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wAtCh BUsINess MAgAzINe eUropeAN edItIoN N°321

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HIGH-END CRAFT STRATEGIES The Artisans | Focus on Asia


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EDITORIAL

A world of poTential Pierre M. Maillard Editor-in-chief

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tion about the avenues to be explored as a priority. Should they be returning, forthwith, to classicism, calming things down, betting on more sobriety? Or, on the contrary, should they be innovating at all cost, even outbidding themselves with products made possible by modern design and production methods, but whose deeper meaning escapes us?

of mere “representation”, which is not disappearing but is taking on different forms. And when function fits with representation, then success is guaranteed. The “danger” in this respect does not come only from the forthcoming avalanche of connected watches, for which there is not yet any indicator of potential dominance but which could very well

Especially since Chinese watchmakers seem to be making inroads into the world of complicated watchmaking, for example offering tourbillons in jade for 380,000 US dollars! (Read the excellent report on this by Paul O’Neil, back from Hong Kong). Another issue, confirmed by a recent stay in Japan (it does appear to be from the “complicated” East that these questions come): the younger generation no longer seems to need the social “fetish” of a watch, which has become an accessory for dads. Badges of social belonging and signs of identity are changing, “luxury” – in other words the emotional and financial investment in the superfluous – is changing shape. The notion of the watch as an instrument, with several functions, is gaining ground over that

succeed in mixing technology, design and precious materials to reach up into the high end. There are other “possibles” as well. It will, for instance, be interesting to follow how the atomic technology launched by Hoptroff this year will develop. Because although the proposed watch (whose price is equally atomic) uses a super-precise type of “battery”, it also has a dial full of hands that is of the utmost classicism. The winning equation of the future? p

Germaine Krull (1897-1985)

It is a persistent impression and one confirmed by a whole series of all kinds of indicators. But what impression is it, exactly? The impression that every imaginable avenue is open to exploration. And that nobody really knows what the future will look like. We are talking about the future of watchmaking, of course. But in talking about watchmaking, we are also talking about the world in general, because watchmaking is not up on a pedestal and is not disconnected from basic material requirements, whether they be economic or political (such as the anti-corruption campaigns that have been launched in China). Everything is possible because everything looks like it could change tack from one minute to the next. One example is the now famous “smart” watches, which could, according to some, or certainly could not, according to others, take over our wrist real estate, relegating the old mechanical technology just like quartz did in its time. Before it re-emerges, takes vengeance and once again triumphs in value. If the Swiss were once almost wiped off the map of watchmaking, it was in large part due to their own short-sightedness. Situations of absolute dominance often foster arrogance and arrogance hardly encourages clear-thinking. So we need to be careful that this explosive mixture of arrogance and lack of clear-thinking doesn’t repeat itself. But if this impression that all possibilities are open persists, it is also for other reasons. Mechanical watchmaking certainly hasn’t said its last word, but when visiting factories and peering over workbenches we feel a certain hesita-


CONTENTS

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the world’s MOST INFLUENTIAL WATCH magazine europe

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

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COVER STORY Tudor, a heritage transformed

10 12 16 20 22 30 34 38

ARTS & CRAFTS Introduction – Strategic artistic crafts Patek Philippe – Nostalgia or premonition? Vacheron Constantin – Artistic crafts: getting familiar with longevity Bovet and the art of engraving The art of guillochage Angular Momentum & Manu Propria – the capital difference Pascal Vaucher – Art and method Damascus steel by GoS Watches ARTS & CRAFTS GALLERIES Breguet 24, Cartier 26, Chanel 21, Chopard 32, De Bethune 28, DeLaneau 29, Grieb & Benzinger 28, Harry Winston 26, Hermès 29, Jaquet Droz 28, Julien Coudray 31, Laurent Ferrier 32, Matthia’s & Claire 32, Parmigiani Fleurier 29

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MANUFACTURE The industrial strategies of Maurice Lacroix

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CASE STUDY Casio – My name is G-Shock

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HONG KONG SHOW REPORT Uncertain horizons

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RETAILER PROFILE Zakaa boutiques are revolutionising retail in Nigeria

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SERVICE, PLEASE! Chopard – The care and servicing of jewellery watches

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WORLDWATCHWEB How consumers search for luxury watches online

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LAKIN@LARGE … and you think you’ve got problems? ADVERTORIALS: Ice-Watch, Orient

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

4 CONTENTS / europa star

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EDITORIAL & ADVERTISERS’ INDEX

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EDITORIAL A world of potential

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arceau le temps suspendu forgetting time, just for a moment, before recapturing it again. one press on the pushbutton makes the hours and minutes vanish at will. meanwhile, the central second hand, unperturbed, pursues its ardent race against time. while the illusion works its magic, the movement continues to beat thanks to a complication exclusive to hermès. another push is all it takes for time to resume its onward march .

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COVER STORY

TUDOR , a heritage transformed Pierre Maillard

“All the pieces in the puzzle are now falling into place. Image and awareness are stronger than ever,” they say with delight at Tudor. Since 2007, the year of the great strategic change that brought the brand to its current level of visibility, it has therefore taken a mere lustre for Tudor to reconnect with its rich past. Having rediscovered its strong identity, Tudor today offers powerful and recognisable products that hark back to its past but by no means neglect the present. This seems to work and Tudor has succeeded in creating a buzz: the latest video advertisement for the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue has been viewed over 350,000 times on YouTube and that for the Tudor Fastrider Black Shield 150,000 times.

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A “heritage” transformed Tudor has a veritable treasure trove of history. And it is on the rediscovery of this heritage that the brand is basing its return to strength by creating the eponymous Heritage line, which has since become its trademark. But while the name Heritage speaks for itself, this is not simply a question of reissuing emblematic, and in some cases iconic, models. A different and more interesting approach has been taken: that of historical touches and accents on technical pieces that are well aligned with contemporary tastes. Stylistically, we could say that the Tudor Heritage watches convincingly manage to assimilate, with coherence and balance, elements from the past and signs of modernity, vintage touches and technicality. A particular type of style begins to emerge, with familiar yet tighter lines, geometric touches of colour, reworked hands, three-dimensional hour markers, the use of SuperLuminova. It is a style that has been meticulously defined and manages to cover all segments and reach different “targets”, both young and less young, a mixture of “trendy” and nostalgic people. The famous fabric straps, which have become a distinguishing sign of the brand, have undoubtedly played an important role in this. These have nothing to do with the so-called “Nato” straps, which are a lot more rigid and don’t have the same unbelievable level of comfort as the Tudor straps. The essence of Tudor’s combined historical and contemporary approach is illustrated perfectly by these exclusive bracelets which, although they are made of high-technology fibres (notably polyethylene) that are ultra-resistant to salt water, sunlight and acidity, are nevertheless woven in the old

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style in an historical factory that is among the oldest ribbon makers still in existence, and which employs some incredible craftsmen who still weave using wooden tools. As (indirect) proof of Tudor’s return to grace, old watches have been taken out of the draws, collectors have become infatuated with the brand and prices for historical Tudor watches have rocketed at auction. In some cases the values of iconic vintage Tudor models have tripled or even quadrupled.


Favourable momentum Tudor’s current collection is situated in the highly competitive “premium” segment but the brand can now clearly show its difference thanks to the undeniable aesthetic success of its collection. With an accessible average price of between CHF 3,500 and 4,000 (and an entry-level price of CHF 2,000) Tudor also finds itself in a favourable momentum, with the general economic situation forcing customers to look for alternatives that are both quality and affordable. It is against this background and with this renewed dynamism that Tudor will be reintroduced on the USA market this autumn after 17 years of absence. This is a vital relaunch for Tudor, which is very strong in China (where the brand has been present for 40 years) and Hong Kong and “in development” elsewhere, according to the brand’s management. A “very big launch” they admit, with the aim to open “hundreds of points of sale” in a market that is especially favourable in this price segment.

of the brand) will play an important part in this carefully prepared reconquest. Several of these new products recall one of the historical specialities of Tudor: chronographs. This long story started 43 years ago. In 1970, Tudor released the Oysterdate chronograph, which made its mark not just because of its technicalities but also because of its audacious design, which was characterised by orange accents and pentagonal hour markers. Three years later, in 1973, the model that was nicknamed “Montecarlo” by collectors, which had a bidirectional bezel in anodised blue aluminium and a grey and blue dial, became emblematic. In 1976, Tudor released its first chronograph with a self-winding movement, the Chrono Time, then in 1989 it was the turn of the Prince Oysterdate chronograph, with its very elegant cream counters on the black dial. In less than two decades, Tudor has thus made its mark in the competitive field of chronographs.

Heritage Chrono Blue 43 years of chronographs The new products presented this year at BaselWorld (in a magnificent and imposing stand that was, for the first time since 1926, on its own and illustrated the renewed ambition

For lovers of vintage heritage, the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue should be the success of the year. It is basically a contemporary reinterpretation of the Tudor “Montecarlo” from 1973 (ref. 7169), which is highly sought after by collectors. It

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“A spirit of chic, glamorous and carefree leisure, with a Mediterranean touch, characteristic of the 1960s and 1970s”


acter” is reinforced by new three-dimensional hour markers that surround a layer of SuperLuminova. With its bidirectional rotating bezel and disc in anodised blue aluminium, the 42mm steel case (compared with 40mm for the historical model), which is polished and brushed, with tight lines and lengthened lugs, is also characterised by a screwed-in crown and pushers with a fine knurling and a polished finish. A lacquered blue Tudor emblem features on the crown. Under the sapphire crystal beats a Tudor 2892 movement with DuboisDépraz additional module (for the 45-minute counter). Retailing at CHF 4,200, the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue is supplied with two straps: a steel bracelet and the indispensable fabric strap, which, for this model, uses the emblematic blue, orange and grey colours.

Fastrider Black Shield

evokes a certain “spirit of chic, glamorous and carefree leisure, with a Mediterranean touch, characteristic of the 1960s and 1970s,” as the brand’s management explains. All the aesthetic codes of the historical piece have been preserved, or slightly adapted, starting with the chromatic harmony of blue, orange and grey that indicates its modernity. The graphic design of the dial is close to that of the original, with its 45-minute counter (divided into three zones of 15 minutes) off centre at 9 o’clock and its small seconds off centre at 3 o’clock, both housed inside blue trapezoids that give the watch its characteristic look. This “strength of char-

On the completely contemporary side of things, the Tudor Fastrider Black Shield takes pole position. It is the latest model in the Fastrider collection, which is dedicated to speed and performance, a collection that consists of a series of chronographs in steel, fitted with the TUDOR 7753 selfwinding calibre. The new Black Shield takes things even further. There is a highly concentrated force that emanates from this matt black piece that is punctuated with red accents. It comes above all from the density of its 42mm case, which is a monobloc piece of high-tech ceramic. Developed and produced entirely inhouse, it is produced by injection, from a single piece, which is a highly complex procedure that was only possible thanks

Tudor and Ducati, a 360º partnership While a special Fastrider watch was presented in 2011 to celebrate the signing of the partnership between Tudor and Ducati, this time it is a Ducati motorbike that celebrates the arrival of the Tudor Fastrider Black Shield. "We are not linked to Ducati by a traditional sponsoring agreement," the people at Tudor tell us, "but a 360º partnership that goes far beyond the status of a mere timing partner". The two companies have taken a novel approach, based on their comparable stylistic philosophies and the numerous points that they have in common, each in their own area of expertise, and the aesthetic and technical history of both brands. The design offices of Tudor and Ducati developed a special motorbike jointly. It is the Ducati Diavel Carbon, which aims to reproduce the spirit of the watch in its appearance and its shape. Produced in monochrome matt black, the single example of this exceptional motorbike reinterprets the codes of the Black Shield: a fine red line highlights the silhouette of the motorbike and even continues in the form of red LEDs in a light surround that is otherwise entirely black; the wheels are surrounded by red band, which gives a strong impression of power. The Ducati Diavel Carbon also features prominently in the launch film for the Black Shield, in which we see it slalom between lava flows to bring us to the edge of the crater where the ceramic case of the watch is born. A beautiful bike but also an excellent communications vehicle.

8 COVER STORY / europa star


to the experience gained from producing the ceramic bezel for the Pelagos divers’ watch. The middle case and bezel, which is engraved with a tachymetric scale, are in ceramic, while the back, the buckle, the pushers and the crown of this chronograph are in black PVD treated steel with a layer of liquid glass that reinforces the material. But the strength of this watch also comes from its clear, frank and straight lines, which the lively red graphic design of the hour markers, the tips of the hands, the central seconds, the Tudor shield and the gasket for the sapphire crystal tinted in the same colour all help to underscore. Not forgetting the red stitching on the leather strap. This expressive force changes slightly and becomes more metropolitan in another matt black version where the red is replaced on the hands and hour markers by a bronze tint that is matched with a very nice beige Alcantara® strap with black stitching. In its most direct ex-

pression, the Black Shield is also offered with a black rubber strap. Water resistant to 150 metres, fitted with direct-action pushers and using the same TUDOR 7753 chronograph movement, it has a power reserve of approximately 46 hours. Heritage on the one hand, future on the other… these two chronographs from totally distinct product lines show the scope of the brand’s competence. There is undoubtedly a strong continuity in the history of Tudor and that of the chronograph, but if the codes of the past can be perfectly reinterpreted, it is with an eye towards the future that they must be constantly reinvented. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Tudor

europa star / COVER STORY 9


ARTS & CRAFTS INTRODUCTION

Strategic artistic crafts Pierre M. Maillard Watchmaking was born ornamental. The first wearable watches astonished and were soon taken up by the rich and the powerful. But they were most inaccurate and their value lay less in their use as an instrument and more in their ornamental richness. The artistic crafts and watchmaking have been closely linked ever since, for better, often, and sometimes for worse if we consider some monuments of rich kitsch that have been produced over the years. But this relationship between artistic crafts and technical professions has witnessed both intense and calmer periods. The birth of precision watchmaking and later the sacrosanct rules of the Bauhaus movement (“form follows function”) pushed decoration into the background for a while, without it disappearing completely. But the chances of the knowledge of such crafts being passed on plummeted and entire branches disappeared, while others found themselves under threat of extinction. And yet for the past few years, the artistic crafts have made a big comeback, to such an extent that at the SIHH and BaselWorld the number of brands presenting their “Métiers d’Art” collections has increased considerably. But what are the reasons behind this? There are actually several of them and they come together to create a small phenomenon. The artistic crafts have become strategic. Through them, a number of global brands are aiming to lay claim to legitimacy at the top of the watchmaking pile, not for financial reasons (the volumes produced, which by their very nature are highly restricted, do not make them a major profit centre) but in terms of brand image and prestige. But there are other considerations to take into account in addition to these marketing reasons. We are coming to the end of an era when mechanical watchmaking has gone from one technical breakthrough to another, directly influencing the aesthetics of the watch. To a certain extent, mechanics has spread to the dials, with a number of watches now proudly showing off their technical entrails as a new form of proud decoration. The mechanics have become a decoration in their own right, at a cost of numerous excesses. Today, owing to the crisis, we are witnessing a return to moderation and classicism. The ultra-thin, uncluttered watch is gaining ground. By the same token, the tradition of the artistic crafts is also experiencing a revival, as a sort of counterweight against the

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I An enlarged impression of a straw marquetry motif by Hermès

dominant technicality. In this context, being able to present unique works of art in which the craftsman’s hand takes the most important role has a reflection on the whole product range. It is now the in thing to have one’s own plumassier, marquetry artist for straw or hard stones, one’s own enameller or engraver. It is even better to bring together different artistic crafts working in collaboration on a common approach, which helps to avoid the very real threat of a trivialisation of the artistic crafts. While we can only welcome the resurgence in popularity of these crafts, we can nevertheless regret one thing: the majority of the brands using them are simply reproducing themes from the past that no longer have any relevance to the present day. Attempts to adapt the artistic crafts to an aesthetic that is more in tune with the times are all too rare. Some brands are doing so, nevertheless, looking to the abstract or taking inspiration from artistic movements that are closer to the present day, whether impressionism or cubism… And good for them, because we think that this is what will allow a genuine renaissance in the artistic crafts rather than a mere repetition of what has already been done in the past. p


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ARTS & CRAFTS

PATEK PHILIPPE – Nostalgia or premonition? Pierre Maillard Stylistically the piece is astonishing, because it marks a triumphant return of the art of decoration that was the hallmark of the Geneva school of watchmaking. It is also part of a long tradition without trying to deviate from the aesthetic precepts of the great classic watchmaking that was born in the 16th century, which compensated for its lack of mechanical precision by a profusion of ornament that was supposed to reflect the richness and prestige of the owners of what were at the time only approximate timekeepers. Since then, a lot of water has passed under the bridge and, with the invention of the sprung balance, the precision of mechanical watchmaking improved considerably and watches gradually became genuine instruments that accompanied and assisted the development of navigation and later science. Ever since, their decoration lost importance, neglected in favour of highlighting the scientific qualities of a watch. You only have to look at the revolutionary watches of Breguet that are devoid of any decoration and display their precision against immaculate backgrounds that favour the finesse of the measurement scales. It is therefore perfectly understandable that the Patek Philippe reference 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon has caused a stir. Here is a watch whose decoration is worthy of the great prestige watchmaking of yore, yet which has one of the most complicated and most precise calibres that there is. Patek Philippe’s ambition is very clear: to show that the watch case itself can be a “grand complication” just as much as the movement inside it.

OPTIMISATION

Is it a precursor of a great return to the most traditional form of stylistic classicism or an isolated piece, swimming against the tide of the current aesthetic trends? Regardless of the answer to this question, you can’t help but notice that the Patek Philippe reference 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon has made an explosive entrance on the watchmaking scene. Rarely have we seen such a richly engraved piece that has been decorated to such an extent that none of its surfaces has escaped the engraver’s trace or the enameller’s brush.

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This movement is not in itself new. It merely has a few slight differences compared with the calibre that was fitted in the preceding Sky Moon Tourbillon reference 5002, presented in 2001. The only modifications concern the displays for the date, the month and the leap-year, which are shown in a window rather than by a hand, and the replacement of the small sub-dial for the age of the moon by a moon-phase window that is considered “more poetic”. But otherwise the

The Patek Philippe reference 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon is as complicated outside as it is inside.


