Quiet Mas­tery

CEO Yann Ga­mard is se­cure in Glashütte Orig­i­nal’s iden­tity as the man­u­fac­tory de­buts a new core cal­i­bre. By Yong Wei Jian

Men's Folio (Singapore) - - Time -

Tell us about the new Se­na­tor Ex­cel­lence move­ment line.

It’s a new mile­stone for the com­pany. We’re good at de­vel­op­ing and pro­duc­ing com­pli­cated watches, but this year we de­cided to com­pletely re­think a sim­ple au­to­matic move­ment. And be­cause we’re a man­u­fac­tory, we’re able to sit ev­ery­one in­volved (de­sign, de­vel­op­ment, pro­duc­tion, and even af­ter-ser­vices) down to re­solve the Cal­i­bre 36 com­pletely. The feat for us as a high- end watchmaker is to bring the per­fect watch to fruition, and we man­aged to do so with many tech­ni­cal im­prove­ments. In fact, we’re so proud of this new move­ment that we even cre­ated a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process whereby we test ev­ery in­di­vid­ual watch as if it were a chronome­ter. We be­lieve con­sumers will ap­pre­ci­ate it be­cause that’s what they ex­pect from real “Made in Ger­many” prod­ucts.

Why do an in- house cer­ti­fi­ca­tion?

It’s not an ex­ter­nal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion be­cause there’s no ca­pac­ity for it in Ger­many. There’s one in­sti­tu­tion that does chronome­ter cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, but it’s just one guy, so even if we did small vol­umes, he wouldn’t be able to man­age. Be­sides, we don’t need the “chronome­ter” la­bel; it’s just our high­end move­ment that we qual­ify at the level of a chronome­ter. That’s not to say we think we’re bet­ter than the in­sti­tu­tion, just that we do our own qual­ity checks on our own watches. No pre­ten­sion. Typ­i­cal East Ger­mans, you know – low pro­file but high re­sults. We don’t like to make a lot of noise and pre­fer to man­u­fac­ture beau­ti­ful pieces dis­creetly.

Does be­ing dis­creet af­fect the per­cep­tion of the brand?

The im­age of the brand has not changed; we are a true man­u­fac­tory, and just that. It’s all about the peo­ple who work in our man­u­fac­tory. We’ve sur­vived 170 years of tor­mented his­tory (to say the least), dur­ing which we en­hanced our art in watch­mak­ing in order to race with – or against – the Swiss to own a pres­ence in the in­dus­try. That’s what we en­joy do­ing, and what we do proudly. Our main aim is for peo­ple to come visit us in Ger­many, to see what’s spe­cial or dif­fer­ent for them­selves; our man­u­fac­tory visit pro­gramme is unique in that it en­ables you to un­der­stand ev­ery step in the mak­ing of our watches.

What makes Glashütte Orig­i­nal truly orig­i­nal?

We’re a Ger­man al­ter­na­tive to high- end Swiss watch­mak­ing, at a sin­cere price. You get a lot of watch for the money, more so than most of the brands who pre­tend to be higher than what they are (due to a brand or watchmaker name). At the same time, we’re just a vil­lage name, but we en­com­pass ev­ery pro­fes­sion that is meant to cre­ate a watch within our crib. That’s how we func­tion.

You’ve ex­panded your pres­ence in Asia with new bou­tiques open­ing in Sin­ga­pore and China.

We cre­ate hubs in iconic cites, and Sin­ga­pore for us will hope­fully be one for Malaysia and Thai­land as well. Asia’s an im­por­tant re­gion for us, not only be­cause of the sheer pop­u­la­tion, but also be­cause the peo­ple are cu­ri­ous and com­pe­tent, more so than in the old con­ti­nent. In China, peo­ple are on the In­ter­net or on Wechat, which makes them much more in­formed; the global Chi­nese com­mu­nity is very much dy­namic and that’s some­thing we’ve un­der­stood. I think Asians are in­ter­ested in our own good- look­ing Ger­man watches; they don’t want us to pro­duce some­thing specif­i­cally for them. That’d be like buy­ing a silk roll from China, but made in Ger­many – it doesn’t work. Ev­ery con­ti­nent has its own fa­cil­i­ties.

What sets a Ger­man time­piece apart?

First of all, be­ing Ger­man is an at­tribute in it­self, be­cause there’s the ex­pec­ta­tion about (Ger­man) qual­ity and ex­per­tise. Then there’s clas­si­cal el­e­gance and in­no­va­tion, done in a sleek man­ner. The Glashütte Orig­i­nal watch is com­pli­cated on the in­side, but sim­ple to use on the out­side. And rather than a big bling thing, it’ll be some­thing that breathes eas­ily, so that you’re happy to wear it. Last year’s move­ment for the Se­na­tor Cos­mopo­lite was very com­pli­cated, but it can be man­aged with a sin­gle crown. It’s the same this year with the Cal­i­bre 36 – sleek and el­e­gant, with the abil­ity to add on fea­tures like the panoramic date, moon phase and per­pet­ual cal­en­dar in the fu­ture.

It’s the idea of mak­ing com­pli­cated things sim­ple.

Yes! We also have a bit of a play­ground in vin­tage watches with the Six­ties and Seven­ties col­lec­tions. Ev­ery now and then, we come up with fancy di­als and great shapes to ex­press the fact that we be­long to this part of world his­tory. So the spectrum of Glashütte Orig­i­nal is quite com­plete; it’s ba­si­cally the en­tire Ger­man watch in­dus­try, not just a small niche.

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