The in­dus­try’s top man­age­ment and cre­ative visionaries ex­pound on com­pany ideals, goals and global trends

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In­dus­try lead­ers ex­pound on com­pany ideals, goals and global trends


Mem­ber of the Board of Di­rec­tors at Audemars Piguet, on what is lack­ing in the watch in­dus­try to­day

“Good cus­tomer ser­vice. When you spend a cer­tain amount, you need good cus­tomer ser­vice. I also want to see more truth, trans­parency and less non­sense at the end of the day; I want cus­tomers to know what’s real and what’s not. Cus­tomers should know why they are spend­ing top dol­lar on some­thing. They should be able to ex­plain to their friends why Audemars Piguet is priced the way it is. This means more train­ing for our staff and more bou­tiques — there are no short­cuts to this.”


Chanel’s in­ter­na­tional watch di­rec­tor, on the brand’s in­flu­ence on male buy­ers

“Twenty per­cent of our sales are from mas­cu­line mod­els. We are def­i­nitely a fem­i­nine brand but a spe­cial one be­cause mas­culin­ity is very much present in Chanel. From a mar­ket­ing per­spec­tive, we never project de­mo­graphic fig­ures; we cre­ate watches and it hap­pens that 90 per­cent of them are fem­i­nine. One day, we may have a cre­ation that en­joys great suc­cess with male cus­tomers. That be­ing said, it’s far more nat­u­ral for us to make fem­i­nine watches. We will not cre­ate a mas­cu­line cre­ation just for the sake of do­ing so be­cause hon­estly, there are enough women on the planet.”


CEO of Mont­blanc, on its pric­ing strat­egy

“In the present price po­si­tion­ing and mar­ket seg­ment that we oc­cupy, what is of­fered is not at the same level as what our clients should have. I don’t ac­cept that you can be less cre­ative with a cus­tomer’s first fine watch­mak­ing time­piece. I know that com­pli­cated watches can cre­ate emo­tion and plea­sure, and I think we should be able to de­liver the same feel­ings to our clients, even at our price po­si­tion­ing.”


CEO of A. Lange & Söhne, on be­ing a ver­ti­cally in­te­grated watch man­u­fac­ture

“We do our en­grav­ing in-house and have in­vested quite heav­ily over the last three to four years in enamel pro­duc­tion. As for other ar­eas, such as case-mak­ing for ex­am­ple, such an in­vest­ment would not make sense be­cause we only make a few thou­sand watches per year. Be­cause of our size, we have to ac­cept that cer­tain parts can be pro­duced bet­ter by another party that has a fair chance to utilise the ma­chines to get a proper re­turn of in­vest­ment. We would rather put our money where we have a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage in.”


CEO of Gi­rard-Per­re­gaux and Sowind Group, on the im­por­tance of pre­serv­ing and show­cas­ing the man­u­fac­ture’s her­itage

“One of our most im­por­tant [mar­ket­ing] tools in the fu­ture will be our mu­seum. We’ve had it since the be­gin­ning but we didn’t use it much in the past and it was ab­sent from our strat­egy the last few years. The value of Gi­rard-Per­re­gaux is that as a brand, it is 225-years-old! It’s not enough to just show prod­ucts these days. You have to be more cre­ative and use the prod­uct to ex­plain and show­case your real his­tory.”


Pres­i­dent & CEO of Zenith, on the dif­fer­ence be­tween tech­nol­o­gy­driven time­keep­ers and fine watches

“A lot of young peo­ple don’t wear watches any­more. I think the main dif­fer­ence be­tween a tech­nol­ogy-driven time­keeper and a fine watch is that one is more about in­for­ma­tion, while the other is more about emo­tion. I like my iPhone but I don’t bring it to bed when I sleep, nor do I think that it is a part of me. [Watches] are dif­fer­ent. I sleep with my watch close by — very close by. It’s a far more emo­tional prod­uct.”


Co-founder and chief de­signer of Ur­w­erk, about de­sign­ing the brand’s first of­fi­cial ladies time­piece

“It’s a very dif­fer­ent job when you de­sign some­thing for the op­po­site sex. It’s chal­leng­ing be­cause you have to con­sciously think about it — you can’t just do it. In­stead of telling my­self to just make some­thing as cool as pos­si­ble, I needed to think about what this watch could mean for a lady. I had to think about what ladies would like and I ended up strug­gling with clichéd ideas. It was an in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause I had to dis­cover the woman in­side of me.”


Vice-pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager of Tif­fany & Co. Swiss Watches Sagl, on Tif­fany’s watch arm

“We are telling every­body we want to be a real lux­ury house and to do that, we need other cat­e­gories — watches is go­ing to be the most im­por­tant one. We’ve al­ways been mak­ing watches, but the way we’re go­ing back to mak­ing them is dif­fer­ent from any other at­tempt that has been made be­fore. We founded a new watch com­pany in Switzer­land and we have pro­fes­sion­als that we hired to take care of ev­ery sin­gle step — from pro­duc­tion to ship­ment. I can safely say that we are hir­ing new staff al­most ev­ery day be­cause we want to keep up with this ven­ture. The Swiss watch en­tity is run sep­a­rately from the jewellery side; I think Switzer­land is to watches what New York is to jewellery.”


Cartier’s head of move­ment cre­ation, on the Ro­tonde de Cartier Grande Com­pli­ca­tion, the Mai­son’s most com­pli­cated wrist­watch

“This watch was our way of reach­ing out to con­nois­seurs and col­lec­tors; it is a demon­stra­tion of our ex­per­tise as a watch­maker. It was de­lib­er­ately con­structed in a clas­si­cal man­ner so we kept its size and dis­play very el­e­gant and tra­di­tional. There were no patents or in­no­va­tions filed, but it was very chal­leng­ing try­ing to com­bine the com­pli­ca­tions to­gether within the given space and find so­lu­tions that could com­pen­sate our de­ci­sion to present the watch in plat­inum.” (Though in plat­inum, its res­o­nance mea­sures 56 deci­bels at a dis­tance of 30cm.)


Cre­ative di­rec­tor of IWC Schaffhausen, on the im­por­tance of de­sign­ing watches in line with the brand’s legacy

“In many of our de­sign pro­cesses, we stud­ied our his­tory so that we could suc­cess­fully trans­late it into the fu­ture. With­out know­ing this, ev­ery de­sign would be ran­dom. As designers, it