12 complications of what is still the most complicated wristwatch produced by the Geneva maison are once again found in this new, double-sided reference: a minute-repeater with two cathedral gongs, a tourbillon; on the back a perpetual calendar with retrograde date and mean solar time; on the front, the astronomical indications, i.e. a moving map of the firmament, sidereal time, the angular movement of the moon and the moon phases. A few optimisations have also been made: a new metal alloy adds great purity and strength to the gongs; new energy calculations were required for the displays by window, which are easier to read but require more power; and complex theoretical calculations were carried out in order to determine the optimum variant for the transmissions in the gear train that are responsible for the astronomical displays, in order to achieve the greatest possible mechanical precision (-0.05 seconds per lunar day, -0.088 seconds per sidereal day and -6.51 seconds per lunar cycle).

A precision case The same level of precision is found in the white-gold case, which is entirely hand-engraved. Not one part of its surface, not even the hands, has escaped the graver. Garlands, swirls, elements drawn from the Calatrava Cross, the brand’s emblem, chiselling and grooves are spread across the entire surface area, including the minute-repeater slide, the crowns and the lugs. Over 100 hours of patient work are required, with the slightest slip-up endangering everything with the risk that the piece has to be sent back to the foundry.

The work of the enameller, the grinder and the insert-applier is added to this exceptional engraving work. Two complementary enamelling techniques are used on the gold dial: champlevé, which, applied by brush, fills in the cavities that have previously been ground out and cloisonné enamel, which reproduces the outline for the flower decoration with fine gold thread, before the cavities thus formed are filled with enamel of differing shades of blue. The Roman numeral inserts and the other indications painted in light grey are then added on top of this décor once it has been fired in the oven (at around 850°C). Another subtle detail is the different shades of white and black enamels that make up the surface of the moon.

The Patek Philippe reference 6002 Sky Moon Tourbillon is as complicated on one face as it is on the other.

Will this Sky Moon Tourbillon, which will only be produced in “small quantities” as Thierry Stern himself says, remain an atypical watch or does it sound the fanfare of a return to the great art of decoration? Time will tell. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Patek-Philippe

europa star / ARTS & CRAFTS 13


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ARTS & CRAFTS

VACHERON CONSTANTIN – Artistic crafts: getting familiar with longevity An interview with Julien Marchenoir, the Marketing and Communication Director of Vacheron Constantin, by Pierre Maillard. Europa Star: We see more and more high-end brands turning towards artistic crafts. How do you explain this phenomenon? Julien Marchenoir: What attracts the brands so strongly to the artistic crafts is linked to the return to the values of longevity and expertise that we have seen over the past few years. By using the decorative artistic crafts we address the notion of longevity. Artistic crafts have also become a marketing tool that allows a brand to attain a certain degree of nobility. At the risk of trivialisation? JM: This is a risk, of course, since those who do not have the right knowledge cannot differentiate the genuine from the approximation. It is therefore up to us to inform and educate our customers. For example, doing a miniature painting on an enamelled base is not the same thing as doing a genuine enamel painting, which requires a specific firing for each colour used and is the only technique that allows for real longevity. It also seems paradoxical that we are talking so much about the artistic crafts when so many of them are under threat of extinction… JM: One of the problems with the artistic crafts is that they are not well known among the general public. Training programmes for them have also gradually disappeared and there are now a lot of “orphan” crafts for which there are no longer teaching classes available. In some cases there is still a master craftsman in the discipline, but he doesn’t necessarily have the time or the inclination to pass on his special skills. Or, if he is disposed to passing on his “secrets” then it will only be to one or two people already involved in the same discipline. In order to revive certain crafts, we need to be able to demonstrate that they are not dull, that they have a future and that they are relevant to our time. That is quite an ambitious programme! JM: In order to achieve our objectives we need to go beyond the product alone and offer an overall presentation of the artistic crafts. This is why we both take part in and actively

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“In order to revive certain crafts, we need to be able to demonstrate that they are relevant to our time.” support the European Artistic Crafts Days that take place in ten different countries. Franco Cologni is taking a similar approach in Italy with his Fondazione dei Mestieri d’Arte, which aims to revive traditional crafts among young people. Another example of this necessary rejuvenation is the project that we did with the Italian artist and designer Alessandro Mendini, an exhibition about time that comprises thirteen works conceived by Mendini but produced by craftsmen, in thirteen different materials. It was one way of showing that the artistic crafts can still have a fundamental role in our society by making them part of the dialogue in contemporary creation. But in addition to this type of project we also need to reestablish training courses.

T Thirteen works conceived by Mendini produced by craftsmen, in thirteen different materials.


But which customers are interested in these very specialised products? JM: Some people are interested above all in a particular craft. They often have a very good knowledge of it and examine everything with the eye glass. Others have a more aesthetic approach and like the fact that a watch, beyond its purely technical aspect, becomes a work of art as well. There are also systematic collectors who buy all the pieces in a collection. Some of these collectors are less purist and came to watchmaking through its artistic aspects. They are often art collectors as well. Coming back to Vacheron Constantin, what is your company’s specific approach to the artistic crafts? JM: It is a multi-faceted approach that takes various forms and uses different channels. First of all, we are committed to promoting the different crafts individually – mainly engraving, guillochage, gem-setting, enamelling – by highlighting the specifics of each one through creations that use the main themes of classic Geneva watchmaking: floral motifs, travel, reproduction of works of art. Then, in a second phase, we started a dialogue between these artistic crafts by mixing them. To do this we followed two separate paths: one using quite traditional motifs, such as the floral motifs we presented this year that use different techniques; the other using more contemporary subjects such as the Infinite Universe series, which was inspired by the engraver Escher, which allowed us to experiment by using traditional techniques in a modern way and offering something quite unique

U Symbolique des Laques collection The encounter between two cultures: Vacheron Constantin (established in 1755, Switzerland) and Zohiko (established in 1661, Japan)

with figurative guillochage, for example. The craftsmen are now obliged to work together very closely, which considerably enriches the creative approach. We could also mention the cultural enrichment that these crafts allow. I’m thinking here about the famous Masks series and other collaborations… JM: Throughout its long history, Vacheron Constantin has used around 20 different artistic crafts. But there are other practices used around the world. It was in this spirit of cultural openness, for example, that we worked on the Symbolique des Laques collection, using the Japanese technique of maki-e for the first time, in collaboration with the Zohiko company, which is even older than ours because it was established in 1661. The fruits of this collaboration are not only very beautiful but they are also full of emotion, poetry and culture. This type of collaboration that opens up to the cultures of the world helps us all to progress.

O The Florilège collection combines guillochage, engraving and enamel.

Franco Cologni has said on several occasions that he feels in step with the Italian Slow Food movement, which promotes the authenticity of products and their cultural value. Could we not talk about “slow horology” as well? JM: We live in a world that is in constant acceleration and one of the capital teachings of the artistic crafts is that you cannot shorten the time required for genuine creation. This is what gives the artisanal touch its whole beauty and taking shortcuts would only dilute this. This is the best lesson from the artistic crafts: give time all its time, give it back all its value.

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OTop left: La Légende du Zodiaque Chinois collection Bottom left: Hommage à l’Art de la Danse - Dance Class collection On the right: Infinite Universe collection

FOUR CRAFTS UNDER THE SAME ROOF Julien Marchenoir’s words are put into context on a visit to the Vacheron Constantin workshops that are dedicated to the artistic crafts. The four main crafts – enamel, engraving, guillochage, gem setting – are grouped together in a communal areas. The craftsmen are therefore encouraged to collaborate and can innovate in their traditional areas of expertise, helping them to evolve while still using the ancient techniques. While their creations use traditional techniques, the mixture of techniques opens up new possibilities and allows, through dialogue, obstacles that seemed unassailable to be overcome. This joint progress also permits a move away from the more “old fashioned” side of traditional artistic crafts and brings them to the attention of an audience that may not otherwise have been interested in them. As an example, consider the technique of grisaille enamel on a translucent base that can be admired in the new Dance Class series. This technique involves painting subjects in white enamel on a very dark grisaille background in order to obtain successive gradients of colour. Because the more the white is fired, the more it dims. This allows transparencies to be created, such as the numerous superimposed layers that convey the lightness of a veil or a dancer’s tutu. The paint, Limoges

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white, which is not normally used in traditional watchmaking enamel, is applied with a needle and the firing is very delicate, since a slight excess can make everything disappear. But the most beautiful example of collaboration between different artistic crafts is without doubt the Infinite Universe collection. Four crafts unite to create these highly contemporary pieces, inspired by the subversive graphical universe of Cornelius Escher. On the same dial we find, in order of application, engraving, preparation for gem setting, enamelling, truing, firing, glazing, gem setting and guillochage. Special figurative guillochage techniques were developed for this. As a master guillocheur at Vacheron Constantin explained to us, “we have now moved away from pure geometric shapes familiar in guillochage towards more figurative designs. A door has opened in front of us and we can now offer genuine differentiation in our timepieces.” p

“A door has opened in front of us and we can now offer genuine differentiation in our timepieces.”

Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Vacheron-Constantin


Tambour Monogram manufactured in Louis Vuitton’s watc hmaking wor kshops in Switzer land. Sold exclusively in Louis Vuitton s tores. louisvuitton.com


ARTS & CRAFTS

Bovet and the art of engraving Paul O’Neil

In order to appreciate the attention to detail of the work carried out by Bovet at its facilities for cases and movements (Dimier 1738, in Tramelan) and decoration and assembly (the beautifully restored Château de Môtiers near Fleurier), you must first adapt to new dimensions and the world of the ultra-minuscule. Let us first consider the component side of this 99 per cent manufacture (the only elements purchased from outside are the mainsprings and the watch straps) at Dimier 1738, where the 70 employees represent no less than 41 different professions associated with watch manufacturing. Here, all movement components are produced by stamping or wire erosion and finished to an astonishing level of detail. Just one example that I observed was a humble pinion measuring a mere 0.12mm in diameter that has to be machined before polishing. The machinist has to grind down 1/100th of this already tiny diameter and has a range of just four microns, or four millionths of a metre, in which to operate… but half of this must be left for the polisher to work with! Simply setting the machine for this task (a special milling machine with two different milling discs, one in ceramic and one in aluminium oxide), adjusting the height and centricity of the working piece and spacing the milling discs on the machine, can take up to two days. Another example is the tiny tourbillon bridge, which can take up to two hours to hand file from the raw component into its cylindrical shape before it is passed on to a polisher, who then has a whole number of steps to complete to prepare it for the mirror polishing that gives it its final sheen. This is before we even consider the painstaking engraving of the movement, which takes around one entire week of work for Bovet’s signature Amadeo timepieces.

the naked eye–even the engraver’s jottings are on a different scale! This small workshop in the attic space of the chateau, with its visible stone and wooden beams (which have been specially treated as part of the workshop’s conversion into a controlled air zone), perpetuates the tradition of Edouard Bovet, who introduced a hitherto unknown level of detail into the engraving of movements and watches.

Over in the calmer atmosphere of the Château de Môtiers, with its sweeping views across the Val de Travers, engraving work is carried out on the complicated Amadeo case, bezel and bow. Here, too, there is a clear impression that work is being carried out in a different dimension. As I crane my neck to observe the engraver working using a microscope on the Fleurisanne pattern that is typical of Bovet, I notice a page of notes written in a handwriting that appears barely legible to

Having been offered the chance to engrave a small brass plaque, I soon appreciate the level of skill required of the engraver: the engraving tool must be seated firmly in the palm of the hand; the engraving motion should come from the elbow in a straight line along the arm; the arm should remain still, while the piece being engraved is rotated. But even after this is explained, the real skill is knowing the right amount of pressure to apply, which can only come from many hours

L

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I Amadeo Fleurier 7-day tourbillon with reversed hand fitting This doubled-sided unique piece uses the 45mm convertible Amadeo case in 18-carat white gold that allows the watch to be worn on the wrist, as a pocket watch or used as a desk clock. The case middle, case back, bow, bezel and lugs are all hand chiselled, the front dial is hand-engraved with the Fleurisanne pattern and the reverse dial with black guilloché. The calibre 14BM02AI hand-wound tourbillon movement powers this piece. It operates at 21,600 vibrations per hour and offers a seven-day power reserve.


ARTS & CRAFTS Gallery of engraving experience coupled with the engraver’s own dexterity, as my poor attempts to engrave a simple, constant straight line confirmed. The Fleurisanne engraving is not only specific to Bovet but can also vary according to the individual engraver, who is involved from the outset in the design of the engraving on the case. Altogether, the engraving of the caseband, case back, bezel and bow can take up to 100 hours – a full two and a half weeks of work! Things get even more unpredictable for the chiselling decoration that is also specific to Bovet movements and cases. Here, the engravers say that the chiselling decoration can change on the same piece if they are interrupted and even show differences between work done by the same engraver in the morning and the afternoon. The effect is nevertheless remarkable, with sparkling reflections that rival those of a gem-set piece.

Bovet’s in-house capabilities also include miniature painting, which makes the brand a one-stop-shop for all the métiers d’art. Add to this the recent announcement by Bovet that its Amadeo Fleurier Rising Star Triple Time Zone Tourbillon was the brand’s first timepiece to be certified by the Fleurier Quality Foundation after passing its rigorous tests (the timepiece must pass the COSC, Chronofiable and Fleuritest examinations in addition to being 100 per cent Swiss Made) and you have the complete package of high-end Swiss watchmaking. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Bovet

MINIATURE GRAND FEU ENAMEL, ENGRAVING, SNOW SETTING Mademoiselle Privé, Coromandel, by Chanel These jewellery watches, inspired by the Coromandel lacquered panels cherished by Gabrielle Chanel, faithfully echo their splendid motifs. These motifs are reproduced in miniature enamel, by Anita Porchet, a highly renowned independent Swiss enamel artist. On a base that is a deep black enamel with shimmering blue reflections, the paint (composed of brushed enamel mixed with oil) is applied with a brush in meticulous individual touches, in order to depict the scene in all its smallest details. As the various layers are applied and the firing operations are performed, the colours gradually reveal their subtle nuances and compose an aesthetically harmonious overall effect. Each creation is made even more unique by the hand engraving work performed prior to enamelling the dial. The artisan uses a hand graver to make a light engraving suited to the motif and which will subsequently endow the décor with extreme refinement and distinctive vibrancy. According to snow setting techniques, diamonds of varying diameters are randomly positioned next to each other until they entirely cover the gold surface beneath. Each jewellery watch features a different number of stones set on the bezel, ranging from around 600 to 650. Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Chanel

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ARTS & CRAFTS

The art of guillochage Paul O’Neil was taken over entirely by Metalem in 1998 and specialised in the guillochage of dials. My father then set up his own workshop to do guillochage on steel and oscillating masses. We created the company Décors Guillochés SA in 2003 and moved to Cernier in 2005. [Editor’s note: RVK Guillochage SA is based in the next village of Chézard-Saint-Martin]. So what exactly is guillochage? YVK: There was a lot less ambiguity about the term when I first started working in guillochage because it always referred to hand guillochage. Nowadays you may see a component described as guilloché when it is in fact stamped. But by definition, guillochage involves removing material. There is also numerical control guillochage. Switzerland’s bucolic Val-de-Ruz region does not command as many column inches as the better-known centres of excellence in Swiss watchmaking. But it was in the small town of Fontainemelon, on the ridge that separates Neuchâtel and La Chaux-deFonds, that the first movement-blank factory in the group of Ebauches SA companies was established. Now part of the Swatch Group’s ETA movement division, the factory continues to dominate the town. What is perhaps even less well known is that the next two villages as you travel east out of Fontainemelon are something of a hub for the artistic craft of guillochage. Yann von Känel, Director of Décors Guillochés SA, which employs 10 guillocheurs at its workshop in Cernier, explained the reasons for this and shared his thoughts on the art of guillochage with Europa Star.

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Numerical control guillochage? How does that work? YVK: We teach the machines how to do it using the techniques of guillochage by hand. This means, of course, that you first need to be able to do the guillochage by hand and have all the experience of using machines for hand guillochage. You need intuition to understand how these machines work. A machine operator could do numerical control guillochage, but he would approach things from a mechanical point of view and you would see the difference in the end result. How can you tell the difference between these different types of guillochage? YVK: Sometimes it can be difficult to see the difference between the two but sometimes you can see that the pattern on a stamped piece is too perfect and the decoration looks

u Tell us about the history of guillochage in the-Val de-Ruz. Yann von Känel: After working for twelve years at a factory that produced stamping tools, my father set up a workshop with his friends L’Eplattenier and Blandenier, who were hand engravers. It was here that he learned the art of guillochage and the company gained a reputation for the guillochage of dials and oscillating masses. It drew the attention of Stern créations (Geneva) and Metalem (Le Locle) and, when L’Eplattenier and Blandenier retired in 1996, the company was acquired jointly by my father and Metalem. Since renamed RVK Guillochage SA in 1997, the company

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Yann von Känel


First created in 1953

tissot Herit eritage Navigator automa utomatic

160th anniversar 160 nniversary y – nUMB UMBered ered editi editiO On classic lassic heritage timepiece providing 24 time zones, set in a 316L stainless steel case with a certified certified automatic chronometer movement and water resistance up to 3 bar (30 m/ 100 ft).

Get in touch at www www.tissot.ch .tissot.ch

in tOUCH witH witH y yOUr r time


ARTS & CRAFTS Gallery GUILLOCHAGE Extra-thin self-winding Classique Tourbillon by Breguet Breguet is renowned for the guillochage on the dials of its timepieces, which create refined yet sober backgrounds that allow the indications to be read clearly and do not crowd out the off-set tourbillon on this piece. Like the 42mm diameter case, the dial is also in 18-carat gold and has been silvered and engine turned by hand. The Breguet Calibre 581DR that powers this piece at a frequency of 4Hz has a lateral lever escapement in silicon and anti-magnetic steel, a silicon balance spring, small seconds mounted on the tourbillon and a power reserve of 90 hours.

