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wAtCh BUsINess MAgAzINe eUropeAN edItIoN N°319 3 /2013 JUNe / JUlY

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War is declared Pierre M. Maillard Editor-in-Chief What do the layout of a magazine – Europa Star in this case – and the global situation of an industry – the watch industry in this case – have in common? At first glance, nothing. But we think that there is a link, at the very least in that graphic design should reflect a given situation and period. So what is, today, the global situation in the watchmaking industry? Back from BaselWorld, one thing that everyone noticed was the consolidation of the watchmaking sector among a few very big players with strong firepower, which is pushing back to their last lines of defence all those who are not part of a powerful group. A number of such companies expressed their concerns to us, even going as far as to say that “from now on, war is being waged in the remaining points of sale”. There is every reason that this war will heat up further, since the big brands now aim to occupy new territories that they had so far neglected, whether it is, for example, the “middle ground” for TAG Heuer, the mid range for Tudor, which has the strategic advantage of support from Rolex, or the entry level for Swatch, which, with its Sistem51, aims to steal a march on its low-cost competitors as far afield as China and beyond. Commercial “war” is therefore being waged and the open hostilities are further enflamed by the recent decision by the COMCO (Swiss Competition Commission) to allow ETA/Swatch Group to gradually reduce the level of its mechanical movement deliveries to 20 per cent of current levels by 20202021, in other words by tomorrow in terms of industrial production of move-


elsewhere, which make up the vast and colourful fabric of the world’s watchmaking industry. In this context, we offer a space to all stakeholders, because this is our crucial mission to all our readers, whether they are professionals or collectors, who receive the magazine in over 160 countries. In order to strengthen this “universal” aspect of our mission even further, we are gradually evolving our print version as well as our web presence. We believe that we should be able to reflect better the wealth of initiatives emerging from all over the place, which is the source of the dynamism in the watchmaking industry. If, as some think, the “war” has really been declared, then the intelligence, the analysis of the opposing forces, their strategies and their weapons, is more indispensable than ever to all those concerned. So without further ado, we invite you to discover our new face, hoping that it will meet your expectations. p


4 editorial / europa star

ments. This decision will naturally affect those who are already the weakest. At the same time, the increase to 60 per cent of the value of a watch as the criterion required to obtain the Swiss Made label will automatically increase the average price, this in a period when movements are already in short supply. But despite these storm clouds on the horizon, the world watchmaking industry, as we saw at BaselWorld, is buzzing with new ideas, launching new initiatives and remains as creative as ever, exploring new avenues in terms of aesthetics and technology. (One remark in passing: why has BaselWorld still not understood that the real stimulus in the industry, the most creative minds in “new watchmaking”, deserve more consideration than a Palace that vibrates so well under foot that all the watches wobble in their display cases or an inadequate position for the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants)?) This brings us back to our question of graphic design and layout. The specific – and unique – role of Europa Star is to provide news, democratically and without bias, of all activities by brands, whether they are small, medium-sized or large, whether they are part of a group or independent, traditional or innovative, haute horlogerie or mass market, from Switzerland or


Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Duo. Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 854/1. Two dials driven by a single movement: for the very first time, the iconic Reverso reveals a second face within its ultra-thin case. It combines two back-to-back dials to offer its owner a fascinating journey through time. A refined blend of style and watchmaking performance stemming from 180 years of expertise cultivated by the Inventors of the VallĂŠe de Joux.



the world’s MOST INFLUENTIAL WATCH magazine europe


War is declared





DeWitt in sweet harmony


Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon (ref. T8.TH.015) by DeWitt This tourbillon model, with its distinctive “ice-blue” PVD treatment on the 18-carat white-gold case, houses DeWitt’s DW8028 manuallywound tourbillon movement, which operates at 18,000 vibrations per hour and offers 72 hours of power reserve. The ice-blue theme continues on the Art Deco style columns on the grey dial, which highlight the tourbillon carriage visible at 6 o’clock. With a matching blue alligator leather strap, this is a limited edition of 99 pieces. A similar limited edition with bronze PVD treatment is also available.


18 Babelworld



Deep Space by Vianney Halter



Solid foundations at the base of the

watchmaking pyramid


BaselWorld wasn’t built in a day



Specialised timepieces for professionals





The sky is not the limit



Collaborative customer service at Ice-Watch



H. Briones Comercial, Chile



Watch forums most influential platforms

amongst collectors and aficionados


David and Goliath or “unfair competition”


64 74

68 digital partner:

6 CONTENTS / europa star

Montres DeWitt SA Rue du Pré de la Fontaine 2 Case postale 58 CH 1217 Meyrin 2 Tel : +41 (0)22 750 97 97

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


1,242 original calibres in 180 years: a world record. Since 1833, the Grande Maison has developed 1,242 of the world’s smallest and most complicated mechanical calibres. Driven by a concern for elegance and performance, each of them is developed to match the specific size of the watch case that will house it. From the iconic Reverso to the fascinating Sphérotourbillon, the Inventors of the Vallée de Joux, as acknowledged masters in the art of horological complexity, continue to forge the history of Fine Watchmaking.


FLYING TOURBILLON High feminine complication, this flying tourbillon decorated with the motif of the camellia, a tribute to Mademoiselle Chanel’s favorite flower, beats away discreetly and almost secretly at the heart of the Première watch. Having no upper bridge, the carriage decorated with a camellia appears to be rotating in a weightless state. Limited edition of 20 numbered pieces. 18-carat white gold, set with 228 diamonds (~ 7.7 carats).

Editorial & advertisers’ index 

B BaselWorld 4, 18, 21, 22, 32, 38, 40, 42, 43, 46, 47, 48, 51, 53, 54, 57, 60, 61, 66, 68, 69, 70, 71 Blancpain 54, 66 Bomberg 28-29, 43, 44 Breguet 70, 79 Breitling 54, 57-58 Bremont 53, 64 Bulgari 20, 54, 58-59, 68 C Cartier 74 Casio 54, 65 Celsius 24 Century 69 Certina 40, 42, 50-51 Chanel 8-9, 38 Charriol 46-47 China Haidian 22, 48 Citizen 20, 37 CK Watch and Jewellery 42 Codex 22 Concepto 32 Concord 46 Corum 22, 48, 54 Cuervo y Sobrinos 54 D De Bethune 38 de Grisogono 54, 69-70 DeLaneau 38 Devon Works 60 DeWitt COVER I, 12-15, 53 Digital Luxury Group 6, 78-79 DKSH 24 Dubois Dépraz 31 E Ebel 69 Eberhard 54

Ebohr 22 Emile Chouriet 52-53 Ernest Borel 35, 52 ETA 4, 31, 44, 46 Eterna 22 F La Fabrique du Temps 36 Festina 54 Folli Follie 71 Fossil Group 69 Franc Vila 61 Frédérique Constant 59 Frères Rochat 56 G, H Girard-Perregaux 33-34, 44, 67 Graham 65 Gucci 44 Hamilton 42, 66 Harry Winston 21, 22 Hermès 20, 21, 54 HKTDC 76-77 Hublot 71 I, J Ice-Watch 41, 42, 54, 72-73, 80 Itay Noy 51-52 IWC 79 Jacob & Co. 54 Jaeger-LeCoultre 5, 7, 24, 79 JeanRichard 44 K, L Kering 22, 33 Linde Werdelin 66 Longines 71 Louis Moinet 31-32 Louis Vuitton 19, 36 Luminox 42, 43, 54 LVMH 22, 36 M, N Manufacture Royale 61-62 Maurice Lacroix 24, 26 MB&F 57 Michel Herbelin 71 Mido 42 Mimotec 34 Mondaine 42, 43 Montblanc 74

10 Editorial and advertisers’ index / europa star

H. Moser & Cie. 24 Nixon 67 O, P Omega 47-49, 67, 79 Orient Watch Company 45 Oris 26, 27 Panerai 11 Patek Philippe 2-3, 24, 38, 79 Picard Cadet 44 Promotion SpA COVER IV R Rado 70 Raketa 53 Raymond Weil 48-49 Reuge 57 Richemont Group 22 Ritmo Mundo 61 Rodania 71 Rolex COVER II, 1, 31, 38, 53, 54, 79 Ronda 55 Rossini 22 S Sellita 26 Shinola 20, 43 SIHH 74 Skagen 69 Sowind Group 44 Speake-Marin 50 Swarovski 20, 42, 54, 70 Swatch 4, 40, 42, 80 Swatch Group 4, 40, 42, 47, 54, 70, 80 T, U TAG Heuer 4, 32-33, 54, 64, 65 Technotime 51, 52 Tissot 23, 40, 42, 65 Titoni 25 Tudor 4, 16-17, 30-31 Tutima 27, 30, 47 Ulysse Nardin 34, 36, 79 V, Z Vacheron Constantin 24, 79 Valbray 62 Vianney Halter 39 Victorinox Swiss Army 65 Zenith 68, 79

A Académie des Horlogers Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI) 4 Aerowatch 54, 56 A. Lange & Söhne 79 Alpina 59-60, 67 Antopi 63 Armin Strom 51 Audemars Piguet 24


Managing Director: Philippe Maillard EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief: Pierre M. Maillard • Managing Editor: Paul O’Neil • International Editor: Keith W. Strandberg • Senior Editor: D. Malcolm Lakin • Editor China: Jean-Luc Adam • Editor Spain: Carles Sapena • Art: Alexis Sgouridis • Editorial Consultant: Casey Bayandor • Asst. Publisher: Nathalie Glattfelder • CONTRIBUTORS • France: Antoine Menusier • Australia: Martin Foster • Italy: Paolo de Vecchi • Germany: Gerhard Claussen, Timm Delfs • Russia: Vyacheslav Medvedev • Portugal: Miguel Seabra • Romania: George Gisca MARKETING & CIRCULATION PRINT/E-MEDIA Marketing & Circulation Director: Nathalie Glattfelder • Marketing & Circulation Manager: Jocelyne Bailly • PUBLISHING & PRODUCTION PRINT/E-MEDIA Advertising Manager: Laurence Chatenoud • Editorial, Production & Advertising Coordinator: Talya Lakin • ADVERTISING / INTERNATIONAL SALES DIRECTORS Switzerland / Italy / US: Casey K. Bayandor Tel: +41 22 307 78 37 Fax: +41 22 300 37 48 • Europe & International: Nathalie Glattfelder Tel: +41 22 307 78 37 Fax: +41 22 300 37 48 • Spain: Carles Sapena Tel & Fax: +34 93 112 7113 • Asia: Maggie Tong Tel: +852 9658 1830 Fax: +852 2527 5189 • Ukraine: Julia Mostovenko Tel: +38 044 205 4088 Fax: +38 044 205 4099 • MANAGEMENT / Accounting Business Manager: Catherine Giloux. Tel: +41 22 307 78 48 • Credit Manager: Alexandra Montandon. Tel: +41 22 307 78 47 • MAGAZINES Europa Star - Europe - International - USA & Canada - China Latin America / Spain - Ukraine, Europa Star Première, Bulletin d’informations, Eurotec, CIJ International Jewellery Trends & Colours WEBSITES,,,,,,,, Head office: Europa Star HBM SA, Route des Acacias 25, CH-1227 Carouge/Geneva - Switzerland Tel +41 22 307 78 37, Fax +41 22 300 37 48, Help Desk: Subscriptions, one year 6 issues, CHF 100 Europe, CHF 140 International. E-newsletters: Printed in Geneva by SRO-KUNDIG – Audited REMP2012 / FRP 2012 Copyright 2013 EUROPA STAR All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Europa Star HBM SA.

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DeWitt in sweet harmony Paul O’Neil

O Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon by DeWitt

Since taking over the reins as CEO, just over a year ago, of the brand founded by her husband, Viviane De Witt has implemented a number of changes. Although a lot has been done behind the scenes to restructure the manufacture in Meyrin-Satigny on the outskirts of Geneva, the consequence of one of the boldest decisions was there for all to see at BaselWorld this year. Or rather for all not to see, since DeWitt was conspicuous by its absence at this year’s “new” BaselWorld. “The Basel fair, with the strategies employed by the large groups, does not let our subtle messages be heard, we would be drowned out,” explained


12 COVER STORY / europa star

Mrs De Witt. Instead, the brand’s partners were invited to the manufacture to witness first-hand the levels of craftsmanship that go into every timepiece it produces. “Once they have seen with their own eyes the complexity of the operations involved in making DeWitt movements and the number of craft professions involved in making our dials in house, once they have admired our museum of watchmaking tools from the 18th and 19th centuries, and seen the architectural beauty of our manufacture set in the Geneva countryside, this immersion in our brand will offer a fresh view of the DeWitt adventure and our watches,” Mrs De Witt continued.

dence is the same date on which Mr De Witt’s famous ancestor Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed “Emperor of the French” by the Senate on what was the 28th day of Floréal in the French revolutionary calendar. In its latest guise, the Twenty-8-Eight tourbillon is housed in the unmistakable 43mm DeWitt case in 18-carat rose or white gold with its imperial columns but with a special “ice-blue” or bronze PVD treatment applied to the crenellated bezel. On the new dial design, the imperial columns are echoed by two imposing Art Deco appliques in the same colour tone that rise up the dial on either side of the tourbillon carriage at 6 o’clock. The two new models are both limited editions of 99 pieces.

The four o’clock flower

Another change that we see concerns the 2013 collection that DeWitt has gradually unveiled over the first half of this year. Fittingly for a brand with imperial credentials, the models have an almost regimental consistency that is based above all on DeWitt’s signature case with its imposing imperial columns set vertically into the case middle. But beyond this, there is a harmony among the new models thanks to the use of distinctive blue and brown PVD treatments, which establish a clear identity for the brand.

Imperial coincidence Watch aficionados who hear “Twenty-8-Eight” may immediately think of a common 4Hz movement operating at 28,800 vibrations per hour. In the case of DeWitt’s Twenty-8-Eight Tourbillon, however, it would be wrong to make such an assumption, since the DW8028 calibre used in this watch beats at a more sedate 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5Hz) and thus offers an impressive 72 hours of power reserve. In fact, as the legend goes, the watch was conceived and sketched out for the first time one August 28th, which by happy coinci-


An even bolder, even more masculine interpretation of the imperial theme is found in the four-piece 44mm case of DeWitt’s Academia Mirabilis collection, which requires over 200 different operations to produce. It is somewhat paradoxical, therefore, that the Mirabilis is named after a flower, mirabilis japa, called the “four o’clock flower” because it opens at dusk. The allusion to this unusual flower is conveyed by an opening that takes up half of the dial, which is abruptly dissected, covering the period of dusk, twilight and night when mirabilis japa is in bloom and revealing the oscillating balance of the DW0090 self-winding calibre powering the watch, which in this case does operate at 28,800 vibrations per hour and offers a 48-hour power reserve.

by DeWitt

THE NEW EMPERORS Many are the brands that can claim to have been the watchmakers to kings and queens, but few are those who can claim their own imperial birthright. Jérôme De Witt, who founded his eponymous brand in 2003, is one of ten children of Count Serge DeWitt and Princess Marie Clotilde Bonaparte. Princess Marie Clotilde Eugénie Alberte Laetitia Généviève Bonaparte was the eldest child of Victor, Prince Napoleon and the great-granddaughter of Jérôme Napoleon, the younger brother of the Napoleon. Mr De Witt takes the same first names of Jérôme Napoléon as his great-grandfather in continuation of the Bonaparte family tradition. DeWitt’s current advertising campaign, with its tag line “For the new emperors”, was launched earlier this year and is a subtle reference to the family’s ancestral heritage. The images used hark back to portraits of Napoleon, which would often depict the emperor with his right hand tucked under his

waistcoat. But while Napoleon could freely choose his portrait stance (and no doubt had a pocket watch discreetly concealed in his waistcoat), the portraits of the new emperors have to abide by the laws of marketing, which means that they include both men and women, to illustrate DeWitt’s appeal to both sexes, and leave the faces of these new emperors and empresses a mystery – all the better to zoom in on the DeWitt timepieces, which are proudly displayed on the left hand tucked beneath the clothing.

europa star / COVER STORY 13

conjures up images of a speedometer or perhaps the bridge of a ship. In typical DeWitt style and with the brand’s typical attention to detail, the dial is divided into two sections: The upper half has a classic design with a black background with sunray pattern surrounded by Roman numerals at the quarters, while the lower half, which frames the small-seconds complication at 6 o’clock, consists of rectangular metal appliques on a wood-coloured background, hinting both at a nautical or vintage automobile theme but also recalling the column motifs found on other DeWitt timepieces. One of the brand’s sportier and more individualist pieces, the Furtive Automatic Small Seconds comes on a curved multi-link steel bracelet or a black rubber strap. With the new Classic collection, DeWitt introduces its purest and most understated design yet. Its perfectly sized 40mm diameter case in rose gold is the epitome of the classic round watch case, yet it still bears the unmistakable DeWitt imperial columns, albeit presented in a much more discreet fashion, since the case of the Classic is over half a centimetre thinner than those of the bolder Academia and Twenty-8-Eight models. The beauty of the sunray finish on the dial (in white, The same signature touches of PVD are also used on this model for the grooved titanium bezel, whose ice-blue or bronze sheen contrasts perfectly with the ring underneath and, of course, the rest of the case, which is in 18-carat white gold for the ice-blue version and 18-carat red gold for the bronze version. DeWitt also introduced its first steel models in the Academia collection this year in the form of two limited editions: The Grande Date and the Hora Mundi. The case takes on a certain sparkle when its strong architectural design is finished entirely in polished stainless steel (for the case, bezel ring, bezel and crown). Inside beat the DW1501 and DW2021 self-winding movements respectively, the former with big date display and the latter with a dual time zone complication. Both models feature a black dial with a sunray pattern and applied, silvered Roman numerals and production is limited to 200 pieces of each.

Furtively classic This year also saw the launch of the Furtive collection, whose latest arrival, the Furtive Automatic Small Seconds, further extends the brand’s first collection produced exclusively in steel. The softer lines of the 42mm stainless-steel case, with contrasting brushed and polished surfaces, frame a dial that

14 COVER STORY / europa star


mastered in-house. The combination of these artistic professions is loosely referred to as the “art” of watchmaking that many high-end manufacturers lay claim to mastering. But in the case of DeWitt’s ladies’ models in particular, the timepieces are not just fine specimens of the art of watchmaking itself; they also mirror art in other forms. Witness the Pre-Raphaelite inspired Golden Afternoon collection, with its mother-of-pearl dial of floral fantasy. As much as the PreRaphaelites were preoccupied with fantasy and dreaminess, the Dutch Masters preferred a more rigorous espousal of the values of realism and attention to details. The jewellery version of the new Classic model is the perfect embodiment of this philosophy, contenting itself with the addition of a single row of 60 diamonds around the bezel of the understated Classic case to turn the sublime haute horlogerie piece into an exquisite piece of jewellery.

black or midnight blue) is in this case left undisturbed, with only the bare minimum of applied hour markers, a faint railway minute track and gold hour, minute and central seconds hands added for the display – all that is required for such a classic timepiece. Like the new Furtive model, the Classic is powered by a self-winding mechanical calibre that operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour and offers a 42-hour power reserve. Visible through a transparent sapphire crystal case back, this DW.HMS calibre has a personalised DeWitt rotor with Côtes de Genève decoration.

