THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL WATCH MAGAZINE EUROPE
WATCH BUSINESS MAGAZINE EUROPEAN EDITION N°322
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High-tech production Focus on: Surveys, Detroit
THE AIR is getting thinner Pierre M. Maillard Editor-in-chief Is it a strong signal, a simple symptom, an “industrial accident” or collateral damage? Whatever the verdict may be, the fact that the GTE (Geneva Time Exhibition) is not taking place in 2014 in parallel with the SIHH in Geneva raised some questions. ”We decided to cancel the 2014 edition of the GTE because we had too few exhibitors. A number of independent watchmakers are experiencing difficulties at the moment and would rather focus their efforts on BaselWorld and their local markets” came the answer from the organisers. Various accusations have been levelled at the GTE, which was set up in 2010 and which only last year brought together 34 exhibitors and welcomed 7,000 visitors in a magnificent venue
this, after all, the price to pay for success? All of the world’s biggest festivals have their fringe shows. Another oftenheard reproach is about the mixture of styles and categories. Because it is true that you could find a bit of everything at the GTE, without too much hierarchy, from artisanal fine watchmaking
When “biodiversity” decreases, when the industrial and artisanal fabric thins, when alternatives disappear, cultural poverty follows. in the heart of Geneva. The organisers of the SIHH regularly claimed that this exhibition was gratuitously taking advantage of the presence in Geneva, all expenses paid, of thousands of retailers and customers from all over the world. But aren’t other big brands, such as those in the LVMH group or the Franck Muller group with its World Presentation of Haute Horlogerie, doing exactly the same with impunity in the palaces and properties on the shores of the lake? You only have to watch the limousines picking up and dropping off customers more or less discreetly outside the SIHH to have an idea! And isn’t
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brands to quartz fashion watches. But isn’t this reproach, coming from wellheeled brands who certainly don’t want to be mixed up with all comers, akin to eugenics? After all, isn’t there room for everyone? Well, no there isn’t! There is no longer room for everyone. This is a bitter realisation that is corroborated by recent studies, such as those by Credit Suisse and Deloitte, which can hardly be considered “leftist”. Among the brands, distributors and independent retailers surveyed, almost 70 per cent consider the vertical integration of production and distribution, one of the most prom-
inent phenomena of the past ten years, to be a serious threat. [Read our analysis of these two reports in this issue for more information.] The owner of a small, mid-range Swiss brand recently told us, after returning from China, that the only opportunity left for small independent brands was to sell their watches directly, from hand to hand. “Everything is buckled up like a tri-fold strap,” he told us. We did not want to believe it but we cannot help but notice that this complaint from the rank and file in watchmaking is being heard with increasing regularity. In this context, the cancellation of the GTE seems “logical”. And the great caravan of BaselWorld does indeed seem more suitable for the small independent brands, even if the cost has become prohibitive for some of them. But we will never tire of repeating that this reduction in diversity in the watchmaking industry, which is increasingly becoming concentrated into the hands of a few giants, is a loss for everyone. When “biodiversity” decreases, when the industrial and artisanal fabric thins, when alternatives disappear, cultural poverty follows. Macroeconomic figures may continue to skyrocket but the crazy passion, the unbridled invention and the risk-taking are stuck on the ground. In the meantime, the air up at the top is getting thinner. p
pa n e r a i . c o m
Mediterranean Sea. â€œGammaâ€? men in training. The diver emerging from the water is wearing a Panerai compass on his wrist.
history a n d heroes. luminor 1950 3 days chrono flyback (ref. 524) available in steel and red gold
Exclusively at Panerai boutiques and select authorized watch specialists.
Europa Star HBM SA
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Geneva, December 2013
Dear Readers, Europa Star occupies a unique position in the galaxy of watchmaking media: that of the indispensable business magazine of reference. We speak to the entire global watch industry community through our dense network of continental and international print editions, which are addressed personally to our subscribers in over 160 countries, as well as our dedicated websites and aim to be a veritable seismograph of the international watch markets. To do so, Europa Star is constantly adapting its methods to its ambitions. This is not a revolution but a constant evolution, as the progressive changes to our print and digital editions show. A new, dynamic layout We have adapted the layout of our print editions in order to give our readers a cross-sectional and analytical look at the profound changes that the watch industry is undergoing across the world. Compact, dynamic, in-depth, easily readable and richly illustrated, this new layout puts the news into perspective every two months, looking to go beyond the immediate in order to take a closer look at what is happening in the watch industry and confront, compare and evaluate the different strategies, actions and products from watch brands around the world. A website at the forefront of technology Our new website, launched in December, has been designed using the latest RWD (Responsive Web Design) technology and offers a clear presentation. Regardless of the device used to view it, whether a smartphone, tablet, laptop, notebook or desktop computer, the new europastar.com website adapts automatically to the screen and its resolution. Text, image, video and advertising are arranged flexibly and their size adapted automatically to offer every visitor the best possible viewing experience; itâ€™s a new site that is totally mobile. Its unrivalled content is updated daily with the latest news, in-depth articles, analyses, editorials â€“ all clearly structured and easily accessible. We have also improved the structure of, and access to, our impressive archives. This research tool is made even more effective by our exhaustive directory of over 500 international brands with their contact details, their products and all the articles we have published about them. We are convinced that these changes cement our position as the leading reference for business news in the watch industry and will serve you the information you need in the best format for you.
Phlippe Maillard, Publisher Europa Star HBM
A RACING MACHINE ON THE WRIST
CALIBER RM 031 HIGH PERFORMANCE Manual winding mechanical movement Power reserve: circa 50 hours Baseplate and gear-train bridges in ARCAP Barrel and balance bridge in grade 5 titanium Function indicator Balance wheel with variable inertia AP direct-impulse escapement Double barrel system Optimal gear teeth profile Balance wheel: CuBe, with 4 arms, 4 regulating screws, inertia moment of 10 mg.cm2, angle of lift of 50째 Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz) Extreme finishing for the movement and case Hand-polished sinks Satin-finished upper surfaces Lapped and polished ends Limited edition of 10 pieces
BOUTIQUE RICHARD MILLE GRAND HOTEL KEMPINSKI GENEVA BUCHERER St Moritz
EMBASSY JUWEL Luzern
KIRCHHOFER HAUTE HORLOGERIE Interlaken
Chanel SAS 25, Place du Marché St-Honoré 75001 Paris France Tel + 33 (0)1 55 35 50 95 Fax:+ 33 (0)1 55 35 50 22 www.chanel.com
EDITORIAL The air is getting thinner
COVER STORY Chanel – J12 Moonphase, exquisite hour
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SIHH 2014 Form and function from Cartier Greubel Forsey, feet in tradition, head in invention Van Cleef & Arpels – An horological narrative Piaget and the constraints of size on the watch and the company Panerai – Radiomir in the spotlight Roger Dubuis – The year of the tribute The “missiles” fired off by Richard Mille Montblanc – “To share passion for watchmaking”
The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily Europa Star.
GALLERIES Raymond Weil, Zenith, Chaumet, Chopard, Jaquet Droz, Louis Moinet, DeWitt
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HIGHLIGHTS Hermès elevated to the ranks of haute horlogerie René Kriegbaum – The collector’s dilemma Darko, the “philosigner”
ANNIVERSARY F.P. Journe – 30 years ago, a young rebel made his own tourbillon
ARTISANS Roger W. Smith – the watchmaker’s apprentice
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MANUFACTURING TAG Heuer, an avant-garde production facility Omega enters a new era of manufacturing A new factory for Vacheron Constantin
STUDIES Two spotlights turned on to the development of the Swiss watch industry
DETROIT SPECIAL The American re-revolution – Detroit, Shinola and the future
LETTER FROM CHINA The anti-corruption campaign: reprimand or bluff?
WORLDWATCHWEB The most desired luxury watch brands in Switzerland – Insights from the WorldWatchReport™ 2013
EDITORIAL & ADVERTISERS’ INDEX
LAKIN@LARGE Museums, clocks, planes and a shirt
48 F.P. Journe
52 TAG Heuer
J12 MOONPHASE by Chanel 38mm case in high-tech white ceramic with matching multi-link bracelet in hightech white ceramic. Brushed opaline dial with Arabic numerals, circumferential date scale with central hand indication, aventurine moonphase disc at 6 o’clock with hand indication. Powered by a self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of 42 hours and water resistant to 100 metres.
THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL WATCH MAGAZINE EUROPE
www.worldwatchreport.com / www.digital-luxury.com
10 CONTENTS / europa star
First created in 1953
tissot Heritage Navigator Automatic
160th Anniversary – NUMBERED EDITION Classic Heritage timepiece providing 24 time zones, set in a 316L stainless steel case with an automatic movement, officially chronometer-certified by the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) and water resistance up to 3 bar (30 m/ 100 ft).
Get in touch at www.tissot.ch
in TOUCH with your time
CHANEL – J12 Moonphase, exquisite hour Pierre Maillard
The Moon. White. Black. The white moon in the black sky… The white heavenly body in the black night sky has always seduced poets. Fascinating, mysterious, the dream-like whiteness of full-moon nights casts a singular spell over our senses. Quite unlike the vibrant and implacable light of the sun, which cuts distinct shadows, the moon shines with a powdery, silvery white light. As the famous French poet Paul Verlaine says in his poem “The white moon”, this light “vast and tender / an appeasement / seems to lower / from the firmament / star-bedecked… Exquisite hour!”
BREAKING THE TABOO OF WHITE In 2003, Chanel broke a taboo by introducing the colour white to the world of watchmaking. After the black J12, which had already upset the aesthetic codes of watchmaking, the birth of the transgressive J12 in white staggered those in the industry. Against all expectations, the white J12 was an immediate success and received universal acclaim. Made out of an immaculate white high-tech ceramic that is totally resistant to the vagaries of time, it established itself as a new stylistic reference in watchmaking. White became one of the colours of the moment, henceforth closely linked to the name of Chanel.
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It was perfectly legitimate for Chanel to introduce white like this because, as Mademoiselle Chanel herself had already said, “white, like black, has it all.” Alongside the deepest black, pure white is one of Chanel’s most ingrained genetic codes. Because black and white, black or white get to the heart of the matter, revealing the clarity of form, whether in the tailor’s cut, the curves of a camellia, the speed of a comet, the orb of the moon or the sketch of a watch. Since its birth in black in 2000, the J12 in high-tech ceramic, designed as a highly elegant sports watch, has shown its ability to adapt to numerous different horological designs, from the highest jewellery to the most “complicated”. In 2004, Chanel presented the J12 Pièces d’Exception collection, featuring limited editions set with the most beautiful baguette cut precious stones. Black contrasted with the fire of rubies, with the ice of diamonds. In 2005, the white J12 entered the world of high-end mechanical watchmaking with a self-winding tourbillon whose mainplate was made of ceramic, a world-first and a technical revolution. In 2008, the J12 Calibre 3125 was fitted with a self-winding mechanical
movement from Audemars Piguet, exclusively personalised for Chanel. The year 2009 saw the birth of the incredible J12 Noir Intense, whose white-gold case was set with 724 baguettes in high-tech black ceramic, cut and facetted like the most precious of stones. Then came the J12 RĂŠtrograde Mysterieuse in 2010, a concentrate of innovations that mixed complications with world-firsts: tourbillon, digital minutes display, retrograde minutes hand, 10-day power reserve, retractable vertical crown. And in 2011 the J12 was for the first time neither black nor white but a new colour, hitherto unknown in watchmaking, the J12 Chromatic. This colour, achieved by adding titanium to ceramic, is like no other, its particular soft sheen is unique. In the meantime there have been even more evolutions in the J12 line: the interplay of materials, with matt and polished surfaces, a touch of gold, stone setting. But also the interplay of function with the J12 Chronograph, in black or white, which allows it to give full expression to its sportiness and show off its resistance, the toughness of its materials and its great water resistance. It earns its stripes as a genuine instrument without ever losing any of its elegance. With the J12 GMT it then became a watch for the traveller, juggling between time zones. The J12 Marine, with a touch of deep blue on its unidirectional rotating bezel, plunged it into the universe of deep-sea diving. Born at the dawn of the century, the J12 has the ability to assume so many different identities without any loss of its
stylistic strength or its immediately recognisable look and fully deserves its label as â€œthe first horological icon of the 21st Centuryâ€?. But there is nothing fixed about this icon and its destiny is set to continue along its promising route.
THE J12 TAKES A SLICE OF THE MOON After transforming high-tech ceramic into a precious material, after tackling speed, sailing, the sea, time zones, being set with diamonds and precious stones, after housing some of the most astonishing high-end complications, the J12 now takes a slice of the moon with the J12 Moonphase. In the galaxy of horological complications, there is one that has a particular attraction, especially to women: the moon phase display. Symbolically associated with femininity, the moon phase is a horological complication with an eminently poetic reach. But its horological implementation is the result of savvy calculations that convert its particular cycle into the movements of wheels and gears. Its synodic revolution, in other words the interval of time it takes for the moon to return to the same position compared with the Sun and the Earth, is 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds precisely. Since this interval is not the same as the average duration of a month, the watchmaker has to use the reduction of a gear train in order to display the different stages in the lunar cycle: new moon, first quarter, full moon, last quarter.
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Traditionally, this is displayed on a small disc on which there is a full moon. This moon, revolving around its disc, alternately appears and disappears behind a window cut out in the dial (the shape of which often recalls that of a cloud), gradually revealing the progress of the lunar cycle. The J12 Moonphase displays the moon phase in a completely different way. The four main stages in the lunar cycle are represented by small indicators – a white disc, two white crescents, a black disc – on a large, deep-blue aventurine disc that glitters like a starry sky. The moon phase is indicated by a slender serpentine hand in polished steel, which shows the interval between the different phases of the moon. This poetic and dreamy moonphase indication, at 6 o’clock on the dial, gives a new look to the iconic J12. The large aventurine disc, framed by metal, is like a window on to the firmament. It is completed by another indication, that of the
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date, by a hand whose tip takes the form of a fine crescent moon as a subtle reminder of the astronomical consistency. This small crescent underlines the date, which is marked in figures on a scale on the flange around the dial. At the centre, the hours, minutes and seconds follow their regular course, read against hour numerals in a deep blue. The seconds hand revolves around a fine railway-style minute track. All these indications stand out against an open dial background with alternating brushed and guilloché patterns in the finest horological tradition. The new J12 Moonphase comes in a 38mm case in high-tech ceramic with a bracelet whose links, in the same ceramic, are fashioned and polished one by one and assembled in a taper to offer maximum suppleness and exceptional comfort on the wrist. This bracelet is easily adjusted using a triple folding clasp.
SIX LUNAR VARIATIONS The first J12 Moonphase models are available in six different versions, from the most understated to the most ostentatious. They are all fitted with a high-quality self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. The most classic of these models is a sober piece in high-tech white ceramic with a brushed opaline dial and aventurine moonphase disc, water resistant to 100 metres. The more ornate second model in white has a bezel set with 54 diamonds (± 1.42 carats) and a guilloché opaline dial set with 63 diamonds (± 0.34 carats) that surround the aventurine disc, make up the minute scale and act as hour markers.
These two models are also available in high-tech black ceramic with a brushed black dial for the simplest version and a guilloché black dial for the model that is set just like its equivalent in white. Two high jewellery models complete the range. The first is in 18-carat white gold and titanium ceramic in a limited edition of 12 pieces, with the bezel, lugs and exterior links on the bracelet set with 554 baguette cut diamonds (± 30.19 carats). The second is a sumptuous model in a limited edition of five pieces in 18-carat white gold that is fully paved with 696 baguette cut diamonds (± 42.45 carats). So that the exquisite hour may be even more so. p
Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Chanel
europa star / COVER STORY 15
for the new emperors
Montres DeWitt SA • Rue du Pré-de-la-Fontaine 2 • 1217 Meyrin • Geneva • Switzerland • email@example.com • +41 22 750 97 97 DeWitt SA • 4330 N.E 2nd Avenue • Miami FL 33137 • USA • firstname.lastname@example.org • +1.305.572.9812
revolutionary by tradition
Form and function from CARTIER Paul O’Neil It is perhaps because she was born into a family of watchmakers that Carole Forestier, head of fine watchmaking at Cartier, makes her team’s innovative developments seem so self-evident that one wonders why nobody came up with them before. At the 2014 SIHH the brand once again threatens to steamroller us journalists with a seemingly endless flow of new products, each with their own special merits, from the “bread and butter” models right up to the most complicated pieces costing up to half a million euros. But one of the most unexpected developments from the brand comes in the form a new divers’ watch, for which Cartier took up the challenge of creating what some might call a fusion between its familiar use of noble materials in an elegant design and the technical constraints of the ISO 6425 standard for divers’ watches.
T CALIBRE DE CARTIER DIVERS’ WATCH 42mm diameter case with unidirectional ADLC-coated bezel, partially-snailed black dial with Roman numerals (XII in SuperLuminova), sword-shaped hands with SuperLuminova and rubber strap. Water resistant to 300 metres.
Cartier has chosen the Calibre de Cartier case, first introduced in 2010, for its first-ever divers’ watch. It is the latest in the evolution of this line, after a version with metal bracelet (2011) and the chronograph that was presented at the SIHH in 2013. The new timepiece offers a perfect balance between the signature elements that distinguish the Calibre de Cartier and the technical and practical requirements of a divers’ watch: the Roman numerals and small seconds dial are supplemented with SuperLuminova to ensure legibility in the murky depths; a unidirectional “self-lubricating” bezel with an amorphous diamond-like carbon (ADLC) coating is graduated with minute markers to allow dive times to be recorded accurately with no possibility of error and an extra-thick crystal, screw-in case back and screw-in crown ensure water resistance to 300 metres. All this in a case that is only 1.2mm thicker than the standard Calibre de Cartier model, even though the crystal alone is 1mm thicker than the standard crystal. The Calibre de Cartier is available with steel, red-gold and two-tone cases and a choice of rubber straps or metal bracelets and is fitted with the brand’s in-house Calibre 1904MC self-winding movement, which operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour and offers a power reserve of 48 hours.
The unidirectional rotating bezel is one of the signature features of a true divers’ watch, since the ISO 6425 standard requires a “time pre-selection mechanism”, for which this kind of bezel is perfect. Cartier paid particular attention to the geometry of the teeth on the gear wheel that turns and locks the bezel to ensure a clicking sound that would reflect the quality of the piece (Carole Forestier compared this to the reassuring sound of a luxury car door closing). The low-friction ADLC, which was also used for the DuoLevel® barrels in the brand’s IDTWO concept watch, means that no further lubrication is required for the bezel. To make sure that the bezel operates perfectly and reliably, it is subjected to no less than 10,800 complete revolutions over a one-and-a-half hour testing period, which equates to two revolutions per second!