“flat”. Also, the finer the decoration, the more easily you can see the difference between the two, which is why many brands prefer a coarser decoration. What effect has the resurgence in the artistic crafts had on your business? YVK: We have more and more customers requesting guillochage but even the higher end brands still want to do volume production using industrial methods. They only reserve a small percentage of their production for the exceptional, hand guilloché pieces but that is where they focus all their communication. We know that there is a lot of demand for stamping and for numerical control guillochage because we offer this as well so we have a good overview of the market. A number of our customers have brought guillochage inhouse, with varying degrees of success. Some of them are now coming back to us because we offer better quality and at a better price. It may seem surprising but it’s a question of technology – we have all the machines required and the simple principle of individual responsibility within our workshop, where each guillocheur does their own quality control. Can a guilloché part be repaired? YVK: Guilloché work is quite difficult to repair because you need to find the exact same tool and, ideally, the same machine as well, which makes it easier to re-do the piece. On a case, you can always remove the decoration, polish the case and re-do the decoration. If we know how the decoration was done on a case, we can sometimes repair it. What is the biggest challenge you face at the moment? YVK: The biggest problem is the lack of any standards for guilloché work. For example, there is a 20 per cent difference in price between a cartouche that is produced using numerical control and one that is done by hand. But both can be referred to as “hand guilloché”. p

Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Breguet

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Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Decors-Guilloches


FOR EVERY SINGLE WEEK OF THE YEAR

PATRAVI CALENDAR Innovative technology meets classical elegance: the Patravi Calendar catches the eye with its classic round case, and incorporates day and big date plus a useful calendar week display. An out-of-the-ordinary watch with functional flair, the Patravi Calendar is the perfect timepiece for aesthetes and those with a love of technology. BOUND TO TRADITION – DRIVEN BY INNOVATION

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ARTS & CRAFTS Gallery ETRUSCAN GRANULATION Rotonde de Cartier 42mm, panther, granulation by Cartier The first recorded use of granulation dates back to the third millennium BC but it was the Etruscans of the seventh and sixth centuries BC who perfected the technique for their jewellery. There is a two-fold mystery surrounding the technology: for the first part, it is unclear how the Etruscans managed to produce such tiny spheres of gold; for the second, it is unclear how they fused these spheres to the metal underneath. It was only in the 20th century that jewellers guessed that the Etruscans probably used a form of organic glue to achieve the effect, which securely binds the spheres to the surface without any solder and without any metal welling up around the edges of the spheres. Cartier has now revived this ancient technology for use in a wristwatch, taking the brand’s emblematic panther as its subject.

FEATHER MARQUETRY Premier Feathers by Harry Winston Nelly Saunier, a gifted master plumassière or feather artist, is endowed with masterful and delicate expertise that enables her to tame feathers in such a way that they obey her creative purpose. As delicate as its raw material, this art is practiced by a rare breed of craftspersons who continue to perpetuate this ancestral ornamental art. Each of the three new models issued in limited production features marquetry created with the feathers of a bird that is raised specifically for this purpose. In addition to extreme dexterity, this skill requires excellent perception of volumes and above all of colours. Each dial thus crafted composes a nocturnal motif in shades of sky blue, turquoise, or sapphire blue, revealed by a touch of immaculate white or deep purple. These timepieces are framed by a 36mm-diameter 18-carat white-gold case set with 66 brilliant-cut diamonds, equipped with a quartz movement and teamed up with a satin strap in a shade echoing the main dial colour.

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Appreciate the extraordinary MASTER SERIES

www.titoni.ch


ARTS & CRAFTS Gallery

ENGRAVING, PAINTING, AUTOMATION The Bird Repeater by Jaquet-Droz The Bird Repeater combines a minute repeater and an automaton of birds feeding three chicks, of which one comes out of an egg, while the water of the stream flows in a continuous cascade. The base dial is hand-engraved and painted mother-of-pearl. The waterfall is on a rotating disc that spins to create the illusion of falling water. The birds and nest are also hand-engraved and painted individually. The animation sequence has an impressive level of action with wings opening, eggs hatching and chicks being fed.

SKELETONISATION, GUILLOCHÉ, ENGRAVING Area51 by Grieb & Benzinger The Area51 is the result of an unusual request by one of Grieb & Benzinger’s customers whose son wanted an alien-themed watch. The alien images of legend are produced on the dial with threedimensional metallised surfaces and ruby-set eyes against the background of a grey moon surface complete with diamond-set craters. As for all Grieb & Benzinger timepieces, the Area 51’s movement features an exquisite level of hand skeletonisation, engraving and guillochage, with blackened surfaces that fit with the extra-terrestrial theme. Housed in a solid 18-carat palladium white-gold case, the Area 51 comes with an extra-short strap to fit its 12 year-old owner.

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BAS RELIEF ENGRAVING AND GRAND FEU ENAMEL DB25 Imperial Fountain, by De Bethune A special edition of sets of 12 timepieces, inspired by the bronze Zodiac Animal Heads which adorned an ornate fountain in the famous Yuanming Yuan (Old Summer Palace) outside Beijing, China. These watches feature elaborately engraved animal heads for the 12 Chinese zodiac symbols. Each of the animal heads engraved by master artist Michèle Rothen, using the bas relief technique, is in the middle of the dial of the watch, backed by a grand feu enamel relief of the corresponding Zodiac symbol. A completely new movement, Calibre DB 2145, was created to free the centre of the dial. The resulting movement uses peripheral hour and minute hands, circling the engraved Zodiac head. New techniques, such as the use of micro ball bearings and a new transmission system capable of driving the revolving discs, were developed specifically for this movement.


GRAND FEU ENAMEL Rondo Tulip Field by Delaneau Delaneau’s goal was to interpret miniature enamel painting in a new way, paying homage to impressionism. In order to capture the famous light, movement and atmosphere of impressionism, enamel techniques had to be reinterpreted. It necessitated the use of many different enamel colours, each of which had to be individually fired, layer upon layer. White-gold case set with 196 diamonds, diamond-set crown, alligator strap with whitegold buckle set with 24 diamonds. Unique piece.

STRAW MARQUETRY Arceau H Cube by Hermès Straw is an extraordinary material: a long, smooth rye stem, from which the usable parts have been patiently selected. The plant, which is a variety cultivated on a single farm, is delicately scythed by hand and then dyed through. Successive baths followed by drying reveal brilliant and profound colours with subtle highlights. Combining the colours, shades and direction of the fibres of each strand, the craftsman patterns the straw marquetry that will constitute the dial of the watch. With infinite precision, he cuts each piece and assembles them one by one in an unimaginably small space, reproducing the tricks of perspective that characterise the H Cube motif – designed, like the Arceau watch, by Henri d’Origny. This geometric view, emphasised by a 41mm white-gold case with asymmetrical attachments, is powered by an H1837 Manufacture movement that can be seen through the sapphire crystal case back. WOOD MARQUETRY Pershing Samba Madeira by Parmigiani Fleurier The outline of the guitar on the dial of this unique piece, with the tourbillon cage acting as its rosette, takes on the colours of the Brazilian flag and is made of wood marquetry so fine in its detail that the six individual strings of the guitar are the mere width of a strand of hair. Encased in titanium, with an 18-carat gold bezel, the PF calibre 510 hand-wound 30-second tourbillon with its 237 components powers the Pershing Samba Madeira for a full seven days (192 hours) before any winding is needed. The fine finish of the movement, which has Côtes de Genève decoration and handbevelled edges, is visible through the transparent sapphire crystal case back, which is surrounded by the engraved reminders that this is a “Modèle Unique”.

Discover more at www.europastar.biz/watch-galleries

europa star / ARTS & CRAFTS 29


ARTS & CRAFTS

Angular Momentum & Manu Propria the capital difference Paul O’Neil

The outskirts of Switzerland’s capital city of Bern are an unlikely place to find one of the country’s unsung heroes of the métiers d’art, but it is here, on one half of the fourth floor of the iconic Stufenbau building, a former nitrocellulose (gun cotton) factory in Ittigen, that Martin Pauli works painstakingly and in splendid isolation. Wandering through an open door, one feels a million miles away from the high-security, industrial manufactures of Geneva and the Vallée de Joux. In a workshop that resembles a working museum, with antique machines dotted around seemingly randomly, the atmosphere is so relaxed that even the cat from a neighbouring workshop is free to come and go as it pleases. A quick tour reveals machines for making cases, a station for micro-painting, another for Japanese lacquer, one for enamelling and still another, brimming with tools, for engraving. It is here that Martin Pauli designs, produces and even photographs his bespoke pieces.

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T A unique piece with a verre églomisé miniature painting from the Tiger collection by Martin Pauli.

But Angular Momentum started out very differently. The brand was born of an idea to revolutionise the traditional system of displaying time on a watch by replacing the fixed dial and moving hands with a rotating dial and a single fixed hand (hence the name Angular Momentum, which refers to the torque required to set the disc in motion). Already a success in itself, this technology has since allowed Martin Pauli to perfect a truly unique form of miniature painting. In the absence of moving hands, the entire dial can be filled with the miniature painting. Yet it is not the dial at all that Pauli paints but the inside of the sapphire crystal. This means, of course, that the painting has to be done in reverse. To assist the process, Pauli applies a sticker to the front of the crystal that allows him to follow the contours of the drawing under the microscope. He then proceeds to apply finely calibrated natural colour pigments to a thin layer of aqua regia, dispersing them either with a pin or a brush with a single bristle. After firing to remove excess liquid, three protective layers of Japanese Urushi lacquer are applied on the painting as a protective layer. A small aperture in the finished painting on the crystal allows the time to be read off the rotating disc. Whether it has a dial with a miniature painting, Japanese lacquer, or even glow-in-the-dark enamel, a bespoke watch by Martin Pauli comes with a movement from his impressive “new old stock” collection, which comprises around a thousand movements – enough to keep him going for a number of years – stored in an antique cupboard in the corridor of his workshop. He is keen to stress the quality of these vintage movements: “They can run for 15 to 20 years before they need servicing,” he says. “Just imagine, service used to be free of charge at Zenith but today it’s big business.”

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T"Sailship" in verre églomisé by Martin Pauli

ARTS & CRAFTS GALLERY GRAND FEU ENAMEL AND GRISAILLE PAINTING MANUFACTURA 1528, ANGELS COLLECTION, by Julien Coudray 1518 In the delicate “grisaille” technique, the enameller works into the enamel fine gold or silver patterns, using either a hand chisel or punch. The 13-part dial is made from enamelled solid 18-carat Pd125 white gold, with traditional grand feu black and white enamelled domed cartouches. The centre of the dial is made from enamelled solid 18-carat gold featuring grand feu enamel miniature, using the “grisaille” technique. The three-coloured hands (blue, grey and yellow) are hand-engraved and designed to represent an arrow once together. The colours are obtained without either chemical treatment or lacquer.

A bespoke timepiece by Martin Pauli costs around 50,000 Swiss francs. This is a huge sum but it stands up well to the offerings of Pauli’s few mainstream “competitors” (the word hardly seems appropriate in such a niche), where the painting alone can cost 70,000 francs and the finished watch retails for several hundred thousand francs. The absence of a retail margin undoubtedly helps to keep prices down, but it also has its drawbacks. “The biggest problem I have is that if you offer bespoke timepieces then you have to have direct contact with the customer,” he explains. “Otherwise you have to have retailers who know all the available options.” For a man working entirely on his own, Martin Pauli offers an astonishing range of samples that show off the numerous rare skills he masters. But he also offers a range of more classically themed, more affordable timepieces that help him “pay the rent” and maintain his independence. The resurgence of the metiers d’art can only help him further with this. “I think it’s a good marketing tool,” he concludes, “because you have the opportunity to prove that the product is hand made. I’m sure I’m benefitting from its resurgence.” p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Angular-Momentum

Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Julien-Coudray

europa star / ARTS & CRAFTS 31


ARTS & CRAFTS Gallery

Stone setting IMPERIALE JOAILLERIE AMETHYSTE by Chopard This high-jewellery piece has an 18-carat white-gold case set with brilliant-cut diamonds, lugs set with brilliant-cut diamonds and baguettes with lateral amethyst cabochons, a bezel set with graded shades of baguette-cut amethysts and a mother-of-pearl dial set with baguette-cut amethyst hour markers and rhodium-plated Roman numerals bordered by an inner ring of diamonds. Timekeeping is ensured by Chopard’s in-house 01.03-C self-winding calibre, which offers a power reserve of 60 hours. A dark purple leather strap with 18-carat diamond-set pin buckle completes the ensemble.

enamel / miniature painting GALET SECRET DOUBLE HAIRSPRING TOURBILLON by Laurent Ferrier The smooth rounded 18-carat white-gold case of the Galet model (“galet” means “pebble” in French) plays host to two features unique to Laurent Ferrier. The first is the “secret” mechanism, which can be activated on demand by the pushbutton in the crown and can be programmed to open over a specific 60-minute period chosen by the owner. This opens up a 240-degree aperture on the dial to reveal a custom-made decoration on the dial produced to the customer’s requirements by renowned enamel artist Anita Porchet. The second feature is found in the movement, which uses two inversed hairsprings in the manually-wound tourbillon mechanism to cancel out the effects of the Earth’s gravity.

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Granulation, stone setting ETRUSCA by Matthia’s & Claire Jewellery brand Matthia’s & Claire, based in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region of the Ticino, combines the Etruscan granulation technique with precious stone setting in its Etrusca model. The 34mm white-gold case and bracelet are decorated with tiny granules that are invisibly soldered. The dial, also in 18-carat white gold, is set with 68 diamonds for a total of approximately 0.95 carats. The Etrusca is also available with a crocodile leather strap.


Ernest Borel Swiss Made since 1856

Cocktail Collection

ERNEST BOREL S.A. Rue des Perrières 8, P.O. Box 234 - CH-2340 Le Noirmont, Switzerland Tel: +41 (0)32 926 17 26 / Fax: +41 (0)32 926 17 29 www.ernestborel.ch - info@ernestborel.ch


ARTS & CRAFTS

Pascal Vaucher – Art and method Pierre Maillard

Some 27 years ago, at the end of 1986, Pascal Vaucher, a young gemsetter, had what he calls a “vision”. But there was nothing mystical about this vision, despite the fact that the Beatles song "Lucy in the sky with diamonds" was perhaps playing in his head. On the contrary, it was a most pragmatic “vision” during which he saw all the possibilities that were offered by streamlining gem-setting in the watchmaking business.

The six different business units, which are housed under the same roof in the watchmaking suburbs of Geneva, are Swiss Made Settings SA, which brings together jewellers and gemsetters, Swiss Clarity & Cut SA, which supplies the precious stones for watchmaking, Les Emboîteurs d’Espace SA, which designs and produces the exceptional watch cases, Pascal Vincent Vaucher SA, responsible for the traditional watchmaking gem-settings and Tempora SA, which is responsible for the administrative, financial and logistical services, in other words the back office functions for the other units. To this remarkably coherent set-up we must also add SetGemFree LDA, a gem-setting operation in Portugal that is 51 per cent owned by Pascal Vaucher and Beroma SA, which also does watchmaking conceptions and implementations.

Art and method

What seemed heretical has since become a major trend.

I Royal Blue Tourbillon Haute Joaillerie by Ulysse Nardin

Until then the gem-setter drilled each hole individually, adjusted the stone then folded the metal back to hold it in place. By streamlining this work, in other words by preparing the jewel holes systematically beforehand and calibrating the lots of stones, gem-setting could move from being an entirely artisanal activity to a semi-industrialised process. This streamlining would “democratise” gem-set products, in particular making gem-setting on steel possible, profitable and affordable. What at first seemed heretical has since become a major trend and we have lost count of the number of brands, including the most prestigious, who have followed it.

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This first idea of streamlining gem-setting was the trigger that allowed Pascal Vaucher to work as a pioneer and build up a powerful structure that is now grouped under the generic name of Ateliers Pascal Vincent Vaucher, whose slogan eloquently summarises its approach: “Art and method”. Under this “Ateliers” name, the Pascal Vaucher holding groups together a number of complementary businesses that can offer customers a fully integrated service, from sourcing the stones and preparing them up to delivery of the finished product, via design and production of the case and all the different types of gem-setting.

This constellation-like structure (or facetted, to take the diamond metaphor), which has been built up over years of continuous development, is closely linked to one of the tenets of Pascal Vaucher, who likes to talk about his management style. It is a very horizontal management style in which the hierarchies are flat, based on competencies and professions that are divided into highly autonomous sectors with precisely defined responsibilities. He describes himself as an “integrator” between these different autonomous platforms and managers, just like his “Ateliers”, which can offer customers their distinct services individually or join forces to offer a fully integrated service. This management style is based above all on a person’s individual skills rather than their position in the hierarchy. Pascal Vaucher is convinced that “not being dependent on a higher authority gives everybody a heightened sense of responsibility and autonomy”, which better opens up avenues of research, collaboration and innovation. Along the same lines, a transparent and equitable profit-sharing scheme has been set up. Each month, the figures are presented department by department at an information meeting that is open to all. If there is a profit, a bonus that is in proportion to the figures but identical for everyone, regardless of their salary level, is paid every three months to each employee. In this way, everyone is directly implicated in the highs and lows of business.

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T Swiss Clarity & Cut

A tour of the workshops But what are the competencies and perimeters of these different workshops exactly? Nestled at the end of one of the numerous corridors in the hive of activity on several floors that make up the “Ateliers”, Swiss Clarity & Cut has a place apart. Precious stones, white, black and cognac diamonds, jade and decorative stones are shown in display cases or wait their turn in the stock. Here we are at the heart of the stone trading and buying. But the stones are also cut here for some of the more audacious projects or for retouches on, for example, baguette diamonds. Unlike other precious stone trading offices, the criteria of Swiss Clarity & Cut are strictly horological in nature. Based on the setting plans submitted by the other workshops, this office supplies the required stones, round or shaped, to the strict tolerances required. Precious stones for use in watchmaking must be of a specific size whose regularity is essential. The office is very active on the markets, with a huge network of partners, in Asia and elsewhere, and only purchases stones of the highest quality, “without concessions but at a good price”. This office also monitors the markets intensively so that it can also make proposals and suggestions in terms of colours and the choice of particular stones (they are currently working on a big project that we cannot talk about, but which is likely to make waves in the world of gem-setting).

