“THE NEW RUL­ING IS FAR TOO FLEX­I­BLE … IT’S SHAME­FUL THAT SUCH A STRONG BRAND­ING AS ‘ SWISS MADE’ AC­TU­ALLY MEANS NOTH­ING TO THE END USER”

Ni­cholas Ru­daz, COO of Franck Muller

Prestige Hong Kong - Tic Talk - - PEOPLE | INSIDE VIEW -

What have been some of the high­lights for Franck Muller in 2017?

The 25th an­niver­sary of the brand, which was cel­e­brated at our head­quar­ters in Jan­uary, in May in Japan and this Septem­ber in Hong Kong, marked a mile­stone for a young and unique brand known for its com­pli­ca­tions and de­signs.

Which time­piece have you worn most this year and what makes it so spe­cial? I love wear­ing our Crazy Hours Curvex in white gold with Swiss flags on the dial. Its fun com­pli­ca­tion uses the heure sautante com­pli­ca­tion to keep a cor­rect tim­ing while hav­ing the num­bers scat­tered in a uniquely odd or­der. The Curvex shape is our DNA, our em­blem­atic shape and the com­pli­ca­tion is unique. It’s a very emo­tional watch in the sense that when I show it to friends or clients, they don’t un­der­stand how it works. It’s only when I show them how the jump­ing hand func­tions that they, too, ap­pre­ci­ate the com­pli­ca­tion.

Where did Franck Muller sell well in 2017?

The nice sur­prise of the sec­ond quar­ter is to see the busi­ness grow­ing in Hong Kong. The mar­ket is def­i­nitely ris­ing here again, and we ex­pect it to grow fur­ther in 2018.

There is an in­creas­ing num­ber of smart watches on the mar­ket. Do you fore­see any kind of rev­o­lu­tion in the me­chan­i­cal watch busi­ness in re­sponse?

A true me­chan­i­cal watch will al­ways be sought af­ter by watch col­lec­tors. The [ ap­peal of the] smart watch is short- lived, as ev­ery six months the old gen­er­a­tion is re­placed with a new tech­nol­ogy. We pre­fer to let other brands ex­ploit this mar­ket and con­cen­trate on the pu­rity of tra­di­tional watch­mak­ing.

To get the younger gen­er­a­tion on board to be­come Franck Muller afi­ciona­dos, are there any spe­cific re­leases aimed at the youth mar­ket? The Van­guard case ( which launched in 2014) is sportier and ap­peals to a younger au­di­ence, with a start­ing price that’s more af­ford­able for younger gen­er­a­tions.

What de­fines a watch for you – is there ever an over­lap be­tween me­chan­i­cal and “smart” time­keep­ers?

A watch is a time­keeper to be worn with pride and joy on the wrist. A me­chan­i­cal time­piece en­cap­su­lates a long his­tory of savoir- faire. Of course, there are many dif­fer­ent ways to show the time, and a smart watch is just an­other pos­si­bil­ity.

What are you most look­ing for­ward to in 2018?

Next year will be the 15th an­niver­sary of the Crazy Hours watch and to mark this oc­ca­sion, we will be pre­sent­ing some new, unique colours for our south­east Asian and Hong Kong mar­kets. In 2018, we will also ex­tend two build­ings to of­fer 16,000 square me­tres of ad­di­tional pro­duc­tion space at our Watch­land head­quar­ters in Gen­thod. We’re also very ex­cited to be pre­sent­ing some won­der­ful nov­el­ties this Jan­uary at our World Pre­sen­ta­tion of Haute Hor­logerie ( WPHH) event.

What’s your opin­ion on the new “Swiss made” 60 per­cent rule? The new rul­ing is far too flex­i­ble, which en­ables some man­u­fac­tur­ers to pro­duce all their com­po­nents in Asia at cheaper costs be­fore mount­ing the move­ments in Switzer­land. It’s shame­ful that such a strong brand­ing as “Swiss Made” ac­tu­ally means noth­ing to the end user. In­deed, the con­sumer is de­ceived into buy­ing a prod­uct seem­ingly of good qual­ity, but in fact, the ori­gin of the prod­uct is from an­other con­ti­nent. At Franck Muller, we are fully ver­ti­calised, and all our com­po­nents are made in Switzer­land. All Swiss watch­mak­ers should be proud to state that their watches are made in Switzer­land, if that is in­deed the case.

What fac­tors en­sure a watch re­tains its pop­u­lar­ity over the years?

Its cre­ativ­ity and de­sign. As for watch­mak­ers, it’s their ded­i­ca­tion to qual­ity.

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