Once upon a time, a buried treasure that risked to be forgotten. In a little factory in Tramelan, a little town in the Jura Bernese, an antique art capable of giving strong emotions that should have never been forgotten. The passion of an Italian family for this art recreated the magic group of expert hands who today produce Armand Nicolet timepieces faithful to the tradition and to the centennial knowledge of the Maison. Today in the historical factory, a limited number of watches are produced, a quantity which allows the maximum care for the engineering, the production and the meticulous finishing of each particular detail. The story and the adventure began more than a century ago and still continue ...
History of watches and of Armand Nicolet Wrist watch market 1.1 H
Since the ancient times watches have been made with the purpose to organize life’s activities but they didn’t have the precision and reliability that we are used to today. In the XVII century it was thought that a watch could be made more precise and reliable so that it could be used to determine longitude in navigation. The research and innovation led to the first marine chronometers and subsequently to wristwatches as we know them today.
Swiss tradition of Watch M aking. Technical Difficulties pecify the
A mechanical watch is composed of hundreds of little metal components worked on with extreme precision and carefully assembled in a sophisticated and harmonious mechanism. In spite of the accuracy of the work, the precision of the watch is continuously influenced by various physical factors: the metals that alter their sizes according to the changes in temperature, the friction and the fluency of the lubricants that change according to the temperature, the humidity and the position in the space of the mechanism, etc… Centuries of research in Switzerland have brought the new alloys and new processes of production that allow the excellent results achieved today by mechanical watches in terms of reliability and precision. For these reasons high quality mechanical watches are known throughout the world as SWISS MADE.
History of A rmand Nicolet
The story of Armand Nicolet begins around 1875 in Tramelan, Switzerland, a little town in the Bernese Jura. At that time, the region of Tramelan was mostly agricultural. Armand Nicolet, son of a watchmaker, was passionate for his father’s vocation and, after a brilliant apprenticeship, he set up his “Atelier d’Horlogerie”. In 1902 he affirmed his technical maturity by producing a pocket watch with “guilloché” rose gold case, enamel dial, single button chronographic function, complete calendar, repeating hours, quarter hours and minutes.
During those years, Armand Nicolet also refined his technical skills by doing important studies on design that would influence his future work. His watches, masterpieces of pure beauty, quality and precision are still to be found in Nicolet SA’s museum and continue to arouse interest among international collectors. When he died in 1939, his son Willy assumed the reins of the family enterprise and developed it to be one of the most important production facilities in the region. During the first half of the 20th century, Tramelan was specialised in the production of movements and complete watches and around 1950 it became the third pole of Swiss watch-making industry employing around 800 trained watch-makers in 105 factories. In those years, in the historic head office of Tramelan, the company Nicolet regulated and basically finished the whole production of Venus movements, whose components were assembled in different sophisticated calibres with excellent finishing: from the Complete Calendars to the Chronographs with “column wheel” including the Venus 175 with split second. In the 1950s Nicolet produced also the patented “Ajustor”,
an ingenious mechanism, that when applied to the movement, allowed its regulation without having to open the watch. By the end of the 1970s Nicolet was also hit by the crisis of Swiss horology industry and was forced to reorganise and to cooperate with prestigious brands for whom it produced sophisticated movements and mechanisms. In this way Nicolet preserved its knowhow and production skills.
In 1987 Willy Nicolet by chance met Mr. Rolando Braga, an Italian entrepreneur who had been active in the field of horology for 20 years with important achievements in design of wrist watches. The encounter proved to be strategic and was the catalyst of the cooperation between the extraordinary Swiss technical skill and Italian creativity. Few years have been necessary to well organise the Nicolet group in all its departments. After the fantastic craftsmanship of the factory was restored, the new lines started being produced. With their beauty they exalted the extraordinary value of the Armand Nicolet timepieces and the brand aroused to a new life. At Baselworld 2000 the new Armand Nicolet collection was introduced to the market and immediately gained a worldwide success. Today our watchmakers, engineers, operators, all work together respecting the tradition as the precious artisan savoir-faire is alive and dynamic in our factory and enables the production of truly valuable watches. The most advanced watch making technology assists every step of the production process and works side by side with some rare machinery (some dating back to the beginning of the 20th century), as they are irreplaceable when it comes to achieve certain artistic finishing on the movements.
Worldwide Market of Wristwatches.