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Photos: Nils Herrmann © Cartier
O TORTUE by Cartier Medium-sized model in 18-carat pink gold with manually-wound manufacture movement calibre 430 MC, brown alligator leather strap with ardillon buckle in pink gold.
T TORTUE by Cartier Small model in 18-carat pink gold with manually-wound manufacture movement calibre 8970 MC, diamond-set case (0.7 carats) and matching pink-gold bracelet.
Photos: Nils Herrmann © Cartier
A LESS TORTUOUS DEVELOPMENT The Tortue, which dates back to 1912, is a perfect example of Cartier’s mastery of the “shaped” watch for which the brand is so renowned. Neither round, nor square, nor tonneaushaped, the Cartier Tortue – like the Tank, the Baignoire and the Crash collections – sports its own unique geometric form. It is this very form that has been revised in the new models to be presented at the SIHH, with a new flat profile elegantly contrasting with the delicate curves of the case. Available in two different sizes – small and medium – this refined Tortue will be equally at home on the wrist of a gentleman, in the warm pink-gold version with a brown leather strap, or a lady in the form of a pink-gold, diamond-set case with multi-link pink-gold bracelet. In each case, the models are equipped with Cartier’s own in-house manually-wound mechanical movements, Calibre 430 MC for the mediumsized model and Calibre 8970 MC for the smaller model.
These calibres are among the 24 movements that the brand has developed in only five years since it first committed itself to what it refers to as “fine watchmaking” in 2008. There will be no let-up in this rate of development, since Carole Forestier promises us five more new movements in 2014. These will once again show off the full range of talents from the manufacture, introducing innovative (and useful) new twists to familiar complications and new forms of decoration. Once again the implementations seem so elegantly simple, yet the whole trick is how Cartier deconstructs the individual elements and functions within a movement to come up with its novel solutions. We look forward to presenting these exceptional pieces in a future issue. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Cartier
europa star / SIHH 2014 19
GREUBEL FORSEY, feet in tradition, head in invention Pierre Maillard
O Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey
In 2014, the Greubel Forsey manufacture officially celebrates 10 years of existence but Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have been working together for around 15 years. The two watchmakers thus took five years to meticulously hone their concept before setting up their company. This is not surprising, given the extreme rigour with which these two watchmakers have conceived their creation and planned its progressive development. Nevertheless, as they themselves admit, “nothing had been decided in advance but we were profoundly inspired.” Their inspiration? As deeply knowledgeable and fine connoisseurs of classic watchmaking who rejected the “typically postmodern” notion that everything had already been accomplished in this mechanical art, they first set about improving the performance of classic tourbillons, even going as far as revolutionising their operation.
A PIPELINE OF INVENTIONS Methodically and scientifically, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have established a process of invention that they call Experimental Watch Techonology (EWT), which is a highly rigorous “platform” for theoretical reflection, research, study and experimentation from which the majority of their mechanical inventions have come. Their first invention, the Double Tourbillon 30°, is the perfect example of how effective this process is. It starts with an “inspiration”, in the form of an intuition: what if we inclined the tourbillon cage to improve the average rate? Four years were needed to implement what was originally only a hunch and to arrive at a novel solution: inside a cage that rotates once every four minutes there is a smaller cage, containing the sprung balance, inclined at 30 degrees, that rotates
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once every 60 seconds. This combination of inclination and different speeds of rotation cancels out the differences in rate due to the Earth’s gravity in all positions of the wristwatch. In 2011, this new configuration won first prize in the International Chronometry Competition in Le Locle. After this
Methodically and scientifically, Robert Greubel and Stephen Forsey have established a process of invention that they call Experimental Watch Techonology, which is a highly rigorous “platform” for theoretical reflection, research, study and experimentation. first invention, five other novel ideas from the EWT pipeline were gradually presented (and continue to be presented): those fully implemented are the Quadruple Tourbillon, which couples four tourbillons to a differential to achieve even greater precision, and the Tourbillon 24 secondes, which rotates three times faster than a normal tourbillon; still at the prototype stage, the Balancier Spiral Binôme, characterised
FROM HIGH-TECH TO HIGH AESTHETICS
I DOUBLE TOURBILLON ASYMÉTRIQUE A new interpretation of the Double Tourbillon 30° in an asymmetric case. 6 pieces in white gold. Greubel Forsey launched the Double Tourbillon 30° Vision in 2004. A decade later, this new interpretation features an asymmetric positioning of the Double Tourbillon 30° which has only previously been presented symmetrically in the collection. To achieve this, the movement architecture has been completely reconstructed, with the outer cage of the patented Double Tourbillon 30° inversed. However, the one-minute rotation of the inner tourbillon cage and the four-minute rotation of the outer tourbillon cage remain the same. The movement is housed in a 43.5 mm diameter case with a curved lateral window in the case band at 8 o’clock. This three-dimensional opening offers the observer a very special view of the double tourbillon system, showcasing the complexity and aesthetic qualities of this unique complication. The black treatment of the mainplates, forming the backdrop for the tourbillion system, accentuates the three-dimensionality and depth of the double cages, which are composed of no less than 130 components. The polished conical arm and the flat black polish of the steel tourbillon bridge is one example of Greubel Forsey’s signature superlative hand finishing. The power reserve indicator at 2 o’clock features an innovative rotating disk displaying optimal remaining running time by means of a fixed red triangle instead of a conventional hand.
by its synthetic diamond balance spring, which aims to improve the performance of the regulating organ, as well as the Différentiel d’Egalité, which aims to “even out the driving power before distributing it in a constant way to the regulating organ” are now coming out of the EWT process; still in the starting blocks, the Double Balancier, which, for the first time, takes the research away from the tourbillon by aiming to improve the average rate using two regulating organs.
The resounding success of Greubel Forsey would not have been the same if the researchers had contented themselves with a “simple” implementation of their technical intuitions. What is quite unusual in their approach is that it is this very technical creativity that has in a way constrained them to think about new aesthetic approaches. Because they believe that “technology and architecture are Siamese twins”. The same invention, as in the case of the Double Tourbillon 30° for example, can therefore be redesigned repeatedly, its components reordered in space in accordance with an architecture chosen to show it off. This architectural work, carried out in depth in three dimensions (and far removed from the simple pairing of dial and movement), “forced” them, we could say, to use a level of care and attention to the aesthetics of their components and their finishing that is frankly astonishing. There is a certain craziness (and this is reflected in the price of the timepieces) from wanting to push as far as they do the perfection of decoration and finishing of the least significant and most hidden components in the watch. Two numbers tell you all you need to know: Greubel Forsey has almost 100 employees to produce… 100 watches per year! “Maybe one day we will manage to produce 120…”, Stephen Forsey ventures timidly, “but each new piece takes us further in our research, production and finishing…”.
ROOTS AND WINGS These one hundred employees (which includes Compli-Time, a sister company specialised in developing complications for third parties) have been grouped together since 2009 in a “home” that perfectly expresses the spirit of invention that is deeply anchored in the tradition of fine watchmaking that drives our two watchmakers. From the base of a splendid 17th century farm that has been magnificently restored – the “roots” – the “wings” literally sprout from the ground in the form of a sloped glass-fronted building (I swear it is at 30°) composed of metal and wood that houses all the work-
u europa star / SIHH 2014 21
U Greubel Forsey presents the TOURBILLON 24 SECONDES CONTEMPORAIN with natural titanium movement housed in a regal 5N red or white gold round case. The sober, pared-down architecture forms a superb backdrop to the regulator, Greubel Forsey’s third invention, the Tourbillon 24 Secondes mechanism, supported at 6 o’clock by a barely detectable transparent sapphire bridge. The ‘floating’ tourbillon; long central tripod for the hour and minute hands; and multi-level dial featuring raised sapphire chapter ring, all combine to endow this timepiece with a striking sense of depth.
shops. Arranged over three floors around a vast and luminous patio, these workshops are spacious, ordered, comfortable and warm, whether they be the machining or profile turning workshops, the laboratories, construction offices or decoration, assembly and casing-up workbenches. Around 70 per cent of components are produced in-house on this site. Given that each new creation requires 80 per cent of components to be completely new – including pinions and, therefore, gear trains – and the modest number of watches produced each year, we can easily deduce that everything is geared towards meeting the specific (and costly, when consistently perfect quality is needed) requirements of small series. These quality requirements have a whole series of consequences, in particular in terms of responsibilities. Far removed from assembly line work, the machine operators (six CNC technicians for seven machines, two profile-turners for four machines), the artisans employed for decoration (14 people
The resounding success of Greubel Forsey would not have been the same if the researchers had contented themselves with a “simple” implementation of their technical intuitions. What is quite unusual in their approach is that it is this very technical creativity that has in a way constrained them to think about new aesthetic approaches. who spend an average of 300 to 350 hours decorating each timepiece) and the 12 watchmakers who work on assembly (each movement is fully assembled a first time, tested, disassembled, revised if necessary, assembled a second time with its terminal screws, then tested again before being cased up and tested for a third time), are all responsible for their piece from A to Z. The importance attached to the laboratory and tests is another good example of the level of quality being targeted. The laboratory, with a staff of six, is almost over-equipped: magnetic fields, shocks, temperature extremes and materials science are their daily bread.
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In permanent communication with the laboratory, the three movement constructors and technical and aesthetic prototypists subject their prototypes to a simulated 10 years of wear and tear. “You need to spend a lot, in terms of energy and resources, to make an object produced in small series as equally – if not more – reliable than a mass-produced item,” stresses Stephen Forsey. The aim is, of course, to ensure that the object, which is produced in a process where the role of the craftsman’s touch is essential, will last. But will the clientele, which is mainly – but not exclusively – wealthy connoisseurs of fine watchmaking (because the more you know about great mechanical watchmaking, the more you will be able to fully appreciate the veritable break in the continuity of a tradition that Greubel Forsey brings) also last? “In ten years of existence, we have seen our customer base get younger, from an average of 60 years old to around 40 years today. This reassures us about our own future,” Stephen Forsey admits with a smile. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Greubel-Forsey
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 â€“ DRIVEN BY INNOVATION
VAN CLEEF & ARPELS - An horological narrative Pierre Maillard A watch does not usually tell a story. At least none beyond that of its own way of measuring and beating out the passing of time. A watch can, of course, refer to a story – a sporting achievement, a notable event, for example – but this remains external to the watch itself. The watch merely “commemorates” this story, recalling it with a sign, an engraving or a miniature painting. With its Poetic Complications (a registered trademark), Van Cleef & Arpels goes much further. The story that the watch tells is no longer external to it but is instead the visible expression of its own internal life and the movement that powers it. The watch thus becomes the location for its own story. The dial is like a theatre stage where the play is acted out. Behind the scenes, a complex machinery orders and carries out the scenic “effects”. The narration thus takes shape thanks to the watch movement itself.
THE POETRY OF PASSING TIME The Poetic Complications of Van Cleef & Arpels are therefore a unique example of an horological narrative. In order to achieve this, different kinds of complex movements have been designed and implemented, each telling a different story, a story that takes the observer through days, seasons, constellations, feelings and notable moments in their lives.
The story that the watch tells is no longer external to it but is instead the visible expression of its own internal life and the movement that powers it. I PONT DES AMOUREUX
Consider, for example, the Quantième de Saison movement, which turns very slowly – at the rate of barely one degree per day – an enamel disc behind the dial to tell the rhythmic and poetic story of the seasons, which change from day to day almost imperceptibly. With this watch, none of the 365 days of the year has the same face as another. The 24-hour movement, on the other hand, brings to life the stories that happen during a day: the alternation between sun and moon, or a romantic walk around Paris with the A Day in Paris watch, which makes the emblematic monuments of the City of Light slowly move. The retrograde movement offers other interpretations of time and other poetic stories. Thanks to the distinctive movement of the hands, which describe an arc before returning to their starting position, little fairies, butterflies or lovers interact O LADY ARPELS FÉERIE and LADY ARPELS BALLERINE ENCHANTÉE
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“The beating heart of the brand is creation. And this creation can only come to life through the craftsmen, who we call the ‘golden hands’.” Denis Giguet with their surroundings, come together and separate before starting their joint journey again. The retrograde watches Féerie, Butterfly Symphony and Pont des Amoureux have in turn left their marks and helped to define this special poetic territory and narrative. “The success of these watches, which represent around 50 per cent of Van Cleef & Arpels sales,” Jean Bienaymé, marketing and communication director, Léa Dassonville, watch marketing director and Denis Giguet, watchmaking workshop director for the brand, explain together, “undoubtedly comes from the fact that the stories that they tell are universal and that each of these watches offers various levels of reading: there is a strong emotional aspect, a quite exceptional artistic refinement of the dials and a very advanced level of horological technicality. We are certainly the only ones who offer complicated high-end watch movements whose technology is not just for its own ends but is geared towards a poetic and romantic depiction of time. In a way, it makes you think of classic dance: the show is all about lightness and flight, but behind this there is simply technique, hours of training and sweat!” The Poetic Complications are one of the major pillars of this brand that also offers two other major watch families: the Exclusives, which include the high jewellery watches and the Extraordinary Dials, emblematic of the artistic crafts of which Van Cleef & Arpels is an ardent defender, and the Iconic Creations, which includes the timepieces that have marked the rich history of the brand, like the Charms, Alhambra, Cadenas and the elegant masculine Pierre Arpels watch, which dates from 1949 and has recently been given a facelift by the designer Eric Giroud.
CREATION, THE BEATING HEART AND STRATEGIC PILLAR We can expect to discover some new developments in the Pierre Arpels line at the next SIHH – undoubtedly dedicated to the world of travel – as well as in the Poetic Complications and the Extraordinary Dials. “The beating heart of the brand”, the managers explain, “is creation. And this creation can only come to life through the
I MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and PIERRE ARPELS WATCH
craftsmen, who we call the ‘golden hands’. For us, the importance attached to the craftsman is vital, strategic.” And Denis Giguet adds that it is “the DNA of our brand. As watchmakers we have to interpret mechanically this artistic component and artisanal excellence. Step by step we are incorporating the watchmaking skills that allow us to offer movements that are not just technically innovative but also have highend finishes, as the equivalent of what Van Cleef & Arpels does in high-end jewellery. We have always worked with the
highest-quality base movements, for which we have developed specific modules, but we have also taken a step further and you will be able to see a totally original, fully integrated movement at the SIHH.” The inauguration of the new Campus Genevois de Haute Horlogerie, scheduled for spring 2015, where the creative watchmaking workshops of Van Cleef & Arpels will have a building all to themselves, should give new impetus to the brand’s ambitions. They will bring together under the same roof the teams of multidisciplinary artisans in order to bring development, production, logistics, quality and customer service closer together. The aim is to stimulate creativity and innovation and share the exclusive know-how of this brand that dates back to 1906. We look forward to hearing new untold stories. p
Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Van-Cleef-and- Arpels
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PIAGET and the constraints of size on the watch and the company Interview by Paul O’Neil
Legitimacy is an important concept in fine watchmaking and the finer and older the brand, the more important the question of legitimacy becomes. Piaget has been innovating in the field of ultra-thin timepieces since the 1960s and thus has a reputation to uphold in this field, which it does with the presentation of the world’s thinnest self-winding watch at the 2014 edition of the SIHH. Europa Star spoke with Piaget’s CEO, Philippe Léopold-Metzger, about the ultra-thin technology and his plans for the brand he calls “the jeweller’s watchmaker”.
Philippe Léopold-Metzger. Piaget’s CEO
Europa Star: Your focus at the SIHH will be on your legacy of ultra-thin movements, with a new record for the world’s thinnest self-winding watch. How far do you think you can go with the ultra-thin technology? Philippe Léopold-Metzger: I think we are reaching the limits. When I read the press releases for the watches I see the different records for thinness, but this is not necessarily what I would remember about the watch. What strikes me is the fact that it is the fusion between Piaget the watchmaker and Piaget the goldsmith. This is the advantage we have, because we have huge resources for the development of the movement and the watch case. So instead of having people working in isolation on either the movement or the case, they can work together from the outset. When they are integrated in the process together in this way, the world’s thinnest self-winding watch is the kind of result that we can achieve. But it’s not just a question of thinness, it is more about technicality in the service of design. Do you think the customer will buy this new piece more because it is a Piaget or because of its technicality? PLM: We’ll see, but when you consider the Altiplano collection as a whole, a lot of the watches are very classic
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in design and these are some of our best-selling pieces. The initial reactions to the new model have been very good. Men like it because they see that it is a new way of looking at a watch. OK, it’s thin, but at the end of the day whether it is 3.65mm or 5mm is not going to make a big difference for them. But what we find is that women love the thinness.
“We are going to invest a lot in the development of our production capacity, hopefully increasing it by 50 per cent.” Philippe Léopold-Metzger
Are the ultra-thin movements harder to work on from a customer service point of view? PLM: They are a lot harder to work on because the tolerances are much smaller and you work with infinitely small pieces. But at the end of the day this is what we have been doing since the late fifties. So you have no issues with customer service? PLM: Whether on the production side or the customer service side, we need very experienced watchmakers around the world. The challenge is to get the balance between the two right. We have schools in China in conjunction with WOSTEP so that we can train watchmakers with the skills that we need. The problem today is that we have capacity constraints in production, which is why we are going to invest a lot in the development of our production capacity, hopefully increasing it by 50 per cent, which will obviously give us the means to develop. [Editor’s note: Piaget has acquired 3,000m2 of land for
Altiplano 38mm 900P by Piaget Piaget has put no less than three years of development into what is simply the world’s thinnest self-winding mechanical watch, with a total thickness of just 3.65mm. This remarkable achievement rests on the use of a new movement design that uses the back of the 18-carat white-gold case as the mainplate of the 900P movement. Furthermore, the gear train has been arranged around the off-set dial, which, together with the hands, is actually below the level of the bridges. Besides saving space, the latter innovation (for which the brand has applied for a patent) also offers an elegant solution to the problem of the crystal, under pressure, touching the hands and causing the movement to stop – a problem that is aggravated by the much smaller clearances in an ultra-thin watch.
expansion of its manufacture in Plan-les-Ouates]. But the philosophy will remain the same: we will be productdriven with low volumes and a very high average price. What is your outlook for the brand over the coming year? PLM: The watch business remains quite strong. At the very high end, watches are very resilient. Our geographic spread is very good because Piaget is a well entrenched brand in Asia.. The fact that the Chinese market is slowing down a bit is more than offset by sales to the Chinese who are travelling. In Switzerland if you look at the strength of Interlaken and Lucerne today, it’s huge.
“The problem today is that brands like us, even though we are very strong in Asia, have to fight for their market position.” Philippe Léopold-Metzger
How important is the Swiss market for Piaget? PLM: For us it is one of the two biggest European markets alongside France. It depends on the year which one is number one, but when you look at the importance of places like Interlaken and Lucerne, it’s amazing. Obviously, there are also the cities such as Geneva and Zurich, but the potential in Lucerne is huge. We have just opened our first fully-fledged flagship store there. The customer base in Lucerne has evolved dramatically over the past 10 or 15 years. It used to be popular with the Japanese, as well as Thais and Koreans. But now the mainland Chinese are a big factor. But Lucerne has always been like this.