A touch of art in the art of watchmaking Move beyond the reception area of DeWitt’s modern manufacture and you are met with the incongruity of a mini avenue of watch manufacturing history, represented by countless antique tools and machines from the personal collection of Jérôme De Witt. Far from simply being placed there for effect, these tools are a gentle reminder of the level of craftsmanship that the brand boasts, with various traditional artistic professions associated with the production of watches still



After the technical and architectural innovations of the Differential Tourbillon and the X-Watch concept watch and the dreamy fantasy of the Golden Afternoon presented in 2010, the harmony seen in DeWitt’s new models for 2013, with their contemporary and classic designs, adds a new foundation to the collection. In the figurative sense at least, Jérôme Napoléon De Witt is, as his noble ancestors once were, poised to conquer new territory. p

Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/DeWitt

europa star / COVER STORY 15




million Swiss francs for the new building by star architects Herzog & de Meuron, 1,000 new stands constructed by 20,000 people, 3,500 accredited journalists, of which 500 were Chinese! More BabelWorld than ever, BaselWorld this year reached new heights in luxury and power. But while the exhibition surface increased, reaching 141,000m2, of which 83,000m2 allowed the construction of stands several storeys high, the number of exhibitors reduced, from 1,892 in 2012 to 1,450 this year. “We prefer quality over quantity”, explained Jacques Duchêne, the irremovable president of the exhibitors’ committee, adding that since 1999, when Hall 1 first opened, “everything has changed: mentalities, products, communication, not to mention the concentration and consolidation” which have radically transformed the watchmaking sector (and the jewellery sector, but to a lesser extent) over the past 15 years. Four of us – Pierre Maillard, Paul O’Neil, Malcolm Lakin, Keith Strandberg – will try here to summarise the most important things that were shown and said (or not said) there, to draw some conclusions and give a general stock-take covering most aspects of the world watchmaking industry. (It’s an impossible task to cover everything so we apologise to those who are not mentioned—your time will come).

Watchmaking above ground Pierrre Maillard

Seen from the outside, the new architectural cloak of BaselWorld, with its shape reminiscent of a long metallic ship with two bridges, is quite a loyal reflection of a certain arrogance within the industry. Beyond its intrinsic shape and the architectural accomplishment, with a spectacular light well of tens of metres in the part of the building that seems to have been thrown like a bridge across the main exhibition square and its tram interchange, the new building cuts off, without any consideration for urban planning, the long perspective along an avenue that used to terminate in the very pure, very geometrical “highest tower in Switzerland”, which now looks like it is truncated. It is as if, symbolically at least, the watchmaking industry is


18 POST BASEL REVIEW / europa star

Tambour In Black Tambour automatic chronograph manufactured in Louis Vuitton’s watchmaking workshops in Switzerland Sold exclusively in Louis Vuitton stores and on

OO The Citizen stand O The Hermès stand

“above ground”, above all else and doing as it pleases (the building also hosts the famous ArtBasel exhibition and we could say the same of the world of modern art). But it is only once you enter this horizontally suspended metallic temple that you see the real size – or excess – of the luxury that the watchmaking industry likes to show off. Each brand present took the opportunity to invest heavily in its own image. We therefore pass by the foot of the stands reading their architecture as a series of vibrant statements. The majority of brands tried to give above all an impression of strength, solidity, power and richness. With this as their brief, the majority of architects, irrespective of their formal differences, logically opted for solid and luxurious cubes, often enclosed, with material indications of the brand on the outside: logos, iconic emblems such as Bulgari’s Serpenti, which was used as the structure for the entire façade, luxury materials, screens in abundance, giant photos. But paradoxically it was the lightest and most open structures that were the most noticed, from the poetic jungle of watch movements falling like rain inside the Citizen stand,

20 POST BASEL REVIEW / europa star

the immaculate and vibrant ball of light at Swarovski, the total and modernist transparency of the newcomer Shinola or, evidently, the emblematic wooden “cabin” designed by Toyo Ito for Hermès.

Hermès, “it’s the essence that counts” By proposing a semi-open space in the shape of a wave, which was light, seemingly fragile and looked as if it was temporary rather than put there for eternity, the recent recipient of the 2013 Pritzker Prize (the “Nobel prize” for architecture) gave Hermès an image that set the brand totally apart. For Pierre-Alexis Dumas, creative director at Hermès and son of the late Jean-Louis Dumas, “this pavilion corresponds with the particular philosophy of Hermès: it is not appearances that count but the essence. Far from being just another sales machine, it is a house to be shared, a place to chat in transparency and calm. The aesthetic of violence and aggressivity is not Hermès.” Not to be outdone, Toyo Ito says from the outset that he “looked for a form of humanity that was at odds with our times, which are focussed completely on business and profit.”

Sitting in one of the meeting rooms in the “cabin”, bathed in soft light and with acoustics that allow a hushed conversation (something that is not always easy at “BabelWorld”), glimpsing the throngs of visitors passing by through the mesh of wood and green plants surrounding the entire structure, you feel a welcome sense of well-being. It’s a feeling similar to that which,

T The new Arceau Le temps suspendu 38 mm in steel, aimed at ladies, was not easy to produce. Given its smaller size, it was not possible to include the retrograde date from the original 43mm version. The base used here is the Vaucher H1912 movement, to which a retrograde module has been added, allowing the display of the hours and minutes to be “suspended” and returned to on demand. But there was still the problem of the seconds hand. What can we do with it, the conceptors asked themselves. The solution: the seconds have been transformed into an operating indicator (which shows that the movement continues to function even when the hands remain fixed) that moves backwards, so that it cannot be confused with a small seconds display and makes one revolution in 24 seconds. An ingenious and poetic invention.

no doubt, the wearer of an Arceau Le Temps suspendu watch feels when he stops the hands of his watch turning. Because it is also this great coherence between the Hermès pavilion and the brand’s products that justify the authenticity of this architectural direction. The same word keeps cropping up, from Pierre-Alexis Dumas and Toyo Ito alike: the word “dialogue”. Just as the Arceau Le temps suspendu creates a dialogue between the watch and its wearer, the pavilion’s architecture is the fruit of a profound dialogue between the architect and his sponsor, a dialogue that went into great detail. “Dialogue is at the heart of everything we do,” explains Pierre-Alexis Dumas. “The same is true for what we call design. Design is not the creation of a demiurge; it’s a process of joint reflexion led by exchange.” A tautology? Yes and no. Because given the number of products presented at BaselWorld, we sometimes get the impression that this necessary dialogue has not always been taken to its conclusion between the different partners on a common adventure. Whether we like it or not, watchmaking remains a collective art.

An Opus XIII crammed full of hands One example where the dialogue seems to have been a bit lacking is the extraordinary Opus XIII by Harry Winston. Extraordinary because of its display that is unlike any other. Conceived by the independent watchmaker Ludovic Ballouard, who continues his personal research with this piece (remember the astonishing Upside Down, with its reversed hour markers, apart from the one that indicated the exact time), the main characteristic of the Opus XIII is that it has 59 minute hands and

I OPUS XIII by Harry Winston

Ludovic Ballouard


11 hour hands, which undoubtedly makes it the watch with the most hands ever in the entire history of watchmaking. Without going into all the technical details of this piece, which consists of 660 components and 242 jewels, let us just say that the 59 minute hands are placed all around the circle of the watch, each fifth hand painted red to create a minute track that consists of hands, which is driven by an outer ring. For any given minute, the hand in question is raised by an angle of 41°. The minute hands are thus raised one after the other, remaining in this position until the hour passes. At this point, an extraordinary ballet starts: a second ring with a grooved contour lowers all 59 hands simultaneously. This complex mechanism is activated by the centre wheel using a lever with two palletts, each releasing or blocking the minute ring, and powered by an independent barrel. The other

barrel powers the traditional escapement. The hours are indicated by fine triangles which, thanks to a 180° rotation carried out by an external ring operating in 60-minute intervals, appear and disappear under a central dome of smoked, facetted crystal. This

europa star / POST BASEL REVIEW 21

is where the problem lies and we wonder whether the dialogue between the watchmaker and the brand’s designers came to an abrupt end. Because, unfortunately, this exceptional watch, which required total mastery of the dimensions, encumbrance and play of each component by the watchmaker (one of the major difficulties being that of setting so many jewels side by side without altering the shape of the material), is illegible! Not so much for the minutes but for the hours. It’s not the watchmaker’s fault but more likely that of the choice of design, which preferred shades so dark that they subdue any clarity of vision. It’s a shame, because legibility is and remains, above and beyond these accomplishments, one of the cardinal values in high-end watchmaking. This is something that Harry Winston demonstrates with an entirely different piece, much more decorative to be sure but a resounding success none the less: the Premier Feathers, the result of a collaboration with Nelly Saunier, a master craftswoman in feather work, who has produced a marquetry of blue, azure, turquoise and sapphire feathers encased simply in a whitegold case set with 66 diamonds. Here, the dialogue was perfect.

dialogues between cultures But the dialogue does not just take place between watchmaker and designer. It also weighs heavily between those who invest in a brand and those

22 POST BASEL REVIEW / europa star

vidual minority shareholder) Antonio Calce, who, in just a few years, has successfully turned the brand around. It was this clarification of the product range that directly contributed to the success of the CHF 86 million deal. Assuring us that “relations with China Haidian, and in particularly the direct relationship of trust with the majority shareholder in the group, Kwok Lung Hon, are better than excellent,”

“The rules of the game are compatible with and shared by the two cultures.”

who run it. On the opening day of BaselWorld, one announcement quickly made the rounds: “Corum has been bought by the Chinese!” By China Haidian, to be precise, which owns the brands Ebohr and Rossini in China. Everybody knew that Corum was up for sale, since the Séverin Wunderman foundation never intended to keep it. But the fact that it was the Chinese who acquired the brand surprised many in the Swiss watchmaking community, since all such “transplants” have been rejected so far. Will Corum be the exception? The purchase of Eterna and the Porsche Design licence nearly two years ago by the same China Haidian group, after its failed attempt to launch a Swiss brand under the name Codex, suggests not. Eterna was not even present at BaselWorld and its boss, Patrick Kury, was recently fired. But this does not take into account the key man at Corum, its CEO (and indi-


Antonio Calce

Kwok Lung Hon

Antonio Calce, who remains in charge of the brand (and will probably be appointed head of Eterna as well) is perfectly reassuring. When quizzed about the great cultural difference between Switzerland and China, he stresses that “the rules of the game we have drawn up are compatible with and shared by the two cultures.” Corum offers China Haidian a gateway to the Swiss high end, where the group aims to become active. China Haidian, well respected by the Chinese authorities, offers Corum considerable potential for development in China, where the brand already has a favourable reputation. A win-win transaction, then? Only time will tell. Just as the sophistication of the Chinese consumer towards luxury has increased in recent years, we can expect the same of a well-informed entrepreneur such as Mr Hon. And it would be bad form for the Swiss to accuse the Chinese of taking one of the jewels from their crown: Isn’t Richemont in South-African hands? And aren’t LVMH and Kering (ex-PPR) in the hands of the French?


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Dialogue between father and son It wasn’t the Chinese but GeorgesHenri Meylan, a “hard line” Swiss, a Combier (the name given to those who hail from the famous Vallée de Joux), who took over H. Moser & Cie. The Swiss watchmaking fibres were no doubt essential in this particular case for helping to turn around this very subtle brand characterised by understatement. The former CEO of Audemars Piguet, one of the leading names in high-end watchmaking, handed over operational responsibility for the brand to his own son, Edouard Meylan, who has already cut his teeth in the luxury segment with a front-row seat in the pioneering high-end watchmaking telephone adventure of Celsius. But Moser boxes at a different weight, where competitors have been around for some time, whether they are called Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin, even if Moser is still far behind in terms of volume

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(1,023 units in 2013, 1,800 expected in 2014). “At first I thought I needed to take my time to avoid breaking anything,” the young manager told us. “I needed to feel the essence of the brand, to identify its strengths and weaknesses, to determine its pillars.” But one of the essential characteristics of H. Moser & Cie is that it is also a micro-manufacture that is entirely vertically integrated, today producing six different superb manufacture movements, including springs (produced by Precision Engineering, which is part of the group). So the industrial processes also had to be examined. “We looked at all levels in depth. One example: by looking at the individual processes we managed to reduce the assembly time for our perpetual calendar by 50 per cent! We have reduced the number of references from 41 to 28, including the new releases, by working on the consistency and coherence of the range. At the same

O With this creation, the watchmakers at H. Moser & Cie. opted for simplicity: simplicity in terms of aesthetics, and also the mechanism, enabling adjustment of the second time zone hour. Thanks to the patented Double Pull Crown system, the adjustment may be made using the crown, without any risk of inadvertently stopping the watch or altering the primary time. Out of the same concern for simplicity, there is an AM-PM indicator at 12 o’clock. Linked to the wearer’s primary time zone, this indicator changes from white to black in a fraction of a second, at precisely 12 noon, and then from black to white at midnight, thanks to a spring that stores up energy for approximately eight hours, without affecting the rate at which the watch runs. This makes it easy to keep in touch with your home time, which may be read in the conventional way. The coloured hand may also be hidden under the hour hand if the watch owner does not need the dual time zone function.

time, we have opened up 30 new prestige points of sale,” trumpets Edouard Meylan. His youth, which contrasts with the classicism of Moser’s range, seems to be an advantage in this case. Not only does it bring a welcome touch of freshness (keeping things in proportion, the renewal achieved by Jérôme Lambert when he arrived at JaegerLeCoultre springs to mind) but it also gives the team of 50 people the welcome spirit of a start-up, whose main pillars have been confirmed in their place. “We are currently very active in the markets, we have redesigned all our communication, set up a new marketing team to breathe new life into the brand and we are not afraid of taking risks. We are entrepreneurs, as are most of our business partners, who are also from entrepreneurial families.” A symbol of this new-found “freshness”: a green apple offered to every visitor. So, apple in hand, let’s move on.

The graphic elegance of Maurice Lacroix

Edouard Meylan

Since 2011, Maurice Lacroix has been under the control of the DKSH group, which has been the brand’s Asian distributor since 2008. After suffering because of some of its strategic choices – a move up range that didn’t tie in well with the economic crisis – the Jurassian brand has not undergone any radical changes but has managed to reaffirm its quite singular identity in the medium and high-end segments (between CHF 2,900 and 12,500 for the latest models). Presenting no less than 60 new references at Basel this year, Maurice Lacroix continues along its new path offering models with striking designs that are well thought-out and exhibit a contemporary graphic elegance that is beyond reproach.

Appreciate the extraordinary MASTER SERIES

Sandro Reginelli

Each year, a talking piece grabs the attention. After the Roue Carrée, Maurice Lacroix this year presented a superb Masterpiece Seconde Mystérieuse. As Sandro Reginelli explains, “we tried to offer a piece with a high visual impact that offers a complete alternative in terms of its display but still has a very attractive price point.” Limited to two series of 125 pieces each (steel, with rhodium or ruthenium plated movement, CHF 12,500), the Seconde Mystérieuse carries its name well and offers a unique spectacle. Housed inside a big white pastille beneath the off-centre hours and minutes (one of Maurice Lacroix’s stylistic traits) the seconds appear to float on the dial and move in a completely erratic way. The doubleheaded hand indicates the seconds on four sections of 15 seconds each, arranged in a cross. It thus performs a fascinating mechanical ballet that

seems not just “mysterious” but also quite magical. “The linearity was born from a reflection started by the Roue Carrée and epicycloid curves”, explains Sandro Reginelli. Highlighted by a contemporary skeletonisation, this astonishing watch is powered by the ML125, self-winding movement, the 12th calibre developed entirely in-house. Among the brand’s other new releases are the racy Pontos S Extreme. Innovative in its use of materials (its case is made of Powerlite®, a material used in aeronautics that is three times lighter and twice as resistant as steel and which can be coloured by anodisation) and its system of operation (an ingenious, patent-pending mechanism coupled with the chronograph pusher operates the rotating bezel inside the case, thus protecting it against any involuntary rotation) this chronograph fitted with the self-winding ML112

movement, based on the Valjoux 7750, was designed by Henrik Fisker, the designer of various BMW and Aston Martin models (CHF 5,300). With the Pontos S Diver, which is water resistant to 600 metres, has a helium valve, hydrophobic leather strap and a Sellita SW200 movement, Maurice Lacroix shows that it is possible to offer a high-performance watch with a refined design that is contemporary but with vintage touches, at an unbeatable price: CHF 2,900.

I Masterpiece Seconde Mystérieuse by Maurice Lacroix

Oris as a democratic warrior In the same price segment and producing exclusively mechanical watches, Oris, born in 1904, has always tried to offer “a good design with a democratic spirit and therefore at a reasonable price,” as Rolf Studer, vice-president of the brand, explains. The brand’s new stand aims to convey the same message. “We wanted to show our

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O PONTOS S DIVER by Maurice Lacroix


Ulrich W. Herzog



philosophy, which is similar to that of the Bauhaus movement, not in purely geometric terms but through the values of openness, transparency and, I repeat, democratisation,” he adds. But to enable these “democratic” prices (between CHF 1,550 and 3,500 for the new releases at Basel), you need volume. This is estimated at around 60,000 watches per year. Oris presented models dedicated to the worlds of aviation, the automobile and diving, as well as some incursions into jazz territory. Among them are the astonishing Aquis Regulateur divers’ watches. It’s not the first time that Oris opts for a regulator type display for a divers’ watch (we recall the Oris TT1 “Der Meistertaucher”, which was launched in 2006 and was water resistant to 1000 metres) but this type of display is usually associated with more classic designs. Nevertheless, the legibility of the minutes, which is a priority in diving, is much better on a regulator display. Sold in a set with a

rubber strap and self-adjusting diving bracelet, this original, robust and highly legible divers’ watch, which is water resistant to 300 metres, retails for CHF 3,200. Absolutely nothing further to add! “We made 100 to start with,” explains Ulrich Herzog, executive director of the brand since 2001, “but demand quickly grew and then we were copied”. The ransom of success? Also in the field of diving, the ProDiver Pointer Moon has a precision retrograde moon phase that works on a cycle of 29.5 days. This means that it can indicate very clearly the tide tables on the dial, against a red arrow. The request for a precision moon phase and tide tables (available for the northern and southern hemispheres) came specifically from the professional diver Roman Frischknecht, who is also an ambassador for the brand. Powered by a Sellita SW200 base movement and equipped with a module specific to Oris for the precision moon phase complication, it retails for CHF 3,200. Again, nothing more to add, for an innovative watch with a great dial.

Still in the world of diving, the star of the collection is without doubt the Aquis Depth Gauge. A world first: as the diver descends deeper, water enters a groove moulded into the edge of a very thick sapphire crystal through an opening at 12 o’clock and gets compressed by the pressure of the air inside it. Under the action of the water, the groove turns dark grey. The measurement of depth is then indicated very simply anti-clockwise around the dial by the visible boundary between this dark grey, the water, and the light grey of the air. (For more details, see Keith Strandberg’s article in this issue.) After a few notes from a melody by John Coltrane, to whom Oris dedicated its very Fifties Blue Train watch, we move on to the next stand.

Tutima back to Glashütte “A step back is sometimes a step ahead.” The sentence was uttered by Dieter Delecate, the founder of Tutima, which has returned to its birthplace in Glashütte. A new site, new image, new campaign, new logo, new website and new collections are on the menu.

europa star / POST BASEL REVIEW 27


1968 44mm REF. no: NS44CHPBA.BAO.3.LBA WATCH CASE 44mm in black sandblasted PVD | Reinforced mineral crystal with anti-reflective and sapphire coating | Case back screwed down in black sandblasted PVD Water resistance: 10 ATM DIAL AND HANDS Metal black dial print in white with black applied counters Tachymeter Nickel hands with luminova | Day date MOVEMENT Chronograph Miyota OS11 STRAP AND BUCKLE Black leather strap standard holes with black stitching | Black sandblasted PVD buckle

And a new case, therefore, whose steel architecture, which combines matte and polished surfaces, houses a form that will henceforth become the identity of the brand. A kind of contemporary cushion shape, which shares its tense and sharp lines with a pyramidal bezel that opens onto the dial circle. Quite a daring shape, baptised the Saxon One, which is also available as – or rather mutates into – the sporty M2. A city watch, the Saxon One houses in its case middle, almost invisibly, the chronograph pushers. The indications are arranged clearly and easy to read on a black or white dial. Developed by Tutima on a “Swiss” base, the calibre 321 has a rare minutes indication that uses a central hand that is read against a scale on the flange. The price of this watch with a Swiss movement but typically Saxon finishing is 6,800 Euros. The M2 is a military watch, the suc-

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I M2 by Tutima


cessor to the M1, which for decades has been the official watch of the German army. “Nothing can shock it,” is its slogan. It has a titanium case, reinforced sapphire crystal, screw-in case back and a soft iron inner cage against magnetism, all of which are there to ensure the resistance of this large 46.5mm chronograph, which is powered by a modified Valjoux 7750. It has a clearly readable minute counter and a 24-hour display. But Tutima, proud of its newly rediscovered “Made in Glashütte”, also gives in to pure Saxon temptation and presents a very heimlich Patria. With a manually wound manufacture movement with the typical 3/4 architecture of this watchmaking region of Germany, the Patria has a look that could not be more classic. Round, sober, frugal (65 hours of power reserve), it uses the same escapement and gear train as the minute repeater that Tutima launched a few years ago. For 13,800 Euros, it is an object that is meant to last.