The worldwide market of wristwatches constitutes about 1 billion pieces sold per year. Mechanical watches are lower than 1% of the total but represent by themselves about 50% of the value. The total number of mechanical watches exported out of Switzerland in 2007 was about 3.500.000, a quantity that is difficult to increase due to the low number of highly specialized watch makers who are indispensable for the production of mechanical movements.
Masterpieces Diffusion Brescia Italy
Holding of Nicolet Group Zoug Switzerland
Factory Tramelan Switzerland
Present Production of Armand Nicolet
Only mechanical watches of limited production, resulting from the know-how and special technical skills of elite specialists who have worked for the Maison in generations past. These watches bear excellent handmade finishing, from the movement, produced in various complications, to the rest of the components such as dials, cases, straps, buckles etcâ€Ś
Armand Nicolet watches have the DNA of the prestigious most refined Swiss watch making but are reinterpreted by our Italian designers. Today the watches that were produced in the past are meticulously studied by our Maison in order to recuperate their splendid handmade craftsmanship also in the daily production. Great care is dedicated to the ergonomics of the watch that must be worn with maximum comfort.
2.3.1 Manufacture Collections These series feature only original vintage movements that we have restored and tuned. With these models we have mastered our technical research and preciousness of the finishing of the movements. These collections are produced in Limited Series as the quantity is determined by the number of vintage movements still available. The year of production of the movement and the number of the series is engraved on the plate of the movement and is clearly seen through the opening on the dial. The uniqueness, the beauty, and the exceptional technical value together with the historical charm of the Limited Editions are the reasons why they have extraordinary success on the market.
2.3.2 Contemporary Collection These families represent a complete range of Men’s and Women’s mechanical watches. Armand Nicolet was one of the first prestigious watch brands to dedicate to women an entire line of complicated mechanical watches with refined finishings. All of the models of the contemporary collection have timeless harmonious clean lines and are destined to people of every age. They feature ETA based movements that are modified, elaborated, and refinished according to
our project’s specifications. Each line that composes the Contemporary Collection has a range of different versions capable of satisfying the desires of the most demanding consumer in terms of refinement and technical complications (Complete Calendar, Moon & Date, Chronograph, Big Date Chronograph, etc…) or of the simple “Day & Date” lovers.
2.3.3 Level of Finishing In comparison to other brands, Armand Nicolet’s care for details and finishings is clearly visible in the Contemporary Collection but in the Manufacture Collection it is pushed to the extreme thanks to our technical and artistic capability that allows us to reach levels of refinement that are at the top of the best Swiss watch making.
2.3.4 Quality of the Materials and Components Armand Nicolet uses only the best materials, such as stainless steel 316L, 18 Kt gold, diamonds with a perfect brilliant cut and Top Wesselton color –vs-si quality, top quality leathers and alligator skins for straps. The components are always of excellent workmanship. The crystals are made only of sapphire and have undergone antiglare treatment on both side. The bracelets have a regulation system with two security screws, just like the buckles. The hands are diamond cut and the luminous used on the dials and hands doesn’t emit radiation. The Guilloché patterns on the dials of the men’s lines are real art pieces and only Armand Nicolet can boast to have handcrafted Guilloché on the dials of the women’s collections, preciously decorated by delicate inserts in mother of pearl.
Positioning of the brand Armand Nicolet
ositioning of the
Even if each Armand Nicolet piece is a result of a limited and sophisticated handcrafted production, the quality and price ratio is always exceptionally favorable for the consumer.
onsumers Perception. A rmand Nicolet and the Principal Brands on the M arket
The following table illustrates the result of a research recently made on the perception of the consumers for the most important watch brands. Armand Nicolet is perceived by consumers as a historical brand of which they appreciate the technical ability, creativity, and vitality. They are collectors and connoisseurs of watches and think of AN as a prestigious brand in constant development. Consumers who are less technically prepared consider Armand Nicolet a brand of high quality thanks to the aesthetics, harmony, and refinement of the product.
We continuously receive from around the world numerous testimonials of appreciation for our work. They are people who have found emotions transmitted by an object that is the result of the rich history and tradition of Armand Nicolet. Consumers (real owners of our future) that consider the uniqueness and the quality of Armand Nicolet place it amongst the most prestigious brands of Swiss watch making. Whoever wears an Armand Nicolet timepiece, is the proud owner of a rare and discrete treasure that is the result of a history of passion for watch making that has lived on for more than 100 years.