So are the Chinese tourists more important than those in China itself? PLM: Mainland Chinese have always bought primarily outside China since the beginning. Hong Kong has been driven by sales to mainland Chinese for as long as I can remember. The problem for brands is that irrespective of the level of sales in China, this is somewhere they need to invest and build stores and that is what we are doing. What about development elsewhere, for example in North and South America? PLM: South America is very interesting for us but it’s more of an investment project at the moment because we are importing products legally [laughs] and it is therefore very difficult to make money. But the people there love luxury products so it is a place you have to consider. North America is the country with the most wealthy clients in the world in terms of numbers and I think there is tremendous potential there. The problem today is that brands like us, even though we are very strong in Asia, have to fight for their market position. We are fighting on several fronts and I think you have to go to America when you are ready to make a statement. We are going to open a big store on Rodeo Drive in the middle of next year, as well as a second store in Miami. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Piaget
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PANERAI - Radiomir in the spotlight Paul O’Neil Officine Panerai is one of relatively few watch brands to offer timepieces whose power reserve is measured in days rather than hours. This is the legacy from the brand’s historical links with the Italian Navy. Given Italy’s geography, the country has always been a seafaring nation and the Italian Navy divers have played a crucial role in the country’s military machine. Italy was the first country to use frogmen and human torpedoes in military operations and it was vital that these courageous divers could rely on accurate measuring instruments with a long running life and a clearly visible display.
Links with the sea are still an important part of the Panerai brand environment, but in a much more peaceful form thanks to the passion of the brand’s CEO Angelo Bonati for classic yachting. It is perhaps because of this personal interest that Panerai’s association with the world of classic yachting goes far beyond the scope of any normal sponsorship. Not only has Panerai set up its very own global event for classic yachts, the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, it has even paid for a comprehensive restoration of the legendary classic yacht Eilean, which now acts as a unique “ambassador” for the brand.
VINTAGE INSPIRATION FRAMED IN PRECIOUS METALS
Panerai chooses the venues for the European, North American and Caribbean legs of its eponymous classic yachts challenge
As its foretaste for the 2014 edition of the SIHH, Panerai presents a host of new models in precious metals in the Radiomir collection, which was relaunched only in 2012 and is named after the
EILEAN It was Panerai’s CEO Angelo Bonati himself who spotted the decaying hull of Eilean during the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta, the first leg of the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge, in 2006. His idea was for Panerai to purchase and restore the vessel and the fact that the yacht was built in 1936, the same year that the first prototype Radiomir watches were produced for Italy’s Navy divers, no doubt strengthened his conviction. The 1936 Bermuda ketch, which was built by the Fife shipyard in Scotland (Eilean means “little island” in Gaelic), was transported to Italy by sea in 2006 and restored over a period of three years that required a total of 40,000 hours of work. She was then relaunched in 2009. Today, Eilean continues her eventful history, which includes two full restorations and a starring role in the 1982 video for the Duran Duran hit “Rio” at sea as a regular participant in the Panerai Classic Yachts Challenge. Panerai also makes her available to various charities who can take advantage of the therapeutic effects of sailing on the ketch. For more information visit www.eilean.it
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with great care and puts in a considerable effort behind the scenes for the organisation of each event. The attention to detail reached its extreme at the 2013 season finale in Cannes, where the brand shipped in its own caterers and food from Italy to feed the hundreds of hungry mouths after the day’s regatta!
I From left to right: RADIOMIR 8 DAYS GMT ORO ROSSO 45mm case in polished 18-carat red gold, patented wire loop strap attachments, sapphire crystal front and back, manually wound P.2002/10 calibre with skeletonised bridges, 8-day power reserve, water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres). RADIOMIR CHRONO MONOPULSANTE 8 DAYS GMT ORO ROSSO 45mm case in polished 18-carat red gold, sapphire crystal front and back, manually wound P.2004/10 calibre with column-wheel chronograph and 8-day power reserve, water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres). RADIOMIR ORO ROSSO 47mm case in polished 18-carat red gold, Plexiglas® crystal and sapphire crystal case back, manually wound Panerai OP XXVII calibre on Minerva base, 55-hour power reserve, water resistant to 5 bar (50 metres).
patented luminescent material developed by Officine Panerai to improve the legibility of its measuring instruments under water. It thus harks back to the brand’s pre-war days, to a three-part case construction with simple wire loop attachments for the strap, before the signature cushion case evolved lugs and its unmistakable locking lever to protect the crown.
period when the Radiomir case started to evolve into the Luminor 1950 design. Indicated by the addition of “1940” to the model name, this transition is most clearly indicated on the watch itself by the presence of integrated lugs, rather than wire loops, for attaching the strap. The dial follows the same minimalist design of the limited-edition 8 Days GMT piece but for the addition of a discreet chronograph minutes counter at 3 o’clock and a central chronograph seconds hand, powered by the manually wound P.2004/10 calibre which maintains the impressive 8-day power reserve, despite the extra energy-hungry complication of a chronograph. Only 150 will be made in 18-carat white gold and 300 in 18-carat red gold.
One of two special editions featuring Panerai’s 8-day movement, the Radiomir 8 Days GMT Oro Rosso is inspired by a rare Panerai model from the late 1930s. Aficionados will note the absence of the familiar oversized Arabic numerals on the dial, which have been replaced by minimalist linear and dot hour markers. The Radiomir case is fashioned in an unusual 5N red-gold alloy that adds some platinum to the usual mixture of copper and gold and creates bright sheen that works perfectly against the rich blue of the dial. It is powered by the manually wound P.2002/10 in-house calibre, whose finely skeletonised bridges, visible through a transparent case-back, reveal another patented development by Panerai: the three bridges arranged in series that ensure the 192-hour power reserve, which can be read off the linear scale on the dial. This 300-piece limited edition comes complete with a second time zone hand and a 24hour am/pm hand on the small seconds dial at 9 o’clock and is available exclusively from Panerai’s own monobrand stores.
A special limited edition bearing an extremely rare dodecagonal bezel completes the trio and is available in the noble materials of platinum and red gold. The heart of this piece, which is named simply “Radiomir” without accoutrement, is the exclusive Panerai OP XXVII calibre. This equally rare movement is found only in the brand’s most exceptional pieces, since it is based on the vintage Minerva 16-17 manually wound calibre, which beats at a sedate 18,000 vibrations per hour and offers 55 hours of power reserve. A Plexiglas® crystal completes the period feel of the piece. p
The Radiomir 1940 Chrono Monpulsante 8 Days GMT is the second model with the big power reserve and recalls the
Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Panerai
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ROGER DUBUIS - The year of the tribute Paul O’Neil One of my abiding memories from last year’s SIHH was the unmistakable sound of the Roger Dubuis Excalibur Quatuor, whose four balancespring assemblies beating in unison produced a sound similar to that of a cricket, far removed from any of the usual “tictocs” of a mechanical watch operating in the single-figure hertz range. But the Quatuor was much more than just a talking piece: The first watches were delivered immediately after the show and the owners of the three pieces in silicon (retail price: 1 million Swiss francs) will be picking them up directly from the manufacture in Meyrin in December 2013. Despite the Quatuor models taking 2,400 hours to produce and despite the hefty price tag, Roger Dubuis plans to deliver 35-40 more pieces this year, all of which have already been pre-ordered by customers. As if to reinforce the notion that this is not just a “one-shot” product, the brand now presents a resolutely technical model in black DLC treated titanium as a limited edition of 188 pieces.
In addition to these healthy sales figures for its ultra-high-end pieces, Roger Dubuis also sells in excess of 500 tourbillons per year. When combined, these two figures explain why the company’s CEO, Jean-Marc Pontroué, can say that the brand is doing well. To give an idea just how well, however, he expounds: “We have largely exceeded the overall growth rate of Swiss watch exports this year. Plus we do not just sell to Chinese: we are doing well in North and South America as well as in Asia.”
“We have largely exceeded the overall growth rate of Swiss watch exports this year.” Jean-Marc Pontroué
Nevertheless, out of a total of 160 points of sale, Roger Dubuis has 20 own-name boutiques spread around the world and no less than six of these are in Hong Kong and Macau, which is one of the brand’s top three export destinations. An additional store will soon be added in Hong Kong and three more new stores will be opened in the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Macau over the next 18 months. “You need to have a boutique in every casino complex,” explains Jean-Marc Pontroué, “because they do everything to keep you inside.” It is also worth noting that the watches sold by the stores in Hong Kong and Macau are almost exclusively diamond-set pieces. The brand also expects growth in other Asian markets and beyond. It will be opening its first store in Korea, in Seoul, in the near future and has already opened stores this year in Abu Dhabi and, more recently, in Moscow in November.
WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS After Roger Dubuis the master-watchmaker launched his eponymous brand in 1995 with a “Hommage” model dedicated to generations of watchmakers who have kept the tradition of mechanical watchmaking alive, it is now the turn of Roger Dubuis the brand to pay tribute to its founder with a very special “Hommage” piece. The “Hommage Tribute to
O EXCALIBUR QUATUOR DLC TITANIUM The use of DLC-coated titanium gives this highly technical piece an even more technical look. Its four balance springs are arranged at 45° angles to ensure that whenever one is in its “worst” position for isochronism, the opposing balance spring is in the optimum position. The four balance springs are connected by five differentials that average out their rate. The RD 101 calibre that powers the Excalibur Quatuor is a manually-wound movement consisting of 590 components and 113 jewels that offers a power reserve of 40 hours.
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I HOMMAGE CHRONOGRAPH IN PINK GOLD and HOMMAGE TRIBUTE TO MR ROGER DUBUIS
Mr. Roger Dubuis” is inspired by a model that dates back to 2003 and features the flying tourbillon, big date and power reserve from the RD540 calibre movement in a pink-gold case. Production of this piece will be limited to 208, which was Roger Dubuis’s registration number at watchmaking school. The tribute model is one of four limited editions in a collection of ten new Hommage references that will be presented at the SIHH 2014, of which five will be self-winding (look out for the new RD 820 calibre self-winding movement with a microrotor) or chronographs and five will have other complications.
“Price is not one of the factors considered in the decision to purchase a Roger Dubuis timepiece.” Jean-Marc Pontroué The chronograph pays its own tribute to watchmaking crafts with a sunray pattern engine-turned dial that can take up to 50 minutes to produce – just one of several layers on the dial that include snailed symmetrical chronograph counters, applied oversized Roman numerals and a minute scale on the flange.
SIHH booth preview
Only when Roger Dubuis unveils its SIHH booth at 9.30am on 20 January 2014 will the full collection be seen for the first time. This unveiling once again promises to be an event in itself. After the presence of a huge eagle dominating last year’s booth (the emblem from the Geneva flag was a powerful reminder that all the brand’s timepieces are produced to the standards of the Geneva hallmark) and the occasional appearance of examples of this magnificent bird of prey in the flesh, Roger Dubuis will present an entirely new booth for the 2014 edition of the show to honour the Hommage collection.
THE VELVET HAUTE JOAILLERIE The perfect complement to the technicality of Roger Dubuis’s bestselling skeletonised tourbillons, the Velvet Haute Joaillerie eloquently illustrates the skill of stone setting with three different diamond cuts (cushion, baguette and emerald) and three different types of setting (invisible, claw and “Clou de Paris”). The case and dial are set with 304 diamonds, for a total of approximately 11.13 carats, the folding clasp for the red satin strap is set with a further 30 diamonds totalling approximately 0.75 carats and the veritable pièces de résistance come as two specially-cut 0.52 carat cushion rubies at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock. This sublime fully-paved piece is powered by the RD 821 calibre selfwinding movement, which offers a 48-hour power reserve. It is available exclusively on request from Roger Dubuis boutiques.
The brand promises us a tribute to traditional watchmaking seen from a modern viewpoint, combining the beauty of mechanics with the “organic creativity inspired by the postindustrial era and steampunk.” Roger Dubuis is traditionally the first SIHH exhibitor to give a preview of selected models in its 2014 collection. But the brand went a step further by revealing a highly ambitious project for 2015: tailor-made timepieces. As Jean-Marc Pontroué explains, “Price is not one of the factors considered in the decision to purchase a Roger Dubuis timepiece. Customers do not want the standard version, they want something different, something unique. However, they are ready to spend but not to wait.” The challenge for the brand is therefore to channel this pent-up demand into a whole new area of watchmaking, in which customers can customise every aspect of their timepiece (including the movement) and have the watch ready by a deadline that will satisfy their patience. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Roger-Dubuis
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The “missiles” fired off by RICHARD MILLE Pierre Maillard The rumour did the rounds for a few months: Richard Mille was allegedly for sale. The denial came during the Watches & Wonders exhibition in Hong Kong in September from the founder himself (who personally holds 90 per cent of the company, with the remaining 10 per cent controlled by Audemars Piguet): “This is old news!” Richard Mille confirmed in an interview given to the magazine of the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie, whilst admitting nevertheless that he “had progressed quite far with the negotiations because there are some offers that it would be criminal not to consider, especially when you consider the long-term future of the brand. But I have to admit that when a dozen ‘specialists’ arrived for the due diligence, I realised that integration within a major group did not correspond at all with the company spirit. I’m not very good at being held to account. And having to stay on several years to ensure the transition would have made things even worse. It would have been a hostage situation for me and I would not necessarily have developed Stockholm syndrome! So, for the moment, that chapter is closed!”
The executives dispatched by Kering, ex-PPR, which is looking to increase its portfolio of watch brands (Gucci, Boucheron, Girard-Perregaux, JeanRichard) therefore returned emptyhanded. This is undoubtedly good news for lovers of avantgarde fine watchmaking, not because Kering is incompetent but because the originality of Richard Mille timepieces, which first appeared a mere 13 years ago, is genetically linked to the personality, the passions and the dreams of its founder. It is this unique identity – at the crossroads between speed, technicality, a passion for new materials and an aesthetic non-conformism – that is behind the astonishing success of a brand that has come from nowhere, both in terms of revenue (112 million Swiss francs in 2012 from 2,500 watches sold, 3,000 watches no doubt in 2013) and of influence. Because Richard Mille, as a pioneer of watchmaking freed from the most constraining of the classic codes, has paved the way for a number of young brands who, without his example, would not have found the same echo. Tactically, Richard Mille also operates in a non-conformist way. As he explains, he regularly “launches an ultra-technical missile in order to be able to retreat and draw up a new
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Richard Mille, as a pioneer of watchmaking freed from the most constraining of the classic codes, has paved the way for a number of young brands who, without his example, would not have found the same echo. plan of attack. This is why it is important to keep all options open. Once the main outline of an initial concept has been approved, we start work without asking too many questions about the project’s feasibility. Of course, this can cause the odd surprise. Our aviator watch, which has over 1,000 components, was delayed by two years, for example.” This is a very high degree of freedom, which would undoubtedly be impossible within a group, regardless which one, where every ounce of progress is precisely measured and every risk has to be minimised. And all the while this confounded man seems to be maximising them every time!
THE RM 011 NTPT® CARBON SELF-WINDING WATCH One of the most recent examples of the challenges that Richard Mille sets himself is the use of a new material, never before seen in watchmaking, NTPT® (North Thin Ply
Technology) carbon. It is a carbon fibre that consists of multiple layers of parallel fibres, each 30 microns thick, that are coated with resin before being woven with the direction of the weave modified by 45° between each layer. This special weave is then heated to 120°C, at a pressure of 6 bar, before being machined by CNC. Visually, this NTPT® carbon offers a beautiful moiré surface, with regular wavy lines. Before being used in watchmaking, this new type of carbon was used in the manufacture of sails for racing yachts and, for only the last two seasons, in the construction of chassis for Formula 1 cars, as well as in aeronautics (it will be used in the fuselage of the future Solar Impulse 2 aeroplane). This is because, compared with other composite materials, NTPT® carbon improves breaking resistance by 25 per cent and the resistance to micro-fractures by 200 per cent.
I RM 011 NTPT® CARBON SELF-WINDING WATCH
“Once the main outline of an initial concept has been approved, we start work without asking too many questions about the project’s feasibility.” Richard Mille In the new RM 011 self-winding watch, this NTPT® carbon hosts the RMAC1 self-winding calibre, which is machined entirely from titanium. It is a flyback chronograph movement with a big date at 12 o’clock and month display at 4 o’clock, which has a remarkable power reserve of 55 hours, provided by twin barrels that are wound by a variable geometry rotor. Yet another “missile”. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Richard-Mille
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MONTBLANC “To share passion for watchmaking” An interview with Jérôme Lambert Interview by Pierre Maillard Villeret
Appointed CEO of Montblanc at the start of the summer in 2013, Jérôme Lambert left the management of Jaeger-LeCoultre and A. Lange & Söhne to move to Hamburg, the historic seat of the brand and the production centre for its main activity, writing instruments. Montblanc’s watchmaking division remains firmly implanted in Switzerland, which obliges its new boss to split his time between the big Hanseatic port and the valleys of the Swiss Jura. Europa Star managed to catch up with this busy yet serene man during one of his trips.
Jérôme Lambert, CEO of Montblanc
Europa Star: You recently said that “Montblanc’s catalogue of watches must be as innovative as that of its writing instruments.” Isn’t this already the case? Jérôme Lambert: Montblanc is based around three activities: writing instruments, which account for 50 per cent of sales, leather goods, at 25 per cent and watchmaking, also at 25 per cent. But watchmaking is growing strongly, showing an increase of 80 per cent over the past five years. With 200 people now involved in watchmaking at the brand (editor’s note: 800 for the writing instruments in Hamburg) at our two sites, Villeret and Le Locle, we have everything we need, in terms of both human and technical capacity, to bring creativity and inventiveness to our watchmaking, which was still perhaps a little too academic. To do this, we need to exploit the links between Villeret and Le Locle to the full, building as many bridges as possible. Villeret is an incredible pole of excellence working with exceptional watchmaking. Just imagine: in Villeret 50 people are working to completely manufacture 50 grand complications per year: bridges, plates, escapements, everything is fully integrated as part of a pre-industrial watch production whose quality of manual finish is unparalleled. As just one example, a tourbillon bridge requires one week of hand finishing! Villeret also has five constructors who plan and design our own movements. It is this genuine passion for watchmaking, this excellence, that I want to share and inject into all our activities. My action is resumed by the slogan: “To share passion for watchmaking”. You also mentioned the need for a more striking design… JL: We need to better express the idea of watchmaking according to Montblanc, certainly with a stronger identity.