Unchained Tudor But in this mid-range segment, from €1,500 to 4,500 one brand growing strongly risks causing some damage. Tudor is no longer the shy little sister of Rolex, it is now freed from this bur-

“Tudor is no longer the shy little sister of Rolex.” densome superego and we even hear that some of the more avid collectors are now favouring Tudor watches over those with the crown. “This is our first autonomous stand since 1926,” explains Philippe Peverelli, one of the key members of the small dream team now running the brand (which nevertheless has 140 employees at the moment). “For many years we were considered to be a sub-brand that made Rolex copies for Mao’s China. As a result, we have been there for 40 to 50 years, which is rare among watch brands, and we are

very well known there,” he adds, with a frankness rare within this grande maison. “From this summer, we will also be present in strength in the USA. It’s the right time, expectations are already very high and we are arriving with a range of products that is now complete”. There is still a long way to go for the brand to follow in the footsteps of the untouchable Rolex, but there is “plenty of room for manoeuvre”. Crowned with its new identity, ready with its new black and red codes, equipped with its own brand territory – motorsport – Tudor has the wind in its sails. Capitalising a lot on its history, the brand presents a new Tudor Heritage (the brand’s most emblematic collection, surfing on the vintage revival wave), the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue. It is basically a reinterpretation of the Tudor “Montecarlo”, an iconic watch from 1973, that is particularly sought-after among collectors. Its graphic design is close to that of the original, with a 45-minute counter

(split into three zones of 15 minutes) off-centre at 9 o’clock and off-centre small seconds at 3 o’clock, both set in a blue lozenge. It uses an ETA 2892 movement with a Dubois-Dépraz module (for the 45-minute counter). For CHF 4,200, the Chrono Blue is delivered with a steel bracelet and a fabric strap (a must for the brand). The other new arrival was presented at the end of a post-apocalyptic video, against the backdrop of volcanoes erupting lava. It is the Tudor Fastrider Black Shield, a microblasted matt black ceramic piece on a matt rubber strap. Born of the partnership between Tudor and the Italian motorcycle manufacturer Ducati (which is at the same time launching the customised Ducati “full black” bike) the Fastrider is a powerful monoblock watch which required two years of research and development. The red hands and hour markers stand out against the black background and are highlighted further by the gasket for the sapphire crystal, which is also red in colour. It costs CHF 4,750, which seems very competitive for an all-ceramic piece.


Louis Moinet and the first chronograph

T MECANOGRAPH by Louis Moinet

Moinet brand, who takes the honour of reviving the name of this modest but genius watchmaker from the annals of history. When asked about the follow-on from this important discovery, Jean-Marie Schaller imagines launching an emblematic piece to celebrate the event. But it is too soon to talk about this, so while waiting we take a look at the brand’s latest piece, the Mecanograph. This COSC-certified chronometer has a dial that is divided into two geometrically, with a perfectly classic half-dial with Côtes du Jura decoration on the right and a spectacular view of the balance with screws, the lever escapement with ruby pallet stones and the open-worked gear train on the other side. Suspended above this mechanism, the seconds hand with double reading vibrates eight times per second, thus transmitting the rhythm of 28,800 vibrations per hour of this

The most extraordinary historical piece in Basel Nearby, in a small stand that is almost hidden, a man is savouring not his revenge but the recompense for his hard work. In his display case, we can see the single piece that has just radically transformed the history of timekeeping: the world’s first chronograph, a “counter of thirds” dating from 1816 from the genius of Louis Moinet. “This discovery places Louis Moinet almost at the same level as Abraham-Louis Breguet: one invented the tourbillon, the other the chronograph,” beams Jean-Marie Schaller, owner of the Louis

europa star / POST BASEL REVIEW 31

beautiful in-house movement, developed in partnership with Concepto. Perfectly finished and decorated, this piece is offered at a very attractive price for the titanium version: CHF 12,000 (allow CHF 39,900 for the gold version). But you can find both more affordable and more exclusive pieces at Louis Moinet. There is a big gap between the Derrick, with its one-minute tourbillon housed underneath an aluminium derrick that extracts its energy in 15-second cycles (CHF 280,000 for this piece that should be a hit in Texas or Uzbekistan) and the new Scott Dixon, which follows on from the Nelson Piquet in the sporty Legends collection – a chronograph with tachymeter whose tinted sapphire crystal confers a sombre and racy look, which is further reinforced by carbon-fibre inserts around the bezel (CHF 9,900), but both clearly share the now wellestablished Louis Moinet identity.

A lesson in genetic algorithms One of the charms of BaselWorld is being able to move seamlessly from an independent watchmaker to a behemoth or, to put things another way, to leave Louis Moinet, who reached the fantastic level of 30Hz almost 200 years ago, to go and see “Mr 1,000Hz”, or Guy Sémon, the big chief of R&D at TAG Heuer. The benefit of talking to this broadshouldered engineer and university professor is that he doesn’t mince his words. TAG Heuer’s product strategy? He explains: “At TAG Heuer, the average price is around CHF 3,000, with a peak at 12,000. Well above this, the brand offers exceptional pieces like the Mikrograph, which costs CHF 50,000 or the Mikrotourbillon, at

32 POST BASEL REVIEW / europa star

Guy Sémon

U TAG Heuer Carrera MikroPendulum S with 2 magnetic Pendulums replacing the hairsprings, one for telling time and one for timekeeping. Composed of 454 working components and based on unique TAG Heuer-patented technology, its watch chain turns at 12Hz and its chronograph chain turns at 50Hz (60 minutes power reserve). The chronograph tourbillon, the world’s fastest, controls the 1/100th of a second, beats 360,000 times an hour and rotates 12 times a minute.The case is forged from a revolutionary material, a chrome and cobalt alloy used in aviation and surgery. It is fully biocompatible, harder than titanium, easier to shape and as luminous as white gold. The case design, with its stopwatch-like placement of the crown at 12 o’clock, is based on the 2012 Aiguille d’Or winner, the TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrogirder, and the Carrera 50 Year Anniversary Jack Heuer edition. U The first high-frequency chronograph moved by magnets, the TAG Heuer Carrera MikroPendulum is inspired by the TAG Heuer Carrera Mikrograph, the first integrated column wheel mechanical 100/s wrist chronograph with a flying central hand display. Like all MIKRO creations, it is a dual chain platform with a balance-wheel system for the watch (28,800 beats per hour (4Hz) with a 42 hour power reserve), and a hairspring-less pendulum system for the chronograph (360,000 beats per hour (50hz) with a 90 minute power reserve).

CHF 220,000. Between the two, there is nothing! We are absent from all intervening segments, which are currently enjoying a boom and where the volumes are sold. But how can we enter this segment? With precious metals? That is not TAG Heuer territory

and it’s not enough just to use some gold and go for it. So what then? What tools do we have at our disposal? Design and performance. TAG Heuer is an avant-garde manufacture. So we looked back over the past five years, during which we launched one very innovative product each year. We used this innovation as our inspiration and we have put it into a more affordable product. With it, we are opening up a new category in a sector where we were absent.” QED. Your remember the Pendulum, which in 2010 opened up a whole new avenue of exploration, that of the magnetic escapement, without a balance spring? There were two big problems to overcome to move forward from the stage of functional concept: the sensitivity of magnets to temperature differences and the linearity of torque. The second problem has gradually been solved by “topological optimisa-

tion and genetic algorithms”. What does that mean? By starting with a simple mathematical entity and moving forward by successive iterations, you can gradually give the algorithm you are looking for its “adult” form. Hence the name “genetic”. At the end of all these calculations and allnighters, the R&D engineers at TAG Heuer managed to achieve a linearity of torque that was equal to, if not better than, that of a spring. The second problem: heat. We cannot summarise the lesson in magnetism and spatial geometry – with a hint of quantum thrown in as well – that we were given (would we even be capable of doing so?). Suffice it to say that a very subtle dose of magnetism was conceived. To samarium alloyed with cobalt, which forms a “permanent magnet” but one which is unstable at certain temperatures, gadolinium – a rare earth metal – was added (in a proportion of 44 per cent). Gadolinium is the natural element with the greatest capacity to absorb thermal neutrons. Here, it acts like a shield, protecting the magnetic heart from temperature differences. And there you have it. The precision of the Pendulum improves from the 45 seconds of 2010 to one second per day today. “We put this thingamajig in a TAG Heuer Monaco chassis, in accordance with our now well-proven dual chain principle, and we got the Pendulum 50 Hz, which times to 100th of a second,” concludes Guy Sémon. Something totally new for CHF 35,000, right at the heart of the target. And this is only a start of the conquest of this strategic segment. (Europa Star will come back to this innovation in more detail in issue 4/13, which is devoted to mechanical watches.)

of the closing bracket. “Click, clack...”, the silicon filament, acting in the same way, transmits its energy to the regulating organ, the balance wheel. It’s easy to understand but much more difficult to put into practice. This filament, which acts like a microaccumulator of potential energy, must be armed as closely as possible to its unstable state so that a micro-impulse from the balance moves it instantaneously from one state to the other. During this transition, the filament releases one of the two escape wheels, each time releasing exactly the same amount of energy, instantaneously, constantly and continuously, without disturbing the balance (which in a lever escapement would be accompanied over a longer period). Here, the impulse is direct and fast, “like a slap”. (Europa Star will also come back to this innovation in more detail in issue 4/13.) In its first guise, this innovative calibre, which answers to the sweet name of Calibre 09 100, supplied with energy by two barrels with two springs each (patent pending), inaugurates the new highend Constant Escapement LM collection (in honour of the late Luigi Macaluso).

The butterfly effect At Girard-Perregaux, now under the majority control of Kering (ex-PPR) and the leadership of Michele Sofisti, it took nearly five years to fully optimise another completely different concept, a constant escapement whose heart is neither a spring nor two magnets but a thin filament of silicon, one sixth of the thickness of a human hair. The basic operating principle of this system is easy to understand: hold a business card vertically between your finger and thumb and press down to create the shape of an open bracket, then push the side and watch the card take the shape


europa star / POST BASEL REVIEW 33

Everything in this inaugural piece has been done to offer a maximum of visibility to the butterfly-wing shaped silicon frame that holds the vibrating filament in place along its median axis. For the spectacle, the filament vibrates at 3Hz (21,600 vibrations per hour), but although high frequency is not the stated aim, tests have already been carried out at higher frequencies. We can therefore look forward to new developments, especially since this escapement uses very little energy, which leaves a lot of torque available for future complications. One to watch very closely. But Girard-Perregaux clearly has its foot on the accelerator pedal and also presented its first in-house integrated chronograph calibre with a column wheel and horizontal clutch. Developed on the basis of the 3000 and 3300 family of calibres, whose gear train it uses, this is a beautiful high-end movement that could not be more classic, comprising 312 components and fitted with a variable inertia balance and a minute counter with instantaneous jump, small seconds at 9 o’clock and a date window that can be positioned at 1, 3 or 6 o’clock. With modest dimensions (25.06mm in diameter and, above all, a remarkable height of 5.40mm), it has been designed to allow “all sorts of future complications” to be housed on the dial side. For its launch, it has been fitted into a very classic rose-gold case in the 1966 collection, with a 40mm diameter, and has a face of perfect legibility, on a silvered opaline or anthracite dial, with hour markers in relief, railway-style minute track and a tachymeter scale. It is just one of 40 new references presented by the brand in Basel this year. But we must recall that one of Michele Sofisti’s tasks was to reduce the total number of references, from an excessive 700 to a more manageable 100.

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U Marine Chronographe Manufacture and UU JADE by Ulysse Nardin

Silicon on every level At Ulysse Nardin, they know about silicon very well, since they were not only a pioneer in the use of this material from the year 2000 but are also a co-owner of Mimotec, a company specialised in this field.

In Basel this year, Ulysse Nardin presented a series of new movements with escapements and balance springs in silicon, some of which had been developed and produced entirely in-house. One of these is the Skeleton Manufacture, with a very contemporary skeletonisation that reveals the manually-wound Calibre UN-170 movement, which was developed and manufactured entirely in-house. The silicon components in this beautiful piece, the balance spring, pallets and escape wheel, have been covered with a layer of artificial diamond which optimises their performance (the patented Diamonsil process). Taking inspiration from the sketches of the bridges for an antique pocket watch, the Skeleton Manufacture, with a very structured geometry (large balance at 12 o’clock above a flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock) is a limited edition of 99 in red gold and 99 in platinum (CHF 60,000). Another new totally in-house movement, also with a silicon escapement, is the self-winding Calibre UN-310. Its key characteristic is that it was developed specifically for a feminine clientele, which is worried about

Ernest Borel Swiss Made since 1856

Retro Collection

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breaking a nail or scratching nail varnish when pulling out a watch’s crown. This calibre therefore has a unique innovation: a small pusher at 4 o’clock can be used to select the functions of the crown (1-winding, 2-setting the date forwards or backwards, 3-setting the time) which then simply needs to be turned without pulling out. Easy to use and eminently practical, this movement is launched in a case set with jade (four lugs in green jade, bezel set with emeralds and diamonds) and a subtle mother-of-pearl dial. A completely different movement, again produced entirely in-house and fitted with a silicon balance spring, is the Calibre UN-150. This self-winding chronograph, with a power reserve of 48 hours, has 322 components and was developed on the basis of a Nouvelle Lemania movement, for which Ulysse Nardin bought the rights, transformed profoundly and produced entirely inhouse. Hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock, date window at 4.30, central chronograph seconds, minute counter at 3 o’clock and hour counter at 6 o’clock are arranged in the clearest possible way on a magnificent grand feu enamel dial on which the hour and minute markers stand out (a limited edition of 150 pieces in rose gold, but the Marine Chronographe Manufacture is also available in rose gold with a silver dial or in steel with a black dial).

An increasingly horological Louis Vuitton Since Hamdi Chatti took the reins of Louis Vuitton and the Fabrique du Temps was bought and integrated, there has been a considerable rise in the level of watchmaking at the LVMH brand. A wonderful piece, the Tambour Twin Chrono, illustrates this perfectly. As its name indicates, this chronograph

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can measure two different elapsed times, at the same time showing the difference between the two. A world first. Its dial is therefore quite logically divided into three generously-proportioned counters: two chronograph counters at 4 o’clock and 7 o’clock respectively and a counter showing the difference between the two times at 12 o’clock, all swept over by the central hour, minute and seconds hands above. The twin chronograph functions are controlled by a single pusher at 7 o’clock. Press once and the two chronographs start; press again and the chronograph at 7 o’clock stops and the counter showing the time difference starts; press a third time and the chronograph at 4 o’clock stops, as does the counter showing the difference between the two times. Press a fourth time to reset all the indications. The times can be read instantly and intuitively thanks to white hands that indicate the minutes (maximum 60 minutes) and red hands indicating the seconds, which have been specially


U TAMBOUR eVOLUTION by Louis Vuitton

designed for match racing sailing regattas, although many other uses can be envisaged. From a technical point of view the Twin Chrono calibre LV 175, which comprises 437 components, uses four different engines (three of which are used for the twin chronograph function) and two column wheels: one of them, in the classic style, controls the minutes, while the other, which is one of a kind, has three different levels that allow it to start and stop each engine and control the hammers for the seconds and for resetting. The three engines of the twin chronograph are wound manually using the crown at 4 o’clock, while the one powering the hours and minutes is self winding and the time is set by the crown at 2 o’clock. This very accomplished piece has a guilloché dial covered with translucent blue grand feu enamel and a white-gold case. There is still a lot to say about the horological evolution of Louis Vuitton, and we will come back to this in a future issue. The paths that the brand is following seem promising and are original in many respects. Among them, we must quickly mention the very poetic and intimate Tambour

Répétition Minutes à double fuseaux horaires, which indicates the “home time” audibly, rather than visually, using the gongs of its striking work. A great idea. But we should also mention the appropriately named Tambour eVolution, which opens up a new category of Louis Vuitton watches, which are very sporty and very masculine.


A beautiful finish Inside the luxurious souks of BaselWorld, there are a few oases where you can take refreshment for your vision and come face-to-face with beauty. With a Patek Philipe presenting a collection whose classic and refined beauty owes a lot to the close attention paid to its customers (the brand has a powerful tool for analysing its sell-out), a Chanel, which, with its paillonné enamel Coromandels produced by the delicate brush of Anita Porchet, unveils the most beautiful collection of art watches this season, a Delaneau bursting with colours and materials, and a De Bethune presenting four sets of 12 unique, hand-engraved pieces based on the signs of the Chinese zodiac and inspired by a famous clepsydra from Beijing’s Summer Palace, which was

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ransacked by western troops, we were suddenly completely reconciled with the art of watchmaking. We leave you to contemplate these beauties in your own time, without further comment (but we will come back to some of them in our future issues).

Facial treatments One of the main lessons from this edition of BaselWorld is that, beyond the frantic pursuit of technical achievement and such diverse areas of research, there is a resurgence in the taste for beauty. The considerable care lavished on dials is one example of this, with various brands producing ever more subtle and refined dials, probably in defiance of the muscular exhibitionism that has predominated over the past few years. As an example, let’s take the king of watchmakers, Rolex himself. We could hardly expect spectacular launches from a brand that is more used to making gradual corrections to its flagship models, changing them bit by bit. But this year, all this minute attention has been focused on the dials: glacier blue on

the new Daytona, perfectly harmonising with the blonde of the platinum and the dark chestnut colour of the ceramic bezel; deep greens and sunbrushed cherry for the Oyster Perpetual Day Date and white or pink motherof-pearl engraved with floral waves for the diamond-set versions; and finally white or black mother-of-pearl pad printed with a pink lotus flower for the Lady-Datejust Pearlmaster. An extreme level of care and a sign of a widely shared underlying trend. p Find the brands mentioned at



Where do you come from? Earth and its four dimensions Pierre Maillard

I DEEP SPACE by Vianney Halter

The most philosophical, and undoubtedly the most striking, watch of the year is the Deep Space by Vianney Halter. Revealed to a happy few, including Europa Star, on the fringe of BaselWorld, it signals with brio the return of Vianney Halter to the centre stage of watchmaking. Dreaming that he was lost in a galaxy far away and called to explain to aliens (living in x dimensions) where he came from and what the characteristics of his home planet, Earth, were, Vianney Halter – who does not speak every language of every galaxy – imagined an object that could summarise human experience, whose fundamental principles are the three spatial dimensions in which we move – height, length and depth – and the temporal dimension in which we evolve.


The result is the Deep Space in the form of a dome whose centre is filled entirely with a tourbillon rotating around three axes (the tourbillon carriage rotates around a first axis in 40 seconds; it is housed inside an ultra-lightweight structure that rotates around another axis, perpendicular to that of the carriage, in six minutes; all of this is suspended in a cradle that rotates around the mainplate of the movement in 30 minutes), while the fourth, temporal dimension is indicated by two lateral hands that display the time on a circular track. A summary of our earthly condition. We will come back to this splendid – and easily readable – piece in our next issue on mechanical watches. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/VianneyHalter

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Solid foundations at the base of the watchmaking pyramid Paul O’Neil

My planning for BaselWorld saw me in contact with many of the industry’s biggest volume manufacturers. As luck would have it, it was in this very segment that the industry, and in particular the Swatch Group, was making its game plan for the future. As Certina and Tissot pushed down the prices of high-quality mechanical watches even further, Swatch marked its first-ever presence at BaselWorld with a tour de force that not only upsets the status quo in the Swiss watchmaking industry but could also send shockwaves as far afield as China and Hong Kong.


