an amazing window of opportunity and Christopher Ward London was launched in 2004 as a purely online luxury watch brand.

70 ONLINE RETAIL / europa star

Certainly, we saw the potential operational benefits. Online retail has a much lower capital requirement, and keeps overhead costs low. We discovered the astonishing levels of mark-up by the major brands. The average was between 10 and 15 times from cost, and the highest mark-up was 37 times greater. We realized that a gap existed for a challenger brand to go into the market, echoing the quality of the top brands like TAG Heuer, Breitling or Longines, but at a lower cost. The July 2014 launch of our in-house movement, Calibre SH21, further enhanced our challenger brand personality. Crucially, it was never only an issue of cost. It was absolutely vital to not compromise on quality, choice and service. We produce high quality in-house watches. And we back our product with what we believe is the most comprehensive guarantee in the world of luxury watches. A quality guarantee is absolutely vital in breaking down consumer resistance to buying a luxury watch online. Our holistic luxury experience extends through a chain, from the first impressions upon seeing our website, to the quality of our after-sales service. That chain has to not only be strong at every link, but it also needs to be as human as possible. As such, we personalize the online and sales experience as much as possible. Our Service Manager, Wera, is also celebrated by customers for her 24/7 responsiveness. She has become something of an icon of the brand! But even with a fantastic product, you have to develop a strong narrative to

“Online retailing is eroding the perception that luxury goods must always be experienced in a physical store. The luxury watch industry was slow to respond to the trend and underestimated its true potential.” Mike France

Mike France

“We personalize the online and sales experience as much as possible. Our Service Manager is celebrated by customers for her 24/7 responsiveness.” Mike France

provoke strong and personal conversations. The website is designed to reflect our brand personality: engaging, approachable, trustworthy. Digital conversations need to be two-way to be truly effective. People online want to connect and share. They don’t want a bland, characterless corporate response. Our blogs, for instance, give visitors a personalized insight into our interests. And much of our digital content is inspired and often written by myself and my two co-founders, Chris Ward and Peter Ellis. Another aspect of the authentic link with our customers is the CW Forum. It was created in 2006 purely from a fanbased initiative. The forum influences our development program, including customer feedback on new design concepts. Our online and print CW magazine also enables us to further share lifestyle features with our customers, building brand personality and loyalty. Both are clear sales drivers, accounting for a significant percentage of our footfall and sales, because customers share them. I think that many luxury watch owners feel a little let down by the lack of personalization and personality of some major watch brands. We are determined to avoid being placed with the crowd of luxury watch brands that are often perceived as faceless and homogenous. For us, the online presence is, ironically, a more personal environment than a store.” p


Ice-Watch : the brand of the winners

With BMW MOTORSPORT and Marco Wittmann Sponsoring of the DTM Championship (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters)


n 2013, Ice-Watch signed a partnership with BMW Motorsport and became the sponsor of one car in the DTM Championship and one driver, Marco Wittmann. Both brands and the driver are really ambitious, the young image of Ice-Watch suits really well the German driver and Ice-Watch and BMW have lots in common: design, quality and an excellent after sales service. You never know what to expect when you sign such a partnership but the results are stunning! After a successful season in 2013, Marco at the wheel of his Ice-Watch BMW M3 DTM was awarded Rookie of the year. In 2014 with his colorful new Ice-Watch BMW M4 DTM, Marco strings together

successes and was already champion 3 races before the season ends. Ice-Watch joined Marco in Hockenheim on October 19th to celebrate his victory and his crown as the youngest German Champion in the history of DTM (he’s only 24). The brand took this opportunity to develop a special Marco Wittmann Limited edition with the driver’s signature inside the dial. Following the runaway success of the inaugural line of timepieces signed BMW Motorsport and Ice-Watch, the brand is now launching new shades to the two-tone collection to make it even more dynamic : red and light blue.