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We also need to consider the question of sizes, since we have so far been focused on just two sizes. These are progressive evolutions that are all concerned with what I call beautiful watchmaking. In parallel we will strengthen our activities in complications: two new lines of complications will be presented at the SIHH and will be ready for delivery during the course of the year. Isn’t your historical activity, writing instruments, losing ground today in a “virtual” and connected age where people hardly need pens? JL: Quite the opposite. The pen has undoubtedly lost its utilitarian function, but paradoxically we are seeing a return to handwriting and, contrary to what you might think, it is a growth market. There is a genuine need for objects that last, objects that go against the trend for “programmed obsolescence”. Furthermore, a pen, or a Montblanc fountain pen, is not ostentatious luxury, it is luxury for oneself. This notion of luxury for oneself also applies to the watch.
But why does one buy a Montblanc watch? JL: Three main groups are interested in our brand for different reasons. First of all, there is the traditional Montblanc clientele, which likes to delve into the brand’s different worlds, into an environment of products – writing instruments, watches, leather goods – that they find in our 250 own name stores or the 200 other franchise outlets. The second type of customer gets to know us through multi-brand retailers in the 2,000 – 5,000 Swiss franc price segment and is won over by the genuine originality of our products. Finally, as far as our Villeret products are concerned, there are collectors and aficionados who appreciate our complicated watches, as is shown by the success of our monopusher chronograph. This clientele, which already spans complementary approaches to horology, is also spread in a perfectly balanced way between Asia (1/3), Europe (1/3) and the rest of the world (1/3). In terms of communication, Montblanc stands out from many others by using the themes of culture and the arts… JL: This is only natural. The fountain pen is for writing, for literature and in the wider sense for the world of culture and art. There is no reason to change this, because it is a
I Exo Tourbillon Rattrapante
totally legitimate territory for us. But we will be launching a new advertising campaign from April and this will bring a new dynamism. The world of Montblanc will be the cornerstone of this campaign. To what extent do the German origins of the brand influence the watchmaking style of Montblanc? JL: I think that you basically see a certain type of stylistic purity. And also a love for beautiful technicality, a desire to give the product consistency.
In the autumn of 2013 Montblanc exhibited at the first edition of the Watches & Wonders exhibition, organised by the FHH in Hong Kong. On this occasion the brand presented a very interesting watch, directly linked to China: the Montblanc TimeWalker World-Time Sinosphere. Based on the Hemisphere world-time watch, which was launched earlier in the year, the Montblanc TimeWalker World-Time Sinosphere depicts all 24 time zones at a glance for the Northern Hemisphere. But exclusively on the World-Time Sinosphere, the UTC +8 time zone (which is the China Standard Time, in other words the one and only official time zone for 1.3 billion people) is not signified by Beijing or Hong Kong (as on most other world-time watches), but by the word “CHINA” clearly printed in red. The specialness of this new timepiece is also evident in the design of its dial, the centre of which is occupied by a gleaming red gold appliqué depicting a map of China surrounded by the pale grey contours of its neighbouring land masses. Rotating around the Middle Kingdom is the entire world, or rather the world-time ring with its 24-hour scale which, using red for night-time hours and grey for daytime hours, shows the hour and the time of day or night in whichever zone is oppositely positioned along the dial’s periphery. A red gold plated sword-shaped hour-hand and minute-hand, each with luminous coating, sweep above this scene, as does a slim counterpoised second-hand.
What can we expect in terms of products at the SIHH? JL: Our products will demonstrate our ambitions, in a very distinctive spectrum but one which fits perfectly with our identity. But this is a process we have only just begun. Having said that, as a symbol of the profound know-how of our Villeret workshops I would choose the Exo Tourbillon Rattrapante, a timepiece that brings together a split-seconds chronograph, second time zone and day/night indicator with a gold and grand feu enamel regulator dial. It signals an aesthetic and technical break, with a balance placed outside the tourbillon cage. It is this profoundly horological passion that we want to breathe into all our collections. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Montblanc
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I ACADEMY CHRISTOPHE COLOMB HURRICANE
I FREELANCER LADY URBAN BLACK by Raymond Weil For the first time, Raymond Weil is offering a feminine timepiece in black PVD. Like the rest of the watch, the dial, the Arabic numerals, the hands, the 86 diamonds set on the bezel and the lugs, and the sharkskin-style leather strap are black. The automatic winding mechanical movement, visible through an opening at 12 o’clock, is the only non-black exception.
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GRAND VOYAGE by Zenith On the dial side, an open architecture provides a chance to admire the three original mechanisms in action: the barrel with its fusée and chain transmission (at 10.30 and 1.30), gyroscopic gravity control system, and the high-frequency regulating organ at 6 o’clock. The three gold subdials (hours/minutes at 12 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock, power reserve at 4 o’clock) are finely guilloché, enamelled in white and fitted with blued steel hands and screws. The plate has been entirely hollowed out by hand so as to leave only the Zenith logo and a flurry of stars standing out in relief; and the troughs thus created have been filled with midnight blue lacquer. The counterweight of the gravity control system has also been enhanced with a hand-crafted micro-painted depiction of the Southern hemisphere. The back of the Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane Grand Voyage springs a big surprise with a vividly coloured and lively evocation of the famous navigator’s many adventures. In the foreground, on either side of the mechanism reminiscent of the gimbal suspension typical of marine chronometers, one may admire the finely engraved portrait of Christopher Columbus along with a sextant. The background bears a reproduction of the Santa Maria, the flagship with which Columbus sailed on his first voyage in 1492. The tiny manually cutout and micro-engraved décor depicts the vessel in abundantly rich detail, particularly in terms of the ropes and rigging. Behind the sailboat, the going-train bridge has been chosen to represent the ocean with a background engraved with tiny waves and then coated with a layer of translucent lacquer. In the background, the barrel bridge opens up the horizon with a micro-painted décor depicting a sky divided into day and night. In a subtle detail, the watchmakers of the Manufacture have arranged the movement structure in such a way as to reveal a small gilded gear train evoking sunrise or sunset. Integrating this décor called for a wealth of ingenuity, including finding points to which the applique elements could be fixed, while reducing the movement thickness and the spaces between the calibre and the ornamentation to an absolute minimum (less than a tenth of a millimetre beneath the sails).
Appreciate the extraordinary MASTER SERIES
I MILLE MIGLIA ZAGATO CHRONOGRAPH by Chopard I LIENS by Chaumet Conceived as a tribute to streamlined purity and elegance, the new Liens watch by Chaumet is available in six versions, in rose-gold or steel, with or without diamonds, on a leather strap or a metal bracelet. The "lien" motif seems to be in continuous movement as it draws its cross-over signature on the profile of the case and creates a link on each side of the dial. The dial, in white lacquer and satin-finished silver, presents a perspective with the numerals and indexes. The crown is set with a mother-of-pearl cabochon. Liens is powered by a self-winding automatic movement (hour, minute, second and date indicator at 5 o'clock).
This Chopard Mille Miglia watch has undergone the exclusive Zagato personalisation process. The “engine” is a COSC certified self-winding chronograph movement with date and dual-time displays. The “chassis” is a 42.5 mm steel case with a DLC coating – a technical treatment chosen for its extreme scratchresistance. It comes in two variations: one all-black and the other fitted with a rose-gold bezel featuring a red insert bearing the 24-hour dual-time graduation. The details of the “bodywork” are a joint endeavour. The chronograph pusher matches the colour of the bezel – either black or in rose gold. In both versions, it has a red-lacquered tip, a nod to the symbolic colour of both Zagato and the Mille Miglia. The “upholstery” (the strap) typically evokes the work of the Milanese bodywork specialist and features a distinctive central groove that echoes the architecture of Zagato’s iconic “double bubble” roof, while the bright red stitching on the leather is a classic Zagato signature feature. The Zagato “Z” logo composes the motif adorning the crown and also forms the fine grey technical grid pattern occupying the entire surface of the dial. The Mille Miglia Zagato is issued in a limited series of 500 pieces each for the black DLC-coated steel version and the same number for the two-tone version with an 18-carat rose gold finish. It is available in Chopard boutiques around the world.
O PERPETUAL CALENDAR ECLIPSE by Jaquet Droz The Eclipse is one of the brand’s most iconic timepieces. This year, Jaquet Droz craftsmen in La Chaux-de-Fonds paired the moon phase complication, which displays the cycles of the night sky on the dial, with the perpetual calendar. On the black or ivory-coloured grand feu enamel dial, two straight hands contrast sharply with the curves of two wavy hands, tipped with a crescent moon. The calendar information is easily read on several places on the dial: on the right is the current date, on the left is the day of the week. At 12 o’clock, a single-hand counter indicates the month with the leap year appearing discreetly in a small window. At 6 o’clock, a black or ivory-coloured onyx index moves across the face of a golden moon, revealing, and then concealing it until its total eclipse. The whole spectacle unfolds on a night sky boasting eight stars, the watchmaker’s favourite number. The Jaquet Droz Perpetual Calendar Éclipse surprises with its innovative design and contemporary calendar display. The brilliant sparkle of the red gold hands, moon and stars creates a perfectly balanced contrast to the eternal solemnity of the dial in this exceptional timepiece worn with a black leather strap.
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IU STARDANCE by Louis Moinet Stardance, the first watch in the world to contain interstellar diamonds, features a spectacular moon phase created from a finely-crafted fragment of the Enstatite EH3 meteorite. Surrounded by an aventurine night sky, this rare piece of space rock boasts scintillating nano-diamonds believed to have been formed in cosmic collisions that occurred billions of years ago, pre-dating the formation of our solar system. On the mother-of-pearl dial featuring Louis Moinet’s signature Côtes du Jura guilloché, night is evoked by the moon phase indicator and day by the silvered sun-shaped small seconds. The white ceramic bezel is distinguished by an inner ring of 54 VVS Top Wesselton diamonds and 6 cabochon-cut sapphires. The case is made of high-tech, grade 5 polished titanium. The self-winding movement is visible through the case back with a rotor decorated with a new moon surrounded by the golden rays of a sun. The white alligator leather strap features a distinctive glazed finish thanks to a special white/metal pigment treatment
O CLASSIC QUANTIÈME by DeWitt The new Classic collection marks an inspired change for the Geneva workshops, which celebrate their tenth anniversary this year. While introducing a resolutely classic style and extremely pure lines, this new design remains faithful to the DeWitt DNA. Offering a subtle blend of character and elegance, the new Classic collection is balanced and understated. The case is thinner than on the Academia and Twenty-8-Eight collections, and features a refined and understated version of the iconic imperial column motif. The 40mm-diameter rose-gold case and the soft, curved lines of the horns give an impression of extreme lightness. The watch is equipped with a self-winding mechanical movement that offers a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. In addition to indicating the hours, minutes, and seconds, the movement has a calendar with days of the week in the aperture at 11 o’clock, months at 1 o’clock and the date using a central hand. The mother-of-pearl moon phase indicator positioned at 6 o’clock is placed on a “goldstone” sky. Goldstone is a glittering glass discovered in Venice in the seventeenth century, which later developed into the famous Murano glass. Ranging from black to white, through a delicate shade of midnight blue, the sunray dial allows light and shadow to subtly interact with shape and colour.
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HERMÈS elevated to the ranks of haute horlogerie Paul O’Neil The Hermès boutique on Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the centre of Paris was chosen for the launch of the timepiece that signals the brand’s entrance into the world of high-end watchmaking. The unusual name of the piece, the Arceau Lift, is an indication why the store was chosen over, say, BaselWorld, for such a significant launch. It is because this new watch has been designed from scratch based on an idea that came to the brand’s product manager, Philippe Delhotal, after a visit to the store.
In the 3,000 square metres that make up this bastion of luxury, Mr Delhotal spotted an intertwined double H motif on the principal lift in the store, which symbolises the union of the Hermès and Hollande families when the grandson of the company’s founder, Emile Hermès, married Julie Hollande. Philippe Delhotal chose this symbol as the basis for the design of a new flying tourbillon using the Arceau case with a new movement that has been designed and produced exclusively for Hermès by La Joux-Perret.
The Arceau Lift marks the start of a new direction of exploration at Hermès. As Hermès’s CEO Luc Perramond explained to Europa Star, this is only the brand’s second tourbillon model and its first flying tourbillon. “We produced a tourbillon in the Cape Cod line in 2010 using the Vaucher Manufacture tourbillon movement,” he recalled, “but this time we wanted a flying tourbillon. Since we always look for the best craftsmen and La Joux-Perret have global expertise in manufacturing tourbillons – particularly flying tourbillons – we decided to go with them.”
A NEW, PARALLEL DIRECTION The Arceau Lift marks the start of a new direction of exploration at Hermès, looking to produce haute horlogerie models with sober designs that will complement the intricate craftsmanship in the decorations found on models such as those that feature straw marquetry. “It will be another dimension using what I like to call ‘traditional complications’,” explains
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I ARCEAU LIFT by Hermès
I The lift in the Hermès boutique in Paris, which dates back to 1923, has ornate wrought iron decoration that was popular at the time. The “double-H” motif reproduced on the Arceau Lift tourbillon can be seen on the doors.
The architecture of the 43mm diameter Arceau case in rose gold, with its asymmetrical lugs, only serves to accentuate the apparent weightlessness of the flying tourbillon. The airy space beneath the sapphire crystal is dominated by the flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock and the barrel housing at 12 o’clock, both of which share the double-H decoration from the famous lift in the Hermès store in Paris. The other components of the manually-wound H1923 calibre developed exclusively for Hermès by La Joux-Perret are hidden behind a bridge running across the case from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock. The movement beats at a frequency of 3Hz and offers 90 hours of power reserve when fully wound. All surfaces are chamfered and polished by hand and have polished screws, while the underside of the tourbillon is visible through a sapphire crystal aperture at 6 o’clock on the reverse side of the case, which is surrounded by an engraved Hermès ex libris motif. The Arceau Lift is finished off by a matt Havana alligator leather strap produced in-house in the workshops of La Montre Hermès as a reminder of the brand’s strong tradition in the manufacture of leather goods.
Mr Perramond. “By this I mean those that are familiar and that offer a good technical performance. Here we need to develop a wider offering without, of course, forgetting our unique pieces such as the Temps Suspendu.”
What is apparent at first glance is the striking architecture of this flying tourbillon, which is divided into two horizontally across the centre of the dial by a slender bridge that conceals the gear train, allowing the upper and lower halves of the dial to be dominated by the barrel housing and flying tourbillon carriage respectively. A second glance, however, shows that the six months that were spent perfecting the design were worth it: the discreet engineturned chevron pattern on the background, the bevelled surfaces (40 hours are required just for bevelling) and contrasting brushed and polished surfaces all show the attention to detail that has gone into a movement that has been designed around the watch, rather than the other way around. Luc Perramond admits that the Arceau Lift is to a certain extent an answer to demand from “loyal customers of the brand who are discovering watchmaking”. It is unsurprising that the model will be available exclusively through the brand’s own stores. But with only 176 examples (the figure corresponds to the age of the brand) of this limited-edition piece to be shared among 340 such outlets, there are clearly not enough to go around. The price of 155,000 Swiss francs may temper demand somewhat, although the day before the launch a customer purchased a pocket watch from the brand’s “Timepieces of Exception” exhibition at the Paris store for the equivalent of 250,000 Swiss francs.
A world of new possibilities The 18 months of development required for the calibre H1923, as the new movement is known (1923 is the year that the lift was installed in the store), as well as the significant investments for its industrialisation, will not be paid off by the 176 pieces of the limited edition Arceau Lift alone. This timepiece is merely the first-born in what promises to be a populous family of tourbillons.
We can also expect yet more innovation along these lines from Hermès at BaselWorld 2014, as Luc Perramond revealed: “It’s a saga I want to continue. It is rich in possibilities and it is a
challenge in terms of ideas and technicality. We will be presenting a singular complication at BaselWorld that is in the same spirit as the Temps Suspendu but that will allow a new form of interaction with the wearer.” The astonishing sight of customers queuing up in the Hermès store not to pay but just to be served is proof enough of Luc Perramond’s claim that “business is good”, which is confirmed by a 10 per cent year-on-year increase in sales for 2013. And, unlike some of its competitors, Hermès customers are not just Chinese. “We are historically strong in Japan and Europe,” says Mr Perramond, “we are developing in China but also in North America”. The lack of dependence on the mainland Chinese customer and the associated uncertainties with their economy, but perhaps more importantly the exciting prospects in the horological pipeline, bode well for Hermès. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Hermes
RENÉ KRIEGBAUM – The collector’s dilemma What do you do if you’re an avid watch collector but you just can’t seem to find exactly what you’re looking for? Make it yourself is the idea that René Kriegbaum had around 10 years ago. Unfortunately, his first attempt, the idea of a digital mechanical chronograph, had to be shelved when Porsche Design beat him to the patent office by a mere two weeks with the plans for what would become its “Indicator” model. Mr Kriegbaum spent the intervening years looking for something different, because he “didn’t want to be the 100th person to come with the same thing”. But he also had to bury the notion of producing a watch just for himself. The biotech research assistant, who admits to having no background in watchmaking, soon discovered that the undertaking was “way too complicated for one person”.
A chance breakthrough came when he had the opportunity to purchase 18 Valjoux movements that had been refused by another buyer. Finally he had the chance to bring to life the designs that had so far been confined to the hard drive of his computer. Designs inspired by vintage measuring instruments, such as an old hygrometer, which give the watches a very understated and thus easily readable dial.
Turn the watch over, however, and the view through the sapphire crystal case back is anything but understated. The refurbished Valjoux movements (customers can choose between a Valjoux 72 or 724, the latter with a gear train and balance spring rated at 18,000 vibrations per hour) are finished to an exceedingly high level, with all steel parts chamfered by hand and black polished, the screws polished
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U VALJOUX COLUMN-WHEEL CHRONOGRAPH by René Kriegbaum 7-piece, 41.4 mm diameter, 13.65 mm height, stainless steel case, two flat, single-sided multiple non-reflective sapphire crystals, case middle with recessed fluting, matte off-white dial with recessed sub-dials, skeletonised hands, Valjoux 72 (flat balance spring) or Valjoux 724 (Breguet balance spring) movement operating at 18,000 vibrations/hour, column wheel with nine columns and horizontal coupling, water resistant to 3 ATM.
and flame-blued, the chronograph bridge, balance and pallet cocks engraved by hand and the plates and mainspring barrel blasted but with polished edges. All this is enclosed in a bespoke seven-piece 41mm case that is available in polished or brushed stainless steel, or black PVD. The complicated construction involves a case middle with “negative” fluting (i.e. the fluting is recessed) and lugs that have to be inserted separately. For these skilled operations, Mr Kriegbaum relies on experienced professionals: Jochen Benzinger (one half of the Grieb & Benzinger brand) for the engraving and Volker Neureuther for all other finishes to the movement. Mr Neureuther will also be responsible for any customer service operations on the watches once they have been sold.