I Les Emboîteurs d’Espace

Leaving this haven of treasures, we move on to Les Emboîteurs d’Espace. This unit deals with everything to do with the case, in particular precious metals and high added value pieces. The O Jacob & Co, Grand Baguette 47mm. Polished 18-carat case in white gold invisibly set with 360 baguette diamonds (13.20 carats); five crowns invisibly set with baguette diamonds (3.50 carats); one central diamond (1.25 carats). Alligator strap with 18-carat white-gold tang buckle set with 44 baguette diamonds (2.00 carats). Four bezels invisibly set with 280 baguette diamonds (8.30 carats). Local time with four time zone dials for New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Paris; SuperLuminova hands with white hour markers; five sapphire crystals with anti-reflective treatment. Five Ronda calibre 1042 Swiss quartz movements.

computer-aided design and construction processes here focus mainly on the creation of case elements (some of which are among the most complex), bezels, (the most common component to be set with precious stones), base plates for dials to be fully paved or set with stones, oscillating masses and buckles. The workshop can even design specific cases from scratch, from a unique piece to a small series of 100, such as the highly complex case of the incredible Grand watch by Jacob & Co., which consists of multiple elements, each encased in each other (see the photo). This case required more than 60 hours of machine programming alone. The machines, indeed. They are just next-door in the mechanics workshop where 15 people work in production. Compared with the machines one usually sees in watch factories, what strikes us here is the extreme diversity, from the gigantic CNC machine that can work “on the six sides of a cube” to the most modest tower. The size and variety of this machine park highlights the quest for diversity that prevails at Les Emboîteurs d’Espace. Highly specialised tasks, as well as the ability to machine in any possible configuration from a bar or flat piece of metal means that the workshop can offer a case-making service that can meet any requirement. This is also where the essential work of mechanically preparing components for their setting is carried out. The polishing and testing stations are also found in this workshop.


Competencies and gem settings The gem-setting itself is the responsibility of the Atelier Pascal Vincent Vaucher. This is the very heart of the profession. This workshop deals with no less than five million stones per year, or between 300,000 and 400,000 per month. Once they have been received, checked and classified to 2/1000ths the stones are passed on either for entirely manual or mechanical setting. It is this highly streamlined form of gem-setting, started 27 years ago, that has made such a big contribution to pushing the boundaries of gem-setting beyond that of exceptional pieces alone. When the components to be set arrive here, they have been mechanically prepared and they arrive with their setting sheet. On this plan, the different hole sizes to be set are indicated by different colours. Each of these colours corresponds to a small box that contains the stones that have been sorted and checked. The setting is then just a question of assembly – but assembly that requires a skilled hand, since the gem-setter has to place the stone in the pre-machined hole (sometimes having to adjust the CNC work by hand) before refolding the material to hold the stone. Activity here can range from setting simple round diamonds to high-end gem-setting, which can be partially mechanised or entirely manual.

U THE DRAGON AND THE PEARL OF WISDOM AUTOMATON by Parmigiani Each of the 585 scales of the Dragon’s body, made of natural jade (green, white, yellow and red jades), are designed, cut and then set one by one in the precise form required. The claws and whiskers are made of solid white gold, the eyes from rubies and the tongue from carnelian. The pearl of wisdom is a solid white gold sphere set in a cameo of precious stones including white diamond, ruby and orange and yellow sapphires. The base is cut from a block of rock crystal. It took more than 5,800 hours of work and the involvement of the most prestigious artisan craftsmen, from the sculptor to the goldsmith, the gemmologist to the gemcutter, the jeweller to the setter, the visualiser to the designer to the clockmaker.

T Pascal Vincent Vaucher

But right next-door there is another unit, Swiss Made Settings, that does ultra high-end jewellery pieces. Here, the work is done by file, cutting to fit the stones to be set. The rhythm is by no means the same. Asked about a piece laden with baguette diamonds of all sizes, the setter admits that he sets one or two, or in the best possible case three or four, stones per hour!

Complementarity

O Swiss Made Settings

Beroma, which the Ateliers Pascal Vincent Vaucher recently took control of, is specialised in production management and focused on the finished product. It specialises in technical designs, management of production, management of external stocks and assistance with setting up production for new brands. These competencies are perfectly complementary to the various offers of the “Ateliers” and allow them to offer even better integration of production and product management operations. Not forgetting Portugal-based SetGemFree LDA, 51 per cent owned by the “Ateliers”, which allows the group to diversify its gem-setting operations even further. Without method, there is no art, we could say. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Pascal-Vaucher

europa star / ARTS & CRAFTS 37


ARTS & CRAFTS

Damascus steel by GOS WATCHES Paul O’Neil As we noted earlier this year in our report on Scandinavian watch brands (see Europa Star 02/2013), GoS Watches is the Swedish partnership between bladesmith Johan Gustafsson and watchmaker Patrik Sjögren. After producing watches with Damascus steel cases equipped with the Unitas 6498 movement, the company presented its first to feature a Damascus steel movement, the Winter Nights, at BaselWorld this year.

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The limited edition of 10 pieces features an in-house movement that has been developed with Martin Braun after a first meeting at the Geneva Time Exhibition in 2011. “I made the first prototype or proof of concept by customizing a Unitas 6498 movement with a Damascus steel bridge in 2010,” recounts Patrik Sjögren. “Martin liked what we had done with the prototype and approved of my design ideas while adding some of his own. We provided him with steel for the first prototype, which we finished

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during the summer of 2011. We made a few changes for the production movements and the first two were finished just in time for the release of the Winter Nights model during BaselWorld 2013.” But producing the movement was only half the task, since it is a lot more time-consuming to decorate it compared with a standard watch movement. The Damascus steel is harder than both brass and nickel silver and the jewel setting is therefore more difficult. The contrast between traditional watchmaking finishes (polishing, bevelling) and the raw Damascus steel look is not easy to achieve, either. “The bridges are mirror polished before the pattern is made visible by dipping the part in hot acid,” Patrik Sjögren explains. “The acid eats away the surface of some steel types that have been forged into the patterned steel, while others are not affected as much. This means that all surfaces where tolerances must be kept also have to be protected from the acid. The finishing contin-

TWINTER NIGHTS by Gustafsson y Sjögren (GoS) A limited-edition of 10 watches with a 45mm case in Damascus steel and the GoS calibre 1 movement developed for GoS by Martin Braun, which has a 4/5ths bridge and balance cock made from a single piece of solid handforged Damascus steel. The movement incorporates Martin Braun’s HPE innovation in the use of silicon in the escape wheel and lever and offers a power reserve of 72 hours (with power reserve indicator on back).


Damascus steel Damascus steel takes its name from the fact that European civilisation’s first encounters with such steel was during the crusades in the Middle Ages, when the crusaders first encountered the hard swords of their enemies, with their distinctive patterns. The blades were forged by bladesmiths in Damascus, Syria, from cakes of Wootz steel imported from southern and central India. Wootz is a grade of iron ore that dates back to 300 BC and was worked into steel in a crucible, burning away impurities and adding other elements. The most important ingredient in Wootz steel is carbon, which makes up 1.5 per cent of the steel by weight, compared with 0.1 per cent in wrought iron. The high carbon content is what makes Damascus steel so special, but it is also what makes it so difficult to forge. The proportions have to be just right: too little carbon results in wrought iron, which is too soft for blades; too much creates cast iron, which is too brittle. One of the great mysteries of Damascus steel is how the secrets of its production were lost. The examples of patterned blades found in Europe in the Middle Ages, such as the Viking blades that inspired Johan Gustafsson, were produced using the pattern welding technique, in other words combining alternating layers of steel and iron, to replicate the effect of Damascus steel.

ues after the etching procedure to give back some brightness to the pattern and increase the contrasts in the pattern itself. The polished bevels and holes are then finalised once the Damascus steel surface is done.” It takes one week just to finish a Damascus steel bridge. In addition to equipping the Winter Nights limited series, this GoS calibre 1 movement will also be used in the brand’s future collections, although GoS will also continue to offer the 6498 movements customised with Damascus steel in its collection. Damascus steel will also continue to feature heavily in the GoS collection, as Patrik Sjögren explains, “Handforged Damascus steel is a core element in GoS, so we will continue to use it in our watches. However, we have new models that will be introduced in which we will use the steel in a different way. Our case design also allows for a two-tone option and the combination of rose gold and uncoloured Damascus steel is really spectacular.”

not in Damascus steel are the bezel and case back, whose high-gloss polished surfaces are the perfect contrast with the Damascus steel. GoS have so far been selling their watches directly to end customers “on almost every continent.” But the brand’s premiere at BaselWorld this year has opened up the first contacts with retailers. “Direct sales of high end watches are

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It is rare indeed for a manufacture movement to have to compete for attention with the watch’s case and dial, but this certainly applies to the pieces in the GoS watch collection. The wearer may well be able to view a superlative movement, with a unique finish and wheels polished according to Geneva Hallmark standards, through the case back. But his eyes must first overcome the attraction of the Damascus steel case and dial. Like the movement, the Damascus steel cases are also dipped in acid, but they undergo the treatment twice and are finished in between each dip. Only the visible parts of the case are exposed to the acid to ensure that the case maintains its water resistance. The dial has a beautiful “semi-symmetrical” pattern that is made up of 128 layers of high-grade folded Swedish tool steels. The only parts

europa star / ARTS & CRAFTS 39


Interview with bladesmith Johan Gustafsson Using only Swedish tool steels, Johan Gustafsson has been forging knife blades as a full-time bladesmith for the past 20 years. His work has won him numerous international awards and one of his major accomplishments has been the development of the technique known as mosaic Damascus steel. This allows the bladesmith to create detailed patterns that repeat throughout the material. Gustafsson achieves this by placing metal plates of different steel types into a pattern and then forging them into a single piece. He then cuts this solid piece into new bars, which he forges together again to create the repetitive patterns. How did you learn the technique of pattern welding? I took a three-day class in basic forging and from there I have been experimenting. I decided that I wanted to make something that had never been made before, by getting colours and “crazy” designs in the steel, so there was only one way to go….By trial and error.

How much time does it take to produce a set of watch dials in Damascus steel and what are the steps involved? It is a bit difficult to say, because when I fire up the forge, I forge two to three weeks preparing for both dials and steel for knives and blades. For the dials I start with a 2.5kg billet using four different steels. I stack the steels in a 12-layer billet. I forge weld and fold this billet 10-12 times to get the amount of layers that I want. Between every forge welding I need to use an oven to slowly lower the temperature to room temperature. This is done to make the steel soft and ”workable”. When the desired layers are achieved I work the surface with different techniques, removing material (and reforging it to create the pattern) that will later show up on the dial as the design. Is it harder to produce the dials compared with blades? Yes it is much more work to make dials! Starting with a 2.5kg billet and ending up with 5 dials at 5 grams each is a material loss of 99%! It is very important to remove all that material to

get in to the core of the steel, where the most beautiful steel is. What other items do you produce or would you like to produce in Damascus steel? I make a lot of different knives and blades. I also sometimes make pens, fishing lures and dog whistle pipes in Damascus steel. A while ago I made a fully working crossbow at 1:3 scale with a Damascus steel bow.

u difficult,” says Sjögren, “and certainly more so when you are offering something that few have seen before. Our watches need to be seen to be fully experienced. One of our goals with exhibiting at BaselWorld was to connect with high-end retailers who can show our watches to watch enthusiasts and collectors in a way that isn’t possible online.” After following up BaselWorld with a tour of the US that brought new retailers in California and Ohio, in addition to an existing agent in Hong Kong, GoS is now looking to expand in Europe. “We think that the UK, and London in particular, would be the best retail presence for us in Europe,” says Sjögren. “I’ve always though that Germany would be

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a good market, too, as they appreciate Scandinavia and Scandinavian design, but the feedback from the UK has been far better.” The main challenge for GoS will be to ensure that its production can meet the demands of its expanding retail network. The Winter Nights model will be in the brand’s authorised retailers in the US and Hong Kong from October (retail price: $25,000) and GoS are already working on a smaller 42mm model for BaselWorld 2014, which will have a Damascus steel oscillating mass. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/GoS


SECRET NO. 13

We are compelled to the invisible CLAUDE LEBLANC

3, chemin de la Marbrerie, 1227 Carouge/Genève Suisse commercial@apvv.ch +41 22 309 42 42


MANUFACTURE

The industrial strategies of MAURICE LACROIX Pierre Maillard

A little under ten years ago, in 2005, Maurice Lacroix took a strategic decision to vertically integrate its production with the aim of becoming a fully integrated manufacture, a decision whose significance was bolstered by the Swatch Group’s announcement that it would progressively reduce its movement deliveries. Faced with this “threat”, people had to react and it was with this progressive autonomy in mind that the decision was taken to strengthen the brand’s in-house share of its manufacturing. But one of the consequences of this strategic choice was an increase in the average price of Maurice Lacroix timepieces, which grew progressively from 2,700 Swiss francs to around 5,000. Huge investments in communication in all its forms accompanied this strategy, in particular regarding what was to be a genuinely revolutionary piece, the Mémoire1. But it was, alas, very complicated to develop and the model that was announced with a fanfare and was set to be the standard-bearer of the new strategy never saw the light of day. In 2008, spurred by the financial crisis, Maurice Lacroix therefore decided to review its own strategic choices. The CEO Philippe Merk left the company to join Audemars Piguet. Martin Bachmann took the helm at the start of 2009. From this point, Maurice Lacroix decided to focus above all on the 1,000-5,000 Swiss franc price segment but at the same time offer highly relevant and innovative talking pieces in a price range between 2,000 and 12,000 Swiss francs. The Roue Carrée is a perfect example, as is this year’s astonishing Seconde Mystérieuse. These ambassador pieces have the great advantage of perfectly conveying the style of watchmaking that Maurice Lacroix aims to promote: a remarkable style that is architectural, easily recognisable and shares its references with classic horology and graphical modernism.

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U The movement of the new MASTERPIECE SECONDE MYSTÉRIEUSE

In 2011, DKSH, a leading “market development services” group, which employs over 22,500 people in 610 subsidiaries (including 590 in Asia) spread across 35 countries and is one of the top 20 Swiss companies by turnover and workforce size (8.8 billion Swiss francs in 2012) took a majority share in Maurice Lacroix. Martin Bachmann stepped down and Marc Gläser, who had held various posts at Maurice Lacroix a few years earlier, took on the new post of managing director.

“HUGE POTENTIAL” In the eyes of Marc Gläser, “there are a great opportunities in the 1,000 to 5,000 Swiss franc price segment. There is a huge potential, all the more so given that this segment has been abandoned somewhat by a number of Swiss brands. We have a firm intention to take a leading position in this segment,” he explained to Europa Star. “Our strength is the unique positioning of our collection. But we have not yet achieved the notoriety that we should logically have. We are working on this and now our strategy is stable for the next five to ten years. We have great prospects,”


he stresses, without boast but with solid assets in his hands. These assets are not just the commercial power of DKSH in terms of distribution, especially in Asia (Maurice Lacroix produces 90,000 watches per year and has 3,000 points of sale) and the stylistic clarity of the product range but also the manufacturing strength, which, although not fully vertically integrated, is very intelligently organised. The watchmaking set-up around Maurice Lacroix can thus count on three separate manufacturing entities that are perfectly complementary to each other, all three based in Saignelégier, in the Swiss Jura: Maurice Lacroix SA develops movements, finished watches and does the assembly and casing up; the Manufacture des Franches Montagnes (MFM) produces the majority of components for the Maurice Lacroix in-house movements and Queloz is a high-end watch case manufacturer. Both MFM and Queloz work for Maurice Lacroix as well as third-party brands (that are by no means small fry).

An assembly manufacture In an entirely renovated building, the Maurice Lacroix parent company is built around one core activity: assembling movements and watches. You will not find any “shavings” (the French expression “copeaux” that industry insiders use as an analogy for component production) here. All the machining is sub-contracted to a number of suppliers in the Jura, with the exception of the in-house movements, for which the components come exclusively from the sister company MFM. There

are currently 12 of these 100% manufacture movements, for a total of 3,000 pieces each year, out of a total of 90,000 movements (of which half are quartz). These manufacture movements are designed and developed entirely in-house in

an R&D department that employs ten watchmakers, constructors and analysts. The detailed plans, tolerances, technical plans, machining plans, tool development, task lists, processes and assembly sheets are developed in this unit, which also checks movements bought in from outside (only Swiss Made and mainly ETA or Sellita for the mechanical movements). Grouped together under the name “Masterpiece”, these twelve in-house movements include, among others, the ML 106 integrated chronograph movement and its ML 106-7 skeleton version, the ML 150 retrograde calendar, the doubleretrograde ML 151, the “square wheel” movements ML 153 and ML 156, the retrograde moon phases ML 152 and ML

The Maurice Lacroix parent company is built around one core activity: assembling movements and watches. 192 and the more recent ML 215 movement with the mysterious seconds, which was presented at BaselWorld this year and for which the 250 pieces were immediately sold out.

U Masterpiece SQUELETTE by Maurice Lacroix

These in-house movements, as well as the in-house complications (such as the Pontos excentrique) and complications from external suppliers such as Dubois-Dépraz are assembled entirely at the workshops in Saignelégier, which employ a hundred qualified staff. Depending on their complexity, these movements are assembled either on semi-automatic production lines or entirely by hand. Here, therefore, every effort is made to ensure optimal assembly and casing-up operations, as well as the different tests carried out at all stages (at the

u europa star / MANUFACTURE 43


end of the line, all the watches pass through a testing office where mechanical watches undergo five days of tests and quartz watches undergo three days of tests). The heart of this assembly unit is the central warehouse, where 25 tonnes of components are housed in stacks two storeys high. This stock is managed entirely by computer and the highly advanced system allows Maurice Lacroix to react very quickly to the markets by matching production to demand “in real time”. Each watch has its own unique serial number, which ensures perfect traceability of each product.