Swatch throws down the gauntlet Swatch celebrated its 30th anniversary this year with its first-ever stand at BaselWorld. As if to make up for its absence from the world’s biggest watch and jewellery fair during its formative and early adult years, the brand took over the entire surface area of the new southern entrance to Hall 1, creating an inviting space where, spread across 288 different glass display cases, visitors could see every single Swatch model ever produced. The 30th anniversary of the watch that saved the Swiss watch industry was definitely something worth celebrating and “Planet Swatch”, as the brand dubbed its presence at the show, did so in style, choosing a different theme (art, fashion, sports, ladies and colours) each day and organising activities related to these themes on the stand. But the announcement at the brand’s press conference on the first day of the fair, when the stand became “Planet Innovation”, overshadowed even the exuberance of these celebrations. As Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek took the stage with the brand’s creative director, Carlo Giordanetti, and

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Thierry Cornus, who is responsible for the development of mechanical movements at the group’s movement manufacturer ETA, it was clear that the announcement would be something big. In what was undoubtedly the most significant development to be presented at BaselWorld, if not in the industry as a whole since the birth of the original plastic Swatch itself, Nick Hayek presented the world’s first selfwinding mechanical watch with a fully automated assembly and with no need for servicing of any kind. The new watch is called Sistem51 because the movement consists of a mere 51 components, just like the original Swatch. Its base plate, made entirely out of the ARCAP alloy (copper, nickel and zinc) and thus antimagnetic, houses the gear train, hand fittings and date disc. Four separate modules, for the time-setting stem, escapement and self-winding mechanism, are soldered to this base, with the oscillating mass, which consists of a transparent disc, fixed by a central screw—the only screw in the entire movement. The movement’s rate is set by laser at the factory (it has no index assembly) and then the movement is

hermetically sealed inside the watch to prevent moisture or dust from entering. Swatch claims astonishing figures for precision (+/- 5 seconds per day) and power reserve (90 hours). A mere six jewels are used in the movement and they serve as the inspiration for the first designs for this revolutionary new watch. The movement itself can also be printed on, which will allow innumerable different decorations, all visible without obstruction through the transparent case back and transparent oscillating mass. Without stipulating a specific figure, Nick Hayek’s statement that the Sistem51 would “cost between 100 and 200 Swiss francs retail, but be closer to 100 than 200” gives a maximum retail price of 149 Swiss francs.

“This aggressive pricing could allow Swatch to grab market share from any number of entry-level quartz brands.” This aggressive pricing could allow Swatch to grab market share from any number of entry-level quartz brands but, more importantly, sends a clear signal to the manufacturers in China and Hong Kong, who will need to take note and adapt, and fast. It was clear from Europa Star’s discussions with representatives of the Hong Kong watch industry at BaselWorld that they had yet to grasp the significance of this new movement.

C H A N GE. Y O U CA N .

O SISTEM51 by Swatch The dawn of a new era: Sistem51 is the result of a totally new way of manufacturing a mechanical watch movement. The entire process is fully automated and the movement remains hermetically sealed inside the finished timepiece. Its sub200 Swiss franc retail price throws down the gauntlet to the competition.


The Sistem51, which took only two years to bring to market, is impressive enough on its own, but when placed into the context of recent developments at what the Swatch Group refers to as its “middle range” brands (Tissot, Certina, Hamilton, Mido and CK Watches) it only serves to show how the Swatch Group is betting on the entry-level price segment for future growth. Certina was the latest Swatch Group brand to introduce the Powermatic 80 movement into its collection, but despite flirting with its roots as a manufacture the 125 year-old brand is not about to give up on quartz. As Certina’s CEO André Bosshard told Europa Star, “The quartz segment still has some potential (…) and should not be neglected. Some customers are interested more in a watch’s design and the materials used

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rather than the movement inside.” The brand will even be presenting its own exclusive quartz chronometer calibre later this year, which will have an accuracy of +/- 10 seconds per year, as well as a new CO1 self-winding mechanical chronograph calibre that will retail for under 1,000 Swiss francs. [See the separate interview with Certina CEO and former MotoGP rider André Bosshard.]

Swiss appeal These developments will undoubtedly be followed with interest by one of the Swatch Group’s biggest competitors in what we might call the “colourful” watch segment. Ice-Watch passed the bar of 10 million watches sold last year and once again presented a strong new collection at BaselWorld that will be rolled out to the brands’

by Ice-Watch Ice-Watch signals its entry into Swiss Made territory with the Ice-Swiss, with a Swiss movement, Swiss assembly and its own unique Swarovski crystal with a silhouette of the Swiss flag. The collection is scheduled to arrive on the market at the end of 2013 and, costing between €300-400, will open up a whole new price segment for Ice-Watch. The photo shows a prototype of the new watch.

12,000 stores worldwide throughout the year. Although the majority of Ice-Watch timepieces are assembled in China using Miyota quartz movements, the company is setting up its Swiss Made production. The brand’s new Ice-Swiss collection will not only be assembled in Switzerland and fitted with a Swiss movement but the models will also be identifiable thanks to the exclusive “Swiss Cross” cut Swarovski Zirconia embedded into the screw-in case back, which reveals the Swiss cross as a discreet silhouette. According to a survey of the fashion watch segment by the market research company GfK, Ice-Watch was the market leader in the €50-99 price range in France and Germany last year and second in the United Kingdom. The company’s impressive logistics infrastructure puts it in a strong position to extend this dominance over the coming years. [See our Service, Please! section in this issue for an in-depth look at IceWatch’s customer service system.] Mondaine, a small Swiss company that owns the Mondaine and Luminox brands, provided another example

OO SXC by Luminox Visible at BaselWorld only as a giant photo on the Luminox stand, or as this 3D rendering, the Luminox SXC is tailor-made for the SXC programme and will have alarm, GMT and stopwatch functions with a combined analogue and digital display. O STOP2GO by Mondaine Inspired by clocks in Swiss railway stations, the 41mm Mondaine Stop2Go in stainless steel houses the Mondaine calibre 58-02 quartz movement that turns the second hand around the dial in 58 seconds, then pauses for two seconds. The crown takes the form of a switch, which moves the hands forwards or backwards in one-minute jumps to set the time.

at BaselWorld of its ability to keep pace with the marketing efforts of much bigger brands. The new Luminox stand was dominated by a life-sized replica of the XCOR Lynx spaceship with which the SXC corporation will be offering 60-minute spaceflights for under 100,000 US dollars as early as next year. The Luminox logo features prominently on the spacecraft, which is surely a fantastic coup for the brand. Special watches are being developed to be worn both by the astronauts and their passengers and will feature a combined analogue and digital display, naturally with the Luminox Light Technology to ensure clear legibility in the pitch-black darkness of space. Luminox’s sister brand Mondaine is famous for its watches that recall the

face of Switzerland’s iconic station clocks, produced under an exclusive licence with the Swiss Federal Railways. At BaselWorld, the brand asked us what two seconds meant to us, since its latest product, the Stop2Go, mimics the unique action of the Swiss railway station clocks, whose seconds hands all complete a revolution of the dial in 58 seconds, rather than a minute, leaving two seconds for a nationwide synchronisation of the time signal, which helps to ensure the famous punctuality of Swiss trains.

Newcomer Bomberg announced its arrival loud and clear by plastering its logo and a giant mobile phone number on one of Basel’s tram carriages. A call to this number would alert a very attentive hostess, who would collect visitors discreetly from Hall 1 to escort them to the brand’s Bohemian apartment just a couple of minutes’ walk from the exhibition centre. As Europa Star arrived, the local residents were merrily eating their lunch at tables assembled among the

OO The Luminox stand at BaselWorld, dominated by a full-size replica of the XCOR Lynx space plane.

T Shinola made its debut BaselWorld with an impressive stand

New—and not only Swiss— brands New US brand Shinola [see Keith Strandberg’s article in Europa Star 02/2013] won plaudits for its impressive stand at BaselWorld, which had a welcoming boutique feel that encouraged people to come in and browse. Those that did discovered that the brand is about much more than watches and the lucky ones might even have been able to sample Shinola’s very own cola drink.

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OO 1968 CHRONOGRAPH by Bomberg The distinctive asymmetric shape of Bomberg’s 1968 chronograph

O LES INTEMPORELLES by Picard Cadet Part of the reborn brand’s “Les Intemporelles” collection, the ladies’ automatic watch has a 36mm case in polished stainless steel or 18-carat rose gold, with or without diamonds. It is powered by the ETA 2892 movement, which offers a 44-hour power reserve, and has a multi-level, two-tone dial with hours, minutes, seconds and date indication at 4.30. It comes with a black alligator leather strap with double butterfly clasp.

on-street parking spaces, one of which was occupied by a classic TVR sports car in British racing green. Parked almost directly outside Bomberg’s temporary home, its Neuchâtel registration plate was undoubtedly no coincidence. Bomberg is based in Neuchâtel and the TVR’s outwardly brash image but inwardly classic appeal fit perfectly with the brand, as does the star of their advertising campaign: adorned with numerous tattoos, the young male model is a actually a primary school teacher. Another new Swiss brand, Picard Cadet, was reborn from the ashes of its predecessor, presenting a collection that has been three years in the making and features ladies’ and gents’ watches with classical designs that are intended to appeal to a global audience. All the models are based on a tonneau case, which is available in steel or gold and powered by the ETA 2892 and Valjoux 7753 movements. Like Jules Picard Cadet, who set up his watchmaking workshop on the

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corner of Place du Molard and Rue de la Croix-d’Or in the centre of Geneva in 1910, the current owners are also jewellers by trade and are intent on expressing their innovative ideas in jewellery watches. The first concrete example of this, presented as a prototype in Basel, is the Metamorphose, a jewellery watch whose case can be transformed to display all white or all black diamonds. With a total of 3,000 diamonds, the piece will retail for in excess of 100,000 Swiss francs.

Mid-range makeovers Since the Sowind Group decided to decamp from the SIHH to Basel, it was clear that there would be a new stand to accommodate Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard in addition to Gucci. Presenting all the fruits of its comprehensive redesign for the first time, the “renewed” JeanRichard revealed its new Aquascope and Aeroscope models to complete its palette and officialised its relationship with Captain “Sully” Sullenberger (the pilot who landed his

I Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, the new ambassador for JeanRichard

O AQUASCOPE by JeanRichard

O SARATOGA LADY BLACK by Concord Concord’s Saratoga Lady Black model, named after the New York horse racing course which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, has a 31mm stainless-steel case set with 32 diamonds, with a further six diamonds set on the white mother-of-pearl dial. It is fitted with the ETA 956.412 quartz calibre and comes with a glossy black alligator leather strap with stainless-steel folding clasp.

passenger airliner in the Hudson river after an engine failure, saving the lives of all passengers on board), who will be the face of ordinary people doing extraordinary things for the brand. Concord has undergone a major revamp over the past few years, which have seen the launch of the C2 collection (2011) and, as a BaselWorld pre-

view, a new version of the six-year-old C1 chronograph with a much softer design [See our Sports Watch feature in Europa Star 02/2013]. The brand also presented an entirely new POS concept at the show, in which black is the dominant colour. Black was also the inspiration behind the new Saratoga Lady Black presented at the show. More specifically, it is intended

OO COLVMBVS POWER RESERVE by Charriol Zenith produces the Christophe Colomb model in its high-end Academy collection, but Charriol owns the trademark using the Roman “V” and has an agreement with Zenith. The Colvmbvs Power Reserve model is a limited edition of 30 pieces produced for Charriol’s 30th anniversary. It has a 46mm diameter stainless-steel case and a transparent sapphirecrystal case back engraved with the silhouette of Christopher Columbus. Behind this beats Technotime’s TT750 movement, which offers 120 hours of power reserve.

O AEL WHITE CERAMIC by Charriol Inspired by angels (“Ael” means angel in Celtic), this new model has a 34mm stainless-steel case sandwiched by ceramic rings, with ceramic lugs and a rubber strap with cable imprint. It is available in white ceramic with a white mother-of-pearl dial and Zirconium hour markers or black ceramic with a white porcelain dial and Roman numerals. Equipped with an ETA quartz movement, it retails for 910 Swiss francs.

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to be the timepiece equivalent of a lady’s little black dress, that wardrobe staple that can be donned for so many different occasions. Geneva-based watch and jewellery brand Charriol celebrated its 30th anniversary with a new identity in Basel. The idea, as Managing Director Ludovic Lesur explained to Europa Star, was to “make the brand more sexy”, and involved changing everything. The collection in particular has been massively restructured, dropping from 4,000 references only two years ago to 300 references now, after it was discovered that a mere 20 per cent of the brand’s collection accounted for 80 per cent of its sales. “It was costing so much more in time and money to produce small series of, for example, five watches, that we were shooting ourselves in the foot,” says Lesur. “Delivery times are now much shorter and there is a genuine improvement.” The aim is also to attract younger customers. “We had nothing under one thousand Swiss francs so we wanted to do a Swiss Made watch with Charriol values for under a thousand,” says Lesur. The result is the “Ael” ladies’ watch with a stainless-steel case sandwiched between two ceramic rings available in black or white for 910 Swiss francs. For gentlemen the brand offers a new and competitively priced Gran Celtica chronograph, powered by an ETA Valjoux 7750 calibre and retailing for 3,490 Swiss francs, as well as a 30-piece limited-edition “Columbus” model for the brand’s anniversary. It uses Technotime’s TT750 five-day power reserve movement and has an unusual dial with separate, overlapping hour and minute rings. Charriol claims to have sold 1.35

The new moon at Omega

million watches to date. Spread across 3,800 points of sale, 485 corners, 185 Charriol stores and an ambitious plan to open 65 new points of sale this year, this equates to roughly one watch sold per point of sale per year over 30 years. A figure that might be worrying without the many items of jewellery, belts, handbags and writing instruments that the brand also sells. German brand Tutima also presented a new identity in Basel, based around concentric circles of different colours that were displayed prominently on the brand’s new stand. Black and white will be the main colours of the brand’s identity, while three secondary colours of blue, olive-green and brown will feature in the company’s new advertising campaign. Darker shades of the same colours will be used in the company’s literature. Three new collections were launched in Basel under this new identity: The Saxon One and M2 chronographs (both featuring Tutima’s in-house calibre 321, which is a modified Valjoux 7750) and the Patria model in red

gold, which uses a manually wound calibre 617 movement, which was developed and produced in-house on the basis of the minute-repeater movement fitted in the brand’s Hommage piece.


In line with my general opinion on the “new” BaselWorld, the Swatch Group Plaza, nestled at the heart of the global brands in Hall 1, looked new, yet strangely familiar. Omega’s new stand, visible in the distance as soon as you enter the hall, was significantly bigger but maintained the brand’s familiar red and cream colour codes. A remodelled entrance, with two small openings guarded by in-house security guards chosen from the more muscular members of staff, ensured an orderly admission of guests. Beyond the security check, Jean-Claude Monachon, Omega’s Vice-President and Head of Product Development, presented the brand’s latest releases to Europa Star. He started by revealing a few more details about the brand’s new anti-magnetic movement presented earlier this year. We already knew that the balance spring, like in all the

CHRONOGRAPH by Tutima Stainless-steel case, 44mm diameter, Tutima calibre 321 movement (ETA 7750 base) with antique grey surface treatment, stainless-steel bracelet with folding clasp

O PATRIA SMALL SECONDS by Tutima 18-carat rose-gold case, 43mm diameter, Tutima calibre 617 manually wound movement with screw balance, gold-weighted adjustment screws, Breguet hairspring and Glashütte three-quarter plate.

O SPEEDMASTER “DARK SIDE OF THE MOON” by Omega The 44.25mm case of this model, dubbed “The Dark Side of the Moon”, is in brushed and polished black ceramic. The dial, also in black zirconium oxide ceramic, has the luxury of applied hour markers and hands in white gold. It is driven by the 9300 calibre co-axial column-wheel chronograph and comes with a durable black Cordura® fabric strap.

europa star / BASELWORLD REPORT 47

brand’s co-axial calibres, was made out of silicon. But now we know that the true innovation is the new NivagaussTM antimagnetic material developed by Nivarox, which is used for the pallets staff, the staff of the co-axial wheel and all other staffs and pivot points. The co-axial escape wheel and its pinion are made of LIGA, while the pallets itself is made of another, still secret, non-magnetic material. Omega is a little cagey about the materials used because the final choices still need to be made for the production series, which should be in stores by October this year. The brand aims to have all coaxial calibres non-magnetic by 2017. Omega’s emphasis at the show was on the Speedmaster collection, with the launch of the first Speedmaster model in ceramic. When Pink Floyd recorded their album “Dark Side of the Moon”

O SPEEDMASTER ’57 by Omega Identifiable by its straight lugs and symmetrical case shape, the Speedmaster ’57 recalls the original Speedmaster model, launched 56 years ago, and is available in a wide range of metals: stainless steel, titanium, red and yellow gold and a two-tone steel and red-gold version.

The silent force of the independents

in 1973, little could they have known that a watch with lunar credentials would bear the same name 40 years later. But this is indeed the inscription on the polished ceramic case back above the see-through sapphire crystal

Stephen Urquhart— “Cautiously optimistic” Just before BaselWorld, Omega presented a new advertising campaign that showed the brand’s various marketing activities using computer-animated images made up of the individual components of the brand’s unique co-axial escapement movement. Europa Star talked to Omega’s president Stephen Urquhart about the importance of the co-axial calibre, the company’s major sports sponsorships and his outlook for the future. Europa Star: To coincide with the start of BaselWorld, Omega presented a new advertising campaign dedicated to your coaxial escapement movement, which is now fitted to all your mechanical watches except for the Speedmaster Moon Watch. Does this signal a certain maturity of the technology? Stephen Urquhart: The mechanical watch movement as we know it today has been around in the same form for over 200 years and we cannot really change it. What we can do is try to improve it where we can. George Daniels did improve it considerably with his co-axial escapement but there is a big difference between what he did and what we are producing now. It has really been industrialised now and we are producing around 450,000 pieces a year. When we first launched the co-axial we needed a few years to get it right and then

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aperture. The brand also presented a new collection called Speedmaster ’57, inspired by the original Speedmaster with its symmetrical case (the crown and pushers stand proud from the case middle, whereas they were later semi-enclosed in an asymmetric case) but brought up to date with Omega’s high-end 9300/9301 co-axial columnwheel chronograph calibre. [See our separate interview with Omega president Stephen Urquhart]

After China Haidian’s surprise announcement that it had acquired Corum just as BaselWorld opened its doors, rumours abounded during the show that Raymond Weil, arguably one of the biggest independent brands, was also up for sale. The sale of Corum and the rumours

we launched our first in-house version in 2007. So now we have a track record of six years and we can see its advantages from a quality control perspective and in the low number of returns. And this is reflected in the four-year warranty on the coaxial movement, which is twice the industry norm… SU: Yes, we could even give a longer guarantee. We are very confident in this movement. It’s difficult to convey the advantages to the customer on a technical level, but at the end of the day this movement will need less servicing than a conventional mechanical watch. Even compared with other Omega movements, where we have the same levels of quality and dedication put into the manufacture, we can see that the co-axial is a definite improvement. Presumably the sales staff now have experience of the coaxial, which helps them to sell it? SU: Definitely. We could not have sold the co-axial movement with the distribution we had ten years ago. Now we have our own flagship stores with highly trained staff who can explain the movement. Are you satisfied with your current distribution network? SU: I think the best two decisions Omega took were to develop the co-axial movement and to open its own flagship stores. I think the customer wants mono-brand stores and we have a good network. u

surrounding Raymond Weil were clear confirmations of the continued consolidation in the industry, which we expounded in our previous issue. If Raymond Weil is indeed up for grabs, potential purchasers have a solid investment opportunity in the musically-inspired brand from Geneva. Firmly positioned in the mid-range segment, with models such as the new ladies’ Jasmine in 29mm and 35mm available from 1,600 Swiss francs, Raymond Weil is not afraid to reach for the higher end, as well. Among the 50 new models the company presented at BaselWorld was the limited-edition Nabucco Cuore Caldo Twelve, with a case in 18-carat red gold, titanium and carbon fibre and a La Joux-Perret split-seconds movement, retailing for over 17,000 Swiss francs. Part of the proceeds for this model, produc-



The latest editions in the Jasmine collection come in two different case sizes, 29mm and 35mm and with a choice of cases in polished stainless steel or red-gold PVD, as well as self-winding mechanical or quartz movements.

