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EUROPE EDITION All Europe, Central & Eastern Europe, Russia

N° 309 5 /2011 Oct. / Nov. 10



770014 260004

CH F 1 2 / € 1 0 / U S $ 1 0

1 Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair 1 COSC certification 1 Latest prestige, chronograph and diamond models

April 1819. François Constantin takes responsibility for the worldwide business expansion of Vacheron Constantin. During a business trip to Italy, this visionary man coined the phrase which would become the company motto in a letter addressed to the manufacture: « …do better if possible, and that is always possible … ».

True to this motto and to the spirit that forged its history, Vacheron Constantin still remains committed to pushing the boundaries of watchmaking in order to provide its clients with the highest standards of technology, aesthetics and finish.

Patrimony Traditionnelle World Time Calibre 2460WT Hallmark of Geneva, Pink gold case, Self-winding mechanical movement, indication of world time with day/night indicator, displaying 37 time zones. Ref. 86060/000R-9640

Linear-winding automatic movement, 18K red gold case with sapphire crystal sides and back. Engraved gold version of the first CORUM automatic baguette-shaped movement.

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The grand dance of the hypocrites

Who, besides perhaps the directors of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, really wants to enforce the rules regarding the Swiss Made label? Well, frankly, no one! Contrary to what is shouted from the roof tops—a way to proclaim their own virtue—a large number of watchmakers feel that the widespread ambiguity surrounding the criteria defining what is, and what is not, Swiss Made is quite advantageous. Conveniently, it leaves ample space for all sorts of small deals between cronies (and sometimes between those with less than honourable intentions). The battle for stricter conditions in order for a watch to be labelled as “Swiss Made” is like not seeing the wood for the trees. But this isn’t even where we should be looking, as some individual initiatives are starting to show. A few examples immediately come to mind. The small brand Hautlence has chosen to replace “Swiss Made” on its dials with the term “Horlogerie Suisse”. This change is obviously not because the brand cannot meet the Swiss Made criteria. On the contrary, Hautlence timepieces largely exceed these standards since its watches are 90 per cent Swiss. In this particular example, the brand’s latest and highly complex model is Swiss in all respects except for its unique sapphire crystal. No manufacturer in Switzerland dared to make this partic-

ular crystal, and Hautlence found only one company that was up to the task, and that company was Chinese. Bédat & Co. have registered their own certificate, the AOSC® (Appellation d’Origine Suisse Certifiée, or Swiss Certified Label of Origin), which guarantees that the watch has been assembled in Switzerland using a case, movement, dial and hands manufactured in Switzerland. Another example is Patek Philippe. When the brand decided to create its own quality label, the Patek Philippe Seal, the venerable company broke new ground. After all, it is not the Swiss Made label that confers quality upon a watch —it is the brand itself that must prove it can match its own reputation and provide the quality expected by its consumers. Thus, we are seeing the slow exit of the term Swiss Made, which is losing its validity after having been open to different interpretations for so long. (And increasing the percentage to 60 or 80 will not change things much.) But, the real reasons for the Swiss Made fight lie elsewhere, namely in the fierce battle over the supply of mechanical movements, a battle that is giving rise to many different manoeuvres. One example was seen in a recent article in the prominent Swiss newspaper, Le Temps, which denounced the practices of Sellita that, horror of horrors, sells Swiss Made mechanical movements to Hong Kong at the rate of “several tens or even several hundreds of thousands of pieces” (note the absolute imprecision in the numbers). This practice has been used by everyone, including the Swatch Group. Large numbers of these movements come back to Switzerland in the form of kits, with the case, dial, and hands

R Pierre M. Maillard Editor-in-Chief made in China, and the final product receiving the Swiss Made label. Watch industry observers see, in this attack on Sellita, an underwater torpedo launched by the Swatch Group with the aim of destabilising a competitor, whose growing size has begun to be a little more than worrisome. (In 2011, Sellita produced 800,000 inhouse movements.) Starting in 2012, the Swatch Group will begin reducing the number of movements and assortments that it supplies to third parties. This reduction is provisionally authorised by the Swiss COMCO (the Competition Commission) pending the final conclusion of a report that will determine if this cutback is “an abuse of its dominant position” or not. While waiting for the next developments, which will take several years more, Sellita’s rising strength is visibly disturbing to the largest players in the watch arena. In 2009, the announcement by Nicolas Hayek of the reduction in supply to third parties was thought to be healthy for the industry as a whole, since it would force the so-called “manufactures” to finally invest in their production capacities. It is essential, therefore, not to block the path of those companies that are rising to this challenge. Otherwise, it is the entire industry that may suffer.

4 CONTENTS europa star


N° 309 5/2011 OCT./NOV.



EDITORIAL The grand dance of the hypocrites


COVER STORY The even more remarkable return of Tudor


OBITUARY Remembering Michael Balfour

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HIGH-MECH The first Patek Philippe watch with a regulator dial Hautlence, at a strategic turning point Gallery: the latest high-mech watches


PERSPECTIVES Raymond Weil, maestro of independence


NEWCOMER Blacksand readies for take-off


GALLERY Chronographs

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ON THE SCENE Bédat & Co’s first ladies’ chronograph Emile Chouriet is a family firm with a difference


GALLERY Diamond watches

40 42 45 47 49 52

FOCUS ON GERMANY Introduction: Glashütte, cradle of German haute horlogerie The Lange Akademie, getting to know the tree and its roots Tutima’s “hommage” as a symbol of its new ambitions The Original from Glashütte Nomos, doing things differently The 150th Anniversary of Junghans


MANUFACTURING 110 Years of Dubois Dépraz


CERTIFICATION A visit to the COSC, the temple of Swiss chronometry testing

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HONG KONG WATCH & CLOCK FAIR Introduction: Swiss watches in the Chinese mirror China’s sphere of interest: Hong Kong show report


RETAILER PROFILE King Fook Jewellers, Hong Kong


WORLDWATCHWEB® Looking beyond Facebook and Twitter




LAKIN@LARGE Battered, bruised, but British!

HERITAGE ADVISOR by Tudor The Heritage Advisor (reference 79620T) is a re-edition of a 1957 piece with a mechanical alarm function. It has a 42mm diameter titanium and stainless-steel case with polished and brushed finishes and it is fitted with a selfwinding mechanical movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. The dial features a date hand and counter at 6 o’clock, an ON/OFF indicator for the alarm at 9 o’clock and a power reserve indicator for the alarm at 3 o’clock.


DIGITAL-LUXURY.COM media partner

Montres Tudor S.A. 7, rue François-Dussaud CH 1211 Genève 26 Tel : +41 (0)22 302 22 00 Fax : +41 (0)22 300 22 55

Europa Star HBM SA 25 Route des Acacias P.O. Box 1355 CH-1211 Geneva 26 Switzerland Tel +41 (0)22 307 78 37 Fax +41 (0)22 300 37 48 © 2011 EUROPA STAR Audited REMP 2010 The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily Europa Star.

















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Starting in 2009, Tudor, whose name was registered in 1926, but whose real birth took place in 1946, has been strongly repositioned. (For more on the history of Tudor, created by Hans Wilsdorf, see the article in Europa Star, no. 5/10, or visit This repositioning comes after several years during which the essence and the identity of the brand had become somewhat diluted. It is being done not only with a lot of fanfare but also with a certain brilliance, carried out by a young team wanting to demonstrate that the brand can—by drawing on its own history—resume its original and important place in the watchmaking landscape. Reviving its founding identity, composed of a subtle mix of technique, robustness, and class, Tudor has fully returned to the vast chessboard of watch brands. It has a clearly identifiable offer, striking models, and an entirely revisited communication—one that seeks to transmit the brand’s particular mix of performance and elegance that form the basis of Tudor’s profound identity. Having thus been “liberated” from the powerful identifiable tutelage of Rolex—the brand’s models are no more the attenuated reflection of Rolex, as they were during other periods of its history—Tudor has considerably revitalised its public. Its clientele can now discover the company for what it has become—an extremely dynamic brand that addresses a young, urban, cosmopolitan public.And, this public is as attentive to sportiness as it is to design. It appreciates the qualities of fine timekeeping such as reliability, robustness, and precision as long as the brand expresses them in a stylistic and elegant manner. Finally, it is a public for whom a watch is also a vector of emotion.


The Tudor Heritage Advisor To perfectly illustrate the brand’s direction, or we should say “strategy,” is the new Tudor Heritage Advisor, launched this spring at Baselworld 2011. The original model of the Advisor dates back to 1957.At that time, it was a watch measuring 34mm in diameter—normal for the epoch—whose automatic movement was equipped with an additional alarm function module. The alarm was adjusted using a crown at 2 o’clock, with the hour denoted by a hand in the shape of a red arrow. The new 2011 Tudor Heritage Advisor has been directly inspired by its precursor, while revisiting it from head to toe, so to speak. Although the “vintage spirit” that emanates


is patently obvious, the piece has, however, considerably evolved technically as well as aesthetically. Still driven by an automatic movement, with an additional alarm function specifically developed for Tudor, the 2011 model is larger, with a diameter of 42mm. Yet, it has the same shape and proportions of the

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middle case as the original timepiece including the sleekness of the bezel and the prominence of the lugs, but it now has renewed vigour and tension. Its dial, however, is more technical, and displays the supplementary indications of the alarm power reserve on a disc at 3 o’clock, the date shown by a hand at 6 o’clock, as well as an on/off indicator for activating the alarm at 9 o’clock. The alarm is activated using a push-piece at 8 o’clock, on the side of the case. The case itself is in titanium and steel, and features contrasting polished and satin finishes. It comes mounted on either a steel bracelet or an alligator leather strap, with folding clasp and safety catch. But the Heritage Advisor has more than one trick up its sleeve—it comes with a second bracelet, made in fabric, with a tongued buckle. There can be no doubt that these famous fabric bracelets, developed approximately two years ago by Tudor, have seriously contributed to the success of the brand and the renewed interest it is enjoying today. Developed in collaboration with an arts manufacturer specialising in artisanal ribbon (see sidebar), these fabric bracelets are so fine and so light, yet so solid and so resistant. They also offer a “vintage” aspect that is highly appreciated in addition to the obvious functional advantages. These fabric straps have become a strong identifying sign of the brand and the new Tudor spirit.



Tudor Fastrider, the sporty genes of the brand "A CONCENTRATE OF HUMAN EFFORTS" To make its famous fabric bracelets,Tudor works with a historic manufacturer, one of the last artisanal “ribbon makers” in existence. (For confidentiality reasons, we are not able to give the name of this company.) It is surprising to realise just how close watchmaking, in its most artisanal production aspects, and an art such as the fabrication of ribbons actually are. In ribbon making, the savoir-faire and the hand of man continue to play an essential role, even if they adopt ultra-modern technologies. Thus, if the ribbons of today might be designed on a computer and if their fabrication might call upon the latest materials, their artisanal production is still based on weaving methods that are as antique as they are sophisticated. The suppleness and “intelligence” of the human hand remain fundamental, notably in the preparation, the smoothing, and the tension of the threads that will make up the ribbon. Here also, as in watchmaking, meticulousness, precision, and training play a capital role. The “time necessary” to complete these operations cannot be reduced, unless it is to the detriment of the quality. As the director of the enterprise muses, “a ribbon is a concentrate of technique, design, harmony, and taste… a concentrate of human efforts.” Might we not say the same thing about watchmaking?

While the Advisor can be comfortably worn with a bracelet made of natural silk, the new Tudor Fastrider chronograph prefers a strap made of polypropylene. With the Fastrider line, we enter into another universe of the brand, that of speed and motorcycle sports. This chronograph is equipped with an automatic TUDOR 7753 calibre that features 46 hours of power reserve. The 42-mm stainless steel case evokes the world of racing with its “free flowing and bevelled structure,” as the brand’s management says. Its mechanical sportiness is reinforced by the black PVD cylinders, reminiscent of engine pistons, which house the watch’s push-pieces, as well as the shield, also made of black PVD, which encircles the date corrector at 9 o’clock on the middle case. The satin-finished bezel is engraved with a tachymetric scale. On the outside of the dial is a raised ring showing the minute markers.

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The timing functions and the small seconds are displayed on the dial by three black counters with red hands. The dial is traversed by vertical red stripes, which continue onto the fabric strap, thus emphasising even more its adherence to the world of speed. It is available in a choice of bevelled indices or with doubly applied Arabic numerals. The dial also comes in three colours—black, white, or silvered— and the watch can be mounted alternatively on a three-piece link steel bracelet or on a leather strap with folding clasp and the new safety catch or, of course, on a fabric strap.

Partnership with Ducati What could be more natural and logical than for Tudor, with its new and very sporty Fastrider, to enter into a partnership with one of the most prestigious motorcycle brands: the Italian Ducati. In addition to a comparable spirit, the two brands share a number of coincidences. To begin with, they were both created in 1926. Secondly, 20 years passed before both of them introduced the first product that would earn them their reputation: Ducati did not make its first motor, the famous “Cucciolo” until 1946, just as Tudor did not present its defining model, the famous Tudor Oyster, until 1946. Over the years, the echoes between the two brands have continued. For example, when Tudor launched its Oysterdate Chronograph, now becoming the Heritage Chrono, Ducati presented its Monster motorcycle. And, another coincidence happened in 2007—when Tudor initiated its turning-point strategy to gain new visibility, Ducati won its first Moto GP World Championship with the best rider and as the best constructor.

If these “coincidences” exist, it is because they are the expressions of a belief and a philosophy about the product that are shared by the two brands. For Tudor and Ducati, concepts such as solidity, reliability, and resistance are at the centre of their preoccupations. For them, the requirements concerning the product’s technical nature can only be expressed with a flair for style in the ergonomics and the originality of a design that is immediately recognisable, a design that combines sportiness with refinement and performance with elegance. Quite “naturally” then, the partnership between Tudor and Ducati was recently signed, and officially announced on June 30, 2011 at the Ducati Museum in Borgo Panigale near Bologna. From this day forward, Tudor is the “Timing Partner” of the Italian motorcycle manufacturer. But beyond this successful colTUDOR FASTRIDER DUCATI

laboration, the two brands state that they “feel united by a strong convergence of objectives” and that they intend to develop the greatest possible synergies and collaborations. To celebrate the opening of this new chapter, Tudor is currently launching a special Fastrider model with the red and black colours of the Italian brand on the dial, which continue onto the fabric strap. (Moreover, this commemorative—but not limited—model possesses the same technical characteristics as the other Fastrider chronographs.)

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A feminine rose Determined, as they affirm themselves, to “move into all sectors,” the managers of Tudor are creating new models destined for a feminine clientele. As they explain, “the soul of the brand is essentially masculine [even though in some markets, notably Asia, this statement has lost a bit of it its validity], but we have decided to open up to women, thanks notably to our work on design—one of Tudor’s strong points.” Thus, the new ladies’ proposition from Tudor is the brand’s Clair de Rose, a timepiece that is fundamentally and intrinsically feminine in nature.The Clair de Rose has nothing to do with a scaled-down version of a man’s watch. It is completely original, with notably a captivating small seconds hand in the form of a cut-out rose.This hand—if we can still call it that—animates the heart of the timepiece, concealing and then revealing the cut-out hour and minute hands that it overlooks, in a way relegating the reading of time to the back burner. “With this watch, we want to move into different territories,” says the brand, “and to particularly evoke a feminine relationship with time that goes beyond the mere counting down of time, beyond the strict measure of time.” This cut-out rose rotates above a very refined and sophisticated dial made of mother-ofpearl. (Let’s recall in passing that the rose is the emblem of the Tudor Royal Family and that, starting in 1936, it has appeared in the brand’s logo, placed inside a shield.) Composed of two different mother-of-pearl plates (in Sky, White, Jade, or Tahiti Pearl versions), one of which is hollowed out thus giving the impression of depth, the dial reproduces the stylised scroll motifs inspired by clouds.


Much left to be done

The Clair de Rose model also exists in a gemset version, evoking a full moon against a starry sky. The same scroll motifs on a satin background are found on the fabric strap. A definite softness and roundness are found in the cushion-shaped case, made in steel or in steel and pink gold, measuring 26mm, 30mm, or 34 mm in diameter, with a domed sapphire crystal. The winding crown, topped by a transparent dome in which a Tudor rose “floats”, is enveloped by two looped decorations on either side. In addition to the satin strap already mentioned, the Clair de Rose comes mounted either on a “grain of rice” bracelet inspired by the 1950s or on a fabric strap.