Queloz, the case-making arm

MFM, the component arm Nearby, the Manufacture des Franches Montagnes (MFM) was established in 2006 and produced its first components in 2007. To start with, MFM worked exclusively for Maurice Lacroix. Today, three-quarters of its production is for external customers (mainly prestigious brands). MFM’s specialities are profile turning and milling, or indeed a combination of the two that can produce pinions to within a tolerance of a few microns on a single machine that does the profile turning and milling for the teeth at the same time. This represents a considerable saving in both time and production cost. The organisation of MFM is especially interesting. Each operator works on a specific project for which they are responsible from beginning to end. The machine operators receive the plans for a component, do simulations on a computer, then transfer the programme they have created to the production machines and test the tools before production is started. This process takes about a week in the case of mainplates. Before the production proper is launched, the first mainplate is checked down to the finest detail before being validated. For Maurice Lacroix, MFM produces all movement components except the escapement. The workshop is still dependent on outside suppliers for these moving parts but intends to achieve 100% vertical integration soon by installing the capacity to burnish components. The finishing operations are also carried out here: trimming, filing the attachments, bevelling and polishing.

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Also established in Saignelégier, Queloz is a high-end watch case manufacturer specialised in complex cases and able to produce series of up to 1,000 pieces for the most simple cases, or 300 (or even single pieces) for complicated gold cases. They use materials such as steel, gold, palladium, platinum, tantalum, titanium and titanium alloys up to Grade 5. Examples of the manufacturing prowess of Queloz are the highly complex case of Harry Winston’s Opus XI (whose asymmetrical case middle is made from a single block) and the X Watch by De Witt with its 180 polished and microblasted titanium components.

Queloz masters all the operations involved, including construction, technical plans and modelling. It even makes its own gold ingots, all its tools, has powerful presses, milling machines, an impressive park of five-axis machines, decoration, grinding, brushing and polishing workshops. In short, an impressive and very high-quality capacity that completes the overall production capacity of Maurice Lacroix. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Maurice-Lacroix


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CASE STUDY

CASIO – My name is G-Shock Pierre Maillard (back from Japan) The watch is catapulted down a rod at high speed and is crushed on a concrete slab. Then a five-kilo hammer strikes it, hurling it into a cushion that has been shredded all over. It is then placed in a centrifuge and filmed while it turns in a crazy fashion on its own axis, reaching 12 g or more. Hung vertically from two hooks attached to its closed strap, it is then twisted and pulled in all directions. Finally, plunged into a tank, it is subjected to pressure, fire and ice… We are in Hamura, in the “torture chamber” at Casio’s research and development centre, some 60 kilometres east of Tokyo. The watch that has been subjected to this violent torment is a G-Shock, the one that claims to be the world’s most resistant. Vibrations, wear, resistance to shocks, differences in temperature… in all it is subjected to over 50 tests. Nearby, a small man smiles as he observes the scene from behind his round spectacles. He is Kikuo Ibe, chief engineer of Casio’s Module Development Department but first and foremost the inventor of the G-Shock. He is happy to explain the circumstances of its invention, even accompanying this with a small manga comic in which he features with a youthful air. It all started 32 years ago, when Mr Ibe, who was already working at Casio, dropped his watch and it shattered. Despondent, he decided to create a watch that would withstand this type of adventure. The way in which he did so is quite amusing. “At the time you could only buy thin watches,” he explains, “so I took a watch and I added rubber protection before dropping it from the toilet window on the second floor of this building, then from the third floor, a height of 10 metres. The watches broke. So I covered a watch with rubber protection. Then it worked, but it was unthinkable to have a rubber watch, it looked like a pumpkin...” Kikuo Ibe therefore decided to construct a watch case from scratch, consisting of five layers of protection and shock absorption. “This was better, but inside some of the electronic components did not withstand the shocks.” The despairing Mr Ibe could no longer sleep. He was thinking about the problem 24 hours a day and it became a genuine obsession and a torment. But he did not give up. One fine day, in a park, while he was still mulling the problem over, he saw a young girl playing with a ball. Then the idea came to him: he would literally make the movement float inside the five layers of protection. The G-Shock was born.

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I A G-Shock is subjected to over 50 tests.

I Kikuo Ibe

The first G-Shock appeared on the market in the USA in 1986. An advertisement was filmed for the launch: the watch was used as the puck in a hockey match. American consumers had their doubts: is it real, this watch that is being hit with a hockey stick? Is it real, this watch that emerges unscathed? So tests were organised and filmed in public, like the one with a huge truck that drives over the watch. The G-Shock saga may begin. The USA, then later Japan and finally the rest of the world made it into a triumph. To date, around 65 million G-Shocks have been sold...

AN ATYPICAL WATCH BRAND Mr Ibe and the managers at Casio had not expected such a huge success. “I thought that those who bought this watch would be workmen who used pneumatic drills,” Mr Ibe admits with a smile. But while its success is due to the watch’s genuinely exceptional robustness, it is also because of a special combination between this robustness, a strong design and Casio’s own special approach to watchmaking. Because Casio is an atypical watch brand and did not start out with the measurement of time but with that of figures, launching the

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I The Casio 14-A

I Tadao Kashio, the founder of Casio computer in 1957.

Casio 14-A, the world’s first fully electric calculator, in 1957. And it was the phenomenal success of the Casio Mini, the world’s first pocket calculator launched in 1972, that gave the company the idea of integrating this know-how, which was becoming increasingly miniaturised, into a watch. This heralded the group’s entry in to the field of digital watchmaking with the Casiotron electronic watch in 1974. Representing more than a billion US dollars in sales today, watchmaking accounts for around one third of the revenue of the Casio Computer Co. and has increased by around 150 per cent over the past five years. A major part of this is thanks to the G-Shock. But over its thirty years of existence, the G-Shock has evolved considerably, moving gradually from a first phase of cheap instrument watches to a second phase that brings added value with the use of additional technology (solar, radio control, innovative functions, smart access). Today, Casio is entering a third phase that aims to move the strategy of Casio Timepieces upmarket, making it more “horological”, with the increasing use of analogue displays and “full metal” pieces.

“TO BE THE ONLY ONE, NOT NUMBER ONE”

I Tokyo Headquarters

Voluntarily positioning itself in contrast to the Swiss watchmakers (electronic against mechanical, an evolving stylistic and technological approach against heritage and tradition, industrial processes against the hand of the craftsman, “global fun” against seriousness), Casio is making a decisive play

in the quest for new customers by increasing its technological – and design – know-how in the field of multifunction analogue watches. Watches that are powered by a series of independent motors (up to five motors), which allow a different function to be assigned to each hand. According to Hiroshi Nakamura, managing I Hiroshi Nakamura director of the Sales & Marketing Department, “by starting with calculators and digital watches and then moving to analogue, Casio has a clear advantage over the Swiss in this field, who will have difficulties to express the new functions on analogue watches in a mechanical way.” Functions that will become all the more widespread with the arrival of “smart watches”. (See box). This third phase in the development of Casio Timepieces goes hand in hand with a progressive increase in the average price (today around 120 US dollars, the most expensive model being a limited-edition G-Shock in gold, at 6,000 US dollars) and the overall positioning of the brand. Above the G-Shock, the Pro Trek (highly specialised instrument watches), Sheen (ladies’ fashion watches), Edifice (sports chronographs) and Oceanus (trendy instrument divers’ watches, for the moment distributed only in Japan and Singapore) collections show the importance of this “analogue revolution” carried out by Casio in view of its move upmarket. (For more on this subject, see Europa Star 5/12).

G-Shock Bluetooth® v4.0 Watches Casio and the arrival of smart watches Hiroshi Nakamura does not seem the least bit worried about the increasing competition from a whole series of so-called smart watches. “In a way, our Bluetooth watches, the second generation of which is now arriving in the markets (the new G-Shock GB6900B), are more advanced than, for example, the watch that Samsung has just presented, which is more of a wrist instrument than a watch. We look at things from the watchmaking point of view and not as a telephone manufacturer. It is an entirely different approach. The main difference is in how the power is managed. Our Bluetooth watches have a power reserve of two full years without any need for recharging. They are compatible with Apple and Samsung and allow a whole series of operations to be linked with your smartphone either from watch to phone or from phone to watch: e-mail notification, music control (volume, track selection, pause), but also the configuration of the world time, alarm and schedule. The new model also offers other functions linked to applications, in particular in the field of sports, such as heart-rate monitoring, cadence, distance, speed, all of which can be read directly on the watch’s dial.” COMMUNICATION SPECIFICATIONS: Communication standard Bluetooth® v4.0. Signal range: Up to 2m (may differ depending on surrounding conditions) WATCH FUNCTIONS: World time: 100 cities (35 time zones, daylight saving on/off) and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Alarm: 5 daily alarms or one-time alarms (with 1 snooze alarm), hourly time signal. Stopwatch: 1/100-second; measuring capacity: 999:59’59.99”; elapsed time, split time, 1st and 2nd place times. Countdown timer: Setting accuracy: 1 second; 100-hour maximum per set; unit of measure: 1/10-second. Light: LED backlight (super illuminator and afterglow); auto light switch; selectable illumination duration: 1.5 or 3.0 seconds. Other features: Mobile link; vibe alert; tap function; full auto-calendar, 12/24-hour format; button operation tone on/off; low battery warning; power-saving function (Mobile Link turns off automatically after a fixed amount of time to save power). Water resistance: 200 metres. europa star / CASE STUDY 00


THE G-SHOCK: A RARE ICON IN ELECTRONIC WATCHMAKING Casio’s ambition, now clearly known, is to fully capitalise on this watchmaking legitimacy that has been built up step-bystep over almost 40 years (30 years this year for the G-Shock alone). This legitimacy is now fully recognised for what it is: that of an electronic watch brand that constantly innovates and that, with the G-Shock, has created what is undoubtedly one of the only true icons among quartz watches. We can judge this recognition at Roppongi Hills, for example, where the international luxury brands all have their flagship stores. At Ishida, which sells brands such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Cartier, Audemars Piguet, Breitling for Bentley, Chopard, A. Lange & Söhne and others of the same level, Casio has for the past five years already had a magnificent display dedicated to G-Shocks and its other models. Opposite Tokyo station, the world’s biggest railway station, in the Kitte store, which showcases the best of Made in Japan, Casio has a G-Shock Store, covering 50 square metres, which offers watches costing up to 3,000 US dollars. And judging by the small crowd continuously present in the store, the sell-out seems to be going very well. Flagships stores, G-Factory Premium, G-Factory, G-Shock stores… Casio has a lot of them in Asia, but also in the USA, in London (Covent Garden) and beyond. The brand has around 600 of its own name stores in one form or another among its 6,000 points of sale worldwide, which sell 5.5 million G-Shocks per year. The market is spread almost evenly between Japan, the rest of Asia, Europe and the USA.

industrial arm of Casio: Yamagata Casio Co., Ltd. Established in 1979, this “electronic manufacture”, which employs 750 people on a 25,000m2 site, produces watches, digital cameras and electronic retail terminals. But the majority of production consists of high-end Casio watches. The particular area of expertise of this production centre is ultra-precise component moulding, a fully digitalised operation. This is how Masaki Isosaki, the CEO of the factory, likes to present his company: “World’s best digital engineering” at the service of Casio. Working in a “cloud environment”, models are created in entirely virtual form and the information flows in real time from design and technical drawings to production, and back. Production is fully automated (but the hand and the eye still have a part to play). Two prestigious Nikkei Monozukuri Awards for excellence of industrial organisation have been awarded to Casio, after Nissan, Toyota and Canon.

“MADE IN YAMAGATA” All of Casio’s premium lines, i.e. Oceanus, Protrek and the most advanced G-Shock models, in particular the analogue ones (the remaining production being offshored in China and

AN IMPRESSIVE INDUSTRIAL CAPACITY This success and this move up range are backed by a powerful industrial capacity. After visiting the R&D centre, then the imposing headquarters in Tokyo, we take the shinkansen north to the Yamagata prefecture. Here, in Higashire, a place also known for the quality of its cherries and pears, we find the

CASIO FACTS & FIGURES CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD President & CEO: Kazuo Kashio Established: June 1, 1957 Paid-in capital: 48,592m yen (488 million US$) Net sales: 297,763m yen (2,991 million US$) No. of employees: 11,276 (as of March 31, 2013) SALES BY PRODUCT CATEGORY (FY 2013) : Consumer: Timepieces, digital cameras, electronic dictionaries, calculators, digital pianos: 76.5% / 227.9 billion yen (2.29 billion US$) System equipment: Cash registers, printers, data projectors, handy terminals, label printers,

photo and postcards printers, memo printers : 14.0% / 41.8 billion yen (420 million US$) Other: 9.5% / 28.1 billion yen (282 million US$) WORLDWIDE Overseas sales: 55.5% (FY 2013) Subsidiaries: Europe (8), Asia (6), Americas (5). Main production facilities: Yamagata Casio Co. Ltd, Japan (timepieces) ; Casio Electronic Technology (Zhongshan) Co., Ltd, China (timepieces, electronic dictionaries, electronic musical instruments); Casio Electronics (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd, China (timepieces); Casio (Thailand) Co., Ltd (timepieces).

Thailand, see “Facts & Figures”) are all made in Yamagata. Mr. Isosaki repeats that the favoured avenues of research are now those towards “unlimited electronic expressions of the hands”. For these models in particular, Yamagata is vertically integrated, from the moulding of movement components and cases up to assembly and casing up. To see this, we need to visit the “Premium Production Line”. But first we have to put on a cosmonaut’s uniform, because this is a clean room in a controlled atmosphere. The company’s best employees work on this Premium Production Line, because even though mechanisation is pushed to the extreme here, the human role has its primordial importance, if only to permanently monitor operations, in particular the delicate positioning of multiple hands on these instrument watches.

u europa star / CASE STUDY 49


We have to admit that the visit to this production line is especially impressive. Not so much because of the speed of production, which is quite measured – the production, assembly and casing up of watch and movement takes around 15 minutes, counting the operations only, excluding the transport time along the line, which gives a total of 300 watches per day – but by the singular spectacle that it offers. A multitude of small robots (all developed entirely in-house) arranged in a line go about their tasks mechanically with unrivalled precision. In the course of its production, a watch first passes along the long chains of movement pre-assembly. Each operation is carried out by a small robot with delicate fingers, surrounded by real-time monitoring instruments that check the accuracy of the operation before moving on to the next step. The “watchmakers” who work here, in their full body suits, look like micro-surgeons. Once the watch has passed through all the stations, the movement is handed over to the Premium Assembly Line proper. Arranged in an “s” shape, this line comprises 14 stations staffed exclusively by “medal-winning artisans” who look after the especially complicated casing up of these multifunction watches. Special attention (five stations are devoted to it) is given to checking the precision of the position, the height and the operation of the hands. This essential task is carried out manually using extremely sophisticated testing equipment, each operator checking his own gestures on a big monitor above him. This is far removed from the way the Swiss manufactures work, with their culture of mechanics, since here the electronic “genes” of Casio can be seen clearly in the industrial processes that have been developed.

europa star / CASE STUDY 00


MT-G PREMIUM AVIATION This first generation of MT-G timepieces is available in three exclusive models. The MTGS1000D-1A in polished stainless steel & resin will retail for $900. The MTGS1000BD-1A is finished in refined black ion-plated stainless steel & resin for $1000. And in celebration of G-Shock’s 30th anniversary, the black ion-plated MTGS1030BD-1A is a limited edition featuring gold highlights and a unique, red-panelled bracelet band retailing for $1100, which honours the brand’s heritage colours of black and red. Construction: Triple G Resist (shock-resistant, resistant to centrifugal gravitational force and vibration-resistant). Water resistance: 200 metres. Radio frequency: 77.5 kHz (DCF77: Germany); 60 kHz (MSF: UK); 60 kHz (WWVB: USA); 40 kHz (JJY: Fukushima, Japan) / 60 kHz (JJY: Kyushu, Japan); 68.5 kHz (BPC: China). Radio wave reception: Automatic reception up to six times a day (except for use in China: up to five times a day); manual reception. World time: 29 cities (29 time zones; daylight saving on/off; daylight saving time (summer time) auto switching/ standard time and Coordinated Universal Time. Stopwatch: 1/20-second stopwatch; measuring capacity: 120 minutes; auto-start. Countdown timer: Measuring unit: 1 second; countdown range: 120 minutes; countdown start time setting range: 1 to 120 minutes. Other functions: Automatic hands correction; daily alarm; full auto-calendar; battery recharge warning. Power source: Tough solar power system (solar-charging system). Continuous operation: About 27 months with the power-saving function ON after full charge (Power-saving after a certain period in a dark location). Case dimensions: 58.6 × 53.5 × 15.5 mm. Total weight: Approx. 188 g.

THE MOST CHIC G-SHOCK As an example of this two-pronged approach of moving upmarket and towards analogue, let us take a look at one of the latest G-Shock models, the MT-G Premium Aviation. As its name suggests, it is inspired by the aeronautical world and is both robust, durable, functional and high-quality. It is a genuine instrument and at the same time an elegant analogue watch, destined for “premium” retailers. For the first time, the special construction of its complex case, which consists of 123 components, mixes stainless steel, resin and gel to form composite layers. The bracelet, in stainless steel, also has its interior surface covered with fine elements of resin. The result is exceptional comfort and lightness on the wrist. The bold three-dimensional hour markers are cut into a metallic ring that is inserted on the dial, while the scales, numerals and indications are produced using “vapour print 3D”. All this is protected by a sapphire crystal. Special care is given to polishing all the angular components using a process called “zallaz” or “zaratsu”, a manual polishing technique using tin

that is traditionally applied to the blades of sabres, giving the edges a luminous “sharpness” with perfectly drawn lines. The MT-G Premium Aviation also has a new shock-absorption system that uses a new type of gel. A small demonstration of the qualities of this gel surprised us when we were invited to drop an egg on it from a height of 1.50 metres. The egg remained fully intact after landing on a very fine layer of this material with astonishing properties of absorption. But in addition the entire construction of the case was redesigned in order to offer greater resistance. In the case of a vertical shock, the bezel lowers and the shock is absorbed by the gel, while in the case of a lateral shock, two small tubes in urethane absorb the shockwaves. The stiffness of the case is ensured by a stainlesssteel base that is cut from a solid block, with strong central lugs to which the case and bracelet are fixed. This is a watch that embodies all of Casio’s special knowhow in terms of robustness and functions, opens up new avenues in analogue display and is a perfect example of Casio’s horological legitimacy. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Casio

europa star / CASE STUDY 51


ADVERTISER’S SPOTLIGHT

ICE-WATCH – Staying true, aiming high When you already sold 10 million watches last year and have 12,000 points of sale worldwide, how can you keep growing? Such is the question that Jean-Pierre Lutgen, founder and CEO of Ice-Watch, no doubt faces after his brand’s astonishing rise to the top of the fashion watch table. His answer is to stick to what the brand is both good at and best known for, the colourful watches that remain a cornerstone of the collection, while at the same time opening up new price segments and wooing customers with a canny marketing strategy.