“I have tried to develop a business model that wouldn’t ruin me.” René Kriegbaum model that wouldn’t ruin me,” jokes Mr Kriegbaum. “But I don’t think I will get rich from it.” This system does, however, offer the customer numerous possibilities for personalising their timepiece. The next challenge is to gain awareness for the small brand, which Mr Kriegbaum admits is difficult even in his native Germany, where he believes the watch-buying public is more brand-conscious. Although he has received a very positive echo and a lot of interest in the watches, this has yet to translate into a single sale of one of the 15 pieces available. Despite the bespoke case, the original dial design and the high-level finish, the René Kriegbaum watches retail from €6175 to €7175 with the entire movement decorated. They are sold directly by the manufacturer, using the same principle as Breguet’s “montre à souscription”: customers pay a deposit and production of the watch only starts once the order is confirmed. “I have tried to develop a business
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“On an international level I don’t think the price is too expensive, but maybe it is for Germany. I have already set it quite low and my margin is low. I want to target interested customers who can afford the watch and not necessarily just collectors,” he concludes. (PON) p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Rene-Kriegbaum
O The movement has an exceptional level of finishing, including satin-finished bridges with polished edges and gold or rhodium plating, hand bevelled and black polished steel components (levers, springs, upper surfaces of the column wheel etc.), polished screws, handfinished, black polished and hand-bevelled swan’s neck index assembly, polished jewel holes and hand-engraved chronograph, escapement and balance bridges.
DARKO, the “philosigner” Pierre Maillard There are several ways to approach the creation of a watch. You can start with the inside, like a watchmaker, constructing your movement to see what shape (in the wider sense) the watch will take. Or, on the contrary, you can start with the shape, like a designer, and add the necessary engine afterwards. In the best case, the two approaches would work in parallel.
Marko Mladenovic’s approach is altogether different. This “philosigner”, as he likes to describe himself, first mixes up philosophy and design in his personal cocktail shaker. As with his previous creations, Marko (former Creative Director at Swarovski, who has worked with numerous luxury brands such as Lancôme, Christofle, Louis Vuitton, Van Cleef & Arpels, Château Lafite Rothschild and whose Ray crystal sculpture was chosen by Time magazine to be awarded to its list of the world’s 100 most influential people) takes his inspiration from the links that he tries to create between aesthetics, science, philosophy, the spiritual and the technical. This slow and informed approach to the object gives his creations a singular depth that can be clearly felt, without having to explain in detail the creator’s approach. Let’s take a look at his watch, the Darko Geometric. It shines all over, it’s a sun. It seems evident, as if it had always existed. If we have the impression that we “recognise” it immediately, it is because it plays on ancient archetypes inherent in our genes since the dawn of time: the Sun, its rays, the idea of light as waves, geometry (crystal, pyramid, circle). The dial with its concentric waves, crossed by twelve radial rays, extends effortlessly on to the bezel. A veritable sculpture, this sophisticated and luminous Ray Bezel® with its fluting looks as if it has been outlined by the sun’s rays. Even without any hour markers, the Darko Geometric is a model of legibility because it is the shape itself that has an obvious function as an indicator. The time can be read intuitively in the luminous play of the rays, their reflections and their extensions. All the elements of design and function are connected by what Darko calls a “Grand Simplification”, which was a time-consuming and painstaking process. It gives the piece an internal coherence that can be seen at first glance and which gives the watch its strength, its evidence.
DARKO GEOMETRIC Self-winding mechanical movement with hour, minute and centre seconds display and date. Power reserve of 38 hours. 28,800 (4 Hz) vibrations/hour. Balance wheel with Darko lion and Darko Watch Co. engraving. 18-carat yellow, pink or white-gold case. Ray Bezel® fluted bezel Opaline silvered guilloche dial with anthracite markings. Lion’s claw lugs. Screw-in crown with D-Wave initial. Sun Ray type hands. Thickness: 10.30mm Diameter: 39.70 mm Water resistance: 3 bar / 30 m. Sapphire crystal case back. Hand-sewn alligator leather strap with pin buckle.
Darko’s brand is only at its very beginnings. The designer has a number of developments on the table, including a probable ceramic version of the Darko Geometric watch, which promises yet more astonishing plays of light, as well as a line of jewellery and accessories. Darko is a name to keep an eye out for. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Darko
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Plate Tableware or part of a watch movement? Discover the world of Fine Watchmaking at www.hautehorlogerie.org
Plate | The plate which bears the various movement parts and in particular the bridges. The dial is usually affixed to the bottom side of the plate. The plate is pierced with holes for the screws and recesses for the jewels in which the pivots of the movement wheels will run.
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F.P. JOURNE – 30 YEARS AGO, a young rebel made his own tourbillon… Pierre Maillard Some 30 years ago, in 1983, a young man who had just turned 25 put the finishing touches to his first timepiece: a pocket watch with tourbillon. It took him five years to develop and produce. He made each of its components by hand, including the gold and silver case, and proudly signed it F.P. JOURNE – A PARIS. The young François-Paul Journe was a rebel whose parents tried to tame by enrolling him at the watchmaking school in Marseilles. Here, for the first time, the man who himself admits to being a “dunce”, enjoyed learning to cut, to file and to assemble a movement. But at the time a watchmaking school trained up specialist workers in horology, not genuine dyed-inthe-wool watchmakers who could make their own movement. When he finished school, the young François-Paul was sent to his uncle in Paris –a vintage watch restorer who was recognised as one of the best in the profession. On the bookshelves in the workshop he came across the famous George Daniels book, The Art of Breguet. The ambitious youth then decided to embark upon the rather fanciful project of producing from scratch a pocket watch with tourbillon for which he would have to reinvent everything.
I A young François-Paul Journe with his uncle, a renowned watch restorer T The F.P. Journe manufacture in the centre of Geneva
It really took off from 1999 when the brand’s manufacture was set up in the centre of Geneva. All fans of exceptional watchmaking know the rest.
We have since forgotten that tourbillons were extremely rare at the time and that they were not yet produced on an industrial scale. So this young watchmaker’s accomplishment was soon noticed and collectors became interested. François-Paul Journe opened his own workshop, received his first awards and his talents as a constructor crossed borders… the F.P. Journe brand was born.
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Today, in order to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of his first timepiece, François-Paul Journe presents a reinterpretation of his first pocket watch but in wristwatch format. We can assume that the 99 Toubillon Historique FP Journe (which will be sold at the “symbolic” price of 99,000 US dollars) will quickly be sold out, since this timepiece has everything that a timeless piece should have. A case with magnificent proportions (40mm diameter for a total thickness of 10mm), a caseband in silver with two 4N pink gold bezels, an exceptional engine-turned decoration on the back cover of the watch as well as on the sides of the caseband
O The first pocket watch with tourbillon by François-Paul Journe, completed in 1983
I The movement with its disctinctive bridges
O Intricate engine-turned decoration on the back cover and the side of the case and lugs
and the lugs, a dial of extreme purity, in grained silver with engraved and filled numerals and hour scale and AbrahamLouis Breguet hands in blued steel. Just like its face, the movement of this wristwatch faithfully reproduces the rigorous architecture of the original pocket watch movement. It is revealed by opening the double case back in engine-turned silver: two barrels arranged side by side and fixed by two wide bridges, a classic gear train
along the vertical axis of the watch, a one-minute tourbillon that beats majestically. The only notable differences are that the sprung detent escapement from the pocket watch has been replaced with a lateral lever escapement, which is better suited to a wristwatch, and that the system of winding by key has been replaced by crown winding at 3 oâ€™clock. Perfectly decorated, polished, bevelled, this movement with gilt brass components is resolutely classic, with its beautiful blued screws, its polishing and bevelling. Complete with a beige leather strap that gives it a vintage touch, the Tourbillon Historique F.P. Journe is already an undeniable watchmaking classic and maybe, in a few decades, it will in turn inspire a slightly rebellious and ambitious young watchmaker. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/F-P-Journe
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ARTS & CRAFTS
ROGER W. SMITH – the watchmaker’s apprentice Paul O’Neil
The Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea mid-way between England, Scotland and Ireland, is perhaps most famous for its TT motorcycle race and its role as an offshore finance centre. But the small island is also a hub for global industries ranging from e-commerce to space technologies. It has also become the centre of excellence in British watchmaking as home to the workshops first of Dr. George Daniels, and now of his erstwhile apprentice Roger W. Smith.
Roger W. Smith is tasked with perpetuating the “Daniels method” of watchmaking, which requires complete mastery of the 32 different skills required to design and manufacture a watch from start to finish. It took him 12 years, including three and a half working under Daniels, to learn all the skills required for this. Mastering the two machines used for engine-turning dials in silver, the rose engine and the straightline engine, was just one of these.
U Roger W. Smith
A timeline of Roger W. Smith Studio 1986 –1989 Studied at the Manchester School of Horology (a British Horological Institute run course) 1990 –1992 No. 1 handmade pocket watch, fitted with a one minute tourbillon and detent escapement. 1992 –1997 No. 2 handmade pocket watch, fitted with a one minute tourbillon, detent escapement and four year perpetual calendar mechanism. 1997 – 2001 No. 3 handmade pocket watch, fitted with a 15 second remontoir, Peto cross detent escapement and an up and down mechanism. 1998 – 2001 Work on the Daniels Millennium series of 50 watches with Dr. George Daniels using the first Omega movements off the production line. 2001 The Roger W. Smith Studio was established 2001 – 2004 Two handmade white gold rectangular cased tourbillon wristwatches fitted with the Daniels co-axial escapement and a calendar complication, designed by Dr. George Daniels and signed Daniels London. 2001 – 2004 Series 1 – first production wristwatches issued by the Roger W. Smith Studio. 2002 – 2004 Worked with Theo Fennell on the creation of three Series 1 wristwatches called the ‘Onely’ 2004 Launch of the Series 2 concept – the first high end, skill-based, production wristwatch to have been designed and made in its entirety in the British Isles. 2006 Completion of Series 2 prototype. 2007 Delivery of the first Series 2 watch. 2010 The launch of the Series 2, Open Dial wristwatch 2010 Roger Smith’s collaboration with Dr. George Daniels on the co-axial Anniversary wrist watch to celebrate since the invention of the co-axial escapement. The very first production Daniels wristwatch to have been designed and made in its entirety within the shores of the Isle of Man – a limited edition of 35 pieces. 2011 Awarded the British Horological Institute’s Barrett silver medal for his “dedication to continuing the finest traditions of English watchmaking”. 2012 Following the passing of Dr. George Daniels in October 2011 the iconic Daniels, Riversdale workshop was incorporated into the Roger W. Smith Studio with his personal wish that Roger should continue the fine art of the handmade watch. 2012 Delivery of the first Daniels Anniversary wristwatch 2012 Development work begins on the Series 3
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“It took me a long time, several months in fact, to get used to the machines,” Smith told Europa Star. “They have little foibles and it’s only when you become proficient with them that you understand them. For the basket-weave pattern, for example, just remembering the different adjustments to the machine was very difficult. Then you have to learn to exert just the right amount of pressure. I’m still learning…” Engine turning just one panel of a dial can take anywhere between one and a half and six hours, with the entire dial for the Series 2 watch taking two weeks to produce from start to finish. It is little surprise, therefore, that even with a team of six watchmakers, including an engineer who manufactures the components, Roger W. Smith struggles to produce more than 12 watches per year. But the few lucky owners of a Roger W. Smith timepiece have the assurance of owning something that is as close as possible to what the watchmaker calls “skills-based” horological perfection. Every aspect of Smith’s work is driven by a continuous quest for perfection: “George always said to me that there was no point in venturing down this route unless it was to improve,” he explains. One example of this is that Smith has developed his own way of making dials. “George Daniels taught me how to engine-turn a complete dial from a single piece of silver,” he says, “but when we were working on the Millennium watch, where the recessed seconds are cut out of one piece, as is traditional with pocket watches, I noticed that it was difficult
to scale this down. So I wanted to develop a new way of making them to compete with the quality of stamped pieces and ended up using many different pieces of silver and gold.” The skill of engine turning was already a dying art at the time when George Daniels decided to teach himself how to do it. “He did it because there were engine turners around at the time he started making watches but none who could reach the levels of quality he was looking for,” says Smith. Half a century later, the master watchmaker’s apprentice is the only one in the land who possesses the skill. “I don’t know of anyone else in the United Kingdom who can do it,” he confirms. This quest for horological perfection also comes from a desire to produce a timeless object that will long outlive its first owner. This becomes clear when the subject of customer service is raised with Roger W. Smith, who stresses that one of the advantages of an engine-turned dial is that, providing that there is no major damage to it (for example if it is bent or if the pattern is damaged), its lacquer and the ink of its numerals can be stripped back and restored “after 40 or 50 years”. Similar concerns dissuade Smith from using some of the hightech materials currently found in the watches of certain highend brands. “My worry about new materials is that they will
be superseded and I want my watches to last 100 years or more,” he explains. This has not stopped him tinkering even with George Daniels’s revolutionary co-axial escapement, which he admits is fiendishly difficult to make in his workshop environment. “I’ve been fitting co-axial escapements since 2006. It is a very demanding thing to make because of its precision. I noticed that it was hard to achieve the accuracy we were aiming for because it was difficult to achieve a perfect concentricity of the teeth on the two escape wheels (which are on the same arbour). So I had the idea to create a single wheel with two sets of teeth and we are seeing improvements in timekeeping as a result.”
I UNIQUE COMMISSION NO. 4 by Roger W. Smith A one minute tourbillon wristwatch fitted with the Daniels co-axial escapement and a unique date complication. Cased in 18 carat red gold.
The next step? The Series 3, which is currently nearing the end of its design phase before production of the first prototype is started, which should be ready by the middle of next year. Add a fourth unique commission into the mix, which needs to be ready by Christmas, and it’s clear that there is plenty to be getting on with at the Roger W. Smith studio. p The SERIES 2 WATCH by Roger W. Smith
Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Roger-W-Smith
europa star / ARTS & CRAFTS 51
MANUFACTURING Manœuvres are continuing and intensifying as far as production is concerned. Far from offshoring, as many other industries do, the Swiss watch industry is on the contrary developing new production centres on its own soil. Three recent developments are good examples of this trend: TAG Heuer has opened a new “Avant-Garde Manufacture” for production of its in-house chronographs; Omega now has another dedicated co-axial assembly line for its chronograph calibre; and Vacheron Constantin has inaugurated a new site for producing and decorating components for mechanical movements.
TAG HEUER, an avant-garde production facility Pierre Maillard
“I totally respect Nick Hayek’s decision to no longer deliver movements to third parties. I even thank him for it, because now we will be able to truly innovate,” Stéphane Linder, the new CEO of TAG Heuer (where he has worked for the past twenty years, most recently as the head of the North American markets) tells us. The gently provocative tone hides a genuine strategic necessity: that of ensuring and safeguarding the brand’s movement supply, specifically that of mechanical chronographs, the spearhead of the brand. TAG Heuer’s first initiative in the field of traditional mechanical chronograph movements (we are not talking here about the brand’s concept movements) dates back almost four years with the launch of the Calibre 1887, the result of an exhaustive re-engineering of a Seiko chronograph movement. Component production for this Calibre 1887, an integrated movement with 320 components, which oscillates at 28,800 vibrations per hour and has a column wheel and the oscillating pinion patented by Heuer in 1887 (hence the name of the calibre in question), was set up at the brand’s Corniol factory, in the Swiss Jura, which was built in 2004 for produc-
Some 10 million Swiss francs were invested in this 2,600 m2 facility, while total investment in the development of these two new calibres 1887 and 1969 amounts to 40 million Swiss francs over the past five years. tion of cases in steel and gold. An ultra-modern and semiautomated assembly line was set up in la Chaux-de-Fonds for the assembly of this movement.
I CALIBRE 1887
The Calibre 1887 is what is known as a “6–9–12” (because of the way the counters are positioned). TAG Heuer soon felt a need for a second architecture: a chronograph with counters at “3–6–9”, for other, more stylistically classic products. An extremely precise list of specifications was therefore drawn up, from which the new Calibre 1969 was developed and built. But the production of this new calibre needed even
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greater industrial capacity. So construction of a new factory started in parallel. It is this new, “avant-garde” factory that was recently inaugurated in Chevenez, also in the Swiss Jura (but close to the border with France and its big labour supply). Some 10 million Swiss francs were invested in this 2,600 m2 facility, while total investment in the development of these two new calibres 1887 and 1969 amounts to 40 million Swiss francs over the past five years. This is a considerable investment but one which is justified by the brand’s rapid growth over the past few years: + 20 per cent market share in 2012, 52 new monobrand stores opened (out of a total of 180) over the past two years.
DESTINED FOR THE BRAND’S MID-RANGE OFFERING Intended for the mid-range products of the brand (in other words for watches costing between 4,000 and 7,000 Swiss francs), the Calibre 1969 is a self-winding mechanical calibre consisting of 233 components, with an integrated columnwheel chronograph and a height of 6.5mm, thinner than the
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I CALIBRE 1969
Calibre 1887 therefore and with a big power reserve of 70 hours. The assortments (balance spring and four-spoke balance with KIF shock absorber) are supplied by Atokalpa (which is part of the watchmaking group belonging to the Sandoz family foundation, which also includes Parmigiani, among others). This calibre, with its fine finish (Côtes de Genève, snailing on the oscillating mass in blackened tungsten, on the nickelplated bridges for the minutes and the automatic winding, bevelled and polished edges) has a semi-modular design that is intended to subsequently accommodate modules for additional functions (such as GMT, power reserve indicator etc.). As with the Calibre 11, of which it is a distant relative (launched in 1969, by Heuer, Breitling and Hamilton, the Calibre 11 was the first self-winding chronograph movement), the counters are arranged in the classic “tri-compax” way: central chronograph seconds hand, minutes counter at 3 o’clock, hour counter at 9 o’clock and small seconds at 6 o’clock. A date window has been added at 9 o’clock.