As of today, Tudor is distributed in approximately 70 markets. Again, according to the brand’s management, the response from the marketplace as well as from consumers and the media concerning Tudor’s new direction over the last few years has been more than positive. It has, in fact, been excellent. (As an aside, all the brand’s services, including production, have been moved to a new facility that has been completely decorated in the specific colours and the spirit of the brand.) Some major investments have been made but much is still left to be done. Very strong in the Asian markets, Tudor is not yet present in the United States, in Japan, or even in the United Kingdom, the country of the Tudor family. O For more information about Tudor click on Brand Index at


L E B R A S S U S ( VA L L É E D E J O U X ) - S W I T Z E R L A N D - a u d e m a r s p i g u e t . c o m

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Adieu old friend Remembering Michael Balfour

You don’t invent people like Michael Balfour. He was an original, the incarnate of how the non-English see a slightly eccentric Englishman – although his veins were teeming with Scottish blood, not to mention a wee dram or two of the hard stuff. Tall, softly spoken and articulate, Michael was at ease with himself and the world and although he was ready at the drop of a pencil to partake of some liquid refreshment with a friend or colleague, he was just as happy to be alone with his thoughts, his newspaper, his coffee or a glass or two of white. At breakfast he always sat alone with his inevitable companion – his beloved Financial Times – that was sacrosanct, it was his private time and you knew not to intrude. The rest of the day he was yours if need be. Sitting here at my computer, I can see him sitting at a table patiently waiting for his next appointment or an upcoming press conference at BaselWorld or the SIHH in Geneva. He could sit for ages, patiently, never appearing ill at ease, bored or impatient. He’s wearing those familiar red or multi-coloured woollen socks of his and he has some curiously anomalous shoelaces that rarely seem to match his shoes. As

usual, his brightly tinted handkerchief hangs languidly from his top pocket and he may well be wearing what I always referred to as his rust-coloured St. Tropez trousers. I think I can just make out an empty carafe too. In the many years that I knew Michael, I never once heard him raise his voice, show impatience, annoyance, or irritation, a gentle nudge with his elbow was sufficient when something didn’t make sense. One year in Basel, he had an argument with a tram. When I saw him later that evening he was sitting at a table with his favourite brew, covered with plaster, badly bruised and clearly in pain. When I asked what had happened he shrugged and wearily conceded that he hadn’t heard the tram coming – adding somewhat disconsolately that he hadn’t even had a drink. Rarely, if ever, did he openly pass judgement; he kept any critical thoughts to himself. At his wedding to Elisabeth some years ago, he had organized a magnificent reception at the Dorchester hotel in London and the hundreds of guests were dressed to the nines, the ladies in long flowing robes, the men sartorially splendid in their dinner jackets and black ties. As the skirl of the bagpipes invaded every corner of the ballroom I suddenly caught sight of Calandra, his daughter, coming towards us wearing a pair of the hairiest moon boots that resembled a yeti’s feet. They would not have been out of place in the Himalayas, but in one of London’s chic hotels at the height of the summer at a wedding reception they were outrageously incongruous. Michael, who must have seen the surprised look on my face, simply mumbled, “The forecast is for changeable weather.” That was Michael. Typically, Michael lived with what was a fatal illness for five years without any of us knowing about it and his unexpected disappearance makes it that much harder to come to terms with. I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to him, but that’s how he would have wanted it. No outward signs of emotion, no trembling lips, no tears. His Englishness, his understated greeting, his unaffected eccentricity will be missed in the watch world. But worst of all, I have lost a friend. D. Malcolm Lakin


Whether it’s a transatlantic crossing on a sailboat with friends, or the birth of a child, there are precious, life-changing moments that deserve to be recorded forever. What will yours be? Let our engraving, enamelling and gemsetting artists immortalise your legend. A Reverso just for you. GRANDE REVERSO ULTRA THIN. Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 822. Patent 111/398.


Jaeger-LeCoultre in partnership with UNESCO to raise awareness and protect marine World Heritage. A real commitment to a precious cause.

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The first Patek Philippe watch with a regulator dial RPierre Maillard


Patek Philippe recently presented a new timepiece, never before featured by the Geneva manufacture—a “regulator” type dial that also includes an annual calendar function. The watch is driven by a new self-winding calibre, the 31-260 REG QA, an ultra-thin movement (33mm in diameter with a combined thickness of 5.08mm for the basic movement plus annual calendar) with a unidirectional microrotor offering a power reserve of 60 hours.

Designed for the new technology This new calibre, directly inspired by the famous ultra-thin calibre 240, launched in 1977, was designed from the very beginning to accommodate a regulating organ made in Silinvar® with its Spiromax® balance spring and Pulsomax® escapement (with pallets and pallets wheel in Silinvar®).

Spiromax® and Pulsomax®

In itself, the use of a Silinvar® regulating organ, developed specifically for Patek Philippe, is nothing new because, already in 2006, Patek Philippe revealed its first escapements made in this special alloy of silicon. (For more on the use of silicon, see the article, The Silicon Revolution on Improved in isochronism and an increase in efficiency leading to an optimisation of the calibre’s operation and reliability are the main advantages of this technology. The planned integration of this technology into the new calibre has allowed Patek Philippe to optimise the profiles of the teeth on the gear train, from the barrel wheel to the pallets wheel.These new profiles ensure better meshing between the wheels and the pinions, a reduction in friction, and thus more efficient energy transmission. Another notable point is that, using these technologies, Patek Philippe has been able to increase the frequency of the new movement

to an unheard-of 23,040 vibrations per hour, or 3.2 Hz, which represents an increase in frequency of 10 per cent. According to the watchmakers at Patek Philippe, this higher frequency “makes it easier to adjust the precision to within the brand’s tolerances, which are -3 to +2 seconds over 24 hours”, in other words, a delta of 5. The COSC has established a delta of 10. (As an aside, Patek’s watchmakers are the only ones capable of calibrating their watches to this frequency since no commercial


Whether it’s a transatlantic crossing on a sailboat with friends, or the birth of a child, there are precious, life-changing moments that deserve to be recorded forever. What will yours be? Let our engraving, enamelling and gemsetting artists immortalise your legend. A Reverso just for you. GRANDE REVERSO ULTRA THIN TRIBUTE TO 1931. Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 822. Patent 111/398. Limited series of 500.


Jaeger-LeCoultre in partnership with UNESCO to raise awareness and protect marine World Heritage. A real commitment to a precious cause.

16 HIGH-MECH europa star

machine does it, further demonstrating the determination for self-control and self-certification behind the Patek Philippe Seal). The increase in energy efficiency obtained by these various innovations has thus permitted Patek Philippe to utilise a less powerful and much longer mainspring, enabling them to raise the power reserve from 48 hours, in the previous calibre, to the current 60 hours (a gain of 25 per cent). A related advantage is that the torque curve of this extra long spring is much flatter all along the length of the disarming process, thus procuring a better stability in the amplitude. So, it is on this new base that Patek Philippe has “grafted” a mechanism for an annual calendar, displayed in three windows (the day, month and date require only one single correction per year). Introduced in 1996, this “useful complication” is among the greatest commercial—and technical—successes of the Geneva manufacture.

Timeless technical elegance The annual calendar ideally complements the regulator-type display of the new timekeeper. We have become accustomed to seeing the three calendar windows located in an arc between 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock, but in this case, it was not possible to maintain this configuration. Here, the “regulator” display provides a central minute hand, hours at 12 o’clock, and seconds at 6 o’clock (in passing, this was not

possible with the previous calibre 240 whose small seconds display was at 5 o’clock). The day is placed at 10 o’clock, while the month is at 2 o’clock, and the date is seen in its window at 6 o’clock inside the seconds sub-dial (which some people might regret since, in a regulator, one should be able to continuously see the ticking of the seconds— but here there is no other option unless one forgoes the annual calendar). All in the aim of high readability, working precision oblige, the general design of this watch evokes exemplary classicism. The white gold 40.5mm case, of the Calatrava type, traditionally constructed on three levels: the transparent case back, horizontally-satined middle

case, and bevelled bezel with a flat profile, as well as the long bevelled horns, which confer upon the piece a grand and discreet elegance. Standing out from the vertically-satined dark silver-grey dial are the snailed sub-dials, treated with a lighter grey, and the blue minute markers. Simple Arabic numerals, delicate indices, and blued baton hands all reinforce the elegantly technical nature of the watch. Selling for CHF 44,000 and hardly out of the ateliers, this classic and precise new timepiece already seems like a classic of the Geneva brand. O For more information about Patek Philippe click on Brand Index at

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Hautlence, at a strategic turning point RPierre Maillard


Guillaume Tetu, now the only captain aboard the Hautlence “ship” (his co-captain, Renaud de Retz, gave in to the siren’s song and left the watch industry for the music field) has always put his cards squarely on the table. After the rough seas of the economic crisis where the small independent brand was seriously tossed around (Hautlence has sold 900 watches since its creation in 2004) and its business plan was left in disarray, everything had to be started again. Not from a product point of view but for the brand’s international distribution. Courageously supported by a board controlled for the most part by a group of French and Swiss investors believing in the proposed new strategic directions, Guillaume Tetu has made radical changes. To start with, the brand discontinued all its distribution using official distributors who controlled a territory or a group of territories in favour of dealing directly with the retailers itself. Twenty sales points were closed and the stock taken back. New points of sale were opened directly by the brand, without intermediaries. “I start with the idea that the retailers don’t really need us,” Tetu explains frankly. “It is up to us therefore to persuade them, to reassure them, and to demonstrate that we are not in any way a flash in the pan, like we have seen so much of over the last few years.”

Guillaume Tetu

The task is difficult, made even more so since “everything has to be redone in the United States as well as in South America. Europe and Switzerland are in a different category because we weathered the storm better in these markets where we did not have to close a single store,” adds Tetu. The goal of this operation is to open fifty new stores, and to sell from 500 to 1000 watches a year. “It is a long-term plan,” Tetu is quick to point out.

Creation of the Atelier d'Horlogerie Contemporaine To achieve its goal of producing the targeted number of watches, Hautlence intends to expand its palette of products and notably to propose more affordable and more commercial pieces (today, the average price is CHF 54,000 excluding the HL2.0) without, however, deviating from the line that represents the originality and specificity of the brand. It plans to concentrate on the mechanical display rather than to offer traditional complications. Moving to the next level involves a transformation of production methods and tools. An atelier was thus recently created in La Chaux-

de-Fonds that regroups the vital parts of the brand. Large, luminous, and located in the centre of the town, it has the advantage of being close to the network of suppliers in the Jurassian arc region with whom Hautlence collaborates closely. Tetu goes on to explain, “Hautlence is not a manufacture and it would be ridiculous to claim to be one. It is an Atelier d'Horlogerie Contemporaine, which is precisely how we define ourselves. It is an Atelier because we design the mechanisms, create the forms, develop the methods and plans for fabrication, produce the prototypes, and mount, assemble, encase, and control all of our products. Hautlence is an Atelier d'Horlogerie Contemporaine because all our products are innovative and offer new displays. The brand is Horlogerie Contemporaine because our codes for the time display, style, and architecture are resolutely contemporary, the result of profound reflection on the mechanical aspects.This term is also applicable because our tools are contemporary—CAD, 3D simulations, CNC—and allow us to push the technological envelope even more. I am thinking, for example, of the conic gears and pinions that we created for the HL2.0.” With these tools and this Atelier (where ten people work), Hautlence has total control over its creativity in one single location. Cutting and machining the component parts, cases, and dials, as well as the finishing decorations such as polishing and chamfering are, however, carried out by external suppliers not far from the Atelier. In fact, 90 per cent of the components for a Hautlence timepiece are sourced in the canton of Neuchâtel. Thus Hautlence can sign

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As a good illustration of Hautlence’s methods—the brand wanted the aesthetic design of the piece to follow the mechanics—two separate designers were also consulted independently during the process.The two individuals, Claudio d'Amore and Bibi Seck, came up with more or less the same proposition to meet the challenge of maximum transparency for this spectacular mechanism. In the end, the case nearly totally disappeared, replaced by a threedimensional sapphire crystal carved from a single block (a glass so complex that only one Chinese firm was willing to make it!).The result is that the wearer has the feeling of wearing a nearly naked kinetic sculpture on the wrist.

its watches not “Swiss Made”, since we all know what this term can really mean, but rather with the proud label “Horlogerie Suisse”.

The example of the HL2.0 As a demonstration of the creative process adopted by Hautlence in the design of a product and the competencies in place at the Atelier d'Horlogerie Contemporaine, Guillaume Tetu relates the example of the brand’s latest model, the HL2.0 watch. We won’t enter into the technical details of this extremely innovative timekeeper, the first watch to present a jumping regulating organ. (For more on it, see the article Watchmaking 2.0 by Hautlence in Europa Star 2/11 or on Developed in 2007— based on previously developed display systems with the hour, shown on a jumping disc, and the retrograde minute linked by connecting rods—it consisted essentially of “adding another dimension thanks to an hour display using a chain with 12 links,” driving at each passing hour a slow (four seconds) rotation of the vertically positioned regulating organ. We can easily imagine the number of technical and energy-related constraints demanded by such a mechanism, so much so that Hautlence—which collaborated with an independent constructor, Philippe Ruedin, on this project—opted to develop its own calibre in order to perfectly manage the energy required by this mechanism. More than four years were spent developing this new uni-directional self-winding calibre, with an excentric rotor, power reserve indicator (45 hours), and double barrel (the winding barrel supplies energy to the complication barrel). Three patents came out of this complex and original endeavour, which involved the semi-continu-


Becoming a “brand”


ous hour chain, the regulating organ integrated into the movement on a mobile baguette, and the supply of energy from the two barrels. The development drew from, among others, earlier research followed by studies on automatic winding, the power reserve, 3D design, the assembly of self-winding prototypes with an excentric rotor, timekeeping trials and analyses, the prototyping of the barrels, and then the progressive integration of all the subassemblies making up the movement, the trials and tests before starting production on the first series of component parts of the regulating organ, then the barrels, etc., etc.

The outstanding HL2.0 is definitely a wonderful way to attract attention to the name Hautlence. Yet, for all this media attention— and commercial interest, we hope—this does not make Hautlence a “brand” in the true sense of the term. “The construction of a veritable brand is the next and necessary step that we are embarking upon with our Atelier d'Horlogerie Contemporaine,” explains Guillaume Tetu. “In the future, there will be other exceptional watches—we are working on them already— but our goal now is to produce pieces with affordable prices, in the range of CHF 20,000. They are very important for the new relationships with our retailers. Besides the additional necessary publicity, they will help us reach the critical mass that will allow us—in addition to creating exceptional products—to finally consider ourselves as a real brand, one that is identifiable and long-lasting.” O For more information about Hautlence click on Brand Index at


Who in the world am I ? That’s the great puzzle !

Geneva ❘ Zürich ❘ Paris ❘ Cannes ❘ Courchevel ❘ London ❘ Moscow

22 GALLERY – HIGH-MECH europa star

f TRIPLE CERTIFICATION TOURBILLON by Chopard This is the first timepiece to bear the three most prestigious Swiss watchmaking certifications: COSC chronometer certification, Fleurier Quality Foundation and the Poinçon de Genève – the latter only ever having been stamped on movement components up to now. The Chopard Manufacture L.U.C Calibre 02-13-L (L.U.C 1.02QF) used in this piece is the world’s only movement to be fitted with four stacked and series-coupled barrels which provide a full nine days (216 hours) of power reserve, which is displayed at 12 o’clock. 18-carat red-gold case, 43mm diameter, sapphire crystal, silvered dial and brown alligator leather strap. Water resistant to 50 metres.

p TAMBOUR MINUTE REPEATER by Louis Vuitton Luxury brand Louis Vuitton’s close affinity with the world of travel has given rise to a different take on the minute repeater complication, which chimes the “home time” (indicated on a disc at the centre of the dial) irrespective of the time set on the dial. Separate subdials display the small seconds and power reserve, in addition to a day/night indicator, beneath a smoked sapphire crystal which has a clear, semi-circular aperture that reveals the striking mechanism. Powered by the manually wound LV 178 calibre with a 100-hour power reserve. Extra-large 44mm diameter 18-carat red-gold Tambour case, sapphire crystal, brown alligator leather strap. Water resistant to 30 metres.

f OTTURATORE by De Grisogono An auxiliary module consisting of 334 individual components powers a mobile dial on the Otturatore, allowing the wearer to choose which of the four complications – moon phase, date, power reserve and small seconds in order of their rotation from 12 o’clock – he would like to see. Repeated actions on the pusher at 4 o’clock charge the mechanism, with the pusher at 2 o’clock actioning the movement of the dial, which rotates a quarter-turn in 16 milliseconds. 18-carat red-gold case, sapphire crystal, silvered dial with clou de Paris decoration, black alligator leather strap. Water resistant to 50 metres.


TACTILE TECHNOLOGY Touch the screen to get the ultimate multisports watch experience with 11 functions including compass, tide, chronograph split and lap.





Experience more at

24 PERSPECTIVES europa star

Raymond Weil, maestro of independence RPierre Maillard


“Raymond Weil stands out because of its own efforts and not because we are attached to a large group,” insists Olivier Bernheim, who heads up the family brand with his two sons, and who wants things to be clearly stated and understood. The continued success of Raymond Weil—already for 35 years now— is taking place in the very difficult mid-range segment where the number of truly independent players is very small and where the quality must also be measured in terms of quantity. And, this success is totally due to the brand itself—to itself and to the hard and fast loyalty of an incomparable distribution network that has been patiently constructed over the years. (Raymond Weil is distributed in 128 countries).

“We are not technocrats, but rather, quite simply, merchants,” Bernheim says with a smile, quickly adding that he doesn’t “have a golden parachute. If the retailers have chosen to work with us, it is only because they believe in our models, in the balance of our offer, and in their own commercial interest. They do not carry our brand to ‘make anyone happy’ or because they are forced to. They have decided to work with us because they believe in us and they know us, in flesh and blood, because we are physically present on the markets and because our horizon is set on the long term.”

Swiss Made... From his privileged position as a spectator of the global watch landscape, Olivier Bernheim offers a few general observations about the current evolution of the watch industry. What about Swiss Made, of which so much has been written? In his opinion (and his production is 100 per cent Swiss Made), this highly disputed term hides a lot of hypocrisy and



encompasses many practices that are much less laudable than they seem. From a business point of view, the importance of this label is difficult to evaluate. “The essential is in the attractiveness of the models that are offered and in the confidence that the client has in the brand’s quality parameters,” adds Bernheim. “That is what really counts.” In making a comparison with the automobile industry, he muses, “When you purchase a BMW, you expect that the car will meet certain quality criteria that BMW is known for. You don’t really care if the steering wheel was made in Portugal or if the other parts were made who knows where.You are buying, above all, the BMW ‘German’ quality. I am afraid that there is a certain type of arrogance in the Swiss industry that will one day come back to bite it. Switzerland is not open. Too often, watchmakers here believe that they are superior, but they should be very careful about

europa star


headlines in the newspaper and then there are the contrasting realities of the marketplace, which are sometimes totally different.”

