JEAN-PAUL GIRARDIN, VICE-PRES­I­DENT OF BRE­ITLING

Bespoke - - EMPEROR 1688 -

How would you de­scribe Bre­itling? As our motto says, we pro­duce in­stru­ments for pro­fes­sion­als. There­fore, we look for pre­ci­sion, func­tion­al­ity and a strong de­sign and all three of these as­pects re­quire con­stant in­no­va­tion.

How do you bal­ance be­tween tra­di­tion, or the legacy of a brand, and push­ing for­ward with in­no­va­tion? I don’t think tra­di­tion and in­no­va­tion are a para­dox for Bre­itling, since in­no­va­tion is our tra­di­tion. We started with the stop­watch and the first in­de­pen­dent pusher in the 1930s, then de­vel­oped the Nav­itimer for airforce pi­lots in the 1940s, which then be­came avail­able for civil avi­a­tion af­ter World War II. Even if the ma­te­ri­als have changed, our Nav­itimer is still the most im­por­tant avi­a­tor watch on the mar­ket to­day [and the only wrist­watch chrono­graph in con­tin­u­ous pro­duc­tion for more than 50 years]. How does Bre­itling an­tic­i­pate trends? I would say we fol­low our own, in terms of new ma­te­ri­als, aes­thet­ics and cre­at­ing new me­chan­i­cal move­ments. It’s a ques­tion of evolv­ing and re­spond­ing to mar­ket needs. For ex­am­ple, the B55 we launched in the US last year isn’t a smart­watch per se but it is meant to be user-friendly in its con­nect­ed­ness, and it’s what the mar­ket wanted. We are still in­creas­ing pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity to­day to re­spond to the de­mand. Also, in 2009, we cre­ated the B01 cal­i­bre in-house, a 47-jewel self­wind­ing chrono­graph move­ment fea­tur­ing a mod­ern struc­ture, col­umn-wheel con­struc­tion and a ver­ti­cal cou­pling-clutch with over 70 hours of re­serve power from a sin­gle bar­rel which was more than just a mar­ket­ing tool, it was a very im­por­tant five-year project that will even­tu­ally al­low Bre­itling to cease us­ing mod­i­fied ETA move­ments and pro­duce ev­ery­thing it needs in-house.

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