Raymond Weil’s limited-edition Nabucco Cuore Caldo Twelve has a 46mm case in 18-carat red gold, titanium and carbon fibre and is powered by a La Joux-Perret self-winding split-seconds chronograph movement with power reserve indication.

“We sell 20 per cent of our watches through our own stores now, which means that we have direct contact with 20 per cent of our customers.” u But retail is a different business and it’s not easy to sell watches. Here in Basel we don’t really sell the watches, we just transfer them to a retailer who puts them into a safe. It’s in retail where the watch-

es are actually sold and we have learned a lot from this. We sell 20 per cent of our watches through our own stores now, which means that we have direct contact with 20 per cent of our customers. China and Chinese buyers abroad are a very important customer group for Omega. How sensitive are you to changes in China? SU: Remember that China used to be a third world economy and look at how it is growing now. Of course it cannot keep growing at ridiculous rates, since that would lead to inflation like we saw in Latin America a few years ago. But I would be more than happy with five per cent growth. How many other countries in the world at the moment are enjoying five per cent growth? Are you already gearing up for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016?

SU: Of course! We opened three stores in Brazil earlier this year, two in Rio and one in Sao Paolo. They are Omega corporate stores so we sell directly to the stores and there is no middleman. We are not bypassing anybody because we don’t have a subsidiary in Brazil and the prices are benchmarked against Miami, so they are competitive. And we are selling maybe a watch a day, which is not bad. It’s a beginning. How discernible an effect does your official timekeeping role at the Olympic Games have on the brand? SU: It’s difficult to judge. Beijing was good for China and it came just before the subprime crisis, so we cannot say what it would have been like without the subprime. The Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver were difficult; London was great. But we don’t see surges in sales like we do when a new James Bond film comes out. It’s more about brand building. What is your forecast for business in 2013? SU: I’m cautiously optimistic. There are a lot of problems in Europe but the US market is improving and I think people underestimate the US consumers’ knowledge of and interest in watches. I’ve been travelling to the US a lot over the past couple of years and I’ve seen this interest first hand. We really were lagging behind there and it is now a priority market for us. p

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tion of which is limited to 76 pieces, to correspond with Raymond Weil’s year of foundation, will be donated to the paediatric onco-hematology unit of the University of Geneva Hospital. On an equally sure footing thanks to the backing of a wealthy French family, Speake-Marin plans to more than double its production from 200 watches last year to 500 this year. A new limited-edition model presented in Basel, the Triad, is set to help the brand on its way towards this ambitious goal. Named after the threenote chord in music rather than the notorious Chinese organised crime organisation, this 88-piece series is the first in Speake-Marin’s “mechanical

Certina goes green Certina celebrated its 125th anniversary and presented a brand-new corporate identity at BaselWorld, switching from a sporty red to a colour less used in the industry: a vibrant green that symbolises “freshness, dynamism, luck and success”. In addition to the comprehensive revamp of the brand’s identity and point of sale material, the change will also be marked with the use of the turtle emblem, which will be either stamped or engraved on all Certina watches (it was already used on the DS-1 and DS-2 models in the 1960s). The turtle symbolises resistance and durability and is intended to reflect the characteristics of “Double Security” in the DS models for which the brand is famous and which now also features, along with the turtle shell, in the new Certina logo. Europa Star sat down with Certina’s boss André Bosshard to talk about the brand’s new identity and its latest products. Europa Star: You are presenting a big change in identity for Certina at BaselWorld. What was the main reason for making this change? André Bosshard: This year is our 125th anniversary and we are taking it as a milestone year. We are very proud that we have been producing and distributing watches throughout this 125-year period. Because of this, and because it is a “new” BaselWorld and we have a new stand, we decided early last year to bring back some elements from our roots. So we decided to change our logo and go back to the initial font, which has been on the dial of our watches for some 50 years. We also wanted to incorporate a message in the logo that was part of our DNA. DS, or Double Security, has been in our watches

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O TRIAD by Speake-Marin The Triad uses Speake-Marin’s familiar 42mm Piccadilly case in stainless steel with an 18-carat red-gold bezel and has an Eros 2 calibre that has been modified with the addition of two sets of three Triad wheels to power three different off-centre hour and minute hands in blued steel. A limited edition of 88 pieces that costs 25,000 Swiss francs.

for over fifty years and is a unique quality concept. We have used the shell of a turtle in the logo to symbolise the quality of our watches. A turtle has a long life and its shell is very resistant. As for the colour, we liked the red colour. It’s a nice colour and it’s appreciated. But often in points of sale I saw too many reds and I thought that our products deserved to be highlighted and to stand out. So we did some research into colours and picked out green as a colour of freshness, dynamism, luck and success. Also, it’s not strongly occupied in the industry. I think it upgrades the brand and we are proud of the new booth and our advertising layouts. We have achieved the target we had of highlighting the key strengths of the brand in an appropriate environment. After Tissot and Longines, Certina has also launched the Powermatic 80 movement in its collection. What percentage of Certina watches are mechanical? AB: Ten years ago we were a pure quartz brand, so all our production was in quartz. But now we see that in Europe the culture to buy mechanical watches in our price segment is increasing. Whereas ten years ago the main trend in the 500-800 Swiss franc price bracket was to buy quartz, today this is changing. We also have the influence of the Asian tourists, over 50 per cent of whom buy mechanical watches and are therefore influencing demand. Do you aim to increase the proportion of mechanical watches in the Certina collection? AB: We have a huge heritage in this segment. Let’s not forget that Certina was a manufacture in the 1970s and we produced our own u

art” collection. Rather than showing three different time zones, the three off-centre blued-steel hour and minute hands all show the same time, powered by the Eros 2 calibre self-winding movement, which is a modified version of Technotime’s TT750 calibre with 120 hours of power reserve. Armin Strom continued the theme started with its in-house tourbillon calibre for the launch of the brand’s first in-house self-winding calibre with a micro rotor. The four different models available in this new collection are thus inspired by the elements of air, water, earth and fire. Like their tourbillon predecessors, they are only available as a limited edition (100

T DS-1 LIMITED EDITION by Certina Certina presented a limitededition boxed set consisting of matching ladies’ and gents’ models in the DS-1 collection in celebration of the brand’s 125th anniversary. Only 1,888 will be available, in stainless steel, and sold only as a pair.

pieces of each type) and have the same exquisite finishing that we have come to expect of Armin Strom. The movement has a going barrel made of special brass, an escape wheel and pallets in solid gold and a five-day power reserve. Thanks to Alon Ben Joseph of ACE Jewelers in the Netherlands, I discovered a very small independent producer who was hidden away in Hall 2 on one of those stands that consists of just a show case and a couple of seats. Itay Noy claims to be the only watchmaker in Israel and is based in the Old Jaffa quarter of Tel Aviv. In addition to teaching design, he produces around 100 watches per year. He specialises

U GRAVITY by Armin Strom Named, quite simply, after the force that powers Armin Strom’s first in-house selfwinding calibre with a micro rotor, the Gravity collection is available as a limited edition of 100 pieces in each of the four element-themed models: Air, Water, Earth and Fire, each of which is designed to reflect the characteristics of the element it is named after.

u mechanical movements. The new Powermatic in our anniversary collection is a vintage product with a very modern movement inside that offers a precision of plus or minus five seconds per day. This Powermatic will definitely help to increase our market share in the mechanical segment.

The figures presented by the Federation of the Swiss Watchmaking Industry at the opening press conference in BaselWorld showed that the growth in exports of quartz watches has been flat for a number of years. If this is the

case, how come big brands such as Tissot and Certina, which are dependent on quartz movements, are still growing? AB: Even if the cake stays the same size, you can still cut a bigger slice of it. But the quartz segment still has some potential in my view and should not be neglected. Some customers are interested more in a watch’s design and the materials used rather than the movement inside, mainly in the ladies’ segment. What is the split between gents’ and ladies’ watches at Certina? AB: It’s two-thirds gents’ and one-third ladies’, which is a good balance for a sport brand offering mainly chronographs. Europe is your biggest market. Can you subdivide this further into the most successful countries or regions? AB: The main areas in terms of market share are Switzerland and Scandinavia. We are one of the market leaders in these areas. We are also strong in eastern Europe and Russia—both in terms of absolute figures but also in terms of growth rates—as well as in Germany, Spain and more recently in the UK. There is a potential for good penetration in the UK because both Formula 1 and rally are popular there and the people have fuel in their blood. What is your outlook for the coming year? AB: I have a very positive outlook for the year. We already did the first presentation of our new corporate identity to our markets in January and the feedback was very positive. We now look forward to the challenge of implementing all these tools in the markets accordingly and to see the reaction of the end consumer. p

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O MASK by Itay Noy Housed in a 42.4mm square case in stainless steel, the mask collection features stylised masks on the face of the watch. It is powered by the Technotime TT651 selfwinding calibre with quickset date window, second time zone, day/night indicator and 42-hour power reserve.

above all in original dial designs, including statement watches such as the “ID” collection, which feature the (proper) Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese or Roman numerals as hour markers. New for this year is the “Mask” in a square case. “I wanted a square watch in the collection,” says Noy, “and this year seemed the most appropriate year to do it. We look through squares most of the day. I wanted a screen but a screen needs a picture.” The picture in the case takes the form of stylised masks that use the functions of Technotime’s TT651 movement (a big date and a 24-hour subdial) for their eyes and mouth.

U JULES BOREL COUPLES’ WATCHES by Ernest Borel An example of the couples’ watches that work so well for the brand in Asia, the two new matching models in the Jules Borel collection have a two-tone case in stainless steel and 18-carat red gold and are fitted with the Soprod A10 calibre with COSC certification for the gents’ model and the ETA 2671 for the ladies’ model.

Emile Chouriet followed Ernest Borel in upgrading its Basel presence to a two-storey stand in the relative

Unknown in Switzerland but big in China If you are looking for Swiss Made Ernest Borel timepieces in Switzerland you will be disappointed, although that may soon change. Because the brand is so popular in Asia, and China in particular, it is following the Chinese tourists to Europe, setting up a retail presence in the specific cities that they visit to buy their Swiss watches. With 8,372 officially certified chronometers

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in 2011, the most recent year for which the official COSC statistics are available, Ernest Borel ranked ninth among the world’s top chronometer producers. This may say more about the chronometer certification than it does about Ernest Borel, but it is clearly a strategy that works for the brand’s target markets, where 80 per cent of the watches it sells are couples’ watches.


calm of Hall 2.2, after being cramped behind a glorified shop window in the now-defunct Hall 5 last year. The changes were striking as Managing Director Jean Depéry welcomed Europa Star to the brand’s new palatial presence. In a calm, almost colonial, setting, the direct descendant of François Dagobert Depéry, who supplied watchmaker Emile Chouriet with components in the late 1600s, proudly showed off the two high-end pieces that illustrate the brand’s considerable progress since it was taken over by

Fiyta in 2011: a tourbillon with a gold bridge and a minute repeater, issued in a strictly limited edition of three and featuring an original illustration of François Dagobert Depéry copied from an old plate, which was on display on the Emile Chouriet stand.

I Count Jacques von Polier, Managing Director of Russian brand Raketa, enjoys the view from Moscow’s most expensive penthouse with guests at the brand’s BaselWorld party.

When Basel isn’t in Basel at all Any industry professional knows that BaselWorld is merely a subset of “Basel” and that numerous other brands are dotted around the city in apartments, hotel suites and even on

“Raketa recruited Jean-Claude Quenet, the former director of the hairspring and escapement department at Rolex.” boats. Some brands, however, took advantage of the restructuring to dispense with their presence at Basel altogether. A risky move, perhaps, given the concentration of the world’s biggest watch buyers at the same time in the same place, but one which was managed with some interesting “alternative Basels”. Russian brand Raketa, whose off-beat presence and largerthan-life manager Count Jacques von Polier drew the attention of our own Malcolm Lakin at last year’s show,

were not present in Basel this year. Instead, the company used the money it saved to throw a lavish party at Moscow’s most expensive (90 million US dollars) penthouse. The brand presented its 2013 collection there, which includes a watch for next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, and mentioned in passing that it had recruited JeanClaude Quenet, the former director of the hairspring and escapement department at Rolex, as chief engineer at the Raketa factory. Yet another major coup by a minor brand. Britain’s Bremont threw a less extravagant party in the more familiar surroundings of the Bar Rouge, at the top of the Ramada Plaza Tower. The brand used the get-together to offer a teaser of its major launch for the year, which will take place on its home turf in June. The “Codebreaker” watch pays tribute to the significant efforts played by the staff at Bletchley Park in breaking the Luftwaffe’s Enigma ciphers during the second world war. It will incorporate original elements from Bletchley Park, including paper from the punch cards used and parts of the original Enigma machine—the ancestor of the modern-day computer.

A toast to absent friends I left Basel feeling that all was not as new as I had expected. The exhibition centre does indeed look spectacular from the outside, almost to the point of looking down on the surrounding quarter of Basel with a certain smugness; yet inside one faced the same narrow entrance with its temperamental turnstiles and the same poor and overpriced catering selection. The refreshing newness, for me at least, was provided by the creativity and huge investment ploughed into new stands by the exhibiting brands. But what about the brands who were notable by their absence? The reduction in the overall number of exhibitors may offer the remaining ones a better quality presence at the show, but the absence of such important and innovative brands as Bremont and DeWitt dilutes the industry’s offer in Basel. If other brands believe that they, too, will not suffer because of their absence in Basel the image and appeal of the show itself could start to suffer. With so many companies hanging around on the outskirts hoping to be ushered into the hallowed halls, it may be some time before this happens. But might these not be the early-warning signs? p

U The Enigma machine, parts of which will feature in the forthcoming Bremont “Codebreaker” watch.

Find the brands mentioned at

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BaselWorld wasn’t built in a day D. Malcolm Lakin


At the end of the day, eight if you had the stamina, the question that begs an answer is: was the prestigious BaselWorld 2013 more about architectural kudos or its horological content?

This year I attended BaselWorld in awe of both the organization’s titanic 430 million Swiss franc transformation of the site’s old buildings and the monumental multi-million dollar creations of the exhibitors. My days there were as memorable as my first neck-craning visit to the skyscrapered skyline of New York and I spent my time meandering through the vast halls much like a youngster on a mouth-watering visit to a chocolate factory. I marvelled at the luxurious, fascinating and imposing structures that had been created to sell watches: two- and threelevel constructions were de rigueur, elegance vied with size, nuanced hues competed with eye-catching colour, stylish de Grisogono black contrasted with mansion-styled Jacob & Co white, sparkling crystal-clad Swarovski contrasted with Casio’s metallic G-Shock, Breitling’s arresting aquarium of live sharks and tropical fish engulfed Blancpain’s photograph of a whopping whale and the space shuttle at Luminox soared above the veteran cars chez Eberhard and Cuervo y Sobrinos. Nevertheless, I can’t help feeling that in spite of the magnificence of the manifestation, the massive amount of ego-massaging, one-upmanship and even pretentiousness behind the resulting stand designs almost detracted from the event’s raison d’être, i.e. to sell watches. Of course it is essential to maintain the name of a brand before the public to remind potential buyers of its existence, but we’re talking hundreds

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of millions here not small change from the grocer’s shop. As much as I admired the Rolex edifice (booth somehow seems too inadequate a term), I can’t help questioning the extravagance of purchasing, designing and maintaining around 2,500 square metres of space for an eight-day gig at a cost of well over thirty million Swiss francs when their clients, all established retailers, are effectively a captive audience. Rolex was not alone, there were numerous other big spenders: the beautifully designed and constructed wood-dominated pavilion of Hermès cost many millions and clearly Festina, Swarovski, Corum, Jacob & Co, TAG Heuer, Bulgari, de Grisogono, and the collective forces of the Swatch Group to name but a few, also dug deep into their coffers to participate in this year’s “Show of Shows”. According to the BaselWorld Fact Sheet, there were one thousand new stands this year, many of which housed the major players – and those that would like to be – in the watch industry and were to be found on the three floors of Hall 1. The smaller independent brands were to be found in the tented Palace across the road or across the passage to Hall 2 on the second and ground floors – with one glaringly obvious lapse in geopolitical management: the highly successful Belgian company, Ice-Watch. Their stand was to be found in Hall 2.0 at the furthest point possible from Hall 1 – and one Group in particular – and was so

distant from the main thoroughfare that I half expected to see St Bernard dogs trotting about bearing barrels of vintage brandy around their necks, or at least someone fumbling with their emergency rations whilst the homing device of their Breitling Emergency II transmitted their exact position to search parties. As it was Ice-Watch had anticipated the problem and sent out a rather attractive bounty hunter to assist frustrated potential buyers in their quest. (See Lakin at Large in this issue for more on Ice-Watch.) BaselWorld is normally an horological feast, but this year with its additional decorative splendour it became a banquet fit for kings. What follows is therefore nothing more than a snack, a tantalising taste of what and who was there to be seen. Bon appétit!

Tradition & technological innovation Tucked away on the ground floor of Hall 2, a classical no-fuss stand with normal display windows heralded a ‘World Première’: a smart watch created in a joint venture between Aerowatch and Toshiba. Aerowatch is an independent Swiss watch company that was founded in 1910 specialising in the production of pocket watches and pendants. In 2004, by then headed up by Denis Bolzli and his two sons, the brand moved into the wristwatch arena using hand-wound or self-winding movements. Today, after a ten-month collaboration with Toshiba, the world’s largest electronics and IT corporation, the brand is introducing its first “intel-

Play Aces! Raise your Game 1 ,,, with the new 13 ⁄4 Chrono Designed for maximum impact.

RONDA xtratech – Cal. Z60

ligent” watch combining Swiss watchmaking tradition with the very best of Japanese technological innovation. This unification of traditional watchmaking skills and cutting-edge technology marks not only a transition in the history of both companies, but also has placed Aerowatch at the forefront of a potential market that aims to meet the demands of a more technically savvy clientele. The Generation 3 smart watch cleverly combines Aerowatch’s horological know-how with the typical Toshiba smartphone applications and software that the corporation’s engineers have developed specially for this timepiece. The result is a handsome watch that offers infinite variations in dial design and hands which the wearer can reconfigure and personalise to suit their personal preferences simply by pressing the dial: ten different options ranging from a chronograph to a

From left to right: Jean-Sébastien Bolzli, Aerowatch’s Marketing & Sales Manager, Hitoshi Tokudo, Toshiba’s Assistant to Company President, Denis Bolzli, President Aerowatch.

compass, a day/date/moonphase combination to Google maps and e-mail to messaging. The watch functions with a rechargeable battery and as Denis Bolzli proudly claims, “What a smartphone can do, Aerowatch’s Generation 3 watch can do.” It’s an exciting and innovative product designed to capture the imagination of hi-tech aficionados and computer mavens, but is this the future of timekeeping?

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Keeping in tune Another discovery in Hall 2 was Frères Rochat, where I was introduced to ‘The Enchanting Bird’ a singing bird automaton that faithfully reproduces the architecture, technique and craftsmanship of the horological movements first designed by the Rochat brothers at the beginning of the 19th century. Stéphane Velan, the company’s CEO, explained that Frères Rochat’s watchmakers, craftsmen and restorers took up the challenge of reinventing a Grand Complication movement that combines modernday savoir-faire with the Rochat brothers’ historical creations of singing bird automata. Velan explained that today’s models contain the most miniaturised movement design ever created for this set of functions, requiring years of research before even the first functional prototype was produced. Completely designed and developed in their workshops in Le Brassus, the automaton comprises 1227 components and the mechanism is made out of a fuséebarrel with a micro chain of 404 handconnected links, a set of gears and

I Generation 3 watch by Aerowatch

Stéphane Velan, CEO of Frères Rochat

T “The Enchanting Bird” automaton by Frères Rochat

levers which activate the bellows and the whistle simultaneously - which in turn are activated by a set of 14 cams to coordinate the whole choreography with horological precision. There is a whistle with 12 semitones and 4 different melodies. Activating the starting lever makes the bird gracefully appear from its nest with an amazingly realistic head movement. The concert begins, the bird spreads its wings and flutters them majestically whilst its head turns. It opens its beak and chirps a pitch-perfect extract of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 with its beak and tail synchronised to the tempo of the melody. The bird then disappears quickly and elegantly into its nest. Frères Rochat’s automaton of noble metals and precious stones adheres to the tradition of yesteryear with exquisite hand-finishing for each component. The exceptional technical achievement of “The Enchanting Bird” is concentrated into the equivalent of two 42 mm diameter watch calibres. A delightful discovery and a charming interlude in the day’s preoccupation with timepieces.