The United States, bastion of the brand



having this attitude. Take, for example, the high value of the Swiss franc. It is like in watchmaking. It is due to the outside world, which seeks refuge in this currency, and much less due to our alleged interior virtues.”

why? Because after the revolutions that rocked Tunisia and Egypt, the tourists moved to the Canary Islands…” Clearly, having a global distribution network provides a rapid understanding and lucid opinion on the consequences of today’s economic and political convulsions. So, what about Greece? “Well in this nation, it is almost business as usual. The current crisis has not really changed things there. Just think for a moment—it seems that only some 14 per cent of the population pays taxes. There are the

...and the Swiss franc As regards the strong Swiss franc, what does he think will happen if this situation continues? “Obviously, the current level of the Swiss franc puts enormous pressure on profits. The main risk, however, is that little by little we find ourselves out of range, in other words, the prices no longer correspond at all to the reality of the offer from the various brands. And this is all happening in the context of the crisis that passed from the banks and businesses in 2008 to the governments themselves today. This loss of confidence in governments and their economic policies clearly accentuates the decline in consumption. We saw it very well in Ireland, for example, where a number of retailers simply closed their doors. The same happened in Spain, where the collapse was total. Yet, for us in any case, this collapse was compensated by making major inroads into the Canary Islands. And do you know

To support his assertions, Olivier Bernheim takes the example of the United States, one of the bastions of the brand and whose management has been taken over directly by the family. “The crisis in the USA? It exists, that is for sure, but it affects us only very little. The American retailers are totally business-minded. If there is money to be made, they will continue and they will invest. In this case, it is not so much the product that counts as the brand, the work in the field, and the proximity. At the same time that we repositioned the brand with a strong accent on the mechanical watch, we re-qualified our entire North American distribution network. We entered into very prestigious stores while still favouring the independents everywhere. As one independent to another, we understand each other very well.”

Expanded mechanical offer The brand’s repositioning has led to a greater focus on mechanical watches, which now account for 75 per cent of men’s watches at Raymond Weil. (The share of mechanical movements in ladies’ watches is also steadily increasing).


26 PERSPECTIVES europa star

CHF 3,850, with an average price of CHF 1,850! This rise in strength of the mechanical offer from Raymond Weil goes along with an increased effort by the brand to gradually acquire its own industrial tools. In this regard, it recently purchased the atelier that assembled 30 per cent of its production, thus now taking over more than 55 per cent of its own assemblage.

Eternally feminine


The brand’s 35 years of experience in the market segment of quality watches at affordable prices has allowed it to offer “exceptional value for money,” explains Bernheim. This classic segment, he adds in passing, is “in full effervescence, not only because of the return to sure values, but also—and above all—because it is highly appreciated by the Chinese market. The Chinese consumer is looking for a classic design since, for most of them, it is their first watch.” s

The new international advertising campaign

The latest example of this classic evolution is the new Maestro collection. It is a traditional collection, mounted on a leather strap, which offers a complete panoply of mechanical movements developed in collaboration with Dubois-Dépraz: self-winding with small seconds, self-winding with date, moon phase, and chronograph. The very refined and chic ensemble, always below the size of 42mm in diameter and with careful attention to the décor (silvered or grey dials, clou de Paris decoration), is priced between CHF 1,250 and

On the feminine side, which has always been one of the great strengths of Raymond Weil, is the new Jasmine collection, the latest leading light in this segment. Presented in steel, or steel and diamonds, or bi-colour, equipped with either a self-winding or quartz movement, the round Jasmine exudes great natural elegance. It has all the ingredients needed to become one of the brand’s classic timepieces. Combined with a certain freshness, this classicism is emphasised in the new international marketing campaign that the brand is launching this autumn. Loyal to its exclusive musical universe, which has long been the cornerstone of its visual identity, Raymond Weil is proposing portraits of musicians—young and working in classical music—who seem perfectly in tune with the new strategies and goals of the Geneva brand. O For more information about Raymond Weil click on Brand Index at

For every single week of the year.

The Patravi Calendar is the ďŹ rst watch in a round case equipped with a movement manufactured entirely by Carl F. Bucherer. The CFB A1004 functional module, the peripheral rotor, the big date switching mechanism and the week display are eloquent proof that the Patravi Calendar is the perfect timepiece for aesthetes and lovers of complex technology alike.

28 NEWCOMER europa star

Blacksand readies for take-off Freed from the constraints of the family firm, Alain Mouawad launches a new brand with a focus on the minutest attention to detail in a design that adds a new twist to the classic round watch case.

RPaul O’Neil

first by four screws and a separate screw-on ring is added afterwards. The models with Arabic numerals use moulded SuperLuminova numerals that give a relief effect on the dial and offer excellent readability in the dark. Different types of hand are used for the models with Arabic numerals and those with hour markers to ensure that the time can be read clearly at a glance. The brand has also gone to the trouble of registering their unique symbol for indicating water resistance – the turtle.

The Uniformity collection is powered by the Blacksand calibre 1970, which uses a Technotime movement for which the new brand has the exclusivity in its COSC-certified version. “It would be tough to sell a watch of this quality with an ETA movement,” Mouawad concedes. “This is why we chose to use Technotime. It is one of the few big movements on the market and it has some good features, such as the twin barrels that offer a 120-hour power reserve.” The most striking feature of the movement is its dark finish, which is dominated by a tungsten carbide rotor that is decorated with an exclusive ruthenium treatment, Côtes de Genève decoration, a cutout hourglass emblem and the company’s slogan “SEMPER FIDELIS” (“always loyal”) engraved in purple block capitals. Blacksand has set up an atelier in Carouge, on the outskirts of Geneva, in order to assemble the Uniformity models in-house. The first pieces will be delivered in the final quarter of 2011 at an entry-level price of CHF 9,800 – a




The private group of the Mouawad family has long been a major player in the luxury market, especially in the Middle East. Primarily active in the jewellery and diamond business, the group also launched its own watch collections, Robergé and Trebor. It was whilst working in the management of the Robergé brand that Alain Mouawad cut his teeth in watchmaking – an area of the group’s activities that had been his passion since childhood. “I was born into a jewellery family and our father pushed us to follow the family tradition,” Alain Mouawad admits. “It was always our father who had the ultimate say in the company. Furthermore, our main market was the Middle East and we always did what the market asked for. As a result I was never able to do what I wanted.” The turning point came in 2010, when Alain’s father Robert retired and his two brothers, Fred and Pascal, took over the reins of the family-owned group. This was the perfect opportunity for Alain Mouawad to go his separate way and set up his own brand.

Alain Mouawad

A strong product focus Blacksand’s debut collection is called Uniformity and features combinations of brushed and polished gold, tantalum, titanium and ceramic in a round 46mm diameter case with a classic three-hand display that is dominated by two unique wrap-around lugs. Great attention has been paid to developing a strong product that sets itself apart with a number of small but significant details.A double case back is secured

30 NEWCOMER europa star

figure Mouawad claims is their cost price after the original price was revised downwards in order to prove that the brand is “here to stay”. Production in the first year will be around 200 pieces, rising only gradually to 300 pieces next year.

The way forward Europe and the USA promise to be the brand’s main markets, according to Mouawad, since the Asian consumer is more brand-oriented and, after concentrating solely on the product, the company is only now starting to work on its communication. “We focus on the product,” he says, “and the product should speak for itself. Unfortunately, nowadays this is not enough and we need to guide people and focus their attention on the product.” In terms of distribution, Blacksand’s objectives are very clear. “The Uniformity is made for connoisseurs and collectors,” Mouawad says. “These people go to the top retailers, so

that is who we will be targeting. People who understand watch culture.” Future owners of the brand’s timepieces will be able to join the “Purple Club”, which – aside from allowing them to register their timepiece and benefit from a six-year warranty – will provide a discussion forum about the brand and offer priorities for limited editions. In addition, and given the limited production of the brand, Alain Mouawad even sees the possibility of offering a more personal service to customers. “For example,” he says, “if we know that a customer is coming to Geneva, we could recommend certain addresses or establishments to him.” For the medium term, Blacksand is already working on developing its own movement and, in the shorter term, is preparing new models for Baselworld 2012, which are set to include a single-pusher chronograph version of the Uniformity and a dedicated ladies’ model with a re-worked version of the case.


In addition to the jewellery version of the Uniformity shown above (on which the lugs are fully paved with 276 Top Wesselton diamonds totalling 3.60 carats), further jewellery models are planned, and a jumping hours model is also on the drawing board. It’s clear that Alain Mouawad is in no hurry to expand the brand and prefers instead to concentrate on producing a well thought-out, high-quality product in keeping with the company motto Semper Fidelis, which he interprets as being loyal to the Swiss watchmaking tradition. Despite launching the brand during a difficult economic period, he believes that, “If you’re determined and you are respectful in terms of philosophy and business transactions, then you have a place in today’s market.” O For more information about Blacksand click on Brand Index at





s LINK CALIBRE S by TAG Heuer The story of the TAG Heuer Link dates back to 1987 and the watch is now in its fourth generation. The new models sport a thinner and flatter case, a sophisticated, multi-level bezel and a new dial with distinctive vertical striations. The Calibre S model uses TAG Heuer’s patented electro-mechanical chronograph movement that displays elapsed time to 100th of a second. Stainless-steel case, 43mm diameter, sapphire crystal, black dial, stainless-steel bracelet. Water resistant to 100 metres.

i TONDA TRANSFORMA by Parmigiani The versatile Transforma model can be employed as a wristwatch, fob watch or a desk clock. Pressing on two lateral pushers releases a cover that allows the complete case middle to be removed and fitted either in a rounded steel fob watch holder or a high-quality ebony case for the desk clock, which also functions as a watch winder. The watch is fitted with the PF334 calibre ¼ second chronograph movement with small seconds and date. Stainless-steel case, 43mm diameter, sapphire crystal, silvered dial, black alligator leather strap. Water resistant to 30 metres.

f 1942 by Aerowatch This limited edition of 500 pieces features the 1942 case with a transparent case-back that reveals the self-winding Valjoux 7751 chronograph movement. In addition to the chronograph function with central seconds and totalisers at 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock, the 1942 Chronograph also has a full date display with day and month at 12 o’clock and the date displayed by a second central hand. Stainless-steel case, 42mm diameter, sapphire crystal, silvered dial and brown leather strap. Water resistant to 50 metres. p PAN EUROP CALIBRE H31 by Hamilton A re-edition of a 1971 model, the Pan Europ has been improved over the original with a new movement, the H31, which is based on the Valjoux 7753 and improved with a mirror-polished balance spring, a larger barrel (60-hour power reserve instead of 42 hours) and a personalised balance bridge decorated with an interconnected “H“ motif. Stainlesssteel case, 45mm diameter, sapphire crystal blue dial and brown leather strap. Water resistant to 100 metres.

GENEVA: T +41 22 703 4020 LONDON: T +44 207 602 4422 Enquiries:

34 ON THE SCENE europa star

Bédat & Co’s first ladies’ chronograph RPaul O’Neil


Bédat & Co. cleverly bypass the need to name their collections by using numbers for them. This has the advantage of making them easily memorable in any language. But beware – the collections are not numbered in the order in which they are launched, so the brand’s first collection was – quite illogically – the No. 3. This underscores the timelessness of the collections, however, since there are no clues, either in the design of a model or its appellation, that indicate its age relative to any other models that Bédat & Co. manufacture. The latest model in Bédat & Co’s No. 8 collection is also the company’s first ladies’ chronograph. Its stainless-steel case with polished bezel is set with 52 diamonds in a “snow” setting – a technique that uses different-sized tiny stones nestled close together to form a glistening carpet. The setting starts on the crown protector and at 3 o’clock on the case and then gradually peters out around the circumference of the bezel, disappearing com-

Ref. 315

pletely by 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock to provide a subtle transition as the eye glides across to the opaline guilloche dial with its Roman numerals and chronograph counters. The diamonds on the brand’s new Reference 315 in the No. 3 collection are equally striking but on this piece they cover every available surface on the tonneau case. A total of 390 “random” diamonds of different sizes are set on the stainless-steel case, with a further eight adorning the dial as hour markers, for a total weight of 3.955 carats. The opaline guilloche dial in this case has a pleasingly symmetrical triangle of numerals – Roman at 12 o’clock and 4 o’clock and the Bédat symbol, which consists of two opposing letters “B” forming a stylised 8, at 8 o’clock. Like all Bédat & Co. timepieces, these new references are supplied with the brand’s unique AOSC® certificate (Appellation d’Origine Suisse Certifiée, or Swiss Certified Label of Origin), which guarantees that the watch has been assembled in Switzerland using a case, movement, dial and hands manufactured in Switzerland. The AOSC® carries a five-year warranty against any technical defects. The Bédat symbol is also used as the company’s hallmark and is stamped on all components which conform to the AOSC® criteria.

After a dynamic 2010, in which Bédat & Co. breathed new life into its American distribution network (which now counts some 70 points of sale), the brand more recently started working with a new European distributor and so far this year has opened new doors in France, Israel, Portugal and Spain. Despite offering classic designs with an Art Deco theme, Bédat & Co. prove, with their proprietary certification and their novel system for naming collections, that they can be individualistic. The same applies to their sponsorship activities, which recently included the role as official partner of the European Junior Tennis Championships, where the brand awarded the winners, Roberto Carballes of Spain in the boys’ competition (who won both the singles and doubles titles) and Nastja Kolar from Slovenia with models from the No. 8 collection in order to inspire the champions of tomorrow. As part of its continued worldwide development, the brand has more recently opened an official website in Chinese ( to support its entry into the Chinese market, which will be one of its focal points for the near future. O For more information about Bédat & Co. click on Brand Index at

Ref. 830

Beyond imagination The CENTURY watch is a unique creation. Beyond its beauty, this jewel of time embodies pure technical mastery. Each CENTURY sapphire is cut and polished by hand.

Century Time Gems Ltd. Zihlstrasse 50 CH-2560 Nidau Switzerland Tel. +41 32 332 98 88

36 ON THE SCENE europa star

Emile Chouriet is a family firm with a difference Jean Depéry comes from a family which can trace its history in watchmaking back to the 1700s, yet he chose the name of one of his ancestors’ customers, Emile Chouriet, for the name of the watch brand he launched back in 1998.

RPaul O’Neil


But his company owes as much to Jean’s greatgreat-great-grandfather François Dagobert Depéry, a contemporary of Jean Antoine Lépine, who was working as a master watchmaker in Challex, just across the French border to the West of Geneva, as it does to Emile Chouriet. Emile Chouriet, like many other master watchmakers at the time, fled from France to Switzerland in 1685 to avoid religious persecution. As Jean Depéry explains, “A lot of watchmakers in the centre of Geneva in the early 1700s specialised in decoration and they worked with suppliers in the surrounding suburbs for their components. My great-greatgreat grandfather supplied Emile Chouriet with main plates and other components.” François Dagobert Depéry handed down his passion and knowledge of watchmaking to his family and it was undoubtedly with this passion in his blood that Jean Depéry started his studies in Neuchâtel to become a watchmaking engineer. Jean Depéry entered the watchmaking industry at the dawn of a new era and found himself designing very high-precision micro-mechanisms. He contributed to the development of the micro motor used in all quartz watches today and also developed and created his own tools for high-precision machining and for assessing the quality and reliability of components. Emile Chouriet has since been taken over by China’s Fiyta Group and it comes as no surprise, therefore, that China is by far the biggest


market for Emile Chouriet watches, accounting for a staggering 98 per cent of the brand’s sales. In China, Emile Chouriet watches are in 150 points of sale, of which 70 are Fiyta-owned Harmony World Watch Centre stores. There is also an Emile Chouriet flagship store in Ningbo, with another one planned to open in Shanghai by early 2012. Distribution in the rest of the world is spread – “anecdotally” according to Jean Depéry – across individual boutiques in Dubai, Doha (Qatar) and Lucerne (Switzerland). The distinctive design of Emile Chouriet watches is characterised by highly distinctive lugs, which are styled along the lines of the company’s winged-sceptre emblem and give the watch cases a unique personality. These lugs, which the company likens to a sculpted pair of falcon’s wings, feature prominently in the Les Ailes du Temps and Gold Prince models. More recently, Emile Chouriet has focused on complications and – after two years of development work – introduced an original display module developed and manufactured entirely in-house. The new “Catch the Moon” model

has a double display that changes to show daytime and night-time using two separate discs: one for 1am to 12pm and another for 1pm to midnight, using the 24-hour clock and subtly coloured to indicate day or night. The moon theme is reproduced on the black dial in the form of an applied crescent moon with 10 scattered diamonds representing the night sky. Emile Chouriet covers a broad price range, offering watches from CHF 300 to CHF 70,000 with an average price of CHF 1500. These are currently assembled at the company’s workshop in Nyon, with the head office in the centre of Geneva. But new premises have recently been acquired in an industrial area in Zimeysa, outside the centre of the Geneva, where everything will be grouped under the same roof from early next year, which will put the company only a short drive away from where François Dagobert Depéry produced his components over 300 years ago. O For more information about Emile Chouriet click on Brand Index at