W

People in the United Kingdom will have been exposed to Ice-Watch through its sponsorship of prime-time Saturday evening television shows on ITV; those in Germany may have seen it as the new sponsor of BMW Motorsport in the popular DTM motor racing series; still others may have seen the watches flying over their head on the fuselage of a Thomas Cook aeroplane, or may remember seeing them emblazoned on the side of a tram travelling around Basel city centre during this year’s BaselWorld show.

TOP IN EUROPE

These efforts translate into market shares that are the envy of Ice-Watch’s competitors. In the €50-99 price segment, Ice-Watch was once again the number one brand by sales in France, Germany and the Netherlands in the first half of 2013 and its market share continues to grow in the United Kingdom. Growth now comes from the brand’s move up-market, as it captures market share in the €100-249 price segment. In this hotly disputed price category, Ice-Watch has already managed to enter the top ten in some major European countries and is poised to grow further with the launch of higher range models towards the end of the year.

00 ADVERTISER’S SPOTLIGHT / europa star

ICE

Brand awareness is undoubtedly also helped by the massive social media efforts undertaken by Ice-Watch, clocking up 4.7 million fans on Facebook. Ice-Watch is now the number one brand on the leading social network site in the watch and jewellery segment. This position ahead of its competitors ensures levels of “engagement”, as the yardstick for measuring social media impact is known, that continue to keep Ice-Watch one giant leap ahead of its competitors in the social media space.

THE MOVE UP RANGE

The new Ice-Watch collections scheduled for launch in the final quarter of 2013 signal a move up range for the brand, targeting price segments above the €100 retail threshold that has so far acted like a virtual barrier for the company. These include the fashionable Ice-Denim, Ice-Vintage and Ice-Style collections and enter new territory for the brand with the introduction of fabric (IceDenim) and leather (Ice-Vintage) straps, as well as the first use of steel for its watch cases in the Ice-Style collection (although, true to Ice-Watch’s penchant for colour, the steel has been given a colourful rose-gold treatment). Retailing for €139 (€99/€109 for the Ice-Denim), these lines bridge the gap between the brand’s standard offerings and its current top of the range model: the Swiss Made Ice-Surf models with an Ice-Ramic® (polyamide) case, rubber strap and 20 ATM water resistance.


ICE-DENIM

ICE-STYLE - STEEL CASE

ICE-VINTAGE

The presentation of the first Ice-Swiss concept watches at BaselWorld this year, which will be assembled in Switzerland using Swiss movements, signalled IceWatch’s intention to move even further up range. With a design similar to the Swiss Made Ice-Surf models, the Ice-Swiss will feature a unique “Swiss Cross” Swarovski crystal that shows a silhouette of the Swiss flag. This is Ice-Watch’s most direct challenge yet to the numerous Swiss Made brands operating in this segment and it is ironic that the Belgian brand is doing so by pioneering innovative new ways of depicting “Swissness”. KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH ITS ROOTS Ice-Watch is, however, keen to stress that it will remain faithful to its two core themes of colours and silicone. Great attention will continue to be focused on the “IceSili” lines, which are based around the signature design that started it all (which is now known as the Ice-Forever) and cover themes ranging from summer to chocolate via glow-in-the dark colours. The Pantone® Universe collection, using the palette of colours matched with the classic

Ice-Watch design, is yet another example of the brand’s ability to negotiate the perfect marketing partnerships. The Ice collection, with its integrated silicone case and strap, has also enjoyed huge popularity and spawned various derivatives (Ice-Glam, Ice-Crazy and Ice-Sixties) including limited-edition designs by Belgian artist Bart Verheyen and a BMW Motorsport collection designed by famous Belgian designer Pierre Leclerc that embodies the spirit of both brands.

Even with around 500 different timepieces in its collection, unlike many of its competitors Ice-Watch maintains across the board an unmistakable coherence, an unmistakable signature that is immediately identifiable. By remaining true to its roots as a pioneer in affordable, colourful watches that can be changed regularly according to the season or one’s mood, the Belgians appear to have found a great recipe for success. p

ICE-WATCH BMW MOTORSPORT

Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Ice-Watch

europa star / ADVERTISER’S SPOTLIGHT 53


HONG KONG SHOW REPORT

Uncertain Horizons Paul O’Neil (back from Hong Kong) The Hong Kong Watch and Clock show is as much about selling as BaselWorld is about image. Whereas the buyers in Basel do their business inside the imposing two and three-storey walled gardens erected by the brands, drooling over the various timepieces on offer, those in Hong Kong are encouraged to choose from among vast amounts of SKUs, or stock-keeping units, and enticed with special offers and close-outs. That is if they make it past the hoards of roving employees encouraging visitors to open their wallets at the “Small Order Zone” before they even enter the halls. The minimum quantities of

T

between 100 and 1,000 pieces that constitute a “small” order at this one-stop shop give you an idea of the quantities of watches that are traded at the show. Despite the apparent differences in approach to sales, the organisers of the

Switzerland has reclaimed its spot as Hong Kong’s biggest export market for completed watches in the first half of 2013. Hong Kong Watch and Clock Show, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), are clearly learning from their annual visits to Basel. Last year’s

Around five million US dollars' worth of Swiss watches make their way to the bustling metropolis of Hong Kong each year.

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“Brand Name Gallery” has grown to occupy an entire new hall, where it was this year known as the “Timepiece Extravaganza”, which was subdivided into “Renaissance Moment”, “Chic & Trendy” and “Moment of Luxury” zones to guide the visitor around. This was a welcome contrast to the endless regimental lines of identical stands in Hall 1, which would be familiar to anyone who has visited the Hong Kong pavilion in Basel. For a journalist, trying to cover the show can be frustrating. Many exhibitors do not allow visitors to take photos (in some cases it’s not clear whether this is because they are worried about people stealing their intellectual property or about people reporting their own violations of other people’s intellectual property) and those that do have something genuinely interesting to show are so focused purely on sales that they have nothing to offer the press. It is with regret, therefore, that we are unable to show you the watch that displays Islamic prayer times, or the one with a case that looks uncannily like the macaroons you find in the best patisseries of Paris and Geneva.


Hong Kong watch imports and exports January-July 2013 ( in million US dollars )

Country

Exports

Value

Market share

Change

Country

Value

Market share

Change

1

Switzerland

2715

47.7%

-10.2%

Switzerland

885

16.3%

+1.8%

2

China

1517

26.7%

+2.4%

USA

879

16.2%

+4.7%

3

Japan

494

8.7%

-17.6%

China

819

15.1%

+2.7%

4

Italy

209

3.7%

+28%

Macau SAR

448

8.2%

+35.1%

5

Singapore

127

2.2%

+5.4%

Japan

378

7%

-14%

6

Macau SAR

97

1.7%

+25.1%

Germany

272

5%

-0.7%

7

Germany

81

1.4%

+19.2%

United Kingdom

132

2.4%

+12.4%

8

USA

73

1.3%

-14.8%

Singapore

116

2.1%

+2.3%

9

Thailand

69

1.2%

+29.4%

France

99

1.8%

-9.4%

10

Spain

38

0.7%

+111.3%

Brazil

97

1.8%

+19.7%

But even a photo could not do justice to one of the oddest new launches seen at the show: a fabric watch strap impregnated with the official smell of Skittles sweets.

Getting behind the figures With the strong emphasis on sales and commerce, one thing that is easy to come by is statistics. The organisers publish export and import data in abdundance, happy to confirm that Switzerland has reclaimed its spot as Hong Kong’s biggest export market for completed watches in the first half of 2013, relegating the United States to second place, closely followed by Mainland China in third. All three countries account for similar values and export market shares (see chart). The balance of trade tips in favour of Switzerland and China, however, when the value of imports is considered. Hong Kong imported over 2.7 billion US dollars worth of Swiss timepieces in the period from January to July 2013, giving the Swiss almost half of the market. Even in the current depressed global economy, where growth rates rarely break

Source: Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Imports

the double-digit barrier, the Special Administrative Region of Macau continues to exhibit eye-popping growth rates, having nearly doubled in export value from Hong Kong over the past three years. The fact that Macau’s casinos now generate revenues over six times those of the casinos in Las Vegas, largely from high-rolling customers from the Chinese mainland, helps to explain this impressive growth. Despite a resurgence in its economy, Japan’s exports to and imports from Hong Kong both dropped by double digits in the first half of the year, which may be due more to political rather than economic reasons, given the ongoing territorial dispute in the East China Sea and China’s power of persuasion.

The local watchmaking talent A number of new products were on display at the stand of Memorigin, which now boasts 1,000 employees, of which 50 alone work on the brand’s tourbillon models. Memorigin debuted its first self-winding tourbillon at the show, as well as a limited-edition tourbillon with a tonneau case that ties in with the

I “Man of Steel” tourbillon by Memorigin 41mm x 39mm tonneau case , WB0627 one-minute tourbillon movement beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour and offering a 60-hour power reserve, natural sapphire and ruby hour markers, luminous hands and sapphire crystal on both sides; mesh bracelet. Limited edition of 130 pieces.

Superman “Man of Steel” movie. This is the second super-hero themed watch that Memorigin has launched, after its tourbillon tie-in with “The Dark Knight Rises” Batman movie last year. As well as incorporating the Superman logo, which merges with the pattern of Superman’s father’s armour, the distinctive skeletonisation of the movement also hides the

u europa star / HONG KONG SHOW REPORT 55


symbols of Superman’s two enemies on either side of the tourbillon at 6 o’clock. But these prestige models were overshadowed by the new jade tourbillon models, which retail for up to three million Hong Kong dollars (380,000 US dollars). Memorigin’s young CEO William Shun has yet more ambitious plans up his sleeve, including bringing parts of the assembly process to Hong Kong and, ultimately, producing a Hong Kong made tourbillon. “I would like to add manufacturing to Hong Kong’s area of expertise,” he says. “The Chinese customer attaches importance to Hong Kong for quality but customers first look at the design and only then at the brand image and reputation, so we emphasise the quality of our design and invest heavily in research and development.” Just around the corner, Adrien Choux continued to surprise as the European who is selling Chinese culture in horological form to the Chinese and the world beyond through his brand The Chinese Timekeeper. His latest venture is a partnership with 17 year-old Hong Kong racing driver Matthew Solomon and to mark this new association, Mr Choux set up two motor-racing simulators on his stand, challenging visitors to “Beat the fastest man in Hong Kong”. The lucky winner was rewarded with one of The Chinese Timekeeper’s timepieces. Although this does not necessarily fit with the brand’s rather traditional timepieces, as Mr Choux told Europa Star, “if it helps me to collect business cards and sell one or two watches, then that’s no bad thing”. The idea of a Westerner selling Chinese culture to the Chinese has taken some time to be accepted,

56 HONG KONG SHOW REPORT / europa star

U CTK 17 by The Chinese Timekeeper This limited edition of 18 pieces celebrates the Chinese Year of the Snake with a snake enveloping the entire watch, from front to back, crossing over the dial and covering all four parts of the case structure. The strap is made of a taupe-coloured snake skin.

U CTK 18 – White Jade Automatic by The Chinese Timekeeper The rarer form of white jade, rather than the more common green variety, is used as the hour markers on this limited edition of 18 pieces. The 44mm case consists of four rings of stainless steel with a black PVD treatment, inside which beats a CTK 6300 calibre self-winding movement, produced by the Hangzhou Watch Company, that offers 36 hours of power reserve.

I The motor racing simulator at The Chinese Timekeeper stand proved very popular among visitors

according to Choux. ”Three years ago people laughed at me, but now they take me seriously,” he says. “I exhibited in Qingdao recently and sold eight watches at the fair. The Chinese customer is evolving, he is not as brand-oriented as he was, but I still need to go knocking on doors to get the brand known. I spent three weeks in the USA over the summer and the watches were well received. They are not for Chinese tourists, however, who are looking for something more ostentatious. Maybe they will be interested in the brand in a few years but I need to keep up the differentiation because there are others coming.”

“Hong Kong is a good place to start a brand and the new Timepiece Extravaganza hall here at the show is a step up from last year.”

Adrien Choux, The Chinese Timekeeper

Despite the intense competition for retail space in Hong Kong, as well as its rising cost, Adrien Choux is happy to have started his brand there. “Hong Kong is a good place to start a brand and the new Timepiece Extravaganza hall here at the show is a step up from last year,” he says. “But even so, it’s a


tough task for me to sell the brand to someone who has been selling Rolex for over 20 years. You have watch stores on every street corner here in Hong Kong but they all carry the same brands. Very few stock independent brands. It may seem quite surprising that not a single store has been willing to take on my brand, but that is because they don’t know how to sell the watches. They don’t really sell watches at all, in fact, they are just order takers.” The Chinese Timekeeper showcased two new pieces at the fair, one with a snake dial (for the Chinese Year of the Snake) and one with white jade hour markers. Look out for a new ladies’ collection coming in the future, which will feature a smaller, 39mm case and red jade. Vishal Tolani, Director of local company Solar Time, has a fine knack for storytelling. Since all of Solar Time’s in-house brands are engineered for a specific retail channel, each requires its own individual story. Last year, the company launched the Earnshaw brand, targeted at TV shopping channels with a ready-made story about the watchmaker. The brand has since grown and entered duty-free and

u

U GRAF BERGHE VON TRIPS EDITION by Elysee

UU JOCHEN MAAS EDITION by Elysee

CLASSIC EUROPEAN APPEAL

UV161 by Obaku U V162 by Obaku

Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips may not be a household name (neither is it a name that trips off the tongue, if you will forgive the pun), but if this racing driver had not imported the first gokarts into Germany from Sebring in the USA and built his own racing circuit, a certain Mr Schumacher might never have become his assistant and his son may never have taken up motor racing and become a seven-times Formula 1 world champion. Graf Berghe von Trips lends his name posthumously

Hong Kong is the biggest market for Danish brand Obaku to one of the collections of German brand Elysee, as does Jochen Mass, another German motor racing legend. Numerous other motorsport allusions are found both in the brand’s communications and the design of its models (with the exception of a few classical pieces and some ladies’ watches), which sell for between €150 (quartz) and €1,998 (Valjoux 7750). The watches are made in Düsseldorf,

primarily for export to 25 countries, including Russia, USA, South Africa, Hong Kong and the Middle East. “It would be cheaper to do Swiss Made,” admits Managing Director Rainer Seume, “but then we would just be one of hundreds of other brands.” Danish brand Obaku, for which Hong Kong is the biggest market, had a suitably luxurious stand to showcase its minimalist designs. The brand’s emphasis at the show this year was on two new ladies’ models with elegantly integrated mesh bracelets. In both cases, the purity of the round case and its dial is disturbed only by the Swarovski crystals used as hour markers, as well as the Obaku logo. Available in steel and yellow or rose-gold plated versions, both models are the height of understatement, with the V162 model pushing the minimalism to its logical conclusion by hiding the crown of the watch to leave the perfect circle.

europa star / HONG KONG SHOW REPORT 57


“We are creating a stable of in-house brands to feed every different platform and we change our offering to adapt to the market situation.” Vishal Tolani, Solar Time general retail stores. “We are creating a stable of in-house brands to feed every different platform,” explains Mr Tolani, “and we change our offering to adapt to the market situation.” Mr Tolani has turned his attention this year to an interesting project that has created yet another story: the development of CCCP, the lesser-known brand of Alexander Shorokhoff. “We met a few years ago,” Tolani explains, “and he explained that CCCP was his ‘diffusion’ range but that he didn’t have the time he needed to dedicate to it. We had some new old stock Slava movements, so it made a compelling story to have a Soviet-era brand with genuine Soviet-era movements.” The Slava 2427 self-winding move-

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ment features in the new CCCP Sputnik model, which commemorates the launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite in 1957 and thus the start of the space race. The elegant design of this piece, which exposes its unusual movement both on the front and back, has elongated hour markers and spoke-like lines radiating out from the centre that recall the distinctive design of the Sputnik space probe. CCCP also offers models inspired by the legendary Soviet Delta and Shchuka submarines, using more commonplace Swiss and Japanese movements. Another local company, Acestar, also had an interesting story to tell thanks to an agreement with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam that gives it the rights to use any one of around a thousand paintings from the Dutch master for its watch collections. For its “Van Gogh” timepiece brand, the company has contented itself with the most famous works, such as the

I Sputnik by CCCP T Van Gogh by Acestar

Sunflowers and Van Gogh’s famous self-portrait, which are painted on the semi-transparent case back and, in some cases, on the dial. The watches are available in steel or 18-carat gold with quartz and automatic movements. As Esther Wong, President of Acestar, explained to Europa Star, they are primarily destined for the domestic market. ”We have signed an agreement with a TV shopping channel and we will be putting the watches into stores by December in Hong Kong and China,” she says. “We will then look to expand in Europe.” A Van Gogh exhibition was held in Hong Kong earlier in the year in celebration of the painter’s 160th anniversary. During this exhibition, reproductions of Van Gogh’s paintings sold for 250,000 Hong Kong dollars (approximately 30,000 Swiss francs) and Acestar sold 70 per cent of its watch stock at the event.

u


THE INTREPID SWISS EXHIBITORS U PAPILLON and SUNFLOWER by Blauling

Making up barely more than one per cent of the total exhibitors (only eight out of the 755 exhibitors at the show were from the spiritual homeland of watchmaking), the few Swiss exhibitors present fitted in well with the low to mid-range offerings seen at the majority of exhibitors at the show. Having gradually mutated from a sales-based operation to an assembly and production facility that works for other brands, Swiss Watch Trading, based in Biel,

Swiss exhibitors make up barely one per cent of the total.

T Taller

showcased its new brand Taller as the company’s first in-house brand and was exhibiting for the first time in Hong Kong. Taller, which has taken two years to develop as a brand, takes its name from the “Thaler”, the ancient coin used throughout Europe for hundreds of years (and the root of the word “dollar”). Its first markets for distribution are Russia and the CIS countries, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Poland.