And the melody lingers on … Throwing caution to the wind, I dodged rumbling trams and marauding taxis to visit the Palace where some of the best and most exciting watch designers and manufacturers pay (presumably a reasonable price) to be in one of BaselWorld’s worst environments: a hot, clammy tent where the only elements missing from the sauna-like atmosphere are birch twigs. As usual, there was a hum of excitement from the numerous horological connoisseurs as they oohed and aahed at the latest creations from today’s modern masters. Pushing my way through the crowds around the Christophe Claret and Speake Marin booths I eased my way to the forefront of those salivating at the thought of seeing and perhaps hearing Reuge by MB&F’s latest creation: the highly unconventional MusicMachine. With its dual propellers and twin silver cylinders mounted on outrigger landing gear, MusicMachine is designed to resemble a spaceship. Each of the cylinders plays three tunes, selected by Maximilian Büsser, MB&F’s Owner and Creative Director: the left cylinder plays, “May the Force Be With You” with the “Star Wars” theme; “Imperial March” from “The Empire Strikes Back”, and the theme from “Star Trek”. The right cylinder plays Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”, Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” and John Lennon’s “Imagine”. “Like many kids, saving the world was my full time job when I was a boy,” Büsser explains. “For MusicMachine, I delved into my childhood dreams and fantasies inspired by heroes such as Luke Skywalker and Captain James T. Kirk.” One of the biggest challenges for Reuge was respecting the mechanical

symmetry of Büsser’s design, and it meant breaking with music box conventions to achieve it. MusicMachine actually has two independent movements, each comprising a winding propeller, a mainspring barrel (looking like a piston under the propeller), an horizontal cylinder with pins creating three melodies and a vertical comb with individual hand-tuned teeth sounding each note. When the music plays, the speed that the cylinder unwinds is governed by an air regulator in the form of a circular fan outside each propeller-topped, piston-shaped mainspring barrel. While it would have been much easier to duplicate the two movements and simply change the melodies, MB&F’s original concept called for perfect symmetry and if the movements were identical, the comb on one cylinder would not be on the outside. Consequently, Reuge took the unprecedented step of configuring the two movements as mirror images of one another, which meant completely inverting the design of the movement’s components and architecture. The MusicMachine is a limited edition of 66 pieces: 33 pieces in white and 33 pieces in black. The main body has

I The MusicMachine by MB&F and Reuge

a walnut sound amplification chamber and the outriggers are bead-blasted anodised aluminium or matte-anodised black. MusicMachine features two 3.72 movements - the 3 referring to the number of melodies on each cylinder and the 72 to the number of notes on each comb. One movement is ‘right’ configured and the other is ‘left’ configured (they rotate in opposite directions). The nickel-plated brass mainplate is decorated with Côtes de Genève decoration and the barrels are in stainless steel, each with 6 heat-blued screws on top and grooved ‘piston’ sides. Each melody lasts 35 seconds requiring one revolution of the cylinder and there are three melodies on each cylinder with a power reserve of 15 minutes per cylinder. As William Shakespeare wrote, “In sweet music is such art.”

A lifesaver by any other name

Owner and Creative Director of MB&F, Maximilian Büsser, looking relaxed, content and smiling - probably because of the success the MusicMachine is enjoying and almost certainly because his charming wife, Tiffany, has very recently presented him with a beautiful daughter named Mila.

I took a couple of relaxing minutes to watch the sharks and tropical fish in the vast Breitling aquarium above the entrance to their pavilion, then joined Jean-Paul Girardin, Breitling’s VicePresident, for his presentation of the latest and greatest Emergency. The brand launched its first Emergency timepiece in 1995, selling more than 40,000 pieces to pilots, aviation professionals and aeronautical teams to date and it has proved to be an exceptional aid in locating and rescuing people. Girardin, sporting an Emergency II for the meeting, explained that the new model is a high-tech instrument equipped with a dual frequency transmitter compliant with the specifications of the Cospas-Sarsat international satellite alert system which is based on a network of satellites

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in low-altitude earth orbit (LEOSAR) and in geostationary orbit (GEOSAR); it also comprises ground receiving stations as well as control and coordination centres. Its mission is to provide accurate and reliable distress alert and homing data and then supply this information to search and rescue authorities to provide fast and efficient assistance. Since its launch in 1985, the Cospas-Sarsat system has helped save more than 26,000 lives. The maritime, aviation and land operations comprise three steps: alert, homing and rescue. The alert and homing phases used the same 121.5 MHz analogue frequency until 2009, when Cospas-Sarsat decided that it would phase out satellite processing at that frequency and alerts would be triggered only on 406 MHz – a digital frequency able to offer enhanced security, provide more comprehensive information and reduce the number of false alarms. The 121.5 MHz signal is nonetheless still received on land, by ships at sea and by airborne aircraft, and remains the most efficient and reliable system for homing in on victims. Distress radio beacons must thus be of the dual frequency type in order to guarantee accurate homing. Developed in conjunction with major scientific institutes, the Emergency II has numerous microelectronic and microtechnical innovations, including a revolutionary rechargeable battery, a miniaturized dual frequency transmitter and an unprecedented integrated antenna system. As the first ever wrist-worn dual frequency Personal Location Beacon (PLB), it is a unique safety and survival instrument for distress situations on land, at sea and in the air. The Emergency II is equipped with a microtransmitter alternately operating on two separate frequencies over a 24-hour period. It

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Jean-Paul Girardin, Vice-President, Breitling.

T Emergency II by Breitling

transmits a first digital signal on the 406 MHz frequency intended for satellites and lasts 0.44 seconds every 50 seconds; as well as a second analogue signal on the 121.5 MHz homing and rescue frequency, which lasts 0.75 seconds every 2.25 seconds. The beacon of the Emergency II was designed to simplify handling. Deploying the antenna by unscrewing and pulling out the cap on the right-hand side of the case automatically activates the transmitter. The cap automatically comes free of the antenna when it is deployed to the right length. This operation releases the cap of the second section, which the user can then deploy according to the same principle. A clear reminder of all the stages is provided by a series of inscriptions on the watch. Once the two antennae are deployed, all that remains is to ideally position the watch so as to ensure the best possible transmission performance. The energy issue was a crucial element in developing the Emergency II. The Cospas-Sarsat prescriptions notably

demand that beacons should be capable of transmitting for 24 hours, including at -20°C. In addition to these requirements in terms of duration and temperature, the dual frequency transmitter features its own specific characteristics due to its alternate operation at very different power levels (30 mW for 121.5 MHz, and 5 W for 406 MHz, making it 170 times higher). After considerable research, it became apparent that the ideal solution was to opt for a rechargeable battery capable of delivering more power than a standard model, consequently, in collaboration with one of the leading institutes in this field, Breitling developed a brand-new rechargeable battery for this beacon-watch. The titanium-cased Emergency II is not just a personal survival instrument, however, it is also an electronic chronograph featuring all the functions useful to professionals: 12/24-hour analogue and digital display, 1/100th second chronograph, alarm, timer, second time zone, multilingual calendar and a battery end-of-life indicator. Equipped with a thermo-compensated SuperQuartz™ movement, it is ten times more accurate than a standard quartz movement and it is a COSC certified chronometer. I left Jean-Paul Girardin impressed by the complexity of the Emergency II and its homing device, but wishing they had invented a system of guiding me unscathed past the hundreds of visitors with their pushchairs and wheelie bags that make the chariot race scene in Ben Hur seem like an outing for old age pensioners.

The Roman Empire Bulgari is the first pavilion on the left as you enter Hall 1 and it is an oasis of stylish Italian décor, magnificent jewellery and stimulating timepieces

and the best espresso coffee outside of Italy. The charming Maria Thalia Terezakis, responsible for External Relations for Switzerland, Russia & Eastern Europe, greeted me and quickly won me over by organising an espresso coffee. She then gave me a tour of the showcases, introduced me to Guido Terreni, the Managing Director of the Watch Business Unit, who presented the brand’s latest timepieces, then quietly melted in the background until it was time to leave. One of Bulgari’s most striking timepieces this year is a delightful blend of colour and craftsmanship and goes by the name of Il Giardino Tropicale di Bvlgari. It is a watch that combines the art of miniaturized painting and champlevé enamelling with an horological masterpiece - an automatic tourbillon movement, Bulgari’s first Grand Complication for the ladies (see Paul O’Neil’s article in this issue for more details). For something even more sophisticated and precious given that there are only eight pieces of each of the three models available (Brighella, Pulcinella and Harlequin), there is the Commedia Dell’Arte Minute Repeater. The cathedral gong minute repeater is longer than the normal gongs and the steel wire that encircles the interior of the case twice gives a deeper sound and amplifies the resonance of the mechanism. The repeater chimes, on command via the repeater slide at 10 o’clock, the hours, quarter hours and minutes in different tones and animates the four figures on the dial. There are three different city depictions on the dials of the three models – Venice, Naples and Bologna. The dial, which is in 18 carat white gold, is decorated using four different techniques – miniature painting, engraving, chasing

and enamelling – and the retrograde minutes, which are set between 7 and 11 o’clock, are indicated by the central character’s right arm. The jumping hour indicator is at 6 o’clock. The case is in 18-carat white gold and Magsonic, a special alloy that optimizes the resonance of the piece. After another fortifying espresso with Maria Thalia Terezakis, I left Bulgari enchanted by the brand’s creative and artistic timepieces and impressed by their voyage into the domain of grand complications combined with poetic and allegorical themes.

I Commedia Dell’Arte Minute Repeater by Bulgari

Features without frills Frédérique Constant was founded in 1988 by the amiable husband and wife team of Peter and Aletta Stas. They created from zero an innovative, dynamic company that has evolved into a true manufacturer of reasonably priced timepieces. Then just a few years ago, 2002 to be precise, they acquired Alpina, a company founded in 1883 but one suffering from the ramifications of the inexpensive quartz

Aletta Stas, Alpina’s Co-founder with the latest Alpina Collection.

watch revolution. Quickly rejuvenated and cleverly marketed, the Alpina brand has enjoyed a solid growth since then and introduced some eye-catching models which include a Regulator, a Tourbillon, a GMT and various chronographs all of which are produced in the Alpina workshops. This year, to mark Alpina’s 130th anniversary, Aletta Stas showed me four outstanding sports models they have developed to meet the demands of pilots, divers and sailing enthusuiasts: the Alpina 130 Heritage Pilot Chronograph, the StarTimer Pilot Chrono Big Date, the Extreme Diver 300 Chronograph and the Sailing Yachttimer. The Alpina 130 Heritage Pilot Chronograph, inspired by an earlier model from the turn of the 20th century, now houses an automatic calibre AL-860 movement with fish scale decoration, indicating hours, minutes, seconds using a bi-compax chronograph with telemeter and tachymeter scales on the dial. The 41.5 mm stainless steel or gold-plated case, water-resistant to 50 metres, has an anti-reflective sapphire crystal coating, a transparent caseback and comes with a dark brown leather strap. The StarTimer Pilot Chrono Big Date collection comes, as Alpina state, ‘with plenty of features, but no frills.’ It is designed to meet the essential needs of pilots: readability and the provision of essential information the moment it is required. This new range utilises an AL-372 quartz chronograph movement set into an extra-wide 44 mm-diameter, two-part stainless-steel case or one in black-coated PVD. There is a scratchproof sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating, a big date and small second displays at 6 o’clock. Water resistant to 100 metres, the models come with a fabric ‘Cordura’

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sapphire crystal and see-through caseback. It has a unidirectional sapphire compass bezel and is equipped with an automatic calibre AL-680 movement with a yacht timer function and a PVD black rotor. The functions are hours, minutes, seconds with luminous minute countdown indication: windows from 0’ to 4’ with fluorescent ‘Start’ indication, white luminous hands with a fluorescent orange triangle seconds hand. The watch comes with a black rubber strap with metal linked or mesh bracelet as options. Competitively priced from 990 to 2,950 Swiss francs the models will win many friends in the air, at sea and, inevitably, on land. strap matching the dial and case or a stainless steel bracelet. The first three watches in this new collection feature a black dial with extra-large contrasting white numerals and Superluminova indices or a military green dial with contrasting beige-coloured, luminous minute hands and indices plus a choice of a grey, black or sand-coloured fabric strap. The Extreme Diver 300 Chronograph is designed for the professional diver with a water-resistance to 300 metres. It is in stainless steel (44 mm) with a unidirectional black PVD bezel with luminous engraving. It is equipped with an automatic chronograph movement with a 46-hour power reserve and features hours, minutes, 30-minute and 12-hour counters, a central chronograph seconds hand and a date aperture at 3 o’clock. It comes with a rubber strap with a security folding clasp and is also available with a linked or mesh stainless steel bracelet. Last but far from least, there is the Sailing Yachttimer, a 44 mm stainlesssteel cased watch water-resistant to 300 metres with a black dial and

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I Alpina StarTimer Pilot Chrono Big Date by Alpina

T Exoskeleton by Devon

Made in America Having designed the exclusive Devon GTX supercar, three years ago Devon Works decided to move further afield and with no tradition in watchmaking the California-based company attended BaselWorld for the first time with its unconventional Tread 1 Steampunk timepiece.

The early success came as a surprise to the company founder and Creative Director, Scott Devon, who explained that his original concept was inspired by biology, comparing its creation to the manner in which anthropods shed their outer shells. This year, maintaining its penchant for bold, innovative timepieces, Devon launched the Tread 1 Exoskeleton, an eye-catching machine-like timepiece that boasts a transparent case to reveal the intricate workings of the watch and, surprisingly, creates the impression that the battery-operated movement appears to be on the outside of the case. Translucent polycarbonate is substituted for metal thus creating the panoramic window into the inner workings of the movement that includes a medically-inspired cage of armour plating. The specially designed metal link bracelet adds to the timepiece’s futuristic appearance. Measuring 56mm x 50mm x 18.5mm, the Exoskeleton has translucent .002” thick fibreglass-reinforced nylon Time Belts© and a lithium polymer rechargeable battery. Quantities of the watch will not be limited, however the brand intends to maintain a controlled production to ensure a measure of exclusivity. In addition to the Exoskeleton, the Tread 2 was presented, a timepiece that leans more towards a traditional casing in stainless steel but maintains an unorthodox presentation of the time. The movement also incorporates a chronograph function that is activated from the crown with the seconds reading on the minute belt and the minutes on the hour belt and is then reset by a pushbutton situated in the centre of the crown. Measuring 44.2mm x 41.7mm x 14.5mm with finishes in black, white and red

and accompanied by intimidating model names such as Ghost, Murder, Nightmare and Shining. Innovative, atypical ‘Made in the U.S.A’ watches that already enjoy a cult following after just three short years.

A Quantum leap forward in time Also made in America is Californiabased, Ritmo Mundo. The brand launched a new Quantum collection that differs quite dramatically from its previous collections. Ali Soltani, the founder and President of the Ritmo Time Group, explained that the Quantum collection represents a new direction in Italian styling at Ritmo Mundo and required two years of research and development before going into production. Available in two sizes and three models, the Quantum watches feature a mixed metal combination of a stainless-steel case (50mm or 43mm) with the addition of vibrant coloured aluminium bezel accents. Equipped with a Swiss Ronda Quartz chronograph movement, the dials are in matte black carbon fibre with

I Cobra Chronographe Grand Dateur Automatique by Franc Vila.

T Quantum Collection by Ritmo Mundo

a date window and luminous hands. The black silicone strap has a special double-hole system with a coordinating double tongue buckle and it is fully integrated into the case for a seamless finish making it a comfortable fit suitable for both men’s and women’s wrist sizes. The collection is water resistant to 100 metres. Ali Soltani said, “The Quantum series is only the beginning of an incredible shift in the Ritmo Mundo brand. After a decade in watchmaking, Ritmo Mundo’s Quantum is now able to meet consumer demands for luxury crafted fine time products that do not have their price end with lots of zeros. Quantum is not only a leap forward in design, but also it’s a leap forward in time.”

Cobras and skeletons As usual, Franc Vila presented his latest timepieces in his own inimitable, enthusiastic manner and, as usual, there were innovative features in both the movements and the high-tech blend of materials he uses. There is a new addition to the Intrepido Collection, the FVi No. 8

Tourbillon Intrepido SuperLigero Skeleton, a hand-wound tourbillon with a 100-hour power reserve in a titanium case with an 18 carat red gold bezel and inserts. Another skeleton to make an appearance was the Cobra “Manual Suspended Skeleton” in titanium, steel and carbon fibre. Its forte is that the skeleton movement is held in place by a system of springs and the barrel is secured with a sliding bar to prevent damage from over winding. However, the timepiece that caught my eye is the new limited edition Cobra Chronographe Grand Dateur Automatique. The oval case is in titanium with a DieHard Extreme steel and carbon fibre bezel measuring 58mm x 42mm. The chronograph movement is a self-winding Calibre FV8Ch with an exclusive “Gold Concept Rotor” with a 42-hour power reserve and a Big Date function in addition to the hours, minutes and seconds. The dial is in carbon fibre with Arabic numerals and the watch comes with a black rubber strap or a crocodile leather strap with either red or blue stitching to match the hands, numerals and indices. A veritable tour de force from the master innovator.

Volte-face and diaphragms in the tent My last two visits at BaselWorld 2013 were over in the muggy tent so charmingly and incongruously designated as The Palace. The first was to a company founded in 2010 by Arnaud Faivre and named in honour of Voltaire and his workshops: Manufacture Royale. Here I saw an intriguing timepiece called Volteface 180º featuring two faces that literally perform a volte-face via an original turning system, the

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case is in silver as in days of yore, is raised and pivots around on an axis at 12 o’clock thus evoking the intended spirit of the pocket-watch in both design and in its use of silver. The 40mm round case rests on a square plate with trimmed corners and circular-grained decoration. The silver surfaces are protected by a palladium treatment that eliminates oxidation and the screws, on one side of the case and on the attachments, are made of steel. The unusual looking grey dial with its cut-away circles, semi-circles and tourbillion aperture, has a sunray satin finish with handpolished angles. The Volteface 180° watch houses the new MR03 Manufacture calibre which has a 96-hour power reserve. This manually-wound movement with Côtes de Genève decoration on the brass plate and brass bridges that have a sanded finish, is regulated by the tourbillon which has an escape wheel and anchor in silicon and is equipped with a special module synchronising the display of the hours and minutes on both faces. The watch is water-

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I The two sides and pivoting movement of Manufacture Royale’s Volteface 180º

T Valbray’s Oculus V01 Special Edition Argentique showing the two positions of the diaphragm.

resistant to 30 metres and comes with an alligator strap. My last visit of 2013 was to Valbray where I met the co-founders, Olga Corsini and Côme de Valbray. Their association began in 2009 when they met by chance and discovered a mutually profound interest in horology and a shared desire to express their creativity as independents. Olga, a jewellery designer at that time, showed Côme her spiral sea-shells designs and he immediately made the association with the diaphragm system in cameras as photography is one of his passions. Thus, Valbray was born. After two years of research and development, the innovative obturator system of Valbray was finally patented in 2010. The completely hidden system comprises 16 ultra-thin blades integrated into a rotating bezel that opens and closes the diaphragm as the bezel is manually turned. Completely open the blades disappear to reveal a 30 mm dial. The bezel is waterproof and entirely independent of the watch movement. The entire collection is equipped with a unique automatic Swiss chronograph

calibre V.CA1 movement with a rotor based on a ceramic ball bearing, increasing considerably the rotation reliability and the torque transmission. The rotor’s arms are designed to absorb the radial shock and are hand-finished and the mass has a Côtes de Genève decoration. The case is in stainless steel with a sun-brushed bezel and the dial and shutter blades are black – as is the integrated alligator strap. This complex and intriguing timepiece has a long assembly process, each movement and diaphragm passing through a battery of stringent tests to ensure reliability and accuracy. As I closed the shutters for the last time, the thought came to me that this was a particularly appropriate gesture to end my few days at BaselWorld.