FLEXIBILITY, STREAMLINING AND LEAN MANUFACTURING The new factory at Chevenez, where the two calibres 1887 and 1969 are produced, fully deserves its “avant-garde” qualification. The mass production concept that has been applied here is directly inspired by car engine production lines such as those at Audi. There is a major engineering and methods service at the start, then a largely automated assembly line where watchmaking operators with different skills can work, a sophisticated and well-equipped testing infrastructure, in order to ensure a highly standardised production with identical quality levels. Out of the current total of 50 people (which will gradually increase to 100), 35 are assigned to production and 25 to
support functions in the methods office, tool making, quality control and machine maintenance. The machine park, which operates 24 hour a day, six days out of seven, is currently producing 50,000 movements per year. The objective is to double this by 2016. This high level of industrialisation has been achieved because the design of the Calibre 1969 has from the outset been closely linked with the development of the industrial capacity necessary for its production. Of the most striking results of this “avant-garde” industrialisation is the fact that only four people are assigned to component production – main plate, bridges (moving parts and the gear train are produced externally) – whose automation is very advanced. Furthermore, everything has been designed to offer the greatest flexibility and allow rapid reconfiguration, if necessary, of the machines and the assembly lines: one way of adding the notion of lean manufacturing to the world of watchmaking. The machines operate dry, without oil therefore and in a very clean environment and are modular and linked together with automated transport (for example, to machine a main plate, three machines are linked up, with the components loaded and returned automatically). The same applies to fitting jewels to the main plate. The engineers at TAG Heuer have, in collaboration with a specialised company, developed an extraordinary robot that is linked to a camera and can take jewels in bulk (noting which is the right side up) and place them on trays that are then used for the automated jewel fitting. Movement assembly is equally streamlined. Everything has been designed to ensure a complete overview and individual tracking of each movement in assembly, thanks to a high level of automation and systematic checks at the end of each stage. Mounted on a ring with a number and a data matrix (a
next-generation bar code), each movement is followed individually and entered into a database that exhaustively details its assembly process. Between one fitting and the next, the movements move around in baskets from one stock to the next. The operation to be carried out is automatically displayed on an individual screen. If there is an error or a problem, the piece is redirected to a line reserved for corrections and a report is automatically generated, which shows exactly where the piece is and at which stage of the process. The filter for quality control is impressive and aims to guarantee the quality of the finished piece. During its assem-
The mass production concept that has been applied here is directly inspired by car engine production lines such as those at Audi. bly the movement is subjected to an automatic clearance check, its escapement is checked by camera, it is adjusted automatically in one position, its winding wheels are subjected to automated tests, as are the start, stop and rewind functions, the precision of its rate is tested by laser (average rate when flat at zero hour without the chronograph running: between +2 and +10), then it is inspected and tested manually. This facility is in line with TAG Heuer’s ambitions. According to Stéphane Linder, it “will be the brand that produces the most in-house chronographs for its own needs in 2014”. An impressive achievement considering that five years ago TAG Heuer did not produce a single chronograph movement. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/TAG-Heuer
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OMEGA enters a new era of manufacturing Paul O’Neil The first phase of the ambitious project to reshape the site of the headquarters of Omega is already under way, with the former Swatch headquarters demolished and ready to make way for the future Omega manufacture next to the company’s existing head office, which is a listed building. Until this ambitious new project is completed in the summer of 2015, however, some 500,000 Omega co-axial movements are produced for the brand on assembly lines at various facilities of the Swatch Group’s ETA division. Europa Star had the opportunity to visit the dedicated assembly line for the most recent of these coaxial movements, the Calibre 9300 co-axial chronograph at one of ETA’s six factories in its home town of Grenchen, a 15-minute drive from the Omega headquarters in Biel.
LEAN MANUFACTURING Here, the movement blanks are produced in the basement and their jewels set in the same building before they arrive in the clean room that is the assembly line proper, where 124 of the 337 components are assembled on them, mostly by hand. The “line” itself is a model of lean manufacturing and a far cry from the more familiar scenes of rows of watchmakers working alongside each other. The movement blanks are loaded into special transport trays, each with its own identification chip, that automatically route the movement blank to a free workstation for the relevant assembly stage to be carried out. A myriad of traffic lights in red, green and blue show the operators at a glance where work needs to be done and where there are bottlenecks.
I The assembly line for the Calibre 9300 in a separate clean room at ETA
(WO)MAN AND MACHINE – THE DIVISION OF LABOUR
O CALIBRE 9300 CO-AXIAL CHRONOGRAPH
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At the workstation, the movement blank is presented to the operator the right way up and in the correct position for the task to be performed (which is listed in detail, along with the relevant components, on the operator’s personal touch screen) and the relevant components are also presented to the operator in sequence from hidden containers.
Each time a bridge is added to an assembly, a single screw is inserted manually, using a torque-sensing screwdriver, purely to secure the movement during its transport. The remaining screws are then selected and screwed in automatically by a special robot. Together with the lubrication and testing of the movements, this is the only operation that is carried out fully automatically on the assembly line. The main manual operations are the assembly of the chronograph bridge and the assortment, which consists of a silicon balance spring and co-axial escapement that are supplied pre-assembled by Nivarox. Each of these phases is followed by a test: the clearance of the balance is tested by machine in two positions (0° and 45°) and the chronograph functions of start, stop and reset are also checked. Because of the particularity of the co-axial escapement, the penetration of the pallet on the escape wheel is also checked under the microscope, using a special support to stop the movement and move the teeth of the escape wheel very slowly by turning the rim of the balance wheel by hand.
At the end of the assembly line, the working dial for the COSC test is fitted and the height of the hands checked before the movement is cleared for rating and then sent off for COSC certification without its oscillating mass. Only once the movement returns with its COSC certificate is the oscillating mass added and the finishing touch applied: That distinctive red colour on all the text and number inscriptions is applied by hand using a pedal-operated syringe filled with red paint. But since the ultra-fine needle of the syringe cannot touch the metal for fear of scratching, the paint has to be “dropped” into the recesses from just the right height. Strangely, this delicate operation is the only one carried out in splendid isolation outside the confines of the clean room. Nevertheless, the attention to detail given to this operation alone, and the visible trace it leaves, is symbolic of that which goes into the entire production of Omega’s Calibre 9300.
TOWARDS A CO-AXIAL QUALITY CERTIFICATE The principal benefit of the co-axial escapement is the reduction in friction from the contact between the ruby pallets and the escape wheel, which is both shorter than in the Swiss lever escapement and takes place at a lower angle of incidence. This means that the escapement is less dependent on lubrication and therefore less affected by the ageing of lubricants, which ensures better isochronism over a longer period. It has only been possible to prove this, of course, after several years of experience with the brand’s first “in-house” co-axial calibres, which have been developed from scratch around the co-axial escapement.
“The aim is for all co-axial movements to have our 15,000 Gauss anti-magnetic technology within three to five years.” Stephen Urquhart, President, Omega.
I The 337 components of Omega’s Calibre 9300 self-winding chronograph movement
Ever since it launched the first co-axial calibre in 1999, Omega has been keen to extol the virtues of the co-axial escapement. Better isochronism and longer service intervals remain difficult to prove, however, given that the co-axial calibres are “merely” certified as chronometers along with a million other timepieces each year. Omega lay down the gauntlet by introducing a four-year warranty for its co-axial watches, at a stroke doubling the term of the warranties of-
DE VILLE CHRONOGRAPH 42mm diameter case in red gold with blue dial and blue leather strap, fitted with the Omega Calibre 9301 co-axial column-wheel chronograph movement with oscillating mass and balance bridge in 18-carat red gold. An official certified COSC chronometer, this model offers a 60-hour power reserve and is water resistant to 10 bar (100 metres).
fered by most of its competitors. More recently, the brand’s award-winning 2013 advertising campaign, which is based around the precision mechanics of the co-axial movement, goes as far as to claim that it is “the most perfect mechanical watch movement in the world.” With turnover estimated to be in excess of two billion Swiss francs per year, Omega’s initial gamble on co-axial technology has clearly paid off. Although Omega’s president Stephen Urquhart has dismissed the idea of setting up Omega’s own quality standard as proof of the co-axial escapement’s superiority, on the day of our visit he did reveal that “the aim is for all co-axial movements to have our 15,000 Gauss anti-magnetic technology within three to five years. We are working with an independent institution towards officially certifying that it is better in terms of chronometry and anti-magnetism.” p
See Europa Star 04/2013 for more information on the Co-Axial Escapement Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Omega
europa star / MANUFACTURING 57
A new factory for VACHERON CONSTANTIN Pierre Maillard
tance attached to new production technologies should not lead to a brand such as Vacheron Constantin losing sight of the essential: “human competence remains at the centre”. Proof of this is the impressive finishing workshop, where drawing, bevelling, rounding off, jewel setting, circular graining and côtes de Genève are applied by hand, organised in independent lines that group the professions around a common product. Each of these lines is responsible for its own quality controls.
Forty professions grouped together over 9,000m2, 200 people today, eventually increasing to 350, 35 million Swiss francs’ worth of investment, gives you an idea of the size of the new factory that Vacheron Constantin recently opened in Le Brassus, in the Vallée de Joux. It brings together under the same roof all the skills required for prototyping, research and development, component machining and decoration that were previously scattered across several sites. According to Juan-Carlos Torres, “this is the start of a new era for Vacheron Constantin”. The implementation of a new planning system and the impor-
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The same organisation by lines – flexible and adaptable – is found in the movement-blank department (four lines: main plates, bridges, steels, specialities) where machining, trimming, electro-erosion, chemical and thermal treatments are carried out. Bringing skills closer together, cutting distances, optimising logistics, streamlining productivity are the major goals of this new organisation, which mixes the industrial approach harmoniously with artisanal care. The aim is to increase production from 24,000 mechanical timepieces in 2012 to 35,000 per year and stamp the Poinçon de Genève (Geneva Hallmark) on the entire production. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/Vacheron-Constantin
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Two spotlights turned on to THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SWISS WATCH INDUSTRY Pierre Maillard & Paul O’Neil
One after the other, two studies have recently been published that attempt to analyse the Swiss watchmaking industry. Credit Suisse has published its research, entitled “Swiss Watch Industry – Prospects and Challenges”, while consultants Deloitte present a report with a similar title “Challenges and opportunities of the sector”. The two studies differ in their analytical approach. While Credit Suisse bases its analysis on the facts and figures available, Deloitte’s is based on a series of interviews with senior executives in the sector and the results of an online survey. It is worth noting that of the 53 executives questioned by Deloitte, only 17 work at a watch brand, the others being employed by component manufacturers (28) or “a company involved in the value chain”, without further precision.
But irrespective of the methodologies used, there are some clear overlaps in their observations, with some divergence nevertheless. Here, we highlight some of the notable conclusions, beyond the generalities that our readers are already familiar with.
VERTICAL INTEGRATION AND THE CHALLENGES OF SUPPLY The most striking phenomenon of the past ten years is without doubt the move towards vertical integration that is radically transforming the
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Swiss watchmaking landscape. This vertical integration has accelerated sharply since the first announcement, made ten years ago by Nicolas Hayek, of the Swatch Group’s intention to progressively reduce its movement
The most striking phenomenon of the past ten years is without doubt the move towards vertical integration that is radically transforming the Swiss watchmaking landscape. sales to third parties and takes place on two fronts, both within the big groups and through acquisitions of all kinds of suppliers. Credit Suisse publishes a revealing, yet partial, table that summarises ten years of acquisitions. (See next page) Today, the effects of this tightening up of the independent industrial fabric are clearly being felt. And this mainly in the strategic area of movements and components, which account for the majority of acquisitions. As a result, some 50 per cent of the executives questioned by Deloitte consider that ETA movements are difficult to obtain, even though 65 per cent judge them to be “superior in reliability and quality”, only 3 per cent considering the alternatives “better” and 32 per cent seeing no difference. There are also supply problems for dials. For Credit Suisse, the dial is “es-
sential for the recognisability factor. Thus it is understandable that watch manufacturers target these companies in the vertical integration process.” Another component for which demand surprisingly outstrips supply is the watch hand. The executives questioned by Deloitte ranked problems with the supply of hands in third place after balance springs and movements. For 45 per cent of the survey respondents, the 60 per cent increase in the threshold required by the new Swiss Made legislation will further aggravate these supply problems. “Despite the current drop in sales volumes [editor’s note: 100,000 fewer units in September 2013, for 1.9 billion Swiss francs more revenue] the current 15 per cent reduction of Swatch Group deliveries compared with 2010 figures is already causing supply bottlenecks,” Deloitte notes. And there are “only limited alternatives to Swatch Group”, according to Credit Suisse. Developing one’s own movement internally is a “costly and time-consuming” alternative, says the report, “and thus not an option for smaller manufacturers”. The other option, buying from other manufacturers (essentially Sellita, Soprod, La Joux-Perret), brings the problem of the quantities available and the prices that are generally higher than those of ETA. “In order to operate independently of ETA, companies need not only the appropriate
Vertical integration in the watch industry since 2000 Majority shareholdings in suppliers (selection); colours correspond to the buyers
Cases Bruno Affolter
Movements & components
Calame & Cie
Rubattel & Weyermann
2005 MOM Prélet
Prestige d’Or* Minerva
Valor Lopez & Villa Indexor
H. Moebius & Sohn
Fabrique du Temps
Les Cadraniers Donzé Cadrans Léman Cadrans
Simon & Membrez
Termiboîtes Varin-Etampage Varin-Varinor Prototec
financial means but also ongoing development, which requires time,” Credit Suisse concludes. And among the independent brands, who has a strong enough backbone? Especially since “the main reason that less expensive Swiss watch brands import components from abroad is that the production costs associated with these components are lower.” Now, given the new Swiss Made regulations, they “will be obliged to replace most of their foreign suppliers with domestic ones in order to continue to qualify for” this decisive label. It’s a tough calculation!
I Legends: Swatch Group Richemont LVMH Rolex Others Source: Factiva, Federation of the Swiss watchmaking industry, Companies, Credit Suisse *Acquired by Bulgari, which was itself acquired by LVMH in 2011
VERTICAL INTEGRATION IN DISTRIBUTION What is more, notes Credit Suisse, “vertical integration is also an active force in distribution”. Following the example of production over the past few years, vertical integration of distribution has also been stepped up considerably. This structural transformation of distribution has gone through various stages: from cooperation agreements with local distributors, which broke the traditional chain of manufacturer – wholesaler – retailer, to direct retail with the opening of flagship stores. But as with production,
vertically integrating distribution also has its costs. The level of investment is high and it is something that “only companies that have the necessary financial options can aspire to” the report soberingly summarises. Just as independent brands (apart from a few well-known giants) are having to rethink their supply chains, they also have to change their distribution strategies. Because although “in theory, vertical integration of distribution could free up space for independent retailers”, Deloitte notes, “the footfall generated by top-notch brands and the financial clout of the big groups often impose requirements on shelf space and minimum stock levels” that are prohibitive. In answer to the question “How do you assess the effect of the strengthening in vertical integration of distribution by big brands/groups on smaller brands/distributors/independent retailers?”, the executives surveyed by Deloitte were hardly positive. But around half of them nevertheless want to follow this very example. And efforts here are clearly directed towards Asia. More than 33 per cent of mono-brand stores are in China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, followed by the Gulf states, mainly Dubai, then the major capitals of Europe. But above all, “Mono-brand boutiques are the admission card to the emerging markets,” according to Credit Suisse, which gives the example of Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, where Hublot and Omega, among others, have already set up their own stores. The Swiss bank considers this as an indicator of economic confidence, since “if such a country expands rapidly and
u europa star / STUDIES 61
Vertical integration in distribution How do you assess the impact of the strengthening in vertical integration in distribution by big brands / big groups (monobrand and large multibrand stores dedicated to a group) on small independent brands / distributors / retailers? 71%
p Independent brands p Distributors / retailers / independent retailers
develops into an international hotspot, the first retailers on the ground will have an invaluable advantage.” One way for independent brands to improve their competitiveness, according to Credit Suisse, is to “join with other brands in cooperative distribution groups”. But as the bank notes, “this option is not often observed”. To the extent that we are familiar with the jealous character of watchmakers, this remark does not surprise us. (PM)
“Mono-brand boutiques are the admission card to the emerging markets.” Credit Suisse THE OFTEN-NEGLECTED SWISS MARKET
Opening of mono-brand boutiques Do you plan to open new mono-brand stores in the next 12 months? (Responses from brands only)
p Yes 62 STUDIES / europa star
p No opinion p No
While statistics abound for Swiss watch exports, thanks to the regular updates provided by the Swiss Watch Industry Federation (FHS), it is much more difficult to get an accurate idea of the state of the watch market in Switzerland. The FHS estimates that the Swiss market absorbs five per cent of timepieces produced in the country and federal VAT receipts suggest that watch and jewellery retailers generated turnover of 2.8 billion Swiss francs in 2011. But this figure includes jewellery sales and does not take into account watch sales in department stores and souvenir shops. Taking these data into account, as well as the retail sales statistics from Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office (SFSO), the Credit Suisse report settles for an estimated market value for the watch industry of two billion Swiss francs at final retail prices.
As the chart on the next page shows, regardless of the absolute figures watch and jewellery sales have consistently outperformed all other retails sectors – and therefore total average retail sales as a whole – over the past couple of years. This is undoubtedly due to the huge significance of tourist sales in the Swiss market. Estimates of the share of sales to tourists range from anywhere between one-half to twothirds, according to the Credit Suisse report. This assumption is backed up by VAT statistics indicating that half of all watch and jewellery sales in 2011 were for export (although this figure does not take into account sales to tourists who do not reclaim the Swiss VAT on their purchases). Often neglected, perhaps because they are now increasingly considered as a dying breed, are the distributors based in Switzerland. They may be supplied directly by a brand or by a Swiss retailer. In either case, the volumes that they trade are not included in Swiss watch exports and are instead hidden away in the murky waters of Switzerland’s retail statistics, where watches and clocks are grouped together unhelpfully with “electronic products”.
THE ROLE OF THE CHINESE TOURIST The biggest driver of tourist sales are visitors from China, who accounted for 815,000 overnight stays in Switzerland in 2012, making the country the fourth most popular luxury tourist destination for the Chinese, currently behind France, the USA and Singapore. Overnight stays by guests from China increased by 21 per cent in 2012 and those from Gulf states by 24 per cent – impressive figures when seen
Retail sales by category (Nominal sales, 8-month average, year-on-year change in %)
quadrupling of the number of visitors by 2020) and thus have no negative impact on the Swiss retail market. The negative effects on watch sales of China’s recent anti-corruption propaganda are also debatable. [See the article by Woody Hu and Jean-Luc Adam in this issue.]
against the backdrop of an overall decline in overnight stays in Switzerland of two per cent in the same year. Chinese tourists visiting Switzerland do so largely (80 per cent) as part of organised packaged tours, which offer Swiss retailers and Chinese tour operators a lucrative business in the form of commissions in exchange for guaranteed custom. The vast majority
I Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office, Credit Suisse
Sales forecasts to tourists in Europe What is your forecast for sales to Asian, South American or Russian tourists in the next 12 months?