According to Mr Jean-Claude Racine, President of the Board, the brand will then expand “according to opportunities”. Taller offers quartz and mechanical watches in a price range from 3002,000 Swiss francs, with the average price hovering around 450 Swiss francs and the collection split equally between ladies’ and gents’ watches. Inspiration for the new collection presented by Blauling at the show came from a visit to the Papillorama butterfly park near Neuchâtel (Bläuling is the German name for a genus of gossamer-winged butterfly). Neuchâtelbased Faithtex, the company behind the brand, first presented this concept at BaselWorld in 2011 but it is now available as a collection of some 100 references that retail between 270 and 500 US dollars. Butterflies, as well as other wildlife and plants, feature heavily as decorations on the elegant motherof-pearl dials of the watches. The Swiss Made Blauling timepieces use Ronda quartz movements and have bezels and dials set with cubic zirconia and Swarovski crystals. The latest models presented in Hong Kong have smallseconds or off-centre time indications that free up more room for the delicate dials, which use relief and 3D effects to highlight their decorative nature.

Blauling promises to launch 20 new references each year and is targeting the markets of the Middle East, Russia and Asia, where the brand plans to open eight points of sale in China this year. The jointly-owned L’Duchen & Steinmeyer brands were present at the show for the first time, although “more to be present than to sell, so that we can awake the interest of the Asian customers so that they come to Basel,” according to Phillipe Barro, Export Manager for the brand. The L’Duchen brand stands for the “simplest expression of a Swiss watch”, while the Steinmeyer brand is a lower priced, sportier offering that is intended to provide an alternative to private label production. Steinmeyer presented new football, basketball, ice skating and automobile-themed lines at the show. For Mr Barro, the emphasis is on offering genuine value for money. “Look at BaselWorld, there are not so many brands offering traditional watches at a reasonable price,” he says. “In Hall 2 you have brands with complications or technical designs with, for example a technical bezel that adds to the price. Brands do this to add value so that they can charge a higher price. We want to offer a traditional watch with value for money.”

europa star / HONG KONG SHOW REPORT 59


The fashionistas

Competition at home and abroad

Continuing the art theme, and that of famous painters in particular, odm (slogan: “Never too late”) launched a collection featuring designs by pop artist Keith Haring some 28 years after Swatch first did so. The collection features three different dial designs with the artist’s unmistakable dancing characters. After presenting a touch-sensitive digital watch not totally dissimilar to another Swatch offering at last year’s show, the brand continued

while the latter is a respectable imitation of a mechanical watch, complete with rotating gears and blue hands and screws. its focus on analogue displays this year with its new Cubic and Swing models, the former highlighting the figures 2,3,5 and 9 in a threedimensional style on the dial (23:59 also features in the brand’s tagline),

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The emphasis at new brand AddInc was on neither analogue nor digital but on new technology. While the watch world is abuzz with “wearable computing”, as everyone eagerly awaits Apple’s answer to the

There was a cloud of uncertainty hanging over this year’s Hong Kong Watch & Clock show that had been precipitated by various factors. The fact that the dates of the show coincided with the Jewish New Year festival led to a noticeable absence of American Jews, an important buying group. Worries about China’s anti-corruption drive may not contribute directly to buyers staying away from the Hong Kong show, but may certainly account for a lull in trade, even though an article in Hong Kong’s English-language newspaper The Standard, published during the Fair, claimed that “the political class in China is so awash with dirty money that a genuine cleansing is effectively impossible.” Although one observer at the show I Swing by odm claimed that “you can’t stop people going into a shop to buy a watch,” the drop in trade between China There are rumours and Japan after some posturing that the Hong Kong over the disputed Senkaku islands Show may be split (Diaoyu to the Chinese) shows into two to better just how much China’s political differentiate between clout can affect trade. OEM/ODM suppliers The show itself also faced comand brands. petition this year from the eagerly anticipated first “Watches & Wonders” exhibition organised OO Cubic by odm by Switzerland’s Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, primarily for the Richemont O Keith Haring for odm Group brands. There were even rumours that the Hong Kong Show may be split into two to better differentiate between OEM/ODM suppliers and brands. Continued improvements to add a greater touch of luxury to the show, like those seen this year, would undoubtedly help it to evolve. Like the “wine cellar” at the show that neither stocked nor sold wine, however, Hong Kong needs to be careful about delivering on its promises, especially when it boasts that it is “the world’s biggest watch fair”.


O A model shows off the new AddMe watch

The 30th Hong Kong Watch & Clock Design Competition The annual Hong Kong Watch & Clock design competition once again proved that there is no end to the fantasy of students freed from any technical watchmaking constraints and pre-conceptions. Here are this year’s best designs in the student category.

Student category

numerous other interactive watches already available on the market, such as the Cookoo, Pebble and, most recently, the Samsung Gear, AddInc seems to have opened up a whole new niche that could be called “wearable social media”. Using 2.4GHz near-field communication (NFC), the Android-compatible “AddMe” watch allows the wearer to share his or her profile with anyone wearing a similar watch simply by bringing the two timepieces close together. One second is all it takes to exchange the information, without the need to pair the two devices. The obligatory application tied in with the watch allows the wearer to choose from one of 10 different high-resolution watch dials and screensavers, while the promise of a staggering 365 different straps will ensure that the young and trendy consumers that the watch is targeted at will literally be able to wear a different watch every day. It will be interesting to see how the AddMe shapes up against the numerous competing “connected” watches when it launches globally on 30th November 2013. p

Winning design: “Shuttle”, by Cheung Sui Cheung of the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education This bangle design consists of two tracks, each with its own independent watch dial that can move on sliders (one for the time, one for the chronograph). 2nd runner-up: “Chasing” by Wong Lai Ching of the Hong Kong Design Institute Inspired by the Greek myth of Icarus, this piece encourages the wearer to chase their dream. Icarus’s dream may have ended tragically, but now as then, the future will always be an unknown. 1st runner-up: “Square” by Au Ka Kin of the School for Higher and Professional Education (SHAPE) in collaboration with Birmingham City University The mystical dial of this piece mingles elements of “Bagua”, which represent the fundamental principles of reality in Taoist cosmology, with constellations to represent the universe. The snake tail hands are the symbol of Fuxi, a figure from Chinese mythology.

europa star / HONG KONG SHOW REPORT 61


ADVERTORIAL


RETAILER PROFILE

Zakaa Boutiques are revolutionising retail in Nigeria Keith W. Strandberg Aderemi Ajidahun, CEO of Hole19 Group and Zakaa retail stores, is determined to change the way Nigerians purchase fine watches. The culture before he opened up his high-end Zakaa boutiques was for sellers to visit homes and businesses with suitcases full of watches, and customers could never be sure that the watches were new, original or even authentic. In 2010, Ajidahun opened up his first store, and three years later, he has five stores. I caught up with Ajidahun in his Hole19 offices in Abuja, Nigeria.

A

Aderemi Ajidahun

Europa Star: How’s business? Aderemi Ajidahun: For a young company, things are doing well. We have had steady progress. Nigeria is a country where you have to do a lot of direct marketing. Our biggest competition is the briefcase seller of grey market goods who goes from office to office and home to home. High-end customers here in Nigeria do not want to come out to do shopping. We don’t have consistent luxury retail space here in Nigeria, so the briefcase seller does very well because he takes the goods directly to the buyer. I am determined to establish a brand and to have retail locations that can stand the test of time. We’ve had to really build the brands we carry here in Nigeria. When we came in with Parmigiani, for example, people asked me if it was cheese. Our other businesses are all about building brands, so we adapted this to the watch industry. There is a lot of luxury

64 RETAILER PROFILE / europa star

consumption here in Nigeria, but there is no structured retail. With a population of over 170 million and vast oil wealth, Nigeria truly has its own fair share of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals and High Net Worth Individuals. Nigeria is reputed to be the fastest growing private jet market in the world. Better still, it’s a nation of natural born consumers of luxury, and everything else! I’m fighting every day to encourage the brands to think Nigeria! How do you combat the briefcase sellers? AA: The briefcase sellers are operating on very slim margins, they are working with retailers from other countries who give them the stock. We have to educate the market to be careful, to make sure you are buying the genuine product, to think about the guarantee, and we want them to go to the official retailer before they buy. If we can build a strong enough brand people will gravitate towards Zakaa. We have been quite aggressive. All our stores are in four or five star hotels, except for the flagship store in Abuja. Why did you decide to open Zakaa? AA: I have always loved timepieces and I went to Basel as a consumer, and I always took my wife with me. The third time I went, my wife was upset that I kept dragging her there. One night at dinner, she said that if I was going to continue going to Basel, I should make a business out of it. I was already in the golf business, which came out of my passion for golf, so it made sense.

At the start, I wanted to distribute to existing retail outlets. My first brand was Edox, followed by Parmigiani, and I found that I was paying the brands but the retailers wanted me to give it to them on credit. I realised that these stores weren’t the right environments, so we had no choice but to create our own brand and our own retail. How did you come up with the name Zakaa? AA: Zakaa stands for Zhadie Alake Karale Aderemi Ajidahun, the full name of our youngest daughter, who’s five. What is the secret of your success? AA: We don’t cut corners, we don’t do things in half measures, and we try to do things as genuinely as possible. We have built up credibility here in Nigeria. We have good relationships with our brands, and the brands have really supported us. We have a great staff, which is exuberant and really motivated. We have a communications department that has thought out of the box, like producing our in-house magazine. We have a database of clients who have been customers for quite a while. We are in a consumer society that loves luxury products, and they find it tough to get these products in a luxury environment here in Nigeria. What do you like about your job? AA: I am having a ball. I love it and I know a lot about the market. Most enjoyable for me are the relationships. I like to work with brands with whom I can develop a friendship, which is difficult


with the larger brands. I enjoy sitting and having dinner, discussing progress, showing them our country and our culture. They read many negative things about Nigeria and it’s always so wonderful when they come and see how great it is. The bottom line is not the first thing that comes into our minds; it’s about delivering the right environment and the right customer experience and service. We have opened four boutiques, and we recently opened a 400 square metre flagship boutique with a bar, tailor-made suits and shoes, all under one roof for the high net worth customer. It’s a great place for our customers to hang out. We want our customers to enjoy themselves. What don’t you like? AA: What I generally don’t like about the industry is that I have consistently tried to get all the people within the industry to work together. I’ve always said that the competition isn’t amongst ourselves; it’s between Nigeria and other countries. 80 per cent of all spending is done outside of Nigeria. We want to reduce this to 50 per cent. If everyone in the industry is bickering and sees the other retailers and brands as competition, it will lead to a lack of stability. We want Nigerians to spend that money in Nigeria, so we can build the infrastructure. It’s high time the luxury brands start taking Nigeria seriously and stop using the lame excuse of being scared. They are well aware and happy to announce that Nigerians are some of their best customers in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Dubai but yet, in general, they are reluctant to enter the domestic market. This only fuels capital flight, which is the real curse of Africa. True, there are challenges but this then requires working with knowledgeable, prudent partners like Zakaa with a different mindset. The first brands to truly arrive will definitely reap the rewards.

How do you market your store? AA: As a young company, we have been focused on building the brand and the boutiques. It’s only now that we are going to do a TV ad. There are not enough luxury magazines, so we won’t be advertising in magazines that are not suitable (which is why we developed our own magazine in the first place). All brands find it difficult to get the word out. We do cocktails and dinners, inviting over 200 people. We are also doing a lot of work in social networks. Who is your customer? AA: Because we have such a varying range of products, our customer is the upwardly mobile, fashionable lady and gent. We have high-end timepieces, but we also have the fashion watch range. Our lower end watches are fashion watches, not cheap watches trying to look more expensive. We have the business people, we have the corporate clients and the government. This is a big gifting society. We have a lot of gents who come in to buy gifts for their wives, their board of directors. We do a lot of customised pieces where we have to put logos or initials for specific companies. Our customer varies greatly. Do you do repairs at your store? How do you handle repairs? AA: We do basic repairs here (strap changes, battery changes, etc.) but we do not repair mechanical watches. We have to send them off now, but we will be sending two watchmakers off for training, so by the first quarter of 2014, we will have repair here. How do you do training? AA: We do our own training. We have a head of training and she will do basic customer service training, as well as display set up training and dress

Facts and Figures Name: Zakaa Location: five stores (Abuja 2, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Uyo) How long: 2010 Employees: 60 Size of store: 28 – 400 square metres Average sale: $800 - 1200 Range of price: $250 - $100,000 Best selling brands: Louis Erard, Parmigiani and Ulysse Nardin

sense and professionalism. Product training we get from the brands, who come in quite regularly. The more you know about your product and the history of the brand, the more you can offer that magical embodiment of the brand to the customer. You replicate your own passion and that is what gives value and personality. I am a big consumer of knowledge and I like everyone around me to do the same. Are you optimistic about the future? AA: I feel very good about where Zakaa is going. We have a very bright future despite our challenges within Nigeria. The country operates at an interest rate of 25 per cent a year. We are very thankful for our partners who have understood our situation. We want to improve in all areas, especially in staff product knowledge. We would like to add one or two critical brands, like Patek Philippe or Breitling, who are not in Nigeria. Rolex has one retailer here, but I think Nigeria can have more and we would also like to add Rolex. For every hundred Rolexes people are wearing here in Nigeria, the authorised retailer has only sold one. Nigeria is a country of 170 million people. Take even one per cent of that market as people who can buy luxury products, you are still talking about 1.7 million people. What is your favourite watch? AA: My current favourite watch is the JAYJAY10, a limited edition Parmigiani Pershing in rose gold, which we created, designed by the famous Nigerian footballer Jay-Jay Okocha, who always wore the number 10 jersey, in conjunction with the Parmigiani design team. Only 10 units were made and one unique piece is naturally owned by Mr. Okocha. p

europa star / RETAILER PROFILE 65


SERVICE, PLEASE!

chopard – The care and servicing of jewellery watches Keith W. Strandberg Watches are challenging to service for any company, with customers spread across the globe. Factor into that jewellery watches and jewellery and the complexity multiplies. Europa Star caught up with Xavier Yerly, Group Customer Service Manager Chopard, to find out more about how the company handles service to its watches, jewellery watches and jewellery. “Clients are our most valuable asset,” Yerly says. “Therefore, the entire Chopard after sales team takes all necessary measures and steps to provide the best possible experience in order to guarantee and maintain 100% customer satisfaction. Our first objective is to deliver flawless and prompt service. The profit of quality customer service is satisfaction, and hence, customer loyalty. We analyse cost/time efficiency to constantly improve internal workflows and turnaround time.

W

Global organisation

Servicing mechanical watches

Each of Chopard’s 15 subsidiaries across the globe has an integrated service centre with the capacity and craftsmanship skills to meet the volume and area needs for their market. Around 10 per cent of the total pieces serviced worldwide

Chopard has a long tradition of complicated mechanical watches, and each of these watches will have to receive service, requiring a commitment from Chopard to stocking parts and having the watchmakers necessary. “It is indeed challenging to source skilled technicians, as true experts capable of servicing all types of mechanical watches are very rare,” Yerly admits. “However, thanks to the effort and commitment made by Chopard, we are able to train new talent and attract specialists, offering them opportunities such as a dedicated apprenticeship or specialised training courses. “The movement of a Chopard watch deserves particular care,” he continues. “In order to guarantee its performance, it must be serviced regularly (or at least when the watch’s going rate deteriorates) by an official Chopard service centre. We kindly recommend having the water resistance of a Chopard watch tested once a year or before engaging in any prolonged aquatic activity.”

“Local customer service centres allow us to take advantage of the customers’ proximity, while greatly improving service turnaround time.” are serviced in Switzerland (e.g. complicated manufacture L.U.C timepieces or high jewellery). Additionally, Chopard’s external network of more than 50 independent workshops/centres service roughly 30 per cent of the global volume. Chopard would prefer to service watches and jewellery in the same region where the customers live. “Local customer service centres allow us to take advantage of the customers’ proximity, while greatly improving service turnaround time,” says Yerly. “We support, train, equip and maintain close contact with our official Chopard Service centres globally. Each country is supported by one of our 15 subsidiaries, therefore, if the country doesn’t have a service centre, the piece is sent to one of the subsidiaries, if not to our headquarters in Geneva.”

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The added challenge of precious stones Having diamonds or other gemstones on a watch adds more service issues to prepare for and requires the specific technicians to do the work, as watchmakers are not stone setters. “Upon reception in one of our Official Chopard Service

Centres, an analysis is conducted by a technician in order to determine the issue at hand,” Yerly details. “If the issue with the stones appears to be a manufacturing default, Chopard provides an international warranty of two years. If the cause appears to derive from mishandling, an estimate will be provided to the client within 24 to 48 hours, detailing the necessary and optional actions recommended to fix it. “As Chopard is a company that prides itself on both its high jewellery and fine watchmaking expertise, we often love to marry the two worlds with our creations,” he continues. “More and more we are creating high jewellery watches that are matched with a sophisticated and complicated watch movement. It is only fitting that these pieces are just as intricately designed on the outside as they are on the inside. The technique of gem setting timepieces requires exquisite artisanal skills from experienced setters. There are very few experts capable of such a savoir-faire, therefore it is a métier d’art.”

Servicing these pieces becomes exponentially more difficult, as only the master gem setters can address problems on these high jewellery timepieces. T HAPPY SPORT DIAMANTISSIMO by Chopard

In addition, jewellery Unlike watches, there is no recommended service interval for jewellery. Usually, jewellery pieces are sent in for service when customers wish to have them polished and put back to their original condition. Chopard suggests that customers periodically check the settings and clean their pieces with a soft brush to maintain the shine. Chopard keeps the workshops for watches and jewellery service separate, as different skills are required. “The areas and technicians are, in most cases, specific for each type of skill set (i.e. jewellers/watchmakers/polishers, etc.), for both practical and technical reasons,” Yerly explains. “The effective time needed to service or restore our products, could vary significantly depending on the type (watches/jewellery), its level of complexity and the tasks needed to fix it. However, two to five hours, on average, are usually sufficient for the technicians, to carry out most of the services, in addition, a couple of days will be taken to control all the functions of the piece. The average turnaround time for a service is around 10 to 20 calendar days.” The handling, packaging and shipping of high jewellery pieces requires special attention, skills and knowledge. Specific training is given to the customer service teams handling these pieces. Handling the service needs of high-end timepieces, high jewellery watches and jewellery is more complicated, necessitating two complete staffs, two service areas in every service centre and more. Chopard, however, understands the need for excellent after-sales service.