Master Series


Treasure the past, embrace the future

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


A girl’s best friend These latest offerings for ladies show the innumerable ways in which diamonds can enhance a timepiece, from the subtle to the ostentatious. Whether it’s a diamond-studded upgrade to successful men’s watches or models developed specifically for women, there is something to suit the most eclectic tastes. And while some brands seek to dazzle with maximum bling, the refined craftsmen at Breguet, for example, go their own way and reduce their Reine de Naples watch to the essential.

i TRUE THINLINE by Rado Rado serves up a feast of neologisms with its True Thinline model, referring to the “thinness” of the case (4.9mm) and the “bleisure” (combination of business and leisure) segment that the watch is designed to appeal to. The True Thinline is nothing less than the world’s thinnest hightech ceramic watch, presented in black or white with subtle touches of gold and diamonds, as seen here on the Jubilé version in white with diamond-set hour markers. Also available in black with ceramic bracelet or rubber strap and with quartz or self-winding mechanical movements.

i FORMULA 1 LADY STEEL AND CERAMIC by TAG Heuer To coincide with its celebration of 150 years of motorsport, TAG Heuer presents a version of its ladies’ Formula 1 watch set with diamonds. The precious stones radiate from the heart of the watch, with 54 Wesselton diamonds at the centre surrounded by 10 diamond hour markers and a further 84 Wesselton diamonds on the bezel, interspersed with high-quality polished black ceramic inserts, for a total of 148 stones (0.65 ct). 37mm diameter case in polished stainless steel, water resistant to 200 metres. ETA F05.111 quartz movement with date at 3 o’clock.

f VIII by Dior Among the vast choice of bezels available on the Dior VIII range is this striking version set with green baguette-cut tsavorite garnet, the movement of which has a matching green lacquered oscillating weight visible through the transparent case-back. The shimmer of green offers a stark contrast to the black ceramic case and bracelet and the black lacquered dial, which has a central ring of diamonds. The Dior VIII is available in two case sizes (33mm and 38mm) with a choice of quartz or self-winding movements.

p CLASS ONE TITANE DEEP by Chaumet The latest versions of Chaumet’s jewellery divers watch come in vibrant shades of titanium, obtained from a unique anodising process developed by the brand. The Titane One Deep bears all the hallmarks of the brand’s nautical heritage, from the grooved bezel resembling a lifebuoy to the vulcanised rubber strap (available in white or colour to match the case). It also retains the typical divers watch features such as a uni-directional rotating bezel and screw-in crown, guaranteeing water-resistance to 100 metres. 33mm case in grade 2 titanium, grooved bezel with engraved minute markers or hour markers in the form of a baton of three diamonds. ETA 256 111 H3 quartz movement.

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f MEDITERRANEAN EDEN by Bulgari In this fantasy version, whose name evokes the brand’s geographical origins and inspiration, the hour markers on the mother-of-pearl dial are replaced with a delicate floral motif featuring stylised petals enhanced with brilliant-cut diamonds. 33 mm stainless-steel case with an 18-carat red gold bezel, white alligator strap, self-winding mechanical movement. Also available as a 37 mm diameter version with a steel or steel/gold case.

i FIABA by Maurice Lacroix The face-lifted Fiaba collection has an elegantly-curved rectangular case in polished stainless steel that is designed to fit the wearer’s wrist perfectly. Bold diamond-polished applied Roman numerals dominate the dial on a satin-finished vertical band, which is flanked on either side by five Top Wesselton diamonds (total 0.068 ct). The Fiaba has a polished three-link stainless-steel bracelet and is powered by a quartz movement. Also available with a case set with 58 diamonds or in yellow PVD and with black, silvered or mother-of-pearl dials.

i HERITAGE ULTRA THIN LADY MOONPHASE by Zenith The Elite 692 calibre self-winding movement powering Zenith’s latest offering for ladies measures only 3.97mm in thickness, yet nevertheless houses a moonphase complication. The unusual asymmetric configuration on the mother-of-pearl dial places the moonphase at 6 o’clock and the small seconds dial at 9 o’clock. The dial carries 11 VS brilliant-cut diamonds as hour markers, with a further 72 VS brilliantcut diamonds adorning the bezel (total 0.5 ct). 18-carat red-gold case, 33mm diameter with shiny brown alligator leather strap and 18-carat gold pin buckle. Zenith Elite 692 self-winding calibre with 27 jewels, 50 hours power reserve. p DS PODIUM DIAMONDS by Certina The jewellery version of Certina’s Double Security (DS) model has a rose-gold PVD coating on a stainless-steel case and a bezel set with 60 Top Wesselton diamonds (0.465 ct) to mark the passing hours. It has a brown sunray dial and matching snakeskin-finish brown leather strap. The chronograph is powered by the ETA 251.471 quartz calibre and displays elapsed time to within 1/10th of a second. Also available in stainless steel with a white mother-of-pearl dial and a choice of stainless-steel bracelet or white leather strap.

f REINE DE NAPLES by Breguet The latest incarnation of Breguet’s iconic Reine de Naples watch is in stainless steel – a major novelty for a timepiece that was hitherto available only with a flashy gold case studded with diamonds. The case of the stainless-steel version has been enlarged slightly and now measures 43.75 by 35.50mm and bears the trademark grooved case middle. Its mother-of-pearl dial is characterised by oversized Arabic numerals at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock as well as off-centre hands. Breguet calibre 591C self-winding mechanical movement with a 38-hour power reserve. Balance spring, pallets and escape wheel in silicium, Breguet balance wheel. Grey alligator leather strap with steel foldover clasp. Also available with blue dial and matching blue alligator leather strap.

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Glashütte, cradle of German haute horlogerie RPierre Maillard


On the borders of Switzerland, Germany has always been a great watchmaking nation. It has two main areas—one in the southern part of the nation in the Black Forest, and one in the northeast, in the Dresden region of Saxony. Here, most of the watch industry has historically been concentrated in Glashütte, a village located in a small valley, far from the large commercial thoroughfares. It is interesting to note the many parallels between Glashütte and the cradle of Swiss timekeeping in the Vallée de Joux or in the Jurassian arc—the same isolation, the same hard-working population, the same mountainous environment. But, the similarities end here because, at Glashütte, watchmaking began more than a century later than it did in the Vallée de Joux. In 1845, Ferdinand A. Lange and others, such as Julius Assmann, Adolf Schneider, and Moritz Grossmann, laid the foundations of watchmaking in Glashütte. From the beginning, the main objective, following the traditions established in Dresden, was to produce scientific instruments. For these pioneers, it was, above all, the German notion of “precision” that was important. The aesthetic approach would not take on such importance until much later, around 1870. Contrary to Switzerland, however, which was spared history’s dramatic upheavals, Germany suffered many crises, wars, and governmental changes. And, on a number of occasions, Glashütte nearly disappeared from the timekeeping map. After World War I came the devastating economic crisis, and then following World War II, the communist regime took over in Eastern Germany and converted all the established companies, orienting watch manufacturing towards mass-produced watches for the low-end market. Despite these obstacles, however, Glashütte raised its head and, in the same manner as Lange & Söhne, Glashütte Original, and Tutima, the city rose from the ashes. Over this time, the links between Glashütte and Switzerland have been prosperous and complex. Until the 1920s, the Swiss delivered complicated movements to Glashütte, where watchmakers excelled (to the point that the Swiss made fake watches signed Glashütte, to which the Germans added the term “Original”). But during the destructive economic crisis, the Swiss cut all supply to the Germans in order to protect their own production. During the 1930s, the exchanges again resumed, and the “saviour” of Glashütte, Dr. Ernst Kurtz, purchased equipment from the Swiss watchmakers and organised transfers of knowledge so well that he was able to break the Swiss monopoly, especially in the domain of chronographs. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was again the Swiss who would help with the rebirth of Saxon haute horlogerie. A German, Günter Blümlein, relaunched the activities of Lange by drawing on the savoir-faire of Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC, which he managed, but which belonged at that time to the large German enterprise Mannesmann, who sold it to the Richemont group. Later, the Swatch Group took over Glashütte Original. The result of this amazing acquisition is the very lovely Deutsche Uhren Museum, located in Glashütte and inaugurated in 2006, subtitled with the name of its founder: Nicolas G. Hayek. History is a perpetual repeater! O

The postal milestone from 1734 in the centre of Glashütte.

An elected official or a part in a striking watch?

Discover the world of Fine Watchmaking at

The Foundation’s Partners : A. Lange & Söhne | Antoine Preziuso | Audemars Piguet | Baume & Mercier | Bovet | Cartier | Chanel | Chopard | Corum | Fédération de l’industrie horlogère suisse | Girard-Perregaux | Greubel Forsey | Harry Winston | Hermès | Hublot | IWC | Jaeger-LeCoultre | JeanRichard | Montblanc Musée d’art et d’histoire de Genève | Musée d’Horlogerie Beyer, Zürich | Musée d’horlogerie du Locle, Château-des-Monts | Musée international d’horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds | Panerai | Parmigiani | Perrelet | Piaget | Richard Mille | Roger Dubuis | TAG Heuer | Vacheron Constantin | Van Cleef & Arpels | Zenith

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The Lange Akademie, getting to know the tree and its roots RPierre Maillard


Every self-respecting brand seeks to train, as well as possible, their most influential “ambassadors”—those individuals who, by virtue of being in the stores, are in direct contact with the “real” client. This is very important because the final buying decision often depends upon the slightest “detail” that will make all the difference. It is necessary, therefore, for a salesperson to know and appreciate the critical subtleties and then understand how to convey them to the final client.

This understanding is even more important in the case of A. Lange & Söhne, since its offer may seem, at first glance, to be composed of rather severe styles for a client who has not yet been initiated into the mysteries of Haute Horlogerie. Beyond the classic appearance, the main attraction and the decisive advantages of the Saxon brand are the small and often invisible details—both technical and aesthetic—that make a big difference. So, to truly understand the importance of these details, and thus to be able to clearly communicate them, academic teaching and learning is simply not enough. What is necessary is to have a real experience with the watches— to meet the watchmakers, to talk with the designers and the engineers, to sit down at a workbench and handle the pliers, screwdrivers,

and other tools, and even to try to assemble a movement, polish a setting, engrave a balancecock, create a blued screw, mount a spring, plus so much more. And, very importantly, it is necessary to understand the particular spirit of the manufacture, to have an in-depth understanding of its history and the context of its birth, growth, and expansion. In short, it is essential to travel to Glashütte and breathe the air of the Saxon brand—to get to know the tree and its roots.

Ambassadors, coaches, and experts This mission to transmit knowledge, mainly by providing concrete experiences to the brand’s agents, has been entrusted to the A. Lange & Söhne Akademie, located in Glashütte.

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the courses award participants a “title”. The first is “Lange Ambassador”, followed by the “Lange Coach” and finally “Lange Expert”. Entirely supported by the Saxon manufacture, this in-depth training is aimed primarily at all the brand’s dealers, each of whom is expected to have an “Ambassador” or even an “Expert” in their employ. Today, around the world, there are approximately 300 certified “Lange Ambassadors” who have passed at least the first stage of this continuous training programme, and 62 “Lange Experts” who have successfully completed the entire training cycle. Directed by Joanna Gribben-Lange, the Akademie is much more than a conventional course or a simple type of internship or a sales and training seminar. It is all about providing a true “immersion” into the heart of the Glashütte manufacture. Designed in several phases that can take two to three years,

First phase: immersion The first phase—which we experienced ourselves last June (Lange has recently opened the Akademie to watch trade journalists and collectors)—is conducted over three days. The full and concentrated program begins with a very detailed and well-presented visit to the


manufacture. Here, the “intern” witnesses all the successive steps in the creation of a watch, starting with the fabrication of the component parts (most are produced by an impressive bank of wire-electroerosion machines since there is no stamping at Lange). Following this is the rare privilege of viewing the production of springs that Lange has mastered since 2003. Next is the assembly section (each movement is assembled and adjusted two times by hand, the first time before the final decoration) followed by placing the movement into the case. During the entire procedure, the accent is placed on the uncompromising quality control tests during the various phases of production (for example, you have to see for yourself the terrible “hammer” that violently hits the watches, knocking them into a wall). The grand finale of this first immersion is the excellent finishing department, where 70 out of the 470 employees deal only with the final finishing of the Lange timepieces. Without exception, every watch undergoes this step, whether it is flat polishing (from 20 minutes to several hours depending on the parts) or bevelling or chamfering. The technicians who carry out these operations have been specifically trained in these techniques for a minimum of two years (and this includes a few secret methods such as the brand’s special abrasive compound or the hardwoods found in the area). Three years of training are required to achieve the status of engraver. At Lange, six engravers systematically hand-engrave all the balancecocks that equip Lange watches, as well as the Production of springs

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bridges (the materials mainly used are “honey gold”, a special alloy created for Lange, which is harder than platinum, and nickel silver).

From the workbench to the roots Yet, the practical exercises are the ones that really add spice to the experience. This means participating in the actual assembly of the timepiece as well as in its polishing and engraving—which drives home the point that these tasks are indeed difficult. You only need to attempt to polish a “simple” gold setting and then screw it into position to understand that the road to perfection is long, in fact, very long. Particularly proud of my own polishing of the famous setting, of which I carefully observed the quality using a loupe, it was made quite clear to me that much remained to be done when the instructor returned it, noting that five or six grooves and scratches still remained. Although these scratches were

Coach and then finally expert

knowledge during three sessions spread out over a year. Assisted by the person responsible for their market, with specific educational material, the duties of the “Ambassadors” are to teach their own colleagues about the Lange universe, thus entitling them to ultimately become “Lange Coaches”. The third phase, upon return to the Glashütte manufacture, is to finally achieve the status of “Lange Expert”. Three days are devoted to deepening the already acquired knowledge, and include discussions of precise points with the designers, developers, and master watchmakers. Moreover, the basic watch training, focusing notably on functions and complications, is taken to a new level. Finally, the Akademie offers personalised coaching dealing with sales strategies. At the end of this course, the candidates finally become members of the exclusive club of “Lange Experts”. As full members, they will then participate in specific courses and demonstrations, and will become recognised spokespeople for the brand. The brand’s objective of all this is two-fold: train “Lange Flag Bearers” who are capable of transmitting the “flame” of the brand; and, in return, have, as spokespeople, trained men and women who are in the field every day, and who can transmit back important information to the brand. It is an Akademie for everyone, in a manner of speaking. O

In the second phase of the Akademie’s training course, the new “Lange Ambassadors” must practice transmitting their new-found

For more information about A. Lange & Söhne click on Brand Index at

totally invisible to me, the instructor pointed them out under a specific angle of the light. This practical immersion into the minuscule universe of the watchmaker really opens the eyes of anyone involved in it. I know that, from now on, I will never look at a watch in the same way. The third aspect of this first phase—not less important since it explains the historical roots of this very special Saxon timekeeping art— consists of visiting the places, notably in Dresden, which evoke the scientific works and artisanal masterpieces that have been the glory of Saxony and that are the basis of the current watchmaking renewal. It is a trip back to the roots, so to speak.

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Tutima’s “hommage” as a symbol of its new ambitions RPierre Maillard


The Tutima brand has just presented the first totally German-made minute repeater, and never before realised in the city of Glashütte, where it recently re-established a new small manufacture. Its name is the “Tutima Hommage Minute Repeater”. Why and how did this brand, known above all for its aviator and sports watches, decide to launch into the creation of a watch as complicated and sophisticated as a minute repeater? To better understand the reasons, let’s take a few steps back to the year 1927.

A visionary At the end of the First World War, Germany was in a full crisis situation. The watch industry based in Glashütte suffered dramatically and only Lange and one or two other brands were successful in staying afloat on the troubled waters. The DPUG cooperative (for Deutsche Präzisions-Uhrenfabrik Glashütte), which tried to regroup the surviving watch companies, was created in 1918, but in the mid-1920s, it went bankrupt. In 1927, the DPUG was taken over by a bank cooperative, which founded UROFA and UFAG and the then 26-year old Dr. Ernst Kurtz was appointed to manage UROFA. Kurtz was a visionary. He decided to cease all production of pocket watches and to industrialise the profession. His strategy was to divide the activities into two parts. On one side, a company would produce the movements, while on the other side, another company would place them into the cases. Importantly, the brands began to commercialise this pro-

duction with good quality watches that were also affordable in keeping with Kurtz’s vision. The focus was therefore placed on precision and reliability, and quality standards were raised. Two basic movements were designed: the Calibre 58, a form movement called “Raumnutzwerk”, and the Calibre 59, a round movement that would give birth to the first completely German flyback chronograph, thus breaking the Swiss monopoly. Around 1935, among the other brands, Kurtz created Tutima (from the Latin tutus, tutissima, which means “protected”). Tutima was destined to receive the best of what came out of Glashütte, in particular the new Calibre UROFA 59. Tutima’s “Fliegerchronograph”, seen as the absolute reference in the domain of the pilot’s watch, would be produced in the quantity of 30,000 pieces, and would become the watch of the Luftwaffe.