(81.5 per cent) of these groups stay in Geneva, Zurich, Interlaken and Lucerne, with the latter taking the lion’s share, accounting for one-third of overnight stays by Chinese tourists over the past three years. As the purchasing power of the Chinese tourist, as well as his or her level of English, increases, they are expected to travel more on an individual basis. This may affect the commission business, but the overall number of visits are expected to increase (the Deloitte report cites the Swiss Tourist office predicting a
But the importance of the domestic market takes on even greater significance when viewed against the results of the Deloitte survey. Of the senior executives surveyed, almost half expect a stagnation of, or even a reduction in, exports to China over the next twelve months. Yet a full two-thirds of the same respondents expect sales to Asian, South American and Russian tourists in Europe to increase over the same period. The intricacies of the Swiss watch market and the lack of any firm and coherent statistics about it are likely to remain. But so is its prime importance as a hub not just for watch manufacturing, but for watch sales as well. (PON) p The two reports mentioned in this article can be downloaded in full on europastar.com
The Swiss market – a text book case from Omega 29%
Omega opened its first-ever flagship store on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse back in 2000. At the time, Nicolas G. Hayek promised that it would be the first in a network that would comprise 50 stores within ten years. The objective was achieved two years early in 2008 and today, five years later, Omega now has 130 corporate stores worldwide – and this figure excludes those stores operated as franchises. As a confirmation of the importance of the Swiss market, Omega has fitted out even bigger premises on Zurich’s most exclusive shopping street to accommodate a new flagship store scheduled to open in December 2013 to replace its existing one… two doors down the road. An extravagance? Not when you consider that Omega places Switzerland among its top three markets in Europe - even ahead of its traditionally strong market of Italy.
p Strong increase p Moderate increase p Stagnation p Reduction europa star / STUDIES 63
THE AMERICAN RE-REVOLUTION Detroit, Shinola and the future Keith W. Strandberg The Detroit train station, Michigan Central Station, is a beautiful, iconic Beaux-Arts Classical building, but it is in complete disrepair, a symbol of the Rust Belt’s urban decay in general and, in particular, of Detroit’s fall from greatness. There are a number of neighbourhoods filled with derelict buildings, once-beautiful homes now abandoned, roofs collapsing and walls falling down. Yet, there are sections of Detroit that are beautiful, whole and doing quite well, thank you. Downtown Detroit is certainly on its way back – General Motors has moved back into the city and there are a number of other companies that have made Detroit their home – like software giant Quicken. Detroit’s sports teams (the Lions, Tigers and Red Wings) are performing well, bringing people back downtown. There is a vibe in Detroit, that the city is on the verge of coming back to its former glory as a centre of industry, design and innovation, and Shinola is a big part of the city’s revitalisation.
SHINOLA: BUILT IN DETROIT When Shinola’s founders, Tom Kartsotis of Fossil and Bedrock Manufacturing, were trying to decide where to base Shinola’s operations, they considered a number of cities. Detroit was the most compelling and fit the Shinola story the best. “Part of picking Detroit was that we were assembling the engine of the watch and what better place to be
I Modernity and urban decay: the contrasting faces of Detroit
than in the heart of the auto industry, where so many engines have been produced?” says Heath Carr, CEO, Bedrock Manufacturing. “We knew we wanted to make our products in the USA and now we have a factory in Detroit.” Shinola is a partnership between Bedrock and Ronda, a movement manufacturer in Switzerland. Ronda helped Bedrock to set up the Shinola factory, is training the watch assemblers and provides the movement parts in kits to Shinola. The quartz watch movements are completely
assembled, cased, finished, quality controlled and boxed in Shinola’s facility, then shipped around the US and the world. Shinola’s factory is in the historic Argonaut building in Detroit, the original General Motors design facility that also houses the College for Creative Studies (CCS) and the Detroit Creative Corridor Center, which helped to facilitate Shinola’s presence in Detroit. Shinola has part of a floor in the building, with the first right of refusal to expand into more space.
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C H A N G E . Y OU C A N .
The Argonaut Building
The Argonaut Building was built by General Motors in the 1930s to house their design and style departments, and it was here in this structure that industrial design was born. The building is home to the CCS design programmes, has a dormitory for 200 students, and there is a charter school (middle and high school) here that is creative centred. The facility is chock-full of history – it was here that the iconic Corvette was designed and the father of modern industrial design, Charles Kettering, had his office here. During World War II, the design centre was shut down and it housed a secret lab where the B-1 Bomber was designed and developed. Shinola works with CCS, presenting to students in the design programme, getting them involved in design exercises and sponsoring interns, some of
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them have signed to work for Shinola once they graduate. “We sponsor classes here, we have an internship programme here and we get inspiration from these students,” says Daniel Caudill, the head of design for Shinola. “The students are so excited about everything in the world and it’s great to be around that. We are doing a marketing-based class, run by our head of marketing.” Detroit, so far, has been a success for Shinola. “I think it’s really turned out very, very well,” says Steve Bock, CEO, Shinola. “I think we have a great idea, it’s a very exciting concept, but the fact that we have enjoyed and been given the kind of exposure has been amazing. The city of Detroit and the state of Michigan have received us with open arms. Because we are trying to create jobs and build
this business in Detroit, we have been received in a wonderful way. “We have the capacity for 500,000 watches right now and we can go up to 1.2 million in the square footage available to us,” he continues. “We can make watches for brands that are within our house, but we can also reach out to American fashion designers, who are currently manufacturing outside the US and would like to do it here. We can do private label here in the US for different companies.” I had the chance to tour Shinola’s watch production, and it was very impressive. Without seeing the landmarks of Detroit through the
“We have the capacity for 500,000 watches right now and we can go up to 1.2 million in the square footage available to us.” Steve Bock, CEO, Shinola
windows, the operation could have been in the Swiss Jura. Ronda trainers were there with the workers on the two production lines, solving problems and answering questions, but the majority of workers were from Detroit.
DETROIT SPECIAL One such Detroit-born employee is Willie Holley, 26, who is Shinola’s Assembly Line Leader for movements. Holley is often featured in Shinola’s communication, because his story is such a good one. Holley was actually a security guard at the College of Creative Studies when he heard about Shinola. He applied for a job, took the dexterity test and now he is one of the company’s most dedicated workers. Holley took me through the production lines, explaining how Shinola did things. “The line starts with stamping the mainplate and goes all the way through to the finished movement (we do three different movements), then they go to batch QC and then the movement goes to dial and hands, then to casing, strapping and boxing/shipping,” he explains. “The line is being overseen by Ronda and they are continually training. We do 600+ watches per day now.” Holley is a perfect example of what Shinola is doing here in Detroit, changing people’s lives and making a dif-
ues. “It was a big opportunity, opening doors for me to advance and have a career. I want to be an important person in this company.” Holley wore a Fossil when he was a security guard and today he wears... nothing. He does not have a Shinola
ference in this struggling city. “Detroit has welcomed Shinola here,” Holley says. “Watchmaking is something totally new to the city. It’s amazing that I have a hand in making something that is now being sold to people I know -it’s really cool. I like making something that keeps time, and I like the historic feel of Shinola. “It has been a totally mind-blowing change of life for me,” Holley contin-
“Watchmaking is something totally new to the city. It’s amazing that I have a hand in making something that is now being sold to people I know.” Willie Holley, Assembly Line Leader for movements, Shinola.
on his wrist, as all the production has gone to sales. Note to Shinola: Get Willie Holley a watch! Jalil Kizy is a Shinola watchmaker, also from Detroit, who learned his craft at the Lititz Watch Technicum in Pennsylvania. “I have loved every minute of my experience here,” he says. “Shinola is very original. They are supporting Detroit and Detroit is supporting them. My nickname is ‘Detroit’ and I am pleased that Shinola is standing behind the city. I love the watch.” Currently, Shinola is making three different movements and the plan
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is to introduce a chronograph at BaselWorld 2014. “The original idea when I first came on was proving that we could make well-made, great product in this country,” remembers Caudill. “It’s not about price, it’s about design, and to be able to do it at scale. Modern is important to me. The brand name is heritage, but we are building a modern product. This is not a vintage brand, it’s a modern brand. “As this brand grows, it will grow in a modern way,” he continues. “We are inspired by classic design, but product should never look like it is fake or treated. The watches are classic in design inspiration, but they are clean, simple and timeless. The goal is to create product that lasts and isn’t a trend.” Every Shinola product has a yellow lightning bolt on it, Shinola’s mark of quality. “If anything goes wrong, the ‘shit’ from that Shinola saying will come back to haunt us,” Caudill says with a smile.
I SHINOLA ARGONITE-1069 DETROIT
Currently, Shinola is making three different movements and the plan is to introduce a chronograph at BaselWorld 2014. RETAILING SHINOLA There is no doubt that Shinola has done a masterful job of marketing its efforts. The company has used advertising taglines like “Where America is Made,” “To Those Who Have Written Off Detroit, We Give You The Birdy,” “The city that made this country, isn’t done making things” and “The Long Tradition of Detroit Watchmaking Has Just Begun.” The Shinola story has really resonated with people in America – people looking for quality and for products that are made in America.
“The watch certainly has a look and feel and quality of a luxury brand,” says Bridget Russo, the head of communication for Shinola. “We are approachable luxury. People see and feel the watch and are pleasantly surprised by the price. You have young people who are buying it, they are saving up for it, and we have watch guys buying it. The appeal runs the gamut, everything from the hipster that likes the way it looks and the Detroit piece of it, to the collector, to the casual buyer. I’ve never worked for a brand that has resonated like this with people from all walks of life. The only common thing is people that care about quality and the American-made nature. “Online, our customer is younger than the retail customer,” she continues. “From a product side, we are 50/50 men and women, but our sales are 60/40, men to women. Right now, our ad campaign skews a little masculine. Next year, we will have a campaign that skews more feminine.”
RETAILING IN DETROIT Shinola has its own boutiques in Detroit and New York (recently featured in Vanity Fair magazine), with more to come. Shinola has a variety of products in its
stores, some from its own production, some from companies within the Bedrock Manufacturing stable (like Filson outdoor wear and gear) and others that are curated products from other companies, like interesting magazines, clothes and more. They also do installations of local artisans in the store, trying to keep things fresh so customers come back often to see what is going on in the store. They also have something called the “Issue of One,” a programme of one-off vintage products that they find and refurbish. “We find vintage pieces that are really special; we have Omega, Rolex, and other watches that we offer in our stores,” Caudill notes. “Our watchmaker will check them for authenticity and make sure they are in great running order, and we buy really great pieces for this programme. In our New York store, we have a 26 star US flag from the 1800s, which was the very first printed flag, and it costs $50,000. We have another flag, over 25 feet long -- and it has 36 stars and they think it hung on a battleship.” Shinola watches are distributed in independent retailers as well as big department stores like Nordstrom, Saks 5th Avenue, Barneys and Neiman Marcus.
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Brillian ce Mee ts
march 27 â€“ april 3, 2014
DETROIT SPECIAL Before any retailer comes on board, Shinola requires them to visit the operation in Detroit, so they completely understand the concept and the brand’s commitment. “We show retailers the totality of the brand, and we like them to have the full assortment in some way, shape and form,” says Russo. “And this isn’t just an American effort. We will be launching in Robinson’s in Singapore, and China is a big market for us in the future. We see Shinola as a global brand.” One particular technique Shinola has used with great success is what they call a “pop up store”, where they put in a temporary installation of what amounts to a Shinola boutique in a retailer when the brand is launched there, making a splash and raising awareness. “We opened a pop up store in Kansas City to give the market a try,” says Caudill. “The reaction has been really overwhelming and it’s been humbling. Launching at Barneys and having Barneys sell out, brick-and-mortar and on-line, was amazing.”
THE FUTURE Shinola’s future seems very bright, indeed. They have a great, real story – they are making watches on an industrial level in the USA, something that hasn’t been done for more than 50 years – and the watches are selling. It will certainly be interesting to see where they go from here – making a splash with a lot of money spent in advertising and marketing is not that hard. Continuing that success and taking the next step is much more difficult. We at Europa Star will be watching Shinola closely, as will the rest of the watch industry. p Discover more at www.europastar.BIZ/ Shinola
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Darakjian Jewelers opened in Detroit in 1964, then moved to the suburb of Southfield in 1970. This year, Darakjian Jewelers moved to Birmingham, another suburb of Detroit. Second-generation watch retailer Armen Darakjian, explains: “Business overall has picked up slightly from last year. We are very excited about our new location that is now located in the heart of the only real shopping district in Michigan. Birmingham is a pedestrian town with cafes, restaurants and retail.” Darakjian believes strongly in the Detroit area as a watch market. “Detroit is definitely on the move,” he says. “Over the last five years, there has been a large influx of investment into the downtown Detroit area -- lofts, restaurants, and businesses. We have noticed a large interest in watches from the residents in the lofts and luxury apartments in Detroit. “Detroit has heart, mystique, history,” he continues. From the city that created the automobile, an eclectic group of residents have added an amazing diversity to downtown. In the next 5 - 10 years Detroit will offer the world an experience like no other.” One thing that Darakjian tries to communicate via print, radio and social media is that luxury brands are available right in the Detroit area. “Being that Detroit is not necessarily a vacation town, most of our clients and potential clients
have vacation houses elsewhere,” he explains. “Getting all the shoppers to understand that the Detroit Metropolitan area offers the world’s best brands right here is the challenge we have. When Michigan locals are on vacation, as all of us, they’ve got plenty of time to shop. Michigan retailers need to bring the business home, convincing residents to shop local and watch the city flourish.” Darakjian credits an emphasis on customer service for the company’s success. “Clients today deserve the very best when they are shopping,” he says. “They need associates who know the product, understand the honour it is to represent these brands, and provide a
Darakjian Jewelers Facts & Figures Darakjian Jewelers (www.darakjian.com) Locations: New location - 101 Willits Birmingham, MI 48009 How long: 49 years Employees: 26 Size of stores: 4,500 sq ft Average sale: $1,350 Range of price: $100 - $250,000 Bestselling watch: Audemars Piguet Brands: Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, Ulysse Nardin, Carl F Bucherer, Devon, Urwerk, Maurice Lacroix, Montblanc, Longines, U-Boat, Graham, Bremont, Michele Watch, Philip Stein, Brera, Officina del Tempo, Seven Friday, 2(x)ist, G-Shock, Glycine, Underwood, Orbita, Wolf Designs, Tacori, Demarco, Rebecca, Sophia, MO & Me, Belle E’toile, Nomination, Odelia, Zeghani.
shopping experience like no other. Just as our tag line says, ‘The One. The Only,’ we pride ourselves on offering out of the ordinary brands. The opportunity to choose from watches and jewellery that no one in the area offers has sustained the growth of Darakjian Jewelers.”
Though Darakjian doesn’t carry Shinola, he is very much aware of it and impressed by the company’s progress so far. “Detroit is a manufacturing town, always was and always will be -- it’s got think-tanks and creativity bursting at the seams,” he says. “The fact that Shinola chose
TAPPER’S Jewelers Tapper’s Jewelers opened in Detroit in 1977 and the family business soon grew into a three-store chain with almost 100 employees. “As a team we work for a higher goal, the betterment of our team, not just the individual,” says Steven J. Tapper, vice president of Tapper’s. “Building great partnerships with our vendors is very important. We are constantly striving to stay in touch and on top of the latest trends and aggressively researching new brands, merchandise and partnership opportunities. Building trusting relationships based on customer satisfaction and warranties we offer. “Learning to adapt to the constantly changing marketplace and shopping patterns is a constant challenge,” he continues. “We work to develop innovative methods of marketing to draw attention and create opportunities to bring new customers into our stores. Operating lean and using our budgets to their most effective advantage is something we focus on.” Customer service is a place where Tapper feels like his company can differentiate itself. “For
Tapper’s customer service and satisfaction come first,” he says. “We guarantee our customers satisfaction. We have on-premises jewellery and watch service in order to reinforce the level of service we want to provide our customers, along with a return policy to assure a level of comfort for the customer when making a purchase.” Detroit has always been a good market for Tapper’s. “There is great opportunity if we are willing work for it,” he says. “We have to accept the daily challenges and rise above any difficulties to make our business the best that it can be. Some of our newest challenges are our greatest opportunities. With social media the
Detroit is not only forward thinking and groundbreaking but it is a testament to the vitality and stamina of Detroit as a city. We considered Shinola, but with the move and the launch of the new location, we have enough going on. Who knows what the future will bring?” p
entire world is the potential customer base.” Tapper’s does carry Shinola and they are having great success with the brand. “Shinola has created an awesome opportunity to tell the story of Detroit craftsmanship and manufacturing, which combines with our heritage and history very nicely,” says Tapper. “Those that have stayed and seen Detroit at its worst and its best see the greatness being revealed by the current wave of growth and development in Detroit. This city is an unrecognised jewel. “’Built in Detroit’ is a fantastic slogan -- there is so much potential to generate excitement and interest,” he adds. “With Shinola, our sales have been fantastic, our only challenge is getting more product in our stores. Detroit’s history does make an incredible difference. Think about it -- it’s not just about the auto industry, it’s about the heartbeat, the music, the lives and stories of the people of Detroit. We focus on the great price point and excellent value, and we have seen almost 100 per cent sell through.” p
Tapper’s Facts & Figures Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry (www.tappers.com) Locations: three fine jewelry and fine Swiss timepiece stores How long: Since May 1977 Employees: Approximately 100 Size of stores: Two showrooms over 5,500 square feet and one is 3,000 square feet. Range of price: Watches range from under $300 to $75,000 and beyond. Most requested watch brand: Rolex. Watch brands: Rolex, Cartier, Panerai, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Baume & Mercier, Hermès, Breitling, Michele, Movado, ESQ, Shinola, TAG Heuer, David Yurman, Raymond Weil, Tudor
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LETTER FROM CHINA
THE ANTI-CORRUPTION CAMPAIGN: reprimand or bluff? Woody Hu & Jean-Luc Adam
In November 2012, China’s new government launched an anti-corruption campaign. And this “good conduct” supposedly has a negative impact on sales of luxury goods, and watches in particular. But is this claim credible? It all started with a traffic accident on the night of 28th August 2012 in the province of Shanxi. A sleeper coach (commonplace in China) was travelling on the motorway when, suddenly, its “overtired” driver hit a tanker. The resulting fire was horrific and claimed the lives of 36 people. In the morning, the director of the “Work Safety Supervision Bureau” visited the scene, since the incident came under his responsibility. But the photos of him smiling in front of the smouldering wreckage shocked the Chinese and went viral on social networks. Attention quickly turned to the person himself and Internet searches soon revealed that he always wore luxury watches. The vice began to tighten around DaCai Yang, who was said to own twenty-three luxury Swiss watches, which earned him the nickname “BiaoGe”, or in other words “Mr Watches”. How could this high state official with his annual salary of 170,000 yuan (25,000 Swiss francs)
afford to buy Vacheron Constantin, Montblanc, Rolex, as well as many other luxury items that the police discovered at his home? Corruption, of course, to the value of 5.3 million yuan (780,000 francs), according to the investigators! For this, the Intermediate People’s Court of the province of Shanxi sentenced him to 14 years in prison. We can only hope that the judge let him keep one of his perpetual calendar watches... We have to laugh a little because in China corruption is what makes the world of business go round! The judiciary just needs to turn its attention to any high official to hit the jackpot every time. And the judges are well placed to know this...