Distribution of Armand Nicolet
In a market where the distribution of most of the main brands of Swiss watch making is controlled by big groups, Armand Nicolet is an independent brand diffused in the world by a distribution network made up of exclusive sales points. This traditional and proven system guarantees important profit margins for Armand Nicoletâ€™s selected distributors/retailers that belong to the network.
Points of the Brand A rmand Nicolet etail
Retailers who dedicate important spaces to high quality mechanical watches with first class clientele looking for exclusive products that have special characteristics. They must be stores that guarantee Armand Nicolet an adequate visibility. It is the emotional impact that the consumers have from the product that determines the purchase of it. An accurate well seen display will provide more of an emotional impact on the consumer.
A rmand Nicolet Sales Point
Armand Nicolet completes the range offered by the retail point by inserting a niche brand of sophisticated and exclusive watches. A brand that offers a product that can satisfy the demand of the consumers who are searching for a unique original object, branching out from the usual mass choices affirming his or her own individuality and personality. Armand Nicolet is a brand that highlights professionalism, preciousness, technical ability, culture and art for he who offers it. The comparison for Armand Nicolet with the best Swiss production is always positive because it highlights the exclusive characteristics and the favourable quality/price ratio.
Type of A rmand Nicolet
Generally well cultured individuals between the ages of 30 and 65 years who have a medium to high income, who are able to make independent choices that are not conditioned by the modern day trends and intense advertising. Individuals who have a passion for horology and have the pleasure to own an exclusive product that are the precious results of his ability in choosing.
Point of strenght of Armand Nicolet
Marketing support of Armand Nicolet
Time of a Mechanical Watch
A mechanical watch of quality is destined to last for decades, maybe centuries. Today it is common to see perfectly working old mechanical watches that once belonged to fathers or grandfathers being worn with pride and pleasure. There is an important market of used mechanical wrist watches characterized by high prices that grow continuously to the point that in some cases they are subject to be fought for at auctions.
Pleasure to H ave a Product M anufactured in a Limited Quantity
The careful handmade finishing and the limited production make each Armand Nicolet timepiece an object that arouses for he who wears it a gratifying emotion. As a consequence, these watches are destined to constantly appreciate their value in time.
Support M aterial (POS)
There are illustrations in the Brand Book of various materials available to support the presentation of Armand Nicolet inside the retail point. The watch boxes, displays, trays, and collectors boxes, etcâ€Ś This material is available for free for the retail point.
A dvertising C ampaign of A rmand Nicolet ommunication and
Even if Armand Nicolet isnâ€™t noticed for its mass advertising campaign, our communication is well aimed and we are gratified with flattering results. Our advertisements are present throughout the world and they have correctly hit the target of our product. Proof is in the admiration we are honoured by with continuous contacts from the public and consumers. There are various examples of ads in the brand book in diverse countries of the world.
S05 Collection. Automatic Movement Complete Calendar. Titanium D.L.C. Black Treatment.
Fundamental elements for the success of Armand Nicolet 7.1 A
Quality of the Product
(These are both for the distributor to easily resolve and confront in collaboration with Armand Nicolet).
(Ability of Armand Nicolet).
Mechanical skeleton movement AN 0711S. 150 piece Limited Edition series, featuring a beautifully upgraded original movement from 1957.
L08 Collection. Small Seconds. Stainless steel case, bezel set with 74 Top Wesselton,black dial.
LS8 Collection. Small Seconds .Stainless Steel case 316L with 18KT rose gold bezel & crown.
Mechanical skeleton movement AN 0711A. 50 piece Limited Edition series, featuring a beautifully upgraded original movement from 1957.
The quality of the display in the window, the ads inside magazines geared towards the target of Armand Nicolet, the dedicated events etcâ€Ś. (it is the distributor that arranges the numerous POS materials furnished for free by Armand Nicolet. If the distributor informs us of an AD to be published, then the artwork can be provided promptly by Armand Nicolet).
During and A fter Sales
Service to give in 2 phases. First fase: the sellerâ€™s ability to know the product well and know how to explain in detail the product to the consumer. Second fase: the organization and the management of after sales service
It is fundamental to always have communication between the distributor and Armand Nicolet. The distributor must communicate the situation of the market and other important news regarding Armand Nicolet. The sales report must be filled in monthly and sent with the Armand Nicolet sales figures. This data allows better planning of the necessary production to satisfy the requests of the market. (task of distributor in collaboration with Armand Nicolet)