Conclusion BaselWorld was amazing this year with its glitz, glamour and technical innovations – and that was just the exhibitor’s architectural creations. There were, of course, thousands of timepieces of which only a handful have been mentioned, but this event is not only about watches, it is also about the people who create them, the designers, the technicians, the manufacturers, the unsung horological heroes who year after year bring something new to our magical universe. It is they who make this annual merry-go-round the must that it is. Watches may be BaselWorld’s raison d’être, but without the people and their innate passion for the intricacies of time you might just as well attend the annual convention of robots. Until next year then … p

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Specialised timepieces for professionals Keith W. Strandberg Sports watches are the Swiss Army knives of the watch industry. They are do-anything timepieces, able to take just about anything you can dish out, yet still look good. With a quality sports watch, you can go to the gym in the morning, go the office, go out to dinner and then take a dip in your hot tub, all without having to change your watch. At the same time, however, there are specialist timepieces that are designed for one particular activity, like diving or racing, which requires a specific set of features and capabilities.


Built to take a beating Sports watches, in general, are built to take the appropriate amount of abuse. Unlike other kinds of timepieces, sports watches are designed and tested to withstand shocks, tension and torsion, changes in temperature, exposure to the elements, perspiration and corrosion, water resistance and more. Most sports watch manufacturers test their watches to destruction and engineer their timepieces to withstand as much as possible. One sports watch manufacture, Bremont, based in the UK, designed a watch to withstand being ejected from a fighter plane, for ejector seat manufacturer Martin-Baker. This technology has made its way into their normal line of watches. TAG Heuer has a “torture room” where watches are smashed and crashed, dunked and destroyed – all with the goal of making sure nothing goes wrong when it is on your wrist. Water resistance is a key part of

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On land This year, there were some ultra capable watches designed for activities on land. Many people want a reliable chronograph for what they are doing on land, whether it is timing their run, their sets at the gym, or their kids as they clean up their rooms.

a sports watch. No watch can be completely waterproof, but watches are tested to a certain depth limit, displayed in metres, bar (one bar is 10 metres) or ATM (which stands for atmosphere, again 10 metres). The minimum water resistance for a sports watch is 100 metres, to ensure that the customer can do a little swimming, go into the hot tub, take a shower with it on and more. If the wearers plan to do any diving or swim a

great deal with their watches on, they should choose timepieces that are water resistant to 200 metres or more. So, the bottom line is that if customers choose their sports watches correctly, they don’t have to “baby” them. They can just put them on and forget about them – they can take anything customers can dish out. Here is a look at the latest specialist/ professional sports watches introduced at BaselWorld this year. p

Victorinox Chrono Classic 1/100th OK, it’s not really a professional watch, but it is way too cool to not be mentioned. The Chrono Classic 1/100th, using an innovative quartz movement, transforms itself from a basic watch to a central chronograph, able to display 1/100ths of a second, all at the push of a button. The hundredths of a second are displayed by two rotating discs at the bottom of the dial, which double as the perpetual calendar date display in non-chronograph mode. Pushing the crown twice turns the hour, minute and second hands into chronograph hands, all aligning at 12 o’clock. The chronograph starts, stops and resets with the normal pushers, but the user can go back to the display the time while the chronograph is running by pushing twice on the crown. The beating heart of this watch is a new Swiss Made quartz movement developed by Soprod for Victorinox. This new chronograph is designed to hark back to the brand’s iconic Officer’s Knife, with distinctive guilloché decoration on both discs, and the indexes and the counterweight of the red central second hand that take their design cues from the knife. The flexibility of this new watch, and its functionality, make a perfect link to the brand’s iconic and versatile pocket knife.

Graham Chronofighter Oversize Superlight TT Graham is the official timekeeper of the Isle of Man TT, the most exciting motorcycle race on the planet. In honour of this race, Graham has long been doing special TT watches. This year, Graham introduced the Chronofighter Oversize Superlight TT. Made from black carbon nanotube composite, the 47mm case has a total weight of under 100 grams. The exhibition sapphire crystal case back allows a great view of the Isle of Man triskelion (the island’s emblem with 3 legs), superlight inscription and limited edition serial number. The tachymeter scale with white graduation is based on the length of TT circuit -- 37.73 miles (60.7 km). A yellow inscription at 3 o’clock indicates the lap record (131.578 mph/211.75 km/h), while a yellow painted indicator on the minutes counter shows the lap record time -- 17 minutes.

The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 36 Chronograph Flyback “Racing” (43mm) This 43mm timepiece is housed in a super-light titanium Grade 2 case, sandblasted and treated with a black titanium carbide coating. The movement inside, the Calibre 36, has a very practical flyback complication – meaning that you can reset the chronograph with one push, perfect for racing drivers.

Tissot T-Race Touch Continuing its dominance of touch-activated sporting timepieces, Tissot introduced the Tissot T-Race Touch this year. Inspired by motor sports, 11 functions are available at the touch of a fingertip, including chronograph, alarm, compass, altimeter and barometer.

Casio Protrek PRW-3000 Designed for serious outdoorsmen, the PRW-3000 is the latest in the Casio Pro Trek series of outdoor watches. The new PRW-3000 offers quicker and more accurate measurement of ever-changing outdoor data, using new sensors to measure compass bearing, altitude/atmospheric pressure and temperature. For example, the direction sensor in the PRW-3000 consumes only 10 per cent of the energy and takes up only 5 per cent of the space of the previous sensor. Continuous measurement of compass bearing has increased from 20 seconds to a series-leading 60 seconds, greatly enhancing the utility demanded by professionals for map reading and route finding. One new feature is the atmospheric pressure trend alarm, which sounds when sudden swings in atmospheric pressures occur.

Water Under the water, dive watches have been popular, even among nondivers, because of their oversize design, high legibility and extreme toughness. Dive watches may have started the big watch trend -- in order to be visible underwater, they have to be bigger and the dial has to be easy to read, including in low light or darkness. There is even an ISO standard, ISO 6425, that defines the requirements for a divers’ watch. As far as water resistance is concerned, most divers’ watches are water resistant to a depth of 300 metres, though there are watches that can go as low as 1500 metres and more (the world record, held by Rolex, is 15,000 metres). Though no human being can live at these depths, it’s a real technical accomplishment to design a watch that can go this low, due to the extreme pressure on the case and crystal of the watch. The thinking is that if the watch can survive at such depths, it can easily handle a dunk in the pool. This year at BaselWorld, there were several impressive new dive watches, including:

lindE WERdElin’S OKTOPuS ii dOublE dATE Linde Werdelin’s professional diving watch, the Oktopus II Double Date comes in two series of 88 pieces each - Oktopus II Double Date titanium, ceramic with blue accents and Oktopus II Double Date titanium, titanium DLC, ceramic with yellow accents. The Oktopus II Double Date rose gold and titanium will be coming in September. Inspired by the air-tight pressure chamber used for deep-sea simulations, the Oktopus II - Double Date has been developed to optimise the Reef, Linde Werdelin’s proprietary diving instrument. The Oktopus II - Double Date’s innovative five-part case construction ensures 300 metres water resistance.

THE HAmilTOn KHAKi nAvy Sub AuTO CHROnO Hamilton has a long history of diving watches, and this year the brand introduced the Khaki Navy Sub Auto Chrono. Using the iconic Piping Rock from 1928 as inspiration, the Khaki Navy Sub Auto Chrono features a round dial in a tonneau case, resulting in open corners that are unique and very distinctive. Water resistant to 30 bar (300m), the Khaki Navy Sub Auto Chrono features an embossed illustration of a manta ray on the case back and a rubber-enhanced bezel which offers excellent grip, even with gloves on. The chronograph’s easy-to-grip, screw-down crown and pushers are inspired by diving bottle valves.

THE blAnCPAin fifTy fATHOmS bATHySCAPHE This year, the famous Fifty Fathoms is 60 years old, and Blancpain is celebrating by introducing the vintageinspired Fifty Fathoms Bathyscaphe in both men’s and women’s versions. Inspired by the deepwater exploration of Swiss adventurer Jacques Piccard, Blancpain’s Bathyscaphe divers’ watches were introduced in the late 1950s. Today’s Fifty Fathoms are being worn by National Geographic Society’s Explorers-in-Residence, as Blancpain is a partner with National Geographic. The Bathyscaphe is powered by a Blancpain mechanical self-winding movement using a non-magnetic silicon balance-spring, and the unidirectional ceramic bezel features a graduated scale in Liquidmetal®, an alloy that doesn’t deform and bonds perfectly with the ceramic, making the bezel even more scratch resistant.

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Alpina Sailing Yachttimer Countdown Designed to be used in yacht racing, this new Yachttimer Countdown has a countdown window from 0 to 4 that runs into a fluorescent START indicator, so that the timer counts up when the action begins. Because it’s the seconds that count when racing, the triangular seconds hand stands out in fluorescent orange. The 44mm stainless steel case is equipped with a unidirectional rotating bezel.

The Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M GoodPlanet A tribute to the GoodPlanet Foundation and the positive work it does for the environment and underwater ecosystems, the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M GoodPlanet is water resistant to 600 metres and continues Omega’s dive watch tradition that was started with its first true dive watch introduced in 1932. Omega began cooperating with GoodPlanet in 2011, and with this special timepiece a portion of the proceeds will fully fund a project to preserve the mangroves and seagrasses in Southeast Asia and educate the local population about the conservation of these important natural resources that are such a critical part of a balanced ecosystem. In addition to being a professional dive watch, the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M GoodPlanet is also a GMT timepiece, able to show the time in two timezones simultaneously. Powered by the famous Co-Axial calibre 8605, Omega’s selfwinding movement with a three-level Co-Axial escapement and Si14 silicon balance spring, this timepiece is backed by a full four-year warranty.

Nixon 48-20 On top of the water, there are specific watches here too, including surfing, boating and fishing. In surfing, Nixon has led the way by designing watches with the crown on the left side (it’s usually on the right), so that when surfers “duck dive” under a wave as they are paddling out, the crown doesn’t dig into their wrists. Modelled after Nixon’s extremely popular 51-30 Chrono, the 48-20 is just the right size and proportion. Inspired by speed and torque measuring instruments, this wide-eye chronograph is water resistant to 200 metres / 20 ATM.

Girard-Perregaux Sea Hawk Ceramic The Hawk collection was created to hold GirardPerregaux’s sports watches, and this year its dedicated diver, the Sea Hawk, comes in a new version in black ceramic. The original Sea Hawk was introduced in the 1940s and this new version in ceramic incorporates zirconium oxide powder to achieve a hardness of 1400 HV on the Vickers scale – as compared to 180 HV for stainless steel, making the new 44mm Sea Hawk Ceramic extremely scratch-resistant, as well as water resistant to 300 metres.

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The sky is not the limit Paul O’Neil

Long before Zenith’s ambassador Felix Baumgartner used a notso-simple hot air balloon, a high-tech astronaut-style suit and an inordinate amount of courage to break the speed of sound in his free-fall last year, mankind has known that the sky is not the limit. It merely marks the boundary between our earthly realm and the infinite confines of outer space, which the greatest minds (teamed up with the deepest pockets) have always been intent on exploring. But the analogy fits well with the watch industry, which never ceases to innovate at numerous levels, for the movements that power the timepieces or the materials used in the cases to house them. In this article, we take a look at just a few of the trends at BaselWorld this year in ladies’ watches, one of which is the welcome idea of launching exciting developments especially for ladies.


Vintage inspirations It may surprise you to learn that I only noticed Bulgari’s new BaselWorld stand after several days. For those who know that Bulgari had the first stand on the left as soon as you entered Hall 1.0 and that this new stand covered no less than 1,800 square metres of space, my admission may appear all the more remarkable. But after several days of making a beeline through the main avenue of Hall 1.0 to my first appointment of the day, it was only once the crowds subsided that I was able to admire the new stand in all its glory, with its outer façade mirroring the techniques used in the brand’s jewellery. Inside, the stand offered a large

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display area, with a welcoming lounge bar where one could wait before being dispatched to one of the meeting rooms to discover the brand’s new products, marvelling in passing at the serpentine main staircase enveloping the stand and the Murano chandeliers illuminating the central showcases. It was in these opulent surroundings that I viewed Bulgari’s 2013 collection for ladies, which incorporates an item of jewellery that has been around since long before the common era—the gold chain—into a wristwatch with the new Bulgari Catene. Its double-wrap bracelet is inspired by a sautoir necklace produced by the brand in the 1970s, which in turn was no doubt inspired by the gold chains from history that have been used for ornament and even for currency. The two versions, one with 72 diamonds set into the chain and one without, both use 170 grams of 18-carat pink gold, which at the time of writing puts the value of the gold alone in each piece at over 5,000 Swiss francs. This makes it a safe haven for your money before you even consider the classic styling of the piece, with a plain pinkgold bezel engraved with the familiar “BVLGARI BVLGARI” inscription and a simple mother-of-pearl dial set with 12 diamond hour markers. Bulgari’s Giardino Tropicale piece shows off the brand’s prowess in the artisanal crafts with a champlevé enamel dial using miniature painting techniques that require anything from three to eight coats of paint for the individual motifs on the dial. In the

II Catene and I GIARDINO TROPICALE by Bulgari

colourful tropical garden paradise of the dial, a parrot perches on the opening at 6 o’clock that reveals the tourbillon in the BVL 263 calibre in-house movement, which has a 22-carat gold oscillating weight and offers a power reserve of 64 hours. An accomplished piece for Bulgari’s first jewellery watch with a complication, which is available as a limited edition of 50 pieces.

OO PRIMe tIMe and O LeeLa BLOSSOM by Century

really appeal to its target audience, who associated the brand with the now rather dated Wave watch. But the fact that the focus groups also found that the name “Ebel” sounded feminine will do nothing to harm sales of the trendy new ladies’ models presented at BaselWorld, inspired by green—the colour of preference for 2013—notably in the talking piece Onde model with a malachite dial, green-gold bezel and green alligator leather strap.

Fashions From cosy to brash

T PeRSPeKtIV by Skagen

OnDe by ebel I

T tOnDO BY nIGHt by De Grisogono

Century has also taken inspiration from the past by launching refreshed models in its Prime Time collection, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. They are characterised by the contrast between the rigid geometry of the 12 facets of the sapphire bezel and the subtle curves of the polished stainless-steel mesh bracelet. A new gold mesh bracelet is also available in the Prima Donna collection. But it was the unusually named Leela Blossom model that stole the limelight in Basel, with its bold purple colours and extravagant case design in the shape of a flower. A total of 294 diamonds, from the 12 diamond hour markers on the motherof-pearl dial to the fully-paved bezel and flower petals, act as a frame for the 48 sparkling facets of the Century sapphire in lilac. The mesh bracelet features in the new ebel 100 models but in a different, allblack PVD formula. The brand is in the process of rolling out a new strategy after a two-year study revealed that its slogan “The architects of time” didn’t

Danish brand Skagen, which was snapped up by the Fossil Group last year for 300 million US dollars, is also working on a new retail concept to be rolled out later this year. Its distribution has been transferred to the subsidiaries of the Fossil Group but the brand retains 60 distributors of its own. Its new ladies’ watch models mirror the trend for the brand’s jewellery in 2013, which is all about reflections. The ultra-minimalist dials and cases of the latest ladies’ models in the Perspektiv collection therefore have a mirror polished effect and use autumnal colours that give a welcome warmth to what can sometimes be a quite cold Danish design. The new designs are meant to convey the Danish concept of “hygge”, which involves relaxing in a cosy environment with friends or loved ones. Colour featured heavily in the 2013 watch and jewellery collections presented by De Grisogono. For the timepieces, there was a small cull in the trendy Tondo by Night collection, with the glow-in-the-dark yellow, pink and light green models being replaced by bolder blue, dark green and coral

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models. The fully-paved Instrumentino, on the other hand, with its dual-time display, is refreshed with new pastel hues on two new models featuring orange sapphires and amethysts. Although cold, hard figures are always hard to come by for individual brands, Europa Star heard on good authority that Swarovski had ploughed a cool two million Swiss francs into its huge stand at BaselWorld this year. It was shaped like a giant ring, which is appropriate for a company whose name is inextricably linked with the world of jewellery (some 20 per cent of the company’s turnover is generated by business-to-business sales of its Swarovski Elements crystals). While the brand’s jewellery launches for ladies and gentlemen are split into seasonal collections, the 2013 model year watches for both genders are intended to last the whole year. Swarovski launched two new collections for ladies: the Octea Classica and the Indira. As the name suggests, the new Octea Classic models exude a classic elegance, with a 39mm stainless-steel case and a bezel made up of faceted crystals available in different colours. The new Indira bridges perfectly the gap between jewellery and timepiece with an airy design in which watch case and bracelet merge into one and are accentuated by 36 clear crystals set into the outer edge.

Technological developments for her For ladies looking for the grandest of grande complications, the Swatch Group’s flagship brand Breguet introduced the Reine de Naples “Day/Night” (reference 8998). A diamond-set gold case and hand guilloché dial provide a

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fitting frame for the brand’s patented day/night complication, which turns a lapis lazuli disc featuring an engraved titanium moon and mother-of-pearl clouds once every twenty-four hours. The sun, symbolised by the balance wheel of the calibre 78CS self-winding movement, is housed inside the disc and rotates with it.

I INSTRUMENTINO by de Grisogono O INDIRA and OO OCTEA CLASSIC by Swarovski

In another development from within the Swatch Group especially for ladies, Rado presented the first ceramic watch to use the group’s proprietary tactile technology. The oval case of the Rado Esenza Ceramic Touch has no crown, since the hours and minutes can be set simply and logically by sliding a finger up and down either side of the case. The system is a little more complicated than that used for the tactile Swatch models, since the finger must be pressed on the case at 8 o’clock, then immediately slid along the opposite side of the case. Only then can the hours and minutes be set. All this must be done with the watch on the wrist, since the stainless-steel case back “connects” the watch to the body, acting as a reference for the electronic circuit.



Interchangeability is what French brand Michel Herbelin offers with its Antarès model for ladies. Using the company’s patented system, the straps (and metal bracelets) on this piece are fully interchangeable. A separate box of leather straps, double-wrap leather straps and bracelets is also available to ensure that Antarès owners are always in step with the latest trends.

The battle of the slogans Rodania promises to allow ladies to “(Re)take time” with the new GEN-1 model in full ceramic. Available in classic all-white and all-black versions,

I ANTARèS by Michel Heberlin U GEN-1 by Rodania

O HEART4HEART TWIN by Folli Follie


as well as a more adventurous chocolate colour, the brand has all the classic bases covered. Greece-based Folli Follie, on the other hand, addresses aspiring “IT” girls with rules to follow to achieve the coveted “it” status, which has nothing to do with information technology and everything to do with being stylish, fashionable and the centre of attention. Folli Follie naturally has an entire range of timepieces available to help girls achieve “it” status, such as the ceramic

Heart4Heart Twin watch with its range of colours and double-wrap straps. “Sky is not the limit, it’s only the view,” is the strange sound-bite provided by the intriguingly-named Swiss Beatz, co-owner and member of the Monster Advisory Board, on Hublot’s latest venture. As Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe points out, “Hublot symbolises much more than watches,” with the brand counting skis, bikes, sledges and now headphones among its diversified offering. The limited-edition InspirationTM Hublot Monster headphones are a clear response to the growing demand for premium headphones, which often cost upwards of several hundred dollars. Following Hublot’s fusion philosophy, with carbon fibre ear cups and a rubber and leather headband, the headphones—imbued with a splash of colour for the ladies’ models—each have their own matching Big Bang timepiece. But for ladies who wish to really treat themselves, nothing beats the sparkle of real diamonds, especially when they are set in a discreet way as part of a timeless design. Perhaps the best example of this art of understatement seen at BaselWorld this year is the Grande Classique de Longines 100 Diamonds, whose name really says it all. The 29mm diameter piece is perfect for the Chinese market that Longines dominates and, thanks to a patented case-back design that incorporates the lugs for the bracelet, is a very slender 4.6mm in thickness. Longines, at least, knows how to live up to its slogan “Elegance is an attitude”. p

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Collaborative customer service at Ice-Watch Paul O’Neil There is a wonderful symmetry to the headline statistics that Ice-Watch presented at this year’s BaselWorld, with the huge figure of four million being a recurring theme. Four million fans on the brand’s Facebook page, four million visits to the company website, over four million watches sold (4.3 million, to be precise) and—multiplied by a factor of 100—a turnover of €400 million generated by some 12,000 stores around the world that carry the brand’s watches. Those unit sales mean that Ice-Watch is selling an average of eight watches per minute, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. Even taking a relatively low return rate of just a couple of per cent, that still means that thousands of Ice-Watches are transiting between stores and after-sales service centres at any given time. So how does the company cope with this volume?