TUTIMA HOMMAGE MINUTE REPEATER Mechanical with hand-winding movement. Diameter: 32 mm. Height: 7.2 mm. 42 jewels, three of which are set in screw-mounted gold chatons. Escapement: screw balance with 14 gold weighted screws and 4 regulating screws in slotted, threaded holes; free-sprung Breguet balance spring, pallets lever with domed pallets. Balance frequency: 21,600 vibrations per hour (3 hertz). Power reserve: 72 hours. Special features: gold-plated, matte flat parts; Glashütte three-quarter plate; hand-engraved balance cock with relief engraving; winding wheels with click and sunburst polishing, all 550 movement parts hand-finished, all additional parts for the minute repeater bear a Glashütte tin-polished mirror surface. Functions: hours, minutes, subsidiary seconds, hour, quarter hour, and minute repeater on two gongs spaced by a third and secured to the watch case for optimal sound quality. Case: rose gold or platinum, diameter 43 mm, height 13.4 mm; anti-reflective coating on both sides of the sapphire crystal; case back with Tutima logo and sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. Dial: solid gold, finely silverplated (for the platinum and five of the rose gold versions reduced to a narrow ring around the perimeter); handcrafted hands in gold or blued steel. Strap: alligator skin, buckle in rose gold or platinum. Price: in rose gold, limited edition of 20 pieces, five versions with a narrow ring around the perimeter instead of a full dial (€168,000). In platinum, limited to five pieces (€179,000).

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Tutima goes West At the end of the Second World War, in 1945, Ernst Kurtz decided to relocate to the West ahead of the advancing Soviet army. (In fact, Kurtz earlier found himself in trouble with the Nazis because he had tried everything to keep his young watchmakers out of the army, and was imprisoned by the Gestapo for a brief time). His dream was to re-create “Glashütte”, first under his own name and then under the name of Tutima. But, despite the tens of millions of movements that he succeeded in producing in the following years, the affair collapsed and, in 1959, the banks forced him to close up shop. In the early 1960s, a former employee named Dieter Delecate acquired Tutima, with the intention of remaking the brand’s famous pilot’s watch. To achieve his goal, he redesigned the timepiece and sold it on the professional market. At the beginning of the 1980s, it became the official watch of the Bundeswehr and of NATO.

Return to Glashütte In 2005, Dieter Delecate—still at the head of Tutima today—decided to return partially to the place of the brand’s birth. A building was

found and restored in Glashütte, and a master watchmaker named Rolf Lang was hired. A person of vast experience in watchmaking, Lang was also a former curator of the famous “Salon of Mathematics and Physics” at the baroque Zwinger Palace in Dresden, which houses some of the most important historical timekeepers in the world. Delecate asked Lang to design a watch that would pay homage to the glorious past of Glashütte, in general, and to Dr. Kurtz, in particular. Since no entirely original minute repeater had ever been designed and produced in Glashütte (the minute repeater pocket watches coming out of Glashütte factories were made with Swiss component parts), the decision was made to try to make one. In 2007, several young watchmakers were hired and in 2011, the brand introduced the Tutima Hommage Minute Repeater. Twenty-five pieces of the Hommage line will be produced in all, of which 15 will have a plain dial and 10 will have a skeleton dial. The piece’s 550 component parts, including pallets, pallets wheel, barrel spring, etc., are all made in-house. The only exception is the balance spring.

Becoming the German sports brand As Frank Müller (not to be confused with another famous man/brand of the same name), the former CEO of Glashütte Original and now a consultant for Tutima (Müller is also the designer of the wonderful German Watch Museum in Glashütte, requested in his time by Nicolas Hayek, since Glashütte Original is in the Swatch Group stable of brands. For more information on Glashütte Original, see the article in this issue by Timm Delfs), explains, “the Tutima Hommage Minute Repeater is an example of the brand’s watchmaking savoir-faire.” This spectacular minute repeater, which will be followed by other important realisations, should not make one forget that Tutima’s goal is to essentially become “the reference in the area of German sports watches”. By “German”, it is clear that Tutima intends to fully return to its historical roots. After the present transition phase, the brand’s declared objective is, over time, to produce basic calibres that are 100per cent Tutima. These will be affordable movements but of a high “Made in Germany” quality, with the intention of having them entirely made in Glashütte. Although the city’s industrial fabric was badly ravaged by the war, followed by the communist period, it is undergoing reconstruction. Tutima’s goal, as bold and daring as it is, aligns closely with the history of Glashütte. From the beginning of the watchmaking industry in this Saxon valley, the aim has been to make true precision instruments that, as Dr. Kurtz showed in his time, combine quality and affordable prices. This is a challenge that Tutima, encouraged by its fully re-found watchmaking legitimacy, intends to fully master. O For more information about Tutima click on Brand Index at

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The Original from Glashütte If you believe that fine watches necessarily need to come from Switzerland, then you are mistaken. The small hamlet of Glashütte near Dresden in eastern Germany is home to the Glashütte Original manufacture, where mechanical masterpieces are made.

RTimm Delfs

raid. The post-war rebirth of free enterprise was stopped again by expropriation through the SED-regime in 1951.


Who in Switzerland would have thought at the beginning of the nineties that one day the Swiss watch brands might face serious competition from Germany? Until then, Germany had been a reliable exporter of cheap quartz clocks and ultra-precise radio-controlled watches. The field of fine mechanical watches, however, had been left to the Swiss alone. With the German reunification in 1990, however, memories came back that near Dresden there had once been a small town with a watch industry that, in its heyday, had been comparable to that of La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Making watches to fight poverty We are talking about Glashütte, about 50 kilometres east of Dresden, a town in the shape of the letter “T” due to the two valleys of the Priessnitz and the Müglitz rivers that meet there at right angles. The name Glashütte has nothing to do with glass, but derives from the silver ore that had been found and processed there in earlier days. When the mines were exhausted in the middle of the 16th century and neighbouring countries started to offer cheaper ore, Glashütte and its surroundings were hit by severe depression. Unemployment and hunger spread. It was only in the 19th century that help came from the city of Dresden. It arrived in the shape of a watchmaker. Ferdinand Adolf Lange (1815-1875) had completed his apprenticeship with the watchmaker of Dresden’s court, Johann Friedrich Gutkaes, then took to the road and perfected

Phoenix from the ashes

what he had learnt with Josef Taddäus Winnerl in Paris. Upon his return he married his master’s daughter and applied to the state proposing that he might be able to help Glashütte by establishing a watch industry there. To his surprise he received a grant, and went on to teach unemployed farmers and miners to become watchmakers. The fact that Lange actually succeeded in making watchmakers out of his “students” must still be regarded as a miracle. He even encouraged them to become entrepreneurs by founding small enterprises producing spare parts. In the course of the years some of the subcontractors developed into watch brands that competed with each other and Lange’s own company, F. A. Lange & Söhne, pushing quality ever higher. Among them there was one brand that simply had “Glashütte Original” embossed on its dials. But World War II brought prosperity to a halt. The watch industry was forced to produce instruments for planes and time fuses for bombs. That is why Glashütte’s watch industry was destroyed toward the end of the war by a devastating Soviet air

For forty years the VEB (Volkseigener Betrieb or “people-owned enterprise”) Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb had produced cheap watches for the communist market. It had developed its own quartz calibre and an automatic movement, the Spezimatic. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the company’s entire infrastructure, including an ugly building from 1989, was put up for sale. It was the Bavarian businessman Heinz W. Pfeifer who recognised the potential of this factory that contained the machinery and the workforce to produce movements from scratch. In 1990 he bought the complex and revived the name Glashütte Original. In the company’s registered name Glashütter Uhrenbetrieb GmbH the spirit of the GDR continues to resound. Its marker “GUB” is still found engraved in the base plates of the movements. In the course of


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only a few years Pfeifer turned into reality his dream of an autonomous manufacture producing watches with the traits that to him were typically German. His watches had to be heavy and edgy, just like German cars had been in the seventies. To the delight of collectors, in 1996 Pfeifer revived another brand whose name he had bought with the package: Union Glashütte. These watches were cheaper in material and make, but they contained exclusive manufacture movements, otherwise only found in Glashütte Original watches. In 2000 the Swatch Group bought Glashütte Original in the shadow of the battle for Les Manufactures Horlogères (IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Lange). Pfeifer remained CEO until he was replaced by Frank Müller in 2002. In 2008, Müller was replaced by Günter Wiegand, who had been with the brand since 1982 and had thus seen most of its ups and downs.

The manufacture is characterised by its high production intensity which can be seen in the great variety of in-house movements that all bear the typical Glashütte characteristics: the ¾ top plate instead of separate bridges, swan’sneck adjuster, gold settings and, in some

cases, hand-engraved cocks for the balancewheel. When touring the production workshops with visitors, Günter Wiegand invariably reminds them to “count the lathes and milling machines, and tell me if you see a similar quantity in any other manufacture”. Apart from the regulating organ every movement component is produced here, even the screws and gears. Being a part of the Swatch Group of course helps getting the missing components like balance springs, balance wheels and escapements. In many cases the dials, which are made with great care, are equipped with the so-called “Panoramadatum”, a patented



A true manufacture

king-size date which is Glashütte Original’s answer to Lange’s big date.

Wide range of models As opposed to Lange, Glashütte Original offers a wide range of different models and prices. From an attractive entry line with stainlesssteel cases to highly complicated watches, some of which are lushly set with gems, Glashütte Original offers models for any budget and taste. The company’s master watchmakers are particularly proud of one of their specialities: the flying tourbillon developed according to plans drawn up by Alfred Helwig, a local watchmaker responsible for many revolutionary inventions of the thirties and forties. Since the takeover by the Swatch Group the original lines have been subject to a gradual facelift, making them fitter for an international market. New lines have been added, of which the “Sixties” is especially noteworthy because it recalls some of the models produced in the GDR era. To the dismay of some collectors the name “Union Glashütte”, together with its affordable models, disappeared soon after the Swatch Group had taken the reins at Glashütte Original. It only re-emerged in 2008, completely redesigned and equipped with modified ETAcalibres that are assembled in Glashütte. O For more information about Glashütte Original click on Brand Index at

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Nomos, doing things differently A recent history

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At Baselworld 2010 the German watch brand NOMOS from Glashütte surprised a lot of people and irritated others with their brandnew booth. The two-storey construction had an outside staircase, which seemingly had been demolished before the fair had even started (see the photo above). What struck observers even more was that this didn’t seem to bother anybody in the booth. Everybody was beaming at customers and passers-by. Even on the gallery busy people were to be spotted. What had happened? Nomos, for the first time in 16 years at Baselworld, had been allotted a spot amidst the other brands on the first floor of Hall 1. Before that they had invariably been found along the fringes, next to a bar and an emergency exit. However, to be able to move they had to completely abandon their booth and build something new, on two storeys. Brands around them, they were told by the management of the fair, had complained about their booth not meeting the standards of luxury. The demolished staircase was a mischievous nod at the fair’s obsession with regulating the tiniest detail.

Can a brand have a sense of humour? It’s pretty rare in the watch industry, but Nomos definitely has one. At the heart of it is Roland Schwertner from Düsseldorf, who founded the brand just two years after the German reunification in 1991. Originally, Schwertner, born in 1953, had nothing to do with watches. The

Nomos Encyclopaedia, issued in 2006 instead of a catalogue, mentions that he had been a “freight-forwarder, computer expert, dropout and fashion photographer and holder of an MBA”. Schwertner did have a good sense of business. The first thing he did was to buy names of watch brands that had been great once upon a time. Later he would give one of them to a business friend who helped him setting up the right contacts with sub-contractors in Switzerland: Günter Blümlein. There was one name he liked particularly. It was Nomos, the Greek word for law. There had been a brand of that name in the first ten years of the 20th century, which had had a brilliant mar-

keting idea, sending watches to famous writers and composers and asking them to give a written response to the timepiece. What the persons in question didn’t know: the brand would publish their letters as advertisements in some of the best-selling magazines. Communication is something that Nomos has been doing differently from its competitors since its start twenty years ago. Instead of an external PR agency the brand has its own staff of writers, journalists, photographers and graphic designers, most of whom are freelancers. But let’s talk about the product. Schwertner started off in a rented flat with three local watchmakers. He bought most of the components in Switzerland. German designer Susanne Günther drew the brand’s first model “Tangente”, which has since become an icon. It’s as simple as any child imagines a watch, with its two blued hands, large numerals and almost immaterial case. Before long Schwertner ran into trouble with some of his neighbours who had started off with more capital and were able to produce a significant percentage of the contents of their watches in Glashütte. They wanted to prevent him from mentioning the word “Glashütte” on the dial.

The brand’s special station Schwertner invariably chuckles when he lets his mind wander to the small beginnings. Nomos has grown into one of the most renowned

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put them into the cases, a building at the opposite end of the village that used to belong to a jewellery manufacturer was purchased. It overlooks the entire village and guarantees the watchmakers peace and quiet for their delicate work.

Bauhaus understatement


manufacturers in Glashütte and is proud to have done so without the support of a group and without running into debts. The secret was simply to grow slowly but steadily, without the extravaganzas some other brands spent a lot of money on. According to their Encyclopaedia again the Nomos pricing principle goes like this: “material plus labour and (almost) nothing else”. This is why there are no big adverts to be seen anywhere. As Nomos started to integrate more and more of its production, the need for space constantly grew. Most of the bigger buildings were already occupied by Glashütte Original and Lange & Söhne. So Nomos went for the railway station that had been closed since the Deutsche Bahn had taken over, and got it. It is now completely renovated and acts as the heart of the manufacture. It contains the offices of the management, the shipping office and the computer controlled machines for the production of base plates and bridges as well as lathes to turn small axles on. The movement design offices are on the first floor, where Mirko Heyne, who gave Nomos its first in-house self-winding calibre, is busy developing new calibres and

complications. There’s even an experimental high-end laboratory. Situated up in the station’s signal box it is isolated from the rest of the world to guarantee the watchmakers there the peace their Swiss colleagues find watching the green meadows of the Vallée de Joux. “Highend?”, one might be inclined to ask now. Well, it was Nomos who developed the tourbillon movement for Wempe after all. As they still needed space for the watchmakers who assemble the movements, test them and


Nomos watches are characterised by their obvious understatement. Most of the models feature nothing but indications for hours, minutes and a small seconds hand. For years the collection was based on the initial models, the Bauhaus-style Tangente, the square Tetra, the classic Ludwig and the rounded Orion. Changes took place mainly inside the case. Originally the models had been equipped with a practically unchanged Peuseux calibre, which over the years became more and more customised until it resulted in an in-house movement bearing the typical Glashütte characteristics of ¾ upper plate and a specially shaped cock. The first selfwinding calibre was launched in 2005 and the first complication – a world timer – in 2010. A new design line was introduced in 2009. It is called “Zürich” because this is the city where the offices of Swiss designer Hannes Wettstein were based. Sadly, Wettstein died of cancer before his model saw the light of day. O For more information about Nomos click on Brand Index at


Our Master Watchmaker never loses his concentration With his legendary concentration and 45 years of experience our Master Watchmaker ensures that we take our waterproofing rather seriously. Gilbert O. Gudjonsson, our Master Watchmaker and renowned craftsman, inspects every single timepiece before it leaves our workshop. As a privately owned and operated company, we have the opportunity and duty to give all our timepieces the personal attention they deserve.

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The 150th Anniversary of Junghans RPaul O’Neil


Some 650km south-west of Germany’s watchmaking hub in Glashütte, nestled in the Black Forest, lies the town of Schramberg – the home of what was once the world’s biggest watch and clock manufacturer, the Uhrenfabrik Junghans GmbH & Co. KG. After being rescued from the brink of bankruptcy in 2009 by local businessman Dr. Hans-Jochem Steim, the then CEO of the Schramberg-based KernLiebers group, Junghans this year celebrates its 150th anniversary.

The rebirth of a giant The company takes its name from Erhard Junghans, who founded it with his brotherin-law Jakob Zeller-Tobler in 1861. Although Junghans initially concentrated on the production of components for the famous clocks of the Black Forest region, the company soon came to master the entire production process, producing its first timepieces only five years after its launch. “The location of Schramberg was chosen for strategic reasons over 150 years ago. In addi-

Matthias Stotz

tion to the town being close to the watchmakers in the Black Forest, the availability of a power supply was also important,” says Matthias Stotz, CEO of Junghans. “The size and renown of Schramberg is closely linked to the production of Junghans watches. History has shown that many of the developments that revolutionised German watchmaking originated here.” By 1903, Junghans had a workforce of 3,000 and was selling three million watches per year, making it the largest watch factory in the world at the time. The company launched its legendary Meister collection in the 1930s and, after surviving the Second World War intact (the company infrastructure was undamaged, despite Junghans being a supplier of fuses and onboard clocks for the German army), the factory became the biggest manufacturer of chronometers in Germany during the 1950s. By 1956, the year in which Junghans was taken over by the Diehl Group, the company had grown to be the world’s third biggest

producer of chronometers, selling 10,000 pieces in what became the company’s peak year, behind Omega and Rolex. As befits such a watchmaking giant, Junghans was also involved in sports timekeeping and the development of quartz technology. It was thanks to this that Junghans was able to launch its first quartz wristwatch in 1970. The company even became one of the few watch brands to reach the pinnacle of sports timekeeping and act as one of the official timekeepers of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. But by the mid-1970s it was this very quartz The Junghans workshops in 1920 and 2011

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technology that was threatening the traditional mechanical watch manufacture. In 1976 Junghans ceased its mechanical timepiece production in favour of quartz technology, with the launch of the company’s first quartz chronometer one year later – as a high-end timepiece – seemingly making mechanical chronometers superfluous.