BIAOGE, THE DETONATOR
The vice began to tighten around DaCai Yang, who was said to own twenty-three luxury Swiss watches, which earned him the nickname “BiaoGe”, or in other words “Mr Watches”.
O DaCai Yang at his trial
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A pure product of Mao’s revolution, the new President Xi Jinping has always preached in favour of a simple, virtuous life, rejecting pomp and avoiding the abuse of power for personal gain – an image tarnished somewhat by Bloomberg’s revelations of the colossal fortunes of his close relatives. Be that as it may, he took advantage of the “BiaoGe” scandal to launch the anti-corruption campaign. By definition, this is not a law but a guideline for good conduct that the government has issued to its 7,089,000 officials, almost the equivalent of Switzerland’s population! But can they alone influence the luxury market? In theory, no, because official salaries are modest. It is instead the tens of millions of “civilians” who corrupt influential officials to gain advantages. Highend Swiss watches are the gifts of choice because you can concentrate
extraordinary fortunes into a diameter of 40mm and a weight of only a few hundred grammes. And you can buy a precious timepiece in five minutes from any one of the numerous stores in China’s cities – even those in the
All this weighs on the consumer confidence index which, although it has increased by four per cent, is buoyed by a boom in consumption in rural areas and second and third tier cities (where there are rich people but only a limited
For luxury watch brands the situation is even worse than that in the fashion industry, since their models are often emblematic and therefore easily recognisable and quantifiable. most remote provinces. This is why Swiss watches are at the heart of this campaign. But is it the campaign that is responsible for the 14.7 per cent drop in sales in the third quarter of 2013 (-6.8 per cent for Hong Kong)? Here, opinions differ.
IT’S NEGLIGIBLE! For some, the main cause is the slowdown in the Chinese economy, which is largely based on exports and is therefore affected by the global recession. But official statistics record growth in exports for the first half of 2013, a fact that is disputed by Hong Kong and the United States. Furthermore, GDP has not achieved its minimum growth target of eight per cent (+7.6 per cent), which equates to recession for an emerging economy. We are seeing a slow-down in manufacturing job offers, since companies are increasingly offshoring production to South-East Asia, where labour is cheaper. Beijing cannot inject another 4,000 billion yuan (580 billion Swiss francs) into a plan to relaunch the economy, like it did in 2008, because this would mean printing money, which would devalue the yuan. And inflation and the property bubble, which the State is struggling to control, are veritable time bombs.
culture of luxury). The “real” luxury consumers are concentrated in the four first-tier cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou). Parallels can be drawn with automobile sales, which are increasing overall (up 14 per cent in the third quarter of 2013), but with the share of imported vehicles – in other words luxury cars – shrinking by over five per cent. The discrepancy between this figure and the luxury goods segment that watches are part of is explained by the fact that a car, regardless of its price segment, also meets a fundamental need for mobility. In this context, therefore, the anti-corruption campaign would only have a negligible impact.
HOROLOGICAL STIGMATISATION For others, the effects of the anticorruption campaign are obvious, and not just for luxury watches but for all luxury goods, with the exception of three brands that continue to grow without interruption: Prada, Hermès and Bottega Veneta. Thanks to whom? To the anti-corruption campaign! Fashion industry insiders have noticed a reversal of buying trends, with customers shunning brands with ostentatious logos... The three aforementioned
brands maintain a certain level of discretion. For luxury watch brands the situation is even worse than in the fashion industry, since their models are often emblematic and therefore easily recognisable and quantifiable. Furthermore, a watch is the main item of jewellery for men, and Chinese high officials are almost exclusively men. The tension is so palpable that the party secretary in a faraway county that was struck by a severe earthquake on 20th March 2013 took the precaution of taking his watch off before facing the media. Unfortunately for Jiyue Fan, the characteristic marks left by his suntan piqued the curiosity of the Internet community, which managed to find the model in question, a Vacheron Constantin Patrimony worth 210,000 yuan (31,000 Swiss francs). Not bad for a minor communist party official in a remote region whose average annual per capita income is below 4,000 francs...
CONCLUSION It is impossible to assess the real impact of the anti-corruption campaign on sales of luxury Swiss watches in China. According to Audemars Piguet boss François-Henry Bennahmias, for instance, the closure of six Audemars Piguet stores has nothing to do with it. Chinese customers prefer to do their shopping in Paris, he explains. But China is a jumbo jet taking off and is neither stable nor mature economically and the slightest turbulence has the markets trembling. Confidence indices are showing the green light, but we must stress that the Chinese have not yet experienced “capitalist” crises. They are, however, most familiar with the government’s collectivist “feng” campaigns, which translates as “wind”. They start off as a strong gust, only to peter out eventually into a faint breeze... p
Unfortunately for Jiyue Fan, the characteristic marks left by his suntan piqued the curiosity of the Internet community, which managed to find the model in question, a Vacheron Constantin Patrimony worth 210,000 yuan (31,000 Swiss francs).
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THE MOST DESIRED LUXURY WATCH BRANDS IN SWITZERLAND – Insights from the WorldWatchReport™ 2013 Laetitia Hirschy, International Intelligence & Communications Manager, Digital Luxury Group
WHAT ARE THE MOST SOUGHT-AFTER BRANDS IN SWITZERLAND? A lot is written about the performance of Swiss luxury watches in markets such as China and the US but what about their performance at home? How do Swiss luxury watch brands fare with their local compatriots? The WorldWatchReport™ 2013 takes an in-depth look at the performance of Swiss luxury watch brands on their home turf. With so many luxury watch brands originating from Switzerland, the “local” advantage is virtually eliminated. Whilst this does not greatly affect the order of the rankings, it does play a role in the weighting luxury watch brands receive (more evenly distributed). Brands with higher ranks have less market share here than they would globally, thus allowing the lesser-known brands to still get a significant portion of searches. Case in point, Rolex takes another first place ranking in the Swiss market in this year’s WorldWatchReport™, though it does so with just 13.59% share of searches - amongst the lowest for a first ranked brand in the report, compared with
SWITZERLAND – Brand market share 2013 VS. GLOBAL Y/Y BRAND 1 0 -3.73% Rolex 2 0 -2.47% Omega 3 +5 -9.13% IWC 4 +2 +3.48% Rado 5 +2 -28.17% Breitling 6 -1 -3.53% Longines 7 -3 -5.94% TAG Heuer 8 -5 -0.76% Cartier 9 +1 -10.80% Patek Philippe 10 +7 +1.80% Tudor 11 +3 +5.92% Hublot 12 +9 +14.48% Jaeger-LeCoultre 13 +2 -3.35% Chopard 14 +8 +12.63% Audemars Piguet 15 -3 +1.31% Panerai 16 -5 -0.67% Montblanc 17 +14 +1.87% Maurice Lacroix 18 +2 -10.18% Zenith 19 -3 +1.21% Hermès 20 +8 -11.52% Ebel 21 -12 -2.60% Chanel 22 -9 -12.10% Bulgari 23 +1 +2.58% Breguet 24 +6 - Tiffany & Co. 25 +26 - Bovet 26 +10 +2.17% Blancpain 27 -9 -5.50% Piaget 28 -5 -17.71% Baume & Mercier 29 +4 - Corum 30 -5 -14.40% Louis Vuitton
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CATEGORY MARKET SHARE Prestige 13.59% Prestige 9.82% Prestige 7.23% High Range 5.60% Prestige 5.08% High Range 4.53% Prestige 3.34% Watch & Jewellery 3.05% Haute Horlogerie 2.77% High Range 2.61% Prestige 2.51% Haute Horlogerie 2.34% Watch & Jewellery 2.06% Haute Horlogerie 1.96% Prestige 1.75% High Range 1.67% High Range 1.61% Prestige 1.57% Couture 1.54% High Range 1.53% Couture 1.50% Watch & Jewellery 1.45% Haute Horlogerie 1.42% Watch & Jewellery 1.30% Haute Horlogerie 1.15% Haute Horlogerie 1.14% Watch & Jewellery 1.10% High Range 1.09% Prestige 1.09% Couture 1.03%
Italy, for example, where Rolex also leads but with a 31.25% market share. Omega ranks second with 9.82% - also a fairly low market share compared to the one it generally occupies in other markets such as China (21.28%). IWC ranks an impressive third, an exceptional performance for any Haute Horlogerie brand; especially considering it outranks all of the Watch and Jewelry, Couture and High Range category brands. In fact, couture brands only begin to appear on this list in the 19th position, occupied by Hermès.
CATEGORY SEARCH BREAKDOWN FOR THE SWISS MARKET Switzerland, being home to most of the brands in the WorldWatchReport™, naturally demonstrates strong awareness of the industry and its major players. It is therefore no surprise to see categories with more niche brands get their due here, as Haute Horlogerie and High Range categories enjoy market shares well above average, Women’s and Jewelry and Couture brands also lose out on market share to the categories above, at least when compared to the global context. Unsurprisingly it is in these categories that we find the most brands not of Swiss origin. This is not to say that these brands are unpopular, as Cartier still holds important market share, but their share is chipped away by more niche, less well-known brands who find their home here.
MOST SEARCHED FOR MODELS & COLLECTIONS Though Rolex leads the brand ranking, Omega claims the top two spots in the watch model rankings thanks to the Seamaster and Speedmaster. IWC’s strong brand awareness is reflected here with 3 models making the top 30 rankings, with its best model, the Portuguese, ranking an important eighth. Of note is Rolex’s Deepsea model’s strong performance this year (up eight spots since last year). Cartier Tank, Longines Master, Omega Aqua Terra and Seamaster Planet Ocean all make an appearance in the Top 30 for the first time since 2012. Overall, the rankings in general are represented by a good number of different brands, once again reflecting the market’s strong knowledge of a large number of brands.
Most searched for models & collections
technical aspects are being researched online by Swiss consumers at an important rate, as we see the Complication and Movement intention count for over 2% of all searches, well above intentions such as Style, Replica and Pre-owned. The Style intention being the 2nd most used parameter in markets such as China.
MARKET SHARE 13.59% 9.82% 7.23% 5.60% 5.08% 4.53% 3.34% 3.05% 2.77% 2.61% 2.51% 2.34% 2.06% 1.96% 1.75% 1.67% 1.61% 1.57% 1.54% 1.53% 1.50% 1.45% 1.42% 1.30% 1.15% 1.14% 1.10% 1.09% 1.09% 1.03% 49.50% 50.50% 100%
MOBILE SEARCHES Mobile searches are under the global average in Switzerland but grew by +2 PPT since last year, now accounting for a total of 16.44% of total searches.
TOP 10 LUXURY WATCH BRANDS ON FACEBOOK IN SWITZERLAND Finally, what about the performance of Swiss luxury watch brands on Facebook? Couture brands are logically leading the way on Facebook as they leverage their strong, international fashion base. Upon investigation of brands outside that category, brands are present from the Watch & Jewelry category, the majority of which have jewelry background. “Facebook is a reality, but not for every type of communication, being best suited to the much more fashion conscious content that brands such as Bulgari and Cartier have to deliver.” Commenting on the absence of certain iconic brands on Facebook, James Gurney, Editor-in-Chief of QP, adds: “Patek Philippe for example, does not use brand ambassadors in the way that Omega, TAG Heuer or Cartier do – Facebook works for throw-away news and Patek does not want that.” If looking at brands offering purely luxury watch models only, most impressive results are for Baume & Mercier, TAG Heuer and IWC. “Particular credit should go to IWC for its comprehensive approach to Facebook content. Unfortunately, the majority of brands seem to think volume on social media platforms is the key at the moment,” concludes Gurney. p
LUXURY WATCH CLIENT BEHAVIOR While the number of brand-only searches could be considered high for a market that should provide a much wider variety of searches, it does not impede on the weighting of model-specific searches. Over 15% of searches include the specific name of a watch model, above the global average, demonstrating a deep knowledge of the industry from the Swiss clientele. Finally, consumers in this market are concerned with price, very much in line with global rankings. With the presence of so many luxury watch brands in their midst,
Understanding clientele preferences Switzerland 2013
10 Fans in Switzerland (thousands)
Complication & Movement
Top 10 luxury watch brands on Facebook Switzerland 2013
MODELS Seamaster Speedmaster Daytona Submariner Datejust Big Bang Carrera Portuguese Navitimer Planet Ocean Explorer De Ville Portofino Royal Oak Oyster Perpetual Reverso GMT Conquest Tank Constellation El Primero Deepsea Master Diastar Luminor GMT Master Aqua Terra Mark Monaco Sea. Planet Ocean
BRAND Omega Omega Rolex Rolex Rolex Hublot TAG Heuer IWC Breitling Omega Rolex Omega IWC Audemars Piguet Rolex Jaeger-LeCoultre Rolex Longines Cartier Omega Zenith Rolex Longines Rado Panerai Rolex Omega IWC TAG Heuer Omega
EVOL. = = + – + + – – + + – = – + + – – – – – + = + – – -
Tiffany & Co.
2013 2012 1 1 2 2 3 4 4 3 5 8 6 7 7 5 8 6 9 10 10 14 11 9 12 12 13 11 14 18 15 17 16 15 17 13 18 16 19 20 19 21 20 22 30 23 24 24 25 26 26 25 27 28 29 22 30 SUB-TOTAL OTHERS TOTAL
© Digital Luxury Group, 2013
europa star/ WORLDWATCHWEB 75
EDITORIAL & ADVERTISERS’ INDEX
B BaselWorld 4, 42, 43, 69 Bomberg 26-27 Breitling 54
E ETA 56, 60 F Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie 34, 46 Fossil 64 F.P. Journe 48-49 Franck Muller 4
K Kering 34 René Kriegbaum 43-44 L La Joux-Perret 42 Louis Moinet 41 Louis Vuitton 45 LVMH 4
C Carl F. Bucherer 23 Cartier 18-19 Chanel COVER I, 12-15 Chaumet 40 Chopard 40 Citizen 47 Cousins 76 D Darakjian Jewelers 70 Darko 45 DeWitt 16-17, 41 Digital Luxury Group 10, 74-75
J Jaquet Droz 40
M, N Maxell 78 Montblanc 36-37, 72 Nivarox 56 O Omega 56-57, 62, 63 Orient Watch Company 53
G Greubel Forsey 20-22 Grieb & Benzinger 44 GTE 4
P Panerai 5, 30-31 Parmigiani 54 Patek Philippe 2-3 Piaget 28-29
H Hamilton 54 Hermès 42-43 Hublot 62
Roger W. Smith 50-51 Rolex COVER II, 1, 72 Ronda 64 S Seiko 52 Shinola 64, 66-68, 70 SIHH 4, 25, 33 Swarovski 45 Swatch Group 60 T TAG Heuer 52, 54-55 Tapper’s Jewelers 71 Technew 59 Timecrafters COVER III Tissot 11 Titoni 39 Tudor 8-9 V, Z Vacheron Constantin 58, 72-73 Van Cleef & Arpels 24-25, 45 Zenith 38 online on www.europastar.com
online on www.europastar.com
A Audemars Piguet 13
R Raymond Weil 38 Richard Mille 7, 34-35 Roger Dubuis 32-33
I Ice-Watch 65 Inhorgenta 77
i d worldwide
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February 14 – 17, 2014 MeSSe MÜNCHeN INTerNaTIONaL INHOrGeNTa.COM INHOrGeNTa-bLOG.COM
NEW, SINCE JANUARY 2014 Europa Starâ€™s website has been fully redesigned using the latest RWD (Responsive Web Design) technology. Regardless of the device used to view it, whether a smartphone, tablet, laptop, notebook or desktop computer, the new website adapts automatically to the screen and its resolution. Text, image, video and advertising are arranged flexibly and their size adapted automatically to offer every visitor the best possible viewing experience. Enjoy our fully revamped contents at europastar.com with the latest watch news, in-depth articles, analyses and editorials as well as our impressive archives and exhaustive directory of over 500 international brands.
MUSEUMS, CLOCKS, PLANES and a shirt D. Malcolm Lakin One of the problems of semiretirement is that you have so much time to do things that there is a tendency to forget organisation with the result that, despite the best will in the world, you no longer seem to have enough hours in the day to do all the things you promised yourself you would do when you retired. However, if you have a partner that is ultra-organised in her daily life you don’t have to think about planning anything since it’s done for you. Kate is such a person. A short time ago she mumbled something about making a trip to New York to see her latest grandson and before I could find the time to look at my diary (I still use a real diary in which you actually write) I was comfortably ensconced in a seat on a British Airways flight to New York. I’m not going to tell you the somewhat unusual name the newcomer has been lumbered with, suffice it to say it sounds like a legal tender allied to a saint, but after oohing and aahing appropriately for a few days as we watched him being fed, burped and changed, we took the ferry from Brooklyn where they live to East 34th Street and made our way to the hustle and bustle of mid-town Manhattan, spent some time shopping then paid a visit to MOMA – the Museum of Modern Art – to see the exhibition of the early paintings of the surrealist René Magritte. However, just off the main hall I was somewhat surprised to see a huge clock (1). I had the feeling of déjà vu, which wasn’t surprising since I learned that it is one of six large-scale clocks created by Ferretti, the production designer for Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo which is set
80 LAKIN@LARGE / europa star
in a 19th century Paris train station. The clock is based on an illustration in Brian Selznick’s graphic novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007), which in turn was inspired by a clock in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris – which was, of course, once a train station. One of the clever sales ploys of museums is that you generally pass through the museum shop on the way out and at MOMA I discovered four other clocks that, according to the salesman I spoke with, sell particularly well. The first was the Nelson Wall Clock (multi-colored balls) by George Nelson (2) which was alongside the Timesphere Clock by Gideon Dagan (3); the 5 O’Clock Wall Clock by Tibor and Maira Kalman (4) and finally, I’m pleased to say was the Swiss Railway Clock by Hans Hilfiker (5). Which brings to mind the story about three salesmen boasting of their sales prowess. The first said that he was so good he sold
a colour television to a blind man. Not to be outdone the second claimed to have sold a hi-fi stereo system to a deaf man. The third boasted of his sale of a cuckoo clock to a blonde lady. Somewhat surprised at this mundane sale the two men asked what was so clever about that. The third salesman smiled and said, “I also sold her ten kilos of bird seed!” Be that as it may, after vainly trying to find the museum where they have all the heads and arms from the statues that are in all the other museums, we left New York on the return flight to London where, because my event manager was no longer with me, I managed to miss my flight to Geneva by queuing in the wrong place. When I finally boarded another flight it was turbulence all the way and I was reminded of a story about the pilot of a passenger plane who suddenly announced that the plane was going to crash. A woman leapt from her seat, stripped naked, turned to the other passengers and said, “If I’m going to die I want to die feeling like a woman. Is there anyone here man enough to make me feel like a woman? A man stood up, pulled off his shirt and threw it at her saying, “Here, iron this!” Well you’ve got to laugh haven’t you? A very Healthy and Happy New Year to you all! p
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