Ice-Watch continues to establish itself in PRESTIGIOUS PLACES with monobrand stores








ollowing its willingness of having its own stores in the biggest cities, the Ice-Watch brand keeps opening several monobrand stores around the globe. One opened its doors in a famous commercial street in Tokyo with a new way of displaying the collections (the watches can now be touched). Malaysia has already launched 8 stores. This helps the brand positioning itself as a sustainable player. The first German flagship store has been inaugurated in Frankfurt on October 31st. Located along the lively pedestrian zone in the Bockenheimer Straße, the shop has a sales area of

approximately 25sqm. It embodies the young, unpretentious spirit of the Belgian lifestyle brand. This opening is a premiere for the German market where the brand is leader in the 49-99€ fashion watch segment since 2011. Already presented in more than 1.500 points of sale, this is the first monobrand store for Ice-Watch in Germany. «We are very proud to have our first flagship store in Germany. This not only shows the importance that Ice-Watch has gained in recent years, but also sends out a clear message: We are here to stay!», says CEO Jean-Pierre Lutgen.


EDITORIAL & ADVERTISERS’ INDEX A A. Lange & Söhne 11, 39, 45, 48 A.L.B. 10 Apple 10 Apple Watch 10, 11 Armin Strom 18 Audemars Piguet 11, 36, 44, 45, 48, 60 B Baselworld 47 Baume et Mercier 38, 48 Blancpain 11, 24, 25, 26, 27, 45, 46 Breguet 45, 46 Breitling 61 Bremont 11 Bulgari 65 C Carl F. Bucherer 9, 11 Cartier 18, 37, 48, 49, 63 Casio 35 Chanel COVER I, 12, 13, 14, 15, 63 Chopard 11 Christopher Ward 70 Citizen 31, 59 Concours International de Chronométrie 73 Corum 11 D De Bethune 11, 45 de Grisogono 19, 22 Dior 11, 20 E, F Ebel 58 ETA 23 Fendi 19 Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie (FHH) 43 Fornasetti 18 Franck Muller 45

G,H Gc 20 Girard-Perregaux 45 Glashütte Original 56 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) 74 Greubel Forsey 11, 45, 46 Gucci 20 Hermès 59 Hublot 56, 63, 64, 65 Hunter Green 11 I Ice-Watch 71 Inhorgenta 51 iWatch 10 IWC 10, 20, 36, 48, 49, 58 J Jacob & Co 11 Jaquet Droz 54, 55 Jaeger-LeCoultre 38, 45, 46, 48, 49, 65 K, L Kairos 11 Longchamp 20 Longines 11 Louis Vuitton 32, 33, 34 LVMH 11 M Michael Kors 19 Montblanc 40, 48, 50 Montegrappa 22 Mühle-Glashütte 65 O, P Omega 24, 65 Orient COVER III Panerai 24, 41, 48, 50, 56, 57 Parmigiani 11, 45, 63 Patek Philippe 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 16, 17, 46 Piaget 11, 39, 48, 50, 58

Pierre DeRoche 60, 61 Promotion SPA 53 R 88 Rue du Rhône 20 Ralph Lauren 22, 41 Raymond Weil 22 Richard Mille 7, 40, 45, 46, 52 Richemont 48, 49 Roger Dubuis 11, 45, 48, 52 Roger Smith 11 Rolex COVER II, 3, 18, 24, 57, 63 Romain Jérôme 22

THE WORLD OF WATCHMAKING International watch magazine & website – worldwide (English, Chinese, Spanish, Russian)

S Sercab 66, 67 SevenFriday 63, 69, 70 Sinn 11, 65 Sotheby’s 6 Swatch 65 Swatch Group 11, 24

Business journal for the Swiss watch market (French)

T TAG Heuer COVER IV, 11, 63 Technomarine 11 Tourneau 11 Tissot 21, 28, 30, 65 Titoni 29 Tudor 63 U, V Ulysse Nardin 45, 46 Vacheron Constantin 11, 37, 45, 46, 48, 52 Van Cleef & Arpels 11, 48, 52 Versace 22 Voutilainen 44 W, Z Watches & Wonders 48, 49, 50, 52 Wempe 65 Zenith 22, 58, 63

Magazine for the watchmaking’s subsidiary branches and components (French)

European technical magazine dedicated to microtechnology (French, German, English)