Pioneering radio reception technology In the 1980s Junghans became a pioneer in a field for which it is perhaps most remembered MEGA FUTURA

today. Starting in 1985 with the use of radio waves to control highly precise clocks using the time signal transmitted from the atomic clock at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), the German National Metrology Institute in Braunschweig, and followed one year later by a solar-powered version, the technology was refined until it could fit into a digital quartz watch, which was launched under the name Mega 1 in 1990 and became the world’s first radio-controlled watch. Today, the brand’s heritage in ultra-accurate timekeeping lives on in the current collection SPEKTRUM

with the Mega Futura – a purely digital timekeeper with a radio-controlled movement (J604.90) with autoscan and FSTN (Film Super Twisted Nematic LCD) technology that automatically adjusts the contrast of the digital display. The Spektrum models offer a more classic three-hand analogue design but with a digital big date display and a solar-powered radio-controlled movement (J615.84) that has a power reserve of 21 months – more than enough to cope with long winter nights.

A return to traditional values The Erhard Junghans 2 model celebrates the brand’s 150-year anniversary in a truly exclusive fashion as a limited edition of only 12 pieces, each of which is both identified and rendered unique by a discreet change on the dial: the German abbreviation for “number” (Nr) replaces the Arabic numeral in the spot corresponding to the limited number of the watch. Beneath the classic exterior in 18-carat red gold beats a heart that illustrates the strength of this Black Forest company’s watchmaking potential. The new hand-wound J330 chronometer calibre features a blue balance spring produced by Schramberg’s Carl Haas company [see sidebar on next page]. The re-focus on mechanical timepieces is also apparent in the brand’s Meister line, as well

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as the Max Bill by Junghans collection. Seen in its entirety, the Junghans collection offers a unique product offering. “In addition to mechanical watches, Junghans offers modern technologies such as radio, solar and quartz like no other brand in the world. This special product mix allows us to adapt the brand easily to the local conditions in individual markets,” Matthias Stotz explains.

A promising future Over the past two years, Junghans has recorded double-digit growth in sales in percentage terms and has made a profit. In anticipation of further growth, production capacities have been increased. “In our 150th anniversary year we took a major step with the launch of the Meister collection,” Stotz says. “We are fortunate that the Junghans brand stands for tradition and historical milestones in watchmaking. These offer excellent starting points for future collections, regardless of whether they are fitted with mechanical movements or Junghans’s own radio-controlled movements that recall our leadership in radio technology over the past 20 years. “At Erhard Junghans we have already taken the necessary steps to prove that classical watchmaking still has a place in Schramberg.

Many of the components in the Erhard Junghans J325 and J330 movements, such as the bridges, clicks and gold settings are produced and finished by experienced watchmakers in the Erhard Junghans atelier. “We are well equipped for the future because we will have our own mainsprings and balance springs in Nivarox 1 quality available in Schramberg from Carl Haas. We are working more on key components rather than trying to produce quickly complications that are not always necessary. Our main goal is preserving the authenticity of the brand and the ‘Made in Germany – in Schramberg’ quality seal.” To drive the brand forward, Matthias Stotz aims to improve the quality of its distribution in the brand’s home market and to harmonise its global distribution network. “Because of the major changes in the brand over the past few years, we have different set-ups across the world,” he says. “In the markets where we have a strong presence, we will continue to work with our long-standing partners. In some countries we have either experienced higher demand or made changes in the distribution because of the brand’s success. Now seems to be the time to look for strong partners worldwide.” O For more information about Junghans click on Brand Index at


Junghans watches owe their success – and their rebirth – to the unique concentration of industry in the Black Forest town of Schramberg. Over the years, various specialists in the production of highly-resistant springs required in the production of clocks and watches have fused into a major conglomerate, the Hugo Kern und Liebers GmbH & Co. KG, the former CEO of which, Dr. Hans Jochem Steim, became the saviour of the Junghans brand in 2009, when it was on the brink of bankruptcy. April 14, 1861 – Erhard Junghans establishes the clock component maker Zeller & Junghans together with his brother-in-law Jakob Zeller-Tobler. 1888 – Hugo Kern starts producing mainsprings for the clock and watch industry. 1890 – Pfaff & Schlauder is founded. The company specialised in the production of balance springs but also produced mainsprings. 1904 – Carl Haas established his company and soon became a specialist in the production of balance springs. 1926 – The company Franz Josef King is established, also specialising in balance springs. 1931 – Carl Haas obtains a permit to be the sole manufacturer of Nivarox balance springs in Germany. 1971 – Hugo Kern merges with plate manufacturer Liebers & Co to become the Kern-Liebers Group. 1981 – At the height of the quartz era, Pfaff & Schlauder closes. 2007 – The Kern-Liebers Group takes over Carl Haas and, in 2008, Franz Josef King. 2009 – Dr. Hans-Jochem Stein, former CEO of the Kern-Liebers group and now Chairman of the Board of Directors, acquires Junghans. 2011 – Balance springs from Schramberg are once again used in Junghans timepieces.

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110 Years of Dubois Dépraz RKeith W. Strandberg


For those who need to know, Dubois Dépraz is famous, a complications manufacturer of extremely high quality, working with some of the best brand names in the business. For those with only a passing knowledge of the watch industry, Dubois Dépraz is not a household name. And that’s just how the brothers Dubois, Pascal and Jean-Philippe, who now run this 110 year-old family-owned company, want it. They want companies in the watch industry, potential customers all, to know of their rocksolid reputation, but it matters little if end consumers know anything about them.

History The great grandfather of the brothers Dubois founded the company in 1901. When the company began, it manufactured complete movements, and one of the first complications that Dubois Dépraz specialised in was the repeater. “There was a big market for repeaters, because people couldn’t see the time in the dark, so a lot of people wanted minute repeaters,” says Pascal Dubois. “My great grandfather was a specialist in these kinds of watches. Then he developed chronographs and other complications.” Today, Dubois Dépraz no longer makes complete movements but instead focuses on com-

From left to right: founder Marcel Dépraz, employees circa 1902, the Dubois family in 1903, and Reynold Dubois.

The current Conseil d’administration Pascal, Denise, Gérald and Jean-Philippe Dubois.

plication modules that are placed on top of existing base movements, including ETA, Sellita and others. One of the true specialties of Dubois Dépraz is the chronograph, including flybacks and other varieties. “It’s really a question of price,” Dubois explains. “Today, for a chronograph, we can use movements at the correct price and they are at this price because the volume is so big. If we made our own movements, we would only have a very small part of this market, and volume would be very low, so it would be very expensive.” Having said that, Dubois Dépraz has begun looking into developing its own base movement, in response to the lack of reliable and dependable delivery from existing base movement manufacturers.

“A manufacture movement can be ten times as expensive as an ETA base movement, or more,” Dubois says. “We are looking into where a manufacture movement from us would come in, and I think it would be at this level, significantly more expensive than ETA, due to the restricted production numbers. We have a very good relationship with ETA. We are a supplier to ETA with our sister company, DPRM SA (which makes wheels, pinions and other parts), and we are a customer too. Sometimes it is a bit difficult because we need movements but they are hard to get.”

The Manufacture The Dubois Dépraz manufacture is located in Le Lieu, Switzerland, right in the heart of the Swiss Jura (and close to many famous watch brands, like Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre and others). They actually have two facilities, one that is responsible for the manufacture of the key parts of the complications, complete with all the CNC and specialised machinery needed. At the bottom of a hill, down the same road as the parts manufacture, is the watchmaking

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section, where the complications are assembled, then put onto the base movements. These are impressive facilities, one exceedingly high tech and the other more traditional, though the watchmaking facility is currently under renovation, with hopes that it will be ready for the October anniversary celebration.

Attention to detail and quality One of the hallmarks of Dubois Dépraz and a focus for the Dubois brothers is quality. The brothers know that 110 years of a solid reputation can be ruined with one bad product. “We know this job, my brother and I are both watchmakers, we have always pushed the quality,” he continues. “We prefer not to sell something rather than to worry about the quality.We have a good reputation in the industry and we know how easy it is to damage an image, so we take great care when it comes to quality.”

Recognition Surprisingly, it doesn’t matter to the Dubois brothers that no one outside the industry knows much about them. “It’s our job to make the complication modules and we are proud when we see the watches from our customers in the shops,” says Dubois. “We know they come from us and that’s enough. It’s our job and we are proud of it, but it doesn’t bother me when a brand doesn’t give us credit. If we couldn’t accept this, we should change what we do.” Some brands communicate that Dubois Dépraz makes their modules, in order to gain credibility for their brand. Some of Dubois Dépraz’s customers have asked them to engrave the Dubois Dépraz name and logo onto the movement or the rotor, and they all have been denied. Though it seems to be a small step from what they are doing now to making complete watches, there are no plans in the works to do


their own Dubois Dépraz watches. “Making a brand is completely different from making a complication,” Dubois details. “We don’t know this business. It’s possible, but it’s difficult to be competitors of our customers. We supply brands and that is our job, and we are doing our job. We couldn’t be so open when we create new products, which could potentially interest the entire watch industry. With our own products, we are not a subcontractor, we own our production. For some customers, we are subcontractors for specific pieces, where we make to their specifications, rather than from our own designs.” The Dubois Dépraz catalogue is a dream list of complications, though Dubois has seen a bit of pulling back on complications for complications sake. “We have had a flyback chronograph in the catalogue for five or ten years,” he says. “It’s more difficult to sell complicated

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complications today. It’s hard enough to explain how a chronograph works, then you have to explain how a flyback works. Four years ago, there was a competition of complications, but now the trend is more simple information complications. We are, however, the specialist in flybacks and other chronographs.”

The future The challenge in the future for Dubois Dépraz is to continue to come up with interesting and novel products to offer to their customers. “We must have a lot of imagination and constantly come up with new ideas, which is demanding,” Dubois explains. “In addition, we have to maintain the highest level of quality in our products.” Despite being a supplier to a number of brands in the industry, Dubois didn’t hesitate for a moment when asked what his favourite watches were. “My favourite watch is Pierre DeRoche, my brother’s brand,” he says. “I like Pierre DeRoche and Richard Mille, for sport chic watches. In classical watches, I like Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Audemars Piguet. I don’t have any Pateks, but I would really like one.” “My favourite complication is the repeater and I love the five minute repeater,” he continues. “For the watch industry, it’s easy to sell, because you have the sound to explain to the end customer. It’s very nice to make a watch you can hear, and I love the sound of a minute repeater. It’s probably the best complication in the watch industry, and it is a very difficult complication to make. If one of three or four key components is not absolutely perfect then it won’t work. It’s very difficult and we have five minute and quarter repeaters, which are very prestigious.” This year, Dubois Dépraz will mark its 110th anniversary with a huge party in the autumn. We at Europa Star salute this venerable company and look forward to watching its continuing history unfold. O

TNT Collection THE WAYWARD DUBOIS BROTHER In the Dubois family, all the men have been watchmakers for more than 110 years. Pierre Dubois, the owner and founder of Pierre DeRoche, has the dubious distinction of being the first male descendant not to become a watchmaker. “When I was 16, I wasn’t interested in becoming a watchmaker,” he explains. “I studied and became a sports teacher. Teaching was so boring to me that after one full year, I decided to stop (I was 24). I went back to university and studied economics and when I graduated, I worked for the biggest bank in Switzerland. After seven years, I was contacted by Audemars Piguet to work for them as CFO. I was still interested in watches, just not as a watchmaker. I came back into the industry via finance.” Why didn’t he work for the family business, Dubois Dépraz, as CFO? “Back in Pierre Dubois the 1990s, they didn’t really need a CFO, they were too small,” Dubois says. “I worked for Audemars Piguet for 15 years, then I left in 2004. “When I left AP, I was open to many opportunities,” he adds. “I wanted to stay in the watch business. I had been contacted by a few small or medium-sized companies. Several of them wanted me to invest money in the companies, but when I was doing my due diligence, I realised it would be better to start from scratch. I started to think about my own company. I contacted my two brothers and asked them if they had a totally different complication that could help me set up my company. They told me that they had one movement, which I was amazed by, so I set up my own company, Pierre DeRoche.” Dubois lives in the family house, near his two brothers. “It is great to have Dubois Dépraz as my main supplier for movements for the long term,” Dubois says. “I am not a watchmaker. I think differently than the people in the watch industry. All my family thinks about technique, I focus on what people are expecting on the market.” “My goal is to present watches with complications in the middle range, and combinations of complications, original, innovative and playful,” he continues. “I wanted something fresh. I am not interested in simple watches and in ultimate complications. After seven years, I feel we have the widest range of middle complications. Our most complicated watch is one with six complications combined – the GrandCliff annual calendar power reserve.” Pierre DeRoche watches range in price from CHF 10,000 – CHF 45,000. The newest collection is the TNT. “We make around 250 watches a year,” Dubois says. “We are working mainly in Russia, which is a stable market. Our number two market was Spain, which is close to bankruptcy now. Our third market is Japan, and we started in the US in July of last year.” For more information, please visit

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A visit to the COSC, the temple of Swiss chronometry testing We often see the mention “COSC certified” associated with a watch, although, in reality, it applies to only three per cent of Swiss timepieces. With its abbreviation standing for “Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres,” what exactly is the COSC? What exactly does it certify? And how exactly does the COSC arrive at these certifications? To learn more, Europa Star travelled to the Bienne office of the COSC (the other two offices are located in La-Chaux-de-Fonds and Geneva).

RPierre Maillard


At the risk of overstating the obvious to the majority of our professional readers, we must remind everyone that a “chronometer” is not a “chronograph”. According to the COSC’s own definition, “a chronometer is a high-precision watch capable of displaying the seconds and housing a movement that has been tested over several days, in different positions and at different temperatures, by an official neutral body (COSC). Only movements which meet the precision criteria established under ISO 3159 are granted an official chronometer certificate.” Although the definition sums it up, it is still necessary to explain things a bit more. Let’s start with the famous “ISO Standard 3159” that the managers of COSC call—respectfully but with a slight smile—“the Bible” of the chronometer. Among the other specifications decreed by this standard (which is subject to copyrights and therefore cannot be reproduced here in detail), the primary principles are based on certain qualifying criteria that have to be met in order to achieve the certification. The table on the right sums them up.

Statistical precisions In 2010, exactly 1,276,714 movements were certified by the COSC. These were primarily mechanical movements although quartz certification does exist, even if it is not very common (only 19,799 quartz movements were certified in 2010). The COSC, an independent and official organisation, is legally a not-for-profit association, created in 1973 by five watchmaking cantons (Bern, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Solothurn, and Vaud) as well as by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH). The COSC publishes the certifications obtained for each brand, thus incidentally communicating information that would normally be confidential to certain companies. Three large brands make up the lion’s share of COSC certifications: Rolex with 611,424 certified chronometers in 2010, followed by Omega with 342,798

certificates, and then Breitling with 122,649 certificates. Among the remainder of the certificates obtained in 2010, in decreasing order, are: Chopard with 34,254; Panerai with 26,291; Mido with 25,384; TAG Heuer with 24,541; and Titoni with 13,335. The overall failure rate, year in and year out, is approximately five per cent for the pieces that undergo these tests.

A 16-day testing cycle The certification cycle lasts sixteen days. All the movements to be tested are given a unique identification number engraved on the movement and a generic dial used for the tests, whose standards are specified by the COSC. This dial comprises a system of reference points that permits the absolute centring of the image and renders the measurement insensitive to

Minimum requirements (s/d) Eliminatory criteria

Categories 1 (ø>20mm)

2 (ø† 20mm)


Average daily rate

-4 +6

-5 +8


Mean variation in rates




Greatest variation in rates



-6 +8

-8 +10




Difference between rates in horizontal and vertical positions


Largest difference in rates


Thermal variation




Rate resumption



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the tolerance of the position of the movement when it is placed under the camera. Each watch comes to the COSC with all its technical specifications detailed by the brand (for example, movements with additional plates are tested with them mounted). A barcode is attributed to each piece to allow for total traceability. The first operation is the identification of the pieces in the COSC’s computer system, then their packaging in the trays before being automatically wound, followed by a rest period of 24 hours before undergoing their first measurement. For the next fifteen days, including Saturdays and Sundays, a series of repetitive tests is performed. In the first step, the time indicated by the watch is individually recorded on a server controlled by an atomic clock. This recorded reference time will allow the determination of the successive tolerances in the movement’s operation. Between the tests, the movement will be placed in five different positions (vertical at 6 o’clock, at 3 o’clock, and at 9 o’clock, and horizontal, on the dial side and then on the movement side) and at the three different temperatures of 23°C, 8°C and 38°C. The daily measurement determines the state of the movement’s operation (in other words, the time displayed by the movement) in relation to the reference time. This measuring by “differentiation of states” makes it possible to integrate the behaviour of the movement over time, as the COSC says, since it takes into account the variations in amplitude as well as small mechanical perturbations inherent in each movement. The tests are conducted using industrial vision systems: a CCD cell is coupled with an optical sensor that detects the position of the seconds hand on the dial division. Data recording and calculation are all automated.

The same procedures, but conducted manually, are reserved for movements with special features—for example, particular escapements—or unique pieces that require an individual protocol (this system will be used for the finished watches that are entered in the next Chronometry Competition). And, as calibres have grown in size over the last decade, the machines employed by the COSC have had to be adapted to the new dimensions. So, what does it cost the brands to have their watches certified as “chronometers”? For large series pieces, the cost is CHF 5.25 per piece, while for special cases using manually controlled testing, the price is CHF 130. (This testing amounts to the tidy sum of more than CHF 3 million for Rolex, for example, without counting its administrative costs).

The value of a certificate Is all this worth it? Definitely, yes. Having a COSC certificate brings additional prestige to a watch, especially when only three per cent of Swiss watches are COSC certified. Yet, the system is not without its detractors and among the criticisms are that the movements are tested before being placed in their cases, which can also have a negative influence on a piece’s operation, and that self-winding movements are tested without their oscillating weight. Bernard Dubois, director of the COSC in Bienne, says that he understands these criticisms. But to test such a large number of encased watches per year would require a complete overhaul of the equipment and the procedures because the watches all have very different specifications (and how can the tests precisely measure the operation using dials of all colours, whose degrees of readability are quite different?). The COSC certification thus remains a very

valid credential, even if conditions may be somewhat altered by an ill-fated encasing. In this case, the ball is in the court of the brands that must remain vigilant as to the quality of their casing and test them severely. This is extremely important since how many clients will accept that their COSC-certified watch advances or retards by a higher delta than the one officially claimed? It is also important not only for the credibility of the COSC but also for the Swiss watch community for which the COSC remains a strong marketing tool—and we all know the importance of marketing. O

«Art reflects the Magic of our Dreams» Establish aesthetic Wonder through Clarity of functional Logic. Chad Oppenheim

101⁄ 2 x 111⁄ 2


Cal. 3540.D Swiss Made – 5 Jewels/Gilt

12 First Quartz Chrono 9Swiss Made 6

The creativity of your design – the technology of our movements. Together we create outstanding timepieces.


Swiss watches in the Chinese mirror

“What is the biggest challenge facing the watch industry today? The focus of the brands is on the Chinese customer right now, but there is no way to know how long their buying power will last. If the Chinese customer disappears, what will the watch industry do? There has to be a plan and the industry has to focus on developing other markets as well.”

RPierre Maillard


We are not the ones saying this—these words are coming from a sales representative of King Fook, one of the largest retailers in Hong Kong, as told to our special envoy to Hong Kong, Keith Strandberg (see our Retailer Profile later in the issue). Clearly, this Chinese penchant for Swiss watches is weighing heavier and heavier on the Swiss watch industry. The numbers say it all. Between January and July of this year, Hong Kong and China purchased nearly one-third of Swiss watch exports by value, which represents an increase of 76 per cent for Hong Kong compared with the same period in 2009 and an increase of 160 per cent for China! If we add Singapore and Taiwan to the mix, the “Chinese” share rises to nearly 40 per cent of Swiss watch sales. We can certainly be happy about these numbers, but this increased dependence is not only reflected on a quantitative level. Knowing that Image from the White Group 2011 calendar (

the Chinese consumer generally has very classic tastes, style and design are also being affected. As Olivier Bernheim, CEO of Raymond Weil, reminds us, “Chinese consumers are looking for classic styling since, for most of them, it is their first watch.” (Regarding Raymond Weil, see the article in this issue, Raymond Weil, maestro of independence.) The famous refrain “back to basics,” while it was favoured during the crisis of 2008, has been taken to heart by all the watch brands that are actively looking towards the Chinese market. Today, we can thus affirm that the tastes of the Chinese consumer largely and directly influence Swiss watch production. And, beyond this, the Chinese also have a great influence on the strategic element that is the mechanical movement. In Hong Kong recently, Keith Strandberg tried to see a bit more clearly through the general fog that clouds the market for mechanical movements: the comings and goings between Switzerland and China, exports and re-exports, gaping holes in the term Swiss Made, accusations and counter accusations between the giant ETA and Sellita, etc. (Read our Editorial) Meanwhile, Chinese manufacturers are gradually advancing their pawns, producing mechanical movements by the millions, whose quality and sophistication continue to improve. Of course, these movements are not as reliable as the ETA “tractors”—or their clones—but it behoves the industry to heed the proverb “never say never”. A slowdown in Chinese consumption coupled with an improved offer of good Chinese mechanical movements may initiate a paradigm shift whose effects would be difficult to control by the Swiss watch industry. On the other hand, there is a major obstacle that Chinese watchmakers have to overcome and that is the powerful identity that Swiss brands have, an identity that provides them with a considerable advantage. Yet, perhaps one day, the origin of what is under the hood, the origin of the motor, won’t be so important. Who knows?




China’s sphere of interest: Europa Star’s Hong Kong show report RKeith W. Strandberg


After a long night flight from Geneva to Hong Kong, via London, I arrived in the HKG International Airport and familiar faces welcomed me – watches from Vacheron Constantin, Ulysse Nardin, TAG Heuer, A. Lange & Söhne and more. Banners, huge billboards and countless ads were all around from the moment I stepped off the aeroplane, reinforcing that Hong Kong, the “fragrant harbour,” is a centre for luxury watch sales. At the HKTDC Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair, however, the focus is mostly on emerging brands, companies looking to make a name for themselves, as well as OEM/ODM and other manufacturers. Though 12 luxury watch brands did appear in the World Brand Piazza, sponsored by Prince Jewellery & Watch Company (Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Breguet, Chopard, Franck Muller, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, Panerai, Piaget and Vacheron Constantin), there were only a few high-end brands within the exhibition space.

Getting my heart going In its 30th year, the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair had more than 700 exhibitors from more than 13 countries, which can be a little overwhelming. In the main halls, there were a ton of brands that no one has ever heard of, along with OEM and ODM manufactures, as well as machinery, parts, boxes, straps and more. In other words, everything you need, from soup to nuts, to produce your own watch. In the Brand Name category, there were companies that are striving to build their own brands, led by o.d.m., Solar Time (with Earnshaw,

Ballast and Swiss Eagle), Coronet, Chouette, AND Watch and more. There were also licence operators like Everlast, Fila, New Balance, Cosmopolitan and others. It can be pretty confusing, so to add an interesting twist, I borrowed a heart rate monitor watch from Solus, a new product that makes measuring heart rate as easy as putting your index finger on the front of the case. As I viewed the different watches on display, I’d measure which watches got my heart beating faster. By the way, my baseline resting heart rate is 52 beats per minute (bpm).

Alexis Garin – heartrate: 110 bpm


It figures that I would have to travel halfway across the world to discover a supremely talented watchmaker who lives in Switzerland’s Jura Mountains. Garin has a small atelier in Les Verrières where he fabricates one-of-akind timepieces. At first, Garin thought he was out of place in the Brand Name Gallery, across from Cosmopolitan licensed watches. But by the third day, Garin was very enthusiastic about the show and the contacts he had made. The watches Garin fabricates are stunning and worthy of finding a market anywhere and

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and Ope is for open mindedness, and the brand features watches, sunglasses, headphones and other lifestyle products. “We like to play with small details, and Asia is where we started, so it is a great market for us,” says Alexis Gaillard, Areas Sales Manager, Wize & Ope ( “South America is really booming for us as well. We only sell about 100,000 pieces a year, but it’s a healthy business.” The brand recently opened a boutique in Paris and is looking forward to opening several more this year.

Edwin – 80 bpm ALEXIS GARIN

everywhere in the world. Garin knows that China will be a difficult market, but it’s worth it to give it a try. “In China, they are looking for brand names,” he admits, knowing that his name is not yet well known. “We are looking to deal directly with end customers, or to find a distributor in the Asian countries. So far, it has been very good. We only make about 30 pieces a year, ranging in price from CHF 50,000 to over a million.” (

Wize & Ope – 85 bpm Based in Paris, Wize & Ope is a reasonably priced (€49 – 99) brand aimed straight at young trendsetters. Wize stands for Wisdom

Edwin is a jeans manufacturer that started in Japan and has spread throughout the world. This year, for its 50th anniversary, Edwin has teamed up with Z Lab to launch a licensed watch line. “Asia is the first step in the launch,” explains Jeffrey Chang, Executive Director, Z Laboratory ( “We actually worked with Edwin on a Zerone watch last year and it went so well, we decided to work together on the Edwin brand. We tried to follow their image, very subtle, using the lightest materials we could find. We opened up the movement because it’s important that the customer sees that it’s an automatic movement, as automatics are more and more important in this marketplace.”

Edwin uses Miyota movements, as it’s a Japanese brand and Z-Lab is the Miyota distributor for Hong Kong. All of the Edwin collections start with ED or end with ED, which is a very nice touch.

Beijing Watch Factory – 120 bpm This movement and watch manufacturer, based in Beijing, is one of the big three – along with Shanghai and Sea-Gull – but their booth was hidden down one aisle and quite small. I walked in and was treated to some real horological delights – automatics with double escapements, tourbillons, double tourbillons and even a minute repeater, all made entirely in-house by Beijing Watch (





“Chinese customers are more attracted to the Swiss brands,” admits Miao Hong Bo, General Manager, Beijing Watch Factory. “At least at first. After they buy the big brand names, then they start to buy Chinese and they come to Beijing.” Next year, Beijing Watch pledged to have a bigger presence at the show.

o.d.m. Design – 75 bpm Jane L.C. Tang, o.d.m.’s chief designer, was in the o.d.m. booth to introduce the company’s newest watch called Quad Time, a digital watch with an angle sensor that switches the display depending on how you put on the watch. “When I wear a watch, I often put it on the wrong way,” she says. “As a result, I designed a watch where it doesn’t matter how you put it on. The display changes so you can’t put it on the wrong way.” (

AND Watch – 115 bpm Andrew Tse is the designer of AND Watch (using the first three letters of his name). Wanting to do something different, Tse’s first product was the Very Tough Watch, which he tested to survive a fall from 10 metres. Introduced this year is the Urban Nature collection, with case and bracelet colours designed to mimic colours found in nature – like snow leopard, tortoise shell, seashell and more.

Using a material invented in 1904, cellulose acetate, but never used in the watch industry, Tse was able to achieve a very light weight with these great colours and designs. Cellulose acetate is better known as the material used to make eyeglasses, which makes it very durable and long lasting.

“We wanted to make a unique watch, and with this material, which has to be mixed individually, each piece is unique,” Tse details. “In addition, the watches have to be finished by hand, which ensures that each one has small imperfections, making them all slightly different. So, I put ‘Chinese Handmade’ on every watch.”

THE MOVEMENT SITUATION At the Hong Kong show, there was quite a bit of talk about movements. As Swiss movements are becoming harder and harder to get, even for Swiss companies, brands in Hong Kong are turning to other sources. Japan has long been a supplier of quality quartz and mechanical movements. Miyota, part of Citizen, introduced a new chronograph movement and a new series of thinner automatic movements, 9 series, at the Hong Kong show. Business is good for alternative movement makers like Miyota, mainly because the restriction of supply of ETA movements represents an opportunity for other companies to fill the void. In addition, Chinese companies are picking up the slack at the lower end. Sea-Gull, for example, makes 300,000 mechanical movements a month, with clients all over the world. When asked about their production capacity, the folks at Sea-Gull were not concerned, as they had just moved into a large facility in the countryside outside Tianjin, China. Founded in 1958, Beijing Watch has grown to produce more than one million mechanical movements a year and in 2003 began to work on complicated movements. Armed with a staff of 600, including 50 watch technicians and about ten master watchmakers, Beijing now is attempting to make high-quality complicated watches. “We are improving our quality,” says Miao Hong Bo, General Manager, Beijing Watch Factory. “We do not have the same history as the Swiss and we have to learn from the way they make watches. Our best products are quite good, but the consistency is not as good as the Swiss.” Several attendees at the show, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed that some companies who have not been able to obtain ETA or even Miyota movements have found another way. “There are companies who aren’t at this show because they can’t get movements,” says one industry insider. “They can’t take orders for new product because they can’t produce them. “There is, however, an opportunity and the vacuum for movements is being filled by some smart companies,” he continues. “These companies are finding a way around the Swiss Made regulations, importing Chinese movements into Switzerland and casing them (or reassembling and casing them) there, adding value to meet the current Swiss Made requirements. We still buy from ETA, but they are only for our top-end watches. We’re not worried that we can’t get more ETA movements, because we know we can buy from Sea-Gull and other Chinese companies.” As Nivarox spring delivery might begin to decline to companies outside of the Swatch Group, brands are scrambling to come up with an alternative source. Sea-Gull, however, was quick to point out that their springs are not nearly at the quality of Nivarox. Miyota, when asked about their springs, said that they didn’t have the capacity to supply anyone else with springs or other components. Seiko was not at the show, but they do make their own springs. The thinking through the industry, in Switzerland or other parts of the world, is that someone will step in and provide movements and springs in volume, as the opportunity is so obvious, but no one knows who it will be.

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Beijing, but the watches use ETA movements. The watches come in three different sets of five watches, for a total of 150 limited edition watches.


Earnshaw/Ballast/Swiss Eagle: Solar Time – 89 bpm


Retailing for $100 - $150, Tse had great response at the show. “We are looking for distribution all over the world,” he says. “China doesn’t really respond well to new brands, they want established brands. I think Japan and Europe will be the better markets for us.”

Fiyta – 93 bpm To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of China, founded by Sun Yat Sen in 1911, Fiyta ( has come up with a limited edition collection of cloisonné watches with very detailed miniature paintings of sites important to the revolution. The enamel is done by a specialist company in

Solar Time ( has been busy, launching three new brands at the Hong Kong show. Taking a page from the Swiss book of tricks, Earnshaw debuted at the show, designed to honour an historic British watchmaker, Thomas Earnshaw. “Earnshaw was known for his marine chronometers and we are developing the brand with automatic movements from Sea-Gull, with an emphasis on marine/diver watches,” says Vishal Tolani, director of Solar Time. “We wanted to use the best Chinese automatic movements in a modern collection, while still hinting at the past. We have a lot of experience refurbishing Sea-Gull movements for our OEM clients, and the quality from Sea-Gull has improved a great deal. “The target for Earnshaw is the new collector, someone who understands watches but isn’t yet a buyer of Swiss timepieces,” he adds. Not content with just one new brand, Solar Time also introduced Ballast, which is Swiss Made and based on military/submarine designs, and Swiss Eagle, a Swiss brand started in 1961 but laying dormant.

Sea-Gull – 118 bpm One of the key movement suppliers to the Chinese and worldwide watch industries (including more than a million mechanical movements this year to Fossil), Sea-Gull had a very large booth at the show, highlighting its movement technology. Introduced at this show was a special sapphire crystal tourbillon, as well as a tourbillon minute repeater perpetual calendar moon phase, a double tourbillon and a special tourbillon with music box alarm. ( “We are doing very good business,” says Keith Choi, Sales Manager for Sea-Gull Watches. “We currently make 300,000 mechanical


movements a month, as well as 100,000 Sea-Gull branded watches a year. For private label, we do about 60,000 complete watches a year.”

Coronet – 66 bpm Coronet is a Hong Kong company that designed a brand new diamond setting using seven diamonds, six around one, pushing that central diamond up slightly higher than the other. The brand has more than 4,000 points of sale around the world, so the management thought it was time to introduce a watch to go along with the jewellery. The new Coronet timepiece ( is a Swiss Made quartz watch that ranges in price from $700 - $6000, based on the amount of diamonds.

Chouette – 81 bpm Christie Wo, the owner of Chouette, debuted two new lines of watches at this show, one bestudded with Swarovski crystals and another using the Teslar technology. “I am trying to build a Chinese brand and share my designs with people,” Wo says. “I started with jewellery and then moved to watches. My favourite is the Hello Kitty watch, but I also love the Teslar watches, because they make me feel so upbeat and positive.” ( The Hong Kong show is a very interesting one. It’s not the same level as Basel or SIHH, certainly, and the junk docked in the harbour isn’t the only one at the show, if you know what I mean, but there are still some cool

watches, interesting materials, fun designs and companies, like the ones listed above, with real potential. As you can see, the best got my heart pumping.O

THE DESIGN COMPETITION Every year, the Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair has a design competition, both for students and professionals. This year, some of the designs are really interesting and worth us taking a look. Here are the best in the student category. 1.



1. The winner: Globe Watch The winning design offers a novel GMT display in which the two time zones are read off sub-dials against the background of a world map, which helps to clarify the two different time zones. 2. 1st runner-up: Planning Watch This futuristic design features a day planner that reminds the wearer of a pre-set activity at the correct date and time. 3. 2nd runner-up: Tap Tap Watch An interactive digital watch inspired by music, the Tap Tap Watch allows the wearer to strum out a beat in time with their favourite music by simply tapping on the watch.




4. Merit award: Magical Time Device Both watch and clock, this unique design features a seethrough dial that allows the wristwatch to be placed on a special stand which can project the time on to a wall through a hole in the watch strap. 5. Merit award: Day & Night Using a Mobius ring design, this bracelet marks the passing hours of day and night with a graduation moving on the upper surface during daytime and the lower surface at night-time. 6. Merit award: Five Elements The five elements referred to are gold, wood, water, fire and earth. Each of them is represented on one of the five gear wheels visible through the transparent case.

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King Fook, Hong Kong

RKeith W. Strandberg


Hong Kong has become Swiss Watch central, a shopping paradise for watch lovers. While covering the Hong Kong Watch and Clock Fair for Europa Star, I visited Frances Yip, Assistant General Manager, King Fook Jewellery Group in the company’s newest location at The One, 100 Nathan Road. Europa Star: How's business? Frances Yip: Overall, business has been very good. We have had an increase over last year. The strong economy in China has really helped us. Most of the brands are focusing on the needs of the Chinese customer, with more classical styles and more diamonds on watches for the Chinese customer. There is a benefit for the mainland Chinese to buy here, because there is no luxury tax in Hong Kong. If a collector is buying a watch for half a million Hong Kong dollars, for example, he can save enough money to pay for his entire family to come here for vacation. The saving is over 20%. Add to that the fact that the RMB is quite strong against the Hong Kong dollar, which makes buying here even more attractive. ES: How has business in Hong Kong changed over the years?