A system born of necessity Patrick Istace is the man with the answers. He helped to develop Ice-Watch’s Repair Tracker system, together with Eric Imhauser. It is currently available in two versions: a “light” version that connects an after-sales service provider with the repair centre in Hong Kong, and a “full” version that connects the Hong Kong repair centre, the after-sales service provider, the retailer and even the end customer. “Two years ago, we were selling 400,000 watches in Belgium,” he says, “so even at a five per cent return rate, you can imagine the volumes we had to deal with for customer service. We used to handle the enquiries by telephone but we decided to develop our own IT system. The big advantage is the sharing of information, because once the tracking starts, everyone has access to the same information.” Although the system has to cope with a huge amount of data, it does not have to contend with the traffic loads of a conventional website. “If you count an average of around 15 different steps for each claim and consider the fact that we are currently running at over 100,000 claims,” says Imhauser, “that’s well over a million individual steps recorded in the system. That is with around 2,000 users. But it’s not like a website, because the audience is nowhere near as big and not everyone is using the system at the same time.”

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Whether a retailer wants to send his Ice-Watches directly to the repair centre in Hong Kong, whether a country wants to handle all its own repairs (as is the case in Germany), or whether it wants the flexibility to choose, the Repair Tracker takes all of these different usage scenarios into account and can handle all customer service enquiries for Ice-Watch.

Optimising workflow The process starts when a customer returns their watch to a store. Using the full version of the system, the sales staff at the store enter a “claim” in the secure Repair Tracker website, indicate whether it is a repair under guarantee (Ice-Watch had discovered instances where stores were charging for repairs under guarantee) and select a diagnosis for the problem from a drop-down list. The Repair Tracker then generates a unique claim number and access code that is printed on to a detachable coupon. The customer is given one half of the coupon and the other half, which has a barcode identifying the individual claim, accompanies the watch on its onward journey. From this point on, the customer can check the status of the repair by logging into the website with the claim number and access code on their coupon. Once the watch arrives at the repair centre responsible (either an authorised after-sales service centre or the Ice-Watch repair centre in Hong Kong) it is examined in order to validate the claim or refuse the repair with the indication of a reason. If the watch is sent on to Hong Kong for repair by an au-

thorised after-sales service centre, the system prints a label to accompany the watch. The system automatically sends an email to the retailer, either to indicate the refusal of the repair, with the reason, or confirm the repair with a price estimate and a link that the retailer can click on to approve the quote. From this moment, a deadline is given for the repair that is based on the cumulative average deadlines for the individual stages in the repair workflow. But this deadline is flexible and will be adapted automatically by the system according to how quickly each of these stages is completed. At each stage of the process, anyone with a user account for the Repair Tracker and the access code for the repair can see at a glance the status of the repair, with all completed stages surrounded by a red border and the person who validated the stage visible in each case. For all claims, the reference number of the watch is checked and the factory where the watch was produced is selected (each of the six different symbols on the case-back corresponds to one of the Ice-Watch assembly factories), which allows the brand to monitor quality levels at each factory. Based on the reference number and the fault diagnosis, a picking list is automatically generated for the spare parts warehouse, where the corresponding parts will be picked manually. Once repaired, the watch then goes through three different tests before being returned to the distributor or retailer. The recipient must confirm receipt in the system, at which point the end customer is automatically notified that the watch is ready for collection.

The problem of counterfeits It may sound surprising that Ice-Watch has to reject repair claims because some of the watches it receives are counterfeit but, as with any successful brand, counterfeiters will go to great lengths not only to reproduce the original product as best as they can but also to recreate the online selling environment to further dupe the potential customer. IceWatch estimated the number of counterfeit Ice-Watch models on the market in 2012 to be around 5 million, which is more than the actual amount of genuine Ice-Watches sold in the same year! The brand therefore takes the fight against counterfeit watches seriously, working to educate customs officials on how to identify fakes, using the IPM online


Number of counterfeit ICE-watches destroyed in 2012

9608 6579






Cutting turnaround time “We have reduced turnaround times from around one and a half months before the system was implemented to around three weeks now,” beams Mr Istace. “That’s from and back to the end consumer. We are very proud of this performance because most prestige watch brands have turnaround times of over one month.” The system has numerous other benefits, as its developer Eric Imhauser explains, “Another important point is knowledge management. The knowledge is now inside the system rather than in people’s heads. When we moved the customer service centre from Brussels to Bastogne, it took just one day. All we had to do was change the address and inform our logistics company.” Added to this is the possibility to generate comprehensive statistics on the claims being handled by the system according to their different statuses and to list these by month, by retailer or any number of other criteria. The system will even flag retailers who have the system but who are not using it to enter claims. It is so powerful that even third-party customer service providers have expressed an interest in it.

system of the World Customs Organisation to exchange information and working together with the anti-counterfeiting network REACT to seize and destroy counterfeit watches. In 2012, 2,150 such seizures were made and 130,278 counterfeit watches were destroyed as a result. The fact that this represents just 2-3 per cent of the counterfeit watches estimated to be in circulation shows the enormity of the task that Ice-Watch faces.





Jan-12 Feb-12 March-12 Apr-12 May-12 June-12 July-12 Aug-12 Sept-12 Oct-12 Nov-12 Dec-12

Source: Ice-Watch

Furthermore, its utility for Ice-Watch is not simply restricted to customer service, as Patrick Istace explains, “We also integrated a checkout system for our flagship stores. Since we want our flagship stores to have the most complete collection, we have configured the system to send an order automatically as soon as a particular reference falls below its ideal stock level.” This is the first such system that Europa Star has had the opportunity to see in action for our Service, Please! column. The attention to detail and ease of use for retailers and end customers are a model for the industry and one which other brands would do well to take note of. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Ice-Watch

europa star / SERVICE, PLEASE! 73


H. Briones Comercial, Chile Keith W. Strandberg I met Constanza Briones at the SIHH – we were waiting in line for the hotel shuttle buses and decided to save time and get a taxi together. She turned out to be a leading retailer from Chile, a family business established in the 1990s, working with her father Hernán Briones Goich. Here is an exclusive look into her business, H. Briones Comercial.


Constanza Briones and her father Hernán Briones Goich

Europa Star: Please give me the history of your store. Constanza Briones: My grandfather Hernán Briones Gorostiaga started this company back in the 1990s when he realized there was an opening to tend to a new market niche – people who only acquired luxury products when they travelled abroad. We gave them the possibility to buy them locally in Chile. The first brand we took on was Montblanc. He negotiated the deal to represent them by fax and phone and we still have the original document. The next was Cartier. Then yearby-year we added more and more amazing brands to our incredible portfolio. H. Briones Comercial started as the select agent of the brands, basing its business exclusively in wholesale. After a few years,

the company introduced new brands and decided to incorporate the retail business too by opening the first watches boutique in Chile, HBC Briones, located in the exclusive Alonso de Cordova avenue. Afterwards we added four other boutiques. Adding my own history to the company, I started when I was 13 years old at the end of the school year, going every morning with my grandfather to the office, and working at the warehouse labelling the products that arrived. The following year I started working as an assistant to the sales representatives of the brands. Until I turned 18, I worked during the Christmas period in the stores. In college, I studied Communications and minored in Public Relations. After graduating I started as Commercial Assistant in the company and stayed for two years. Afterwards, for four years I worked on my own personal projects. And last year I came back as executive director for HBC. How’s business? CB: The luxury industry in Chile has been growing at a rate of 30 per cent per year during the last three years. H. Briones Comercial has been growing at an average rate of 12 per cent per year as our brands are already well positioned in the market.

How has business changed in recent years? CB: The luxury market is rapidly developing in Chile and so are our customers, which are becoming more sophisticated and demanding every day. They are aware of the new trends, brands and interested in specific products. What is the secret of your success? CB: We have been successful through the years because we are up to date with the worldwide trends, have a wide portfolio of brands allowing us to offer an extensive range of products. We focus on customer service by giving them a unique luxury experience. What is your relationship like with other retailers? CB: We’ve been taking different actions together with other retailers in order to share experiences to develop a successful strategy as a whole and not individually, in order to create a synergy and form a strong association to address issues that are important and critical to the industry, with negotiating power. What do you think is unique about your market? CB: The most unique thing in our market is that, even though it is not a big market in numbers, it is very sophisticated and repeat purchases are very high. We get to know our customers very well and we can build long-term relationships and be present in important moments of their lives. What makes your store stand out? CB: The special care we take on every single detail in order to make the purchasing experience an unforgettable one. Our stores are situated in prime locations, we put special attention into the design, layout and the atmosphere. In order to deliver an extraordinary experience to the customer,

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we have well-trained sales representatives, not only on specific product characteristics, but also on how to satisfy our customers and make them feel unique. What do you like about your job? CB: I like being challenged every day by the demands of the job. When you have sophisticated customers, one cannot be complacent. Creativity and innovation are key. What don’t you like? CB: I get a bit frustrated when things don’t turn out the way I planned for. But it quickly translates into energy, to get things right and working again. What is the biggest challenge facing your store right now? CB: We have been the market leader for many years, and it has always represented a challenge for us to keep that position. But it is a kind of challenge that fuels creativity and innovation. What is the biggest challenge facing the watch industry right now? CB: Every day, more and more brands are being introduced to the market by our competitors and globalization allows people to discover different brands and models and they have the possibility to acquire them in many different places and by diverse means. However, this is not particular to the watch industry and it is the sign of the times. How do you market your store? CB: We publish ads in the most important

magazines in Chile but we mostly do direct marketing activities, VIP events and Customer Relationship Management activities. We always try to remain close to our clients. Additionally we put a lot of effort in maintaining high standards of customer service in order to get a good word of mouth for our stores. Do you do repairs at your store? How do you handle repairs? CB: Not directly in our store, but we have a recently renewed after sale service office with first class facilities and qualified professionals attending all our clients requirements and needs. How important is security? CB: As we work with high value products, security is always an issue, both on our points of sales and during the transportation of the pieces between our distribution centre and the stores. We take a special care for our client’s security. We have been robbed in the past, and we have implemented different procedures and technology in order to reinforce our security. Are you optimistic about the future? CB: Absolutely. The luxury industry is growing and we are constantly reinventing ourselves in order to satisfy the rapidly increasing demands of our customers. Will you be adding/deleting any brands in the next 12 months? CB: This is not something that we are considering at the moment. We are very


selective with the brands that we work with. We invest heavily in our brands and I can say that we have been successful with all of them. So, more than thinking of deleting a brand, we aim to selectively add some brands in the future. What does time mean to you? CB: Time is a measure that reminds us that we are alive. A journey through past, present and future that brings us reminiscences, allows us to plan ahead and transports us through our most memorable moments. What is your favourite watch? CB: For me, every watch is unique in its own way, so I can say that all watches are, in some way and time, special to me. Many thanks to Constanza Briones for being so open and allowing Europa Star’s readers a glimpse into her successful business. Gracias! p Facts and Figures: Name: H. Briones Comercial (HBC) Location(s): Eight (8) stores in Santiago, Chile How long: 21 years Employees: 150 Size of store(s): HBC Alonso De Cordova (the main store) –200m2. Four additional stores average 60m2. At the end of March 2013, two 90m2 stores (Montblanc and Omega) opened in the first luxury sector inside a shopping mall in Chile. Also, Swatch boutique. Range of price: USD 1,000 – USD 40,000 Best-selling watch: Omega Seamaster

europa star / RETAILER PROFILE 75


Watch forums most influential platforms amongst collectors and aficionados Laetitia Hirschy, WorldWatchReportTM Project Manager, Digital Luxury Group

Watch forums are one of the oldest, most established forms of social media on the Internet and have earned their place in the promotion of luxury watch brands, principally in the Haute Horlogerie and Prestige categories amongst collectors and watch aficionados. For the first time since launching nine years ago, the WorldWatchReport™ introduced a new metric measuring the importance and reach of these forums. Since they are often overshadowed by hipper, newer platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, watch brands should pay closer attention to these forums, if they aren’t already. According to the WorldWatchReport™, they are the most influential platform amongst collectors and aficionados, representing an excellent way of communicating directly with the industry’s most dedicated followers and have the highest affinity with watch brands’ official websites. Furthermore, the role of forums is especially important during the purchasing process of a typical client. It is a key behavioural driver.


Share of POST views by forums – luxury watch brands 2012

PuristSPro 6%

iWatch365 49%

Time Zone 45%

Among the top three watch forums analyzed, Chinese platform iWatch365 captures the lion’s share with 49 per cent of the 95 million total forum posts views, closely followed by pioneer TimeZone (45 per cent) and PuristSPro (6 per cent).’s Managing Director and moderator of the Patek Philippe forum, William Rohr (also WorldWatchReport™ contributor and new DLG Partner) comments, “TimeZone appeared in 1995, Watchnet in 1997, PuristSPro in 2001. Yet brands avoided this medium for a very long time and embraced it only in the last five years as a marketing tool. This 10 year lapse needs to be caught up really fast as this is the only platform where there can be potential direct interaction between the brand and the client prior to the purchase and post acquisition of a timepiece. Forums remain the most important platform of communication amongst watch collectors.”

78 worldwatchweb / europa star

© Digital Luxury Group, 2013

Pascal Ravessoud, Development Director at Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie and WorldWatchReport™ contributor, concurs, stating that, “The importance of watch forums is increasing. In a connected world where Internet users are more and more interested in the users’ experience and interactions, it is quite important for brands to be connected with their final clients, understand their needs, react to their queries and help moderators ‘sell’ the brand. It is today a much more interesting and personalized platform than the Facebook experience.”

Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre and A. Lange & Söhne currently lead forum discussions and views. Conversely, brands such as Vacheron Constantin, Ulysse Nardin and Breguet are less engaged. As explained by William Rohr, “The Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre and A. Lange & Söhne forums are some of the oldest brand-specific forums on TimeZone, combine this with a strong personality moderator and you create a following. Ulysse Nardin and Breguet are relatively new on forums, Breguet is not involved and it affects the brand’s perception on these platforms.” Pascal Ravessoud goes further to state, “Brand aficionados spread the word and raise interest creating a buzz. I think the Patek fan community is the most vibrant because the brand overall has developed a cult following in recent years. Jaeger-LeCoultre has a whole community of fans and collectors who are very keen on talking about their products, same for A. Lange & Söhne.” In China, BBS (online discussion forums) are extremely well developed and endowed with a greater influence than in western markets. The forums are animated by experts or afi-

cionados who impart knowledge, serving to amplify word-ofmouth in a neutral and spontaneous way. In the watch sector, iWatch365 is by far the leader with the widest reach and popularity. Thousands of its users exchange messages every day under different watch-related subjects, to compensate for the lack of local information available from the brands’ corporate sites. Upon comparison of the brand rankings of total views on iWatch365 and the ranking of total search volume, Rolex, Omega, Zenith and IWC are strongest performers on BBS. “The reason Zenith is popular amongst watch enthusiasts (those who are usually more active on watch BBS rather than on Sina Weibo), is because these people are fond of in-house produced movements. The Rolex Daytona is said to use Zenith movements, so those who adore Rolex come to love Zenith too. As for IWC, it branded its overall style as ‘Timepieces for Men’ during the last two years and declared last year’s theme as another year of ‘Pilot’s Watches’- boosting its popularity,” concludes Air Time China Editor-in-chief and WorldWatchReport™ contributor Henri Liu. p


Topic Views



Time Zone



8’000’000 7’000’000 6’000’000 5’000’000 4’000’000 3’000’000 2’000’000 1’000’000



Franck Muller

Carl F. Bucherer

Roger Dubuis

Harry Winston

Frédérique Constant




Bell & Ross

Maurice Lacroix

Jaquet Droz

Van Cleef & Arpels

Richard Mille

Raymond Weil




Baume & Mercier




Ulysse Nardin

Vacheron Constantin


Glashütte Original



TAG Heuer



Audemars Piguet


A. Lange & Söhne




Patek Philippe



© Digital Luxury Group, 2013

europa star / worldwatchweb 79


David and Goliath or ‘unfair competition’ D. Malcolm Lakin For your amusement and probable bemusement, I’m going to regale you with a tale akin to that of David and Goliath, a tale of woe, malice and such unsportsmanlike behaviour that, if the staunchest fans had known, Goliath may well have been banished from the hallowed playing fields of BaselWorld. So, if you’re sitting comfortably and have your slingshot and stone at the ready, I’ll begin. Once upon a time, 2006 actually, JeanPierre Lutgen, a Belgian entrepreneur, founded Ice-Watch with the aim of marketing a stylish fashion watch that would be colourful and affordable. The concept has been so successful that in a mere six years, the eye-catching collections have sold around 10 million watches in 110 countries via more than 12,000 sales outlets. Ice-Watch had sold tens of thousands of watches prior to its first outing at BaselWorld in 2009, then that year’s sales figures increased dramatically to a few hundred thousand watches. The following year saw the numbers climb into the stratosphere: 2010 – 1.6 million watches; 2011 – 3.7 million; 2012 - 4.3 million and that in spite of around 5 million fakes being produced and shipped from China to markets such as the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America where the Ice-Watch trademark cannot be registered because of legal objections made by the Swatch Group. You need a law degree to understand the objections, but here, as I understand it, is the sequence of events that led up to them: in December 2006, the ‘icewatch’ trademark was applied for within the EU; in August 2007 Swatch introduced an opposition procedure;


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in November 2007 the Swatch Group made an application for iSwatch in Switzerland (say it out loud and you’ll understand the problem); in May 2008 the two brands signed a coexistence agreement whereby Ice-Watch had to separate the Ice and Watch by a bar between the two words and had to include a logo; March 2009 Ice-Watch participated at BaselWorld for the first time; in June 2009, Swatch sent a letter to terminate the coexistence agreement; starting in January 2010 Swatch started to file oppositions against various trademark applications worldwide and there are now 80 administrative proceedings pending. Oppositions have already been rejected in courts in various countries, nevertheless Swatch continued to file legal actions against Ice-Watch and its distributors invoking trademark violations and ‘unfair competition’ – I like that one especially. In July 2010, in order to validate the coexistence agreement that had been signed between the two companies, Ice-Watch filed a legal action against Swatch in Bern (as agreed in the coexistence agreement in case of a dispute). On April 28, 2011, the court rendered a decision in favour of Ice-Watch. In many countries and China in particular, trademark registration cannot be

An Ice-Watch tram in Basel.

Jean-Pierre Lutgen

given if there are legal issues pending, consequently Chinese companies are manufacturing fake Ice-Watches and selling them to unscrupulous retailers and online outlets around the world. Despite the efforts of Ice-Watch and the seizure and destruction of 130,278 fake watches in 2012, very little can be done while the Swatch Group continues to cry ‘unfair competition’, all of which means the all-powerful Group are ensuring that millions of fake 50 – 99 euro watches effectively take business away from both their own products and those of Ice-Watch. To add insult to injury, at this year’s BaselWorld Ice-Watch appeared to have been exiled to a corner of Hall 2 that was so far from the watch brands in Hall 1 that Ice-Watch took the unprecedented step of sending out a pretty blonde scout to try and guide lost and distraught visitors to their booth. The Basel public transport authorities on the other hand, didn’t take sides and allowed IceWatch to promote its colourful watches on the trams - although they rejected the idea of letting the trams drive clients directly to the stand. I have already purchased four genuine Ice-Watches in a shop in Menton (two have already been stolen by knowledgeable burglars) so I know where my allegiance lies, but then you pays your money and takes your choice! For once, I’m not sure if you’ve got to laugh or cry, right? p

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