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I’m sure you already know the seventeen winners of the 14th edition of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) from the local press and television, a press release by e-mail ‘announcing with pride’ a brand’s win, or you attended the event at Geneva’s Grand Théâtre. Over the years, Grand Prix has grown from what appeared to be a somewhat biased and subjective awards process for uniquely Swiss made watches to what is now a notarized voting procedure with an objective modus operandi that now includes brands from outside the country’s frontiers. So far, so good. What I don’t understand is the selection process for the watches. If this is to be a bona fide event, an unbiased Grand Prix , why is it that the brands themselves decide what watch is entered and then pay for the privilege? Okay, the amount is not exorbitant, but by paying five hundred Swiss francs the watch brand buys its participation, it doesn’t guarantee they will receive one of the coveted statuettes, but it does guarantee that they are in with a chance and at least will gain some advertising mileage in the process. Surely if we’re talking about a genuine judgement as to the best watch in a designated category, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for the members of the jury to be making their personal selection from the myriad of new timepieces that appeared during the year thus giving even the smallest of brands a chance, and then, as a unified jury, vote for the winner from all those proposed? Another element of the event that I believe bothers more than just me is the repetitive and monotonous monologues that the invited political representatives harangue us with year in and year out. As the minutes pass, heads drop, the printed programmes suddenly become an object of attention, the audience fidget in their seats – except those unfortunate enough to be in the first row – and one can’t help wondering if we’re listening to Shakespeare’s Antony proclaiming, “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”


74 LAKIN@LARGE / europa star

We are inevitably told of the importance of the Swiss watch industry and its economic value to the nation, its significance to the low unemployment figures, the number of visitors that come to Switzerland because of its horological reputation. Instead of rehashing the obvious, give us a lighthearted speech that is short, sweet, polished and has at least some semblance of spontaneity. The who’s who of the watch industry, retailers, VIPs and guests and a few hangers-on who attend for the freely distributed champagne in the aftermath of the presentations, all politely but begrudgingly applaud these hackneyed orations out of relief not out of approval. There’s no need to preach to the converted. This year the Grand Prix was compared to Hollywood’s Oscar night. The Oscars first came into being in 1929, a relatively sedate affair compared to the star-studded flesh feast that it is today, but that’s about as far as the comparison can go. What we get with the Oscars is around three hours of entertainment from one or two show business emcees who not only superbly animate the proceedings with humour and possibly a song and dance, but also obtain audience participation by good-naturedly joking about those peers in attendance. It’s also an emotional affair with lots of tears as many of the winners struggle to thank their mother, father, Uncle Tom Cobley and the lighting engineer and yes, they still love their spouses – until the divorce, that is. But, and it is an important but, if the winners show the slightest inclination to overrun their designated time slot of sixty seconds, music suddenly blasts through the speakers and their stuttering thanks

die in the cacophony as they dejectedly and selfconsciously trudge off the stage clasping their much vaunted Oscar. It’s called fast-forwarding. So, to the organizers of the GPHG, for what its worth, here are my suggestions: a very tight time frame for anyone giving a speech that isn’t one of the potential prize winners, and a much shorter one for the winners’ acceptance speeches that, in all fairness, are usually not too long; a more lively, humorous and spontaneous presentation by the emcees with a dash of audience participation; as good as they may be, less of the animated projections that supposedly introduce the various categories; and finally, a more meaningful selection of the timepieces! I rest my case. Needless to say mentioning the Oscars brings to mind a true story told by Sydney Pollack (you can look it up if you don’t believe me) when Akira Kurosawa, John Huston and Billy Wilder presented the Oscar for the best picture in 1985. Kurosawa was nearly blind, Huston was using an oxygen machine prior to going on stage because of his emphysema, only Wilder appeared to be fit and healthy. The nominees were presented and the sealed envelope was passed to Huston who made no effort to open it and passed it on to Kurosawa, who for whatever reason couldn’t open it so Billy Wilder snatched it, ripped it open and announced that Out of Africa was the winner. Sydney Pollack, who directed the film, came on stage, made his speech and then led the others off into the wings where he heard Billy Wilder mumble, “They had no problem bombing Pearl Harbour, but they can’t tear open a fucking envelope.” Well, you’ve got to laugh haven’t you. p

Europa Star - EUROPE 6/14  

December 2014 / January 2015

Europa Star - EUROPE 6/14  

December 2014 / January 2015