Frances Yip

FY: I joined the company in 1973 and there has been a lot of change since then. Before, when I started, in an area of 1,000 square feet, we would carry 40 brands, and now we may only carry six brands. The stand alone concept, which we have here at The One, performs better than the multi-brand concept in some locations. The consumer, especially the Chinese tourist, has more confidence in the brands because of the environment and the experience. They feel safer. ES: What is your relationship like with other retailers? FY: We have a very good relationship with other retailers. We respect our competitors. In Hong Kong, we have a watch federation and we have meetings to discuss best business practices. We are not cutting the prices like before. About 20 years ago, retailers from Hong Kong were always blamed by the Swiss watch manufacturers for being discount city – there was a discounting war here. Our supply of the best products is enough, so we don’t need to give discounts. For our regular customers we will give them priority for the hot items instead of offering them big discounts.

ES: What makes King Fook unique among Hong Kong retailers? FY: Hong Kong is small, only 460 square miles, so things are more concentrated. The density is high, so we have a lot of watch stores packed into a small area. For us, we are keen on working with the brands where we have room to expand. We have a few exclusive brands, like Laurent Ferrier, Jacob & Co, Robert & Fils, Ice Link, HD3 and others. We want to have different segments with the brands. Our main revenue is from the big brands, there is no doubt. In the meantime, we want to develop some more niche watch brands that we can carry exclusively. In the future, we will add more niche brands that are exclusive. We know that we need this, because there is a gap in the market. They are harder to sell than Rolex, for example, but we need to have something new and different to offer our customers. ES: What is the biggest challenge facing your store right now? FY: The biggest challenge is finding locations because the rent here is the highest in the world. The lease terms, compared with other countries, are too short. Here, the lease term is usually three years. In the first year, we are establishing our store, in the second year, we have good growth, and then in the third year we have to renegotiate the lease again. It’s almost impossible to get longer lease terms. To counter that, we do own some stores outright.

70 RETAILER PROFILE europa star

FACTS AND FIGURES: Name: King Fook Location: Total of eight (8) stores in Hong Kong How long: since 1949 Employees: 250 Average sale: $10,000 Range of price: $500 to over a million Best selling watch: Rolex, for both value and quantity Brands: Audemars Piguet, Ball, Baume & Mercier, Breitling, Bulgari, Clerc, Franck Muller, Gucci, HD3, Ice Link, Jacob & Co., Jaeger-LeCoultre, Laurent Ferrier, Montblanc, Panerai, Patek Philippe, Piaget, Rado, Robert & Fils, Rolex, Seiko, TAG Heuer, Tiffany & Co., Tissot, Tudor, Vacheron Constantin

ES: What is the biggest challenge facing the watch industry right now? FY: The focus of the brands is on the Chinese customer right now, but there is no way to know how long their buying power will last. If the Chinese customer disappears, what will the watch industry do? There has to be a plan and the industry has to focus on developing other markets as well. ES: How do you market your store? FY: We do a great deal of co-op advertising with our brands – we have billboards, magazines, selective newspapers, private events, some Chinese in-flight magazines and more. The newspaper and the magazines are to remind the consumers that we are here. The one that has the most immediate effect is the billboard. If we advertise a certain model on a billboard, we see sales on that model spike. ES: Do you do repairs at your store? How do you handle repairs? FY: Over 90% of our repairs we send back to the brand’s service center. Every brand has their own standard, so we feel it’s better to send the watches back to them, as they can provide a more complete service. It takes from about four weeks to several months, depending on the brand and the complication, and our customers are O.K. with that length of time. ES: How do you do training? FY: The individual brands do training for us and they do a very good job. Most of the

brands have a very complete product book. Our staff can read and train themselves about the brands. Today, most brands really concentrate on training our front line staff, because they are the ambassadors of the brand to the customers. In Hong Kong, it takes about two years to train someone completely. ES: Are you optimistic about the future? FY: Yes. I think the quality of our service is improving all the time. I think Hong Kong is a shopping centre for people all around the world and people have a lot of confidence buying in Hong Kong – it has become a Swiss watch retailing centre. People come here and they can buy the newest models and they can see the brands’ full ranges, and Hong Kong is tax free. ES: Do you carry any Chinese brands? FY: We don’t carry any Chinese brands in our shops, yet. The well developed international brands require a high-quality presentation, with a lot of space, which has resulted in improved sales. There is not much room for other brands. In addition, the quality of Chinese

brands is not yet up to an acceptable level. The majority of our customers are coming from China, between 50% and 70% per cent of our customers are from the mainland. In ten years time, I think the Chinese brands will be stronger if they continue in the right direction. If they can move towards the Swiss way of production and concentrate on quality control, I think they will have a great future. They are very competitive with their prices. ES: Are you looking to add more brands? FY: At every watch fair, we are looking for new brands. When an opportunity comes, we will explore it. ES: What is your favourite watch? FY: My favourite watch is my Patek Philippe Ref. 3940, a very thin perpetual calendar. Today, I am wearing my Rolex Daytona with a black dial. This is good for everyday use, with a 64hour power reserve. Many thanks to Frances Yip for taking the time out to talk honestly and openly with Europa Star. O


Looking beyond Facebook and Twitter RTamar Koifman, Digital Luxury Group


Nowadays it’s hard to find a business manager who isn’t at least somewhat familiar with or aware of Facebook and Twitter. Facebook with its mass appeal and sharing functionality and Twitter with its bite-size bursts have changed the way brands communicate with their customers. These two platforms have dominated the social media landscape over the past few years, and continue to remain important arenas for brand interaction. But where do brands turn to when they’re ready to engage clients and prospects in a more innovative setting? Luxury and fashion brands have already been exploring and participating in a range of other platforms beyond Facebook and Twitter:

Foursquare Foursquare ( is a location-based mobile platform that allows users to “check in” to physical locations, be they airports, bars, or stores. Users can share their location with friends, earn points and virtual badges, and use the platform to explore the area around them. Brands and retailers of all sizes have been taking advantage of Foursquare for its ability to connect the offline with the online. It’s the digital marketing answer for brick and mortar businesses. Some of the noteworthy brands using Foursquare include Louis Vuitton (, Tiffany & Co. ( and David Yurman (

Tumblr Tumblr ( is a micro-blogging platform that allows sharing of any kind of media from links to images to videos.Tumblr users are encouraged to follow other users and re-blog posts that they like. With over 28 million blogs hosted on Tumblr, it’s no surprise that enterprises have taken note. Brands have liked Tumblr for its easy and attractive ability to blog, share, and connect. While the Tumblr team has got into some hot water lately from brands frustrated by the exorbitantly priced fashion week sponsorships (not to mention the lack of metrics available to them to track the success of that investment) it’s clear that Tumblr’s future is still secure. Some of the big luxury brands currently making use of Tumblr are Dolce & Gabbana (, Gucci ( andAlexander McQueen (

Sina Weibo and other locally relevant platforms It’s easy for Westerners working in social media to focus solely on those platforms that they linguistically understand, but an international brand would be foolish not to recognise the enormous potential of sites that cater to specific regions. One such example is Sina Weibo, a Chinese micro-blogging site that is a mix between Facebook and Twitter. With over 140 million users, Weibo is a strong force in the social space. Already over 60,000 accounts are verified celebrities and brands, with luxury companies jumping in. Luxury brands on Sina Weibo include Burberry ( burberry), Longines ( and Louis Vuitton ( Swiss watchmaker Longines recognises the reach of Weibo and posts frequent updates. With close to 20,000 fans on Weibo, it’s not far off from matching the 27,000 fans the brand has on


Facebook. Longines uses the platform to share brand news, store openings and feature entertainer and ambassador Aaron Kwok (who himself has over 3 million fans). In addition, Longines proudly displays the Sina Weibo logo right next to Facebook and Twitter on its global homepage ( Instagram A mobile platform and iPhone application designed for easy photo sharing, Instagram ( has very quickly gained a fashionable following with its artsy and retro photography filters. With over seven million registered users, and over 150 million uploaded photos, it’s no surprise that some big brands have found creative ways to participate. Some of the brands currently engaging followers on Instagram are Jaeger-LeCoultre, Mr. Porter and Kate Spade. New York-based luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman recently launched an Instagram-specific campaign whereby locationtagged photos of shoes are displayed on a map. For the shoeobsessed fashionista this is a perfect way to explore the shoe styles most popular around the globe. Google+ It would be remiss to talk about new social platforms and not mention Google Plus (, the latest endeavour from internet giant Google. Since officially launching in the summer of 2011, Google+ quickly acquired a whopping 10 million+ users, even though the service has yet to be rolled out to the general public. Brands have been cautiously watching and waiting for Google+ to release its suite of offerings for business pages, while media partners have already been experimenting with the “+1” button ( But will it be too late? Only time will tell how important a player Google+ becomes… but it’s important that brands pay attention and be ready to jump if needed.


Polyvore Polyvore ( provides a global community of trendsetters with a virtual styling tool to create digital collages of clothing, jewellery, and accessories that can be shared easily across the web. With over 6.5 million monthly unique visitors, Polyvore deems itself the web’s largest community of tastemakers. Catering to a fashion-obsessed audience, brands have found success partnering with Polyvore on contests, as Yves Saint Laurent did to celebrate Fashion’s Night Out in 2010. For the contest, entrants submitted style sets (the Polyvore-terminology for a collage) featuring YSL Edition 24 items. Participation was strong, with over 2,000 entries, and the winner won a YSL handbag. Pinterest Relatively new on the scene (launched in 2010) is Pinterest (, a platform that acts as a virtual pinboard or “mood board” for collecting inspiration by topic. Users are able to collect and organise images, links, and videos into groups for sharing and following. Most commonly used for home décor, fashion, wedding planning and recipes, a few brands/retailers have already found a way to encourage user participation. US upscale retailer Nordstrom ( showcases fashion, shoes and accessories that followers can integrate into their own inspiration boards. In summary In order to become a true digital innovator, a title that hasn’t often been attributed to haute horlogerie brands, keeping a pulse on the digital trends and developments is key. While jumping into every new thing that comes along would be foolish, some risk-taking and experimentation is the only way to innovate. Where do you see your brand going to next after Facebook or Twitter? O

Spanish/English Sp





Roman/English R





Watch Parts Let Us Deliver English/English




Intelligent Distribution

Editorial & Advertisers’ index A

BaselWorld 49, 63

Century 35

Digital Luxury Group 4,

A. Lange & Söhne 40, 42-

Baume & Mercier 70

Certina 39


44, 47, 48, 64

Bédat & Co. 3, 34

Chaumet 38

Dior 38

Aerowatch 32

Beijing Watch Factory 65, 66

Chopard 22, 59, 64

Dubois Dépraz 56-58

Alexis Garin 64

Blacksand 28, 30

Chouette 64, 68

AND Watch 64, 66

Blancpain 64

Citizen 55, 66

E, F

Armin Strom 31

Breguet 39, 64

Clerc 70

Earnshaw 64, 67

Audemars Piguet 10-11,

Breitling 59, 70

Coronet 64, 68

Edwin 65

56, 58, 64, 70

Bulgari 39, 70

Corum 2

Emile Chouriet 36 ETA 48, 56, 62, 66, 67




Everlast 64

Ball 70

Carl F. Bucherer 27

De Grisogono 22

Fila 64

Ballast 64, 67

Cecil Purnell 29

DeWitt 20-21

Fiyta 36, 67

Editorial & Advertisers’ index Fondation de la Haute

M, N

Rolex 52, 59, 69, 70,

Horlogerie 41

Maurice Lacroix 39, 80


Franck Muller 64, 70

Mido 59

Ronda 61

Montblanc 70 G, H

New Balance 64


Glashütte Original 40,

Nomos 49-50

Sea-Gull 65, 67

46, 47-48, 50

Seiko COVER III, 66, 67

Gucci 70, 74


Sellita 3, 62

Hamilton 32

o.d.m. 64, 66

Shanghai 65

Hautlence 3, 18-19

Omega 52, 59, 64

Solar Time 64, 67

HD3 69-70

Orient Watch Company

Solus 64


Swarovski 68 Swatch Group 3, 40, 46,

I, J Ice Link 69, 70


48, 66

IWC 40, 48, 64

Panerai 59, 64, 70

Swiss Eagle 64, 67

Jacob & Co. 69, 70

Parmigiani 32

Jaeger-LeCoultre 13, 15,

Patek Philippe COVER


40, 48, 56, 64, 70, 74

IV, 3, 14, 16, 58, 70

TAG Heuer 17, 32, 38,

Jean-Mairet & Gillman

Piaget 64, 70

59, 64, 70, 80


Pierre de Roche 58

The Watch Avenue 71

JS Watch Co. 51 Junghans 52-54

Tiffany & Co. 70, 74 R

Tissot 23, 70

Rado 38, 70

Titoni 37, 59


Ralph Lauren 5

Tudor COVER I, 6-9, 70

Laurent Ferrier 69, 70

Raymond Weil 24-26,

Tutima 40, 45-46

Longines 74


Louis Vuitton 22, 74

Robert & Fils 69, 70

U Ulysse Nardin 64 Union Glashütte 48 V, W Vacheron Constantin COVER II, 1, 58, 64, 70 Wize & Ope 65 Z Zenith 39


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80 LAKIN@LARGE europa star

Battered, bruised, but British! I’ve obviously read about people being attacked and robbed and I suppose, like most of us, I wondered what I would have done in the same circumstances, never believing that it would actually happen. Then there was a knock on the door. We’ve been beaten up and robbed and we’ve suffered in semi-silence with some close friends and a few bottles of something strong. But here I am, about to write about what happened. Maybe it will be cathartic, who knows. This is the sort of story that should start with ‘It was a dark and stormy night …’, but it wasn’t it was mid-afternoon and sunny when the doorbell rang. Kate answered and a youngish man in a crash helmet asked if Gérard was there. Since we have a neighbour called Gérard, the man was pointed in the right direction and he apologized for the intrusion. In the late evening, the doorbell rang again and I opened it.This time a different man asked if Gérard was there and as I said no he hit me in the eye with something harder than his fist, then coshed me on the head, the arms and my back until I was on the lying on the floor where he kept a foot on my neck. While this was going on, two other men ran upstairs, grabbed Kate and asked for her money and jewellery, threatening at the same time to cut off her finger if she didn’t take off the ring she was wearing. As she slid the ring from her finger, the two men looked away and Kate heroically ran downstairs and pressed the alarm that we had installed after the house had been burgled in our absence three years ago. One of the brave men then grabbed her and beat her unconscious. The result was a broken nose and teeth and nauseating bruising. By this time, one of the thieves had found the safe we have in the bedroom and I was dragged upstairs to open it. Because my eye was bleeding I couldn’t really see what I was doing, so as an encouragement something rigid was put at the back of my head and I was told that either I opened the safe or they’d kill me. I continued fumbling around trying to put the right digital code, but my mind wasn’t functioning normally and I remember thinking that my time was up and I was about to die. For some strange reason, at that particular moment I wasn’t frightened. I seemed to be in a surreal state, everything was out of my control, my fate, destiny, call it what you like, was in the hands of three brutal thieves, parasites that live on the results of other people’s endeavours. With the benefit of hindsight, I don’t think the thieves had a gun, otherwise they would have pointed it at us on entering the house, but I didn’t have play-back resources available at that moment. Then the safe door opened. The next seventy-two hours remain somewhat blurred – mainly due to the fact that I couldn’t see properly. The first night we spent in the local hospital, then the next day we did the commissariat de police and the ophthalmologist. The day after that I had my eye operated on in the Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco and Kate had her nose fixed.

Kate had all her jewellery stolen, items mostly irreplaceable, some euros and pounds and a couple of watches. I had eleven watches stolen plus some jewellery and some Swiss francs. Why did I have eleven watches here in Menton the police asked? I explained that two were presents for my daughters, and nine were watches that I wore regularly because I write about the watch industry and I mistakenly thought that with a 300 kilo immovable safe in Menton they were safer there than in my apartment in Geneva. If I can find any receipts the insurance company should help me purchase replacements. But the others? How do I replace a Rolex GMT that I purchased for my father around 1970, or my TAG Heuer Special Edition Monaco, or even the Maurice Lacroix Calendar watch in 18 carat yellow gold that I scrimped and saved for way back before I worked in the watch industry? Being British, people expect you to be phlegmatic, maintain a stiff upper lip in difficult circumstances, be philosophical – okay then, we consider ourselves lucky to be alive. But I will add that although I’m not religious, I sincerely hope that the perpetrators of this cowardly attack get divine retribution. Additionally, I asked one of the police inspectors if they caught the men concerned could they leave me in a room, with them handcuffed and me with a baseball bat, for a mere five minutes. He half-smiled and said they didn’t do that in France. Right, pity! The one positive element that came out of all this was that the police drove me back home one day after I’d been going through their rogues gallery and because there was a traffic jam they put the siren on. They stopped only for me to buy my newspaper and then dropped me at the front door. That was a first! An American comedian called Jack Benny, who used to tell funny stories about being very miserly with his money, said, “I was held up at gunpoint the other day and the man said ‘Your money or your life!’ I didn’t answer straight away so he repeated, ‘Your money or your life!’ So I said don’t rush me, I’m thinking about it.” Well, you’ve got to laugh haven’t you, but I can assure you, it really doesn’t work that way when the chips are down.

D. Malcolm Lakin Roving Editor

Europa Star Europe 5.11 Oct./November  

The World's Most Influential Watch Magazine

Europa Star Europe 5.11 Oct./November  

The World's Most Influential Watch Magazine