“More and more we are creating high jewellery watches that are matched with a sophisticated and complicated watch movement.” “We truly believe that the client relationship only begins with the purchase and we are committed to building lifetime loyalty to the brand,” Yerly states. “After sales service is an opportunity to nurture positive client relationships, build up brand fidelity by fulfilling expectations, and potentially acquire new sales. Chopard is continually investing in training of its apprentices as well as other activities and equipment to guarantee long term service, which makes all the difference.” p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Chopard

europa star / SERVICE, PLEASE! 67


WORLDWATCHWEB

How consumers search for luxury watches online – Insights from the 2013 edition of the WorldWatchReport™ Laetitia Hirschy, Project Manager, Digital Luxury Group How do consumers search for luxury watches online? According to the WorldWatchReport™ 2013, which is based on more than 1.1 billion anonymous and unbiased consumer intentions spontaneously expressed by watch aficionados searching for luxury watch brands online, Brand is the most popular search intention capturing 73.20 per cent of all interest, followed by Model with almost 10 per cent (down thirteen per cent since last year). Price is the third most popular search intention, up 9 per cent year-to-year followed by Style up 74 per cent. “As prices increase they are becoming increasingly difficult to rationalise, combine this with a much more selective distribution and you have consumers looking for bargains on the Internet. Brands are positioning themselves among specific styles to create a cohesive style across watch collections and reduce references. Audemars Piguet is Luxury sport, Patek is Complications, etc.” explains WorldWatchReport Contributor, William Rohr.

H

Price sensitivity, however, varies widely from one market to another. In Asian (except Japan) and Middle Eastern countries such as India it is so important that it ranks above searches by Model. In Japan, where the Brand intention

Price

4.81%

Style

2.99%

Complication & Movement

1.81%

Replica

1.80%

Offline Distribution

1.29%

Accessory

1.19%

Material

0.95% 0.94%

Preowned Social Media Interest Repair

0.57% 0.30%

Online Distribution

0.11%

Shape

0.06%

Breakdown of search intentions Understanding clientele preferences 2012 © Digital Luxury Group, 2012

accounts for an overwhelming 87.89 per cent of all searches and Model for only 3.22 per cent (well below the global average), Preowned Watches is much a more popular intention than Price. This is due to a high affinity for vintage products amongst Japanese consumers.

Style ahead of price and model searches in China One of the most significant evolutions this year in terms of search intentions was observed in the Chinese market - the emergence of style-related searches in comparison with Price and Model intentions. The shift in consumer behaviour is confirmed by our Chinese WorldWatchReport™ Contributors: “Compared to previous years, Chinese consumers’ knowledge regarding watches has increased significantly, following the boom of the market and aggressive brand promotions. Thanks to knowledge acquired on the Internet (some international professional watch forums and websites), a number of watch enthusiasts have already developed their own spectrum of watch knowledge, appreciation and preferences.” states William Bai, Editor in Chief, Horlogerie Culture Center of China. Alternatively, model intention still represents a very limited percentage in China (2.36 per cent vs. 8.00 per cent globally). Lack of well-translated Chinese names for models has been one important reason for those missing searches. For the majority of brands, awareness and knowledge of model names is something yet to be cultivated in China. “The trend might continue to be style over model because models usually speak to industry professionals not consumers,” says WorldWatchReport™ Contributor, Henri Liu, Editor in Chief of Air Time China. “For example, Chanel’s J12’s success was helped by an easily remembered name as is Chopard’s brand name which resonates with ‘Chopin’.”

Global Preferences for Complications & Movements Going more in depth within search intentions, further consumer search patterns emerge. Besides brand and model

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Connecting Global Competence

February 14 – 17, 2014 MeSSe MÜNCHeN INTerNaTIONaL INHOrGeNTa.COM INHOrGeNTa-bLOG.COM


searches, consumers express interest for specific watch styles and features from brands. Aligned with growth of interest in the Haute Horlogerie category and domination of the Prestige category in this year’s WorldWatchReport™, consumers are searching for “Complication”, “Chronograph” and “Automatic” more than any other parameter in the Complications & Movements search intention. According to Pascal Ravessoud, Development Director at the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie and WorldWatchReport™ Contributor: “Complications have always been and will always remain a key driver.” Among the Complications & Movements’ intention, Chronograph and Tourbillon are the two most popular product segments. Interestingly these categories, generate a much higher level of interest than Diving or Women’s watches.

Top 10 most searched brands for chronographs According to the 2013 WorldWatchReport™ TAG Heuer maintained its leadership position as most associated with Chronograph searches, IWC remarkably increased by two spots at number two, ahead of Omega, second most soughtafter luxury watch brand globally. IWC’s ranking is the result of the brand’s strong communication strategy. The first four brands: TAG Heuer, IWC, Omega and Breitling make up almost 60 per cent of all search demand for Chronographs. In a category dominated by Prestige models, Montblanc from the High Range category gains two spots, at number seven, and Zenith enters the Top 10 for the first time. It is also surprising not to find brands such as Hublot and Panerai in the Top 10 and instead having brands such as Montblanc and Cartier. Hublot has more recognition for its “Big Bang” chronograph by model intention than for generic chronographs. The same can be said for Rolex knowing that they are very powerful in the chronograph segment with their iconic Daytona (chrono) collection. 2013 2012 CHANGE BRAND 1 1 = Tag Heuer 2 4 + iwc 3 2 – omega 4 3 – Breitling 5 5 = longines 6 6 = rolex 7 9 + montblanc 8 7 – tudor 9 8 – cartier 10 11 + zenith SUB-TOTAL OTHERS TOTAL

70 worldwatchweb / europa star

chronograph Market Share 16.46% 14.67% 14.47% 14.02% 5.16% 3.44% 2.81% 2.80% 2.29% 2.16% 78.27% 21.73% 100.00%

Tourbillon Market Share 2013 2012 CHANGE BRAND 1 1 = Patek Philippe 2.18% 2 5 + Hublot 1.38% + 3 16 Richard Mille 1.17% 4 3 – Breitling 1.14% 5 6 + Zenith 1.02% 6 4 – Breguet 0.89% 7 2 – Jaeger-LeCoultre 0.86% 8 8 = Cartier 0.77% 9 15 + Piaget 0.65% 10 9 – Franck Muller 0.59% SUB-TOTAL 10.65% OTHERS 89.35% TOTAL 100.00%

Top 10 most searched brands for tourbillons Patek Philippe, number one Haute Horlogerie brand in the global rankings, maintained its spot as the most searched brand for tourbillons – no surprises there. This year’s ranking saw brands that invested heavily in their communication strategies well rewarded. Hublot takes an impressive 2nd place, up three spots. Strongest progression this year without a doubt would be Richard Mille, up thirteen places, in third, and Piaget, up six spots, reflecting the brand’s successful efforts communicating on its watchmaking know-how. Breguet, inventor of the tourbillon, lost two spots this year and Jaeger-LeCoultre five spots. The brand is celebrating its 180th anniversary in 2013, depending on what it chooses to communicate this year, this is a category to watch.

What does this mean for watch brands’ communication strategy? Knowing what consumers are searching for opens up opportunities for brands to further reinforce their positioning, either within their historical values or entering new territories. After having identified the perception of the brand in key markets, more effective communication strategies can be implemented using the whole Marketing/Communication portfolio at hand and improving the integration of the Internet into commercial strategy. Digital and more specifically Search Engine Optimisation, is one of the tools brands can use to further drive and increase traffic on their website. Samantha Jelin, Head of Search and Display at Digital Luxury Group, recommends: “Make sure to create content on your website that corresponds to how clients are searching for your watch category and brand. Search engines will pick up the content and if done according to Google ranking criteria, you will rank on search engines for those queries. For instance, if they are looking for “complicated watches”, make sure to have one main page presenting your complicated watches in addition to sub-pages. p


EDITORIAL & ADVERTISERS’ INDEX EUROPA STAR HBM Europa Star HBM SA, Route des Acacias 25, CH-1227 Carouge/Geneva - Switzerland Tel +41 22 307 78 37, Fax +41 22 300 37 48, contact@europastar.com, www.europastar.com Publisher: Philippe Maillard EUROPA STAR EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief: Pierre M. Maillard • pmaillard@europastar.com Managing Editor: Paul O’Neil • poneil@europastar.com International Editor: Keith W. Strandberg • keiths821@aol.com Senior Editor: D. Malcolm Lakin • mlakin@europastar.com Editor China: Jean-Luc Adam • watches-for-china@europastar.com Editor Spain: Carles Sapena • csapena@europastar.es Art: Alexis Sgouridis • asgouridis@europastar.com Editorial Consultant: Casey Bayandor • cbayandor@europastar.com Asst. Publisher: Nathalie Glattfelder • nglattfelder@europastar.com CONTRIBUTORS • France: Antoine Menusier • Australia: Martin Foster • Italy: Paolo de Vecchi • Germany: Gerhard Claussen, Timm Delfs • Russia: Vyacheslav Medvedev • Portugal: Miguel Seabra • Romania: George Gisca MARKETING & CIRCULATION PRINT/E-MEDIA Marketing & Circulation Director: Nathalie Glattfelder • nglattfelder@europastar.com Marketing & Circulation Manager: Jocelyne Bailly • jbailly@europastar.com ADVERTISING / INTERNATIONAL SALES DIRECTORS Switzerland / Italy / US: Casey K. Bayandor Tel: +41 22 307 78 37 Fax: +41 22 300 37 48 • cbayandor@europastar.com Europe & International: Nathalie Glattfelder Tel: +41 22 307 78 37 Fax: +41 22 300 37 48 • nglattfelder@europastar.com Spain: Carles Sapena Tel & Fax: +34 93 112 7113 • csapena@europastar.es Asia: Maggie Tong Tel: +852 9658 1830 Fax: +852 2527 5189 • maggietong@europastar.com Ukraine: Julia Mostovenko Tel: +38 044 205 4088 Fax: +38 044 205 4099 • jmostovenko@karavan.ua PUBLISHING & PRODUCTION PRINT/E-MEDIA Advertising Manager: Laurence Chatenoud • lchatenoud@europastar.com Editorial, Production & Advertising Coordinator: Talya Lakin • tlakin@europastar.com MANAGEMENT / ACCOUNTING Business Manager: Catherine Giloux. Tel: +41 22 307 78 48 • cgiloux@europastar.com Credit Manager: Alexandra Montandon. Tel: +41 22 307 78 47 • amontandon@europastar.com MAGAZINES Europa Star - Europe - International - USA & Canada - China Latin America / Spain - Ukraine, Europa Star Première, Bulletin d’informations, Eurotec, CIJ International Jewellery Trends & Colours WEBSITES www.worldwatchweb.com, www.europastar.com, www.watch-aficionado.com, www.watches-for-china.com, www.horalatina.com, www.europastar.es, www.europastarwatch.ru, www.CIJintl.com, eurotec-online.com E-newsletters: www.europastar.com/newsletter MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION One year 6 issues, CHF 100 Europe, CHF 140 International. www.europastar.com/subscribe Help Desk: jricher@europastar.com Printed in Geneva by SRO-KUNDIG – Audited REMP2012 / FRP 2012 Copyright 2013 EUROPA STAR All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of Europa Star HBM SA.

A Acestar 58 AddInc 60 A. Lange & Söhne 49 Angular Momentum 30-31 Ateliers Pascal Vincent Vaucher 34, 36-37, 41 Audemars Piguet 42, 49, 68 B BaselWorld 10, 38, 40, 43, 54, 59 Beroma SA 34, 37 Blauling 59 Bovet 20-21 Breguet 24, 70 Breitling 49, 65, 70 C Carl F. Bucherer 25 Cartier 26, 49, 70 Casio 47-51 CCCP 58 Chanel 21, 68 Chopard 32, 49, 66-67, 68 Citizen 35 D Davidoff 65 De Bethune 28 Décors Guillochés SA 22, 24 DeLaneau 29 Devon Works 65 DeWitt 14-15, 44 Digital Luxury Group 4, 68, 70 DKSH 42, 43 Dubey & Schaldenbrand 65 Dubois Dépraz 43 E Edox 64, 65 Elysee 57 Ernest Borel 33 ETA 22, 43 F Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie 45

Franck Muller 70 Franc Vila 65 G GoS Watches 38-40 Grieb & Benzinger 28 H Harry Winston 26, 44 Hermès 5, 10, 29 HKTDC 54, 55 Hublot 70 I Ice-Watch 52-53 Inhorgenta 69 IWC 70 J Jacob & Co. 36 Jaeger-LeCoultre COVER II, 1, 70 Jaermann & Stübi 65 Jaquet Droz 28 Julien Coudray 1518 31 L Laurent Ferrier 32 L’Duchen 59 Les Emboiteurs d’Espace SA 34, 36 Longines 70 Louis Erard 65 Louis Vuitton 9 M Manufacture des Franches Montagnes 43, 44 Manu Propria 30-31 Matthia’s & Claire 32 Maurice Lacroix 42-44, 65 Memorigin 55, 56 Metalem 22 Montblanc 70 Montegrappa 65 O Obaku 57 o.d.m. 60 Omega 70 Orient Watch Company 62-63

P Panerai 11, 70 Parmigiani 29, 64, 65 Pascal Vincent Vaucher SA 34 Patek Philippe 12-13, 65, 68, 70, COVER IV Perrelet 65 Piaget 70 Q Queloz 43, 44 R Richard Mille 70 Rolex 65, 70 Ronda 46, 59 RVK Guillochage SA 22 S Seiko COVER III Sellita 43 SetGemFree LDA 34, 37 SIHH 10 Solar Time 57 Steinmeyer 59 Stern Créations 22 Swatch Group 22, 42 Swiss Clarity & Cut SA 34, 36 Swiss Made Settings SA 34, 37 T TAG Heuer 3, 65, 70 Taller 59 Tempora SA 34 The Chinese Timekeeper 56, 57 Tissot 23 Titoni 27 Tudor COVER I, 6-9, 70 U Ulysse Nardin 65 V Vacheron Constantin 16-18 Z Zenith 65, 70

europa star / EDITORIAL AND ADVERTISERS’ INDEX 71


LAKIN@LARGE

… and you think YOU’VE GOT PROBLEMS? D. Malcolm Lakin I think it was G. K. Chesterton who first claimed that ‘travel broadens the mind’. Well I can assure you in the period of just one year I have made not one but two mindbroadening discoveries: last year, you may recall, I met a man in Calgary, Canada, with prosopagnosia – face blindness; this year, in the Cape Cod area of the United States of America I almost came face to face with pogonophobia – I say almost because … well let me explain. On Nantucket, one of the islands off Cape Cod, I was pottering around the over-priced but quaint shops when I espied a boutique with dozens of large round clocks and compasses set into metal housings with thick magnified glass coverings. Intrigued, I entered and began looking around when a young man came up behind me and asked if he could be of assistance. I turned round and said I was just browsing, at which point he immediately lowered his eyes and, without looking at me turned away and said to let him know if he could be of assistance. Having worked my way around the collection I went over to the desk where the man was shuffling some papers and asked the price of a couple of the pieces. He didn’t look up but walked over to the clocks I’d mentioned and maintaining his interest in either my expensive sandals or my legs (I was wearing shorts) told them the prices. I’m not exactly a George Clooney lookalike but my feet aren’t anything to write home about either. I began to wonder about this fetishism. As I turned to leave, the young man said, “Sir, I’m sorry if I appear rude not addressing you directly,’ he explained looking at my feet again, “but I have problem!”

I

72 LAKIN@LARGE / europa star

Tell me about it, I thought. “A problem?” “Yes, I have pogonophobia.” “Really? Pogowhat?” “Pogonophobia. It’s a fear of beards.” I took a step backwards for fear of having mine ripped out by the roots. “It’s okay, as long as I don’t look at your face,” he said echoing my first wife. Apologising for my hirsuteness I asked if something can be done about his pogowhatsit. “It’s pogonophobia.” He then told my left foot that the first psychiatrist he went to see had a beard and he ran out horrified. “Then I called another psychiatrist and asked the lady who answered if he had a beard. She sounded surprised, said no, so I fixed an appointment. He was the one who told me I had pogonophobia and explained that it was very rare and usually caused by a traumatic experience in childhood.” “And did you discover the cause?” “Yes, after I’d invested a few thousand dollars in his retirement fund. My mother took me shopping one Christmas when I was very small and I was placed on the knee of a Father Christmas in a shopping mall for a photograph. Apparently I cried and the more I cried the closer the beard came to try and console me.” “So what do you do now?” “If I’m really distraught I take a pill to calm me down. Now I avoid looking at anyone with a beard. Unfortunately, white beards are my real nightmare.” I mumbled another apology and turned to leave when he held out a trembling hand. I shook it and whilst he gave my feet a last long lingering look he said he hoped I would visit the boutique again. Once outside, I scribbled the name of the phobia on a piece of paper and

glanced back to see the man mopping his brow with a cloth as he flopped down into the chair behind his desk. The rest of the afternoon passed without incident, but as I made my way to the ferry that would take me back to the mainland I realised that the resort’s other main industry was fishing and fishermen are often heavily stubbled or bearded. Sartre was almost right, Hell is not other people, it’s bearded people! I know a very naughty limerick about an old man from Nantucket … but I’ll have to tell you that one in private, remind me when you see me. However, here’s an appropriate joke sent to a team at the University of Hertfordshire in the U.K. that had set out to find the world’s funniest joke. Dr Richard Wiseman, a psychologist, conducted the test and after reviewing more than 40,000 entries the winning joke, submitted by Dr Gurpal Gosall, a psychiatrist, was chosen. Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his mobile phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps: “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says: “Calm down, I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence, then a shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: “OK, now what?” Well, you’ve got to laugh haven’t you? p


Europa Star - Europe 5/13  

October / November 2013

Europa Star - Europe 5/13  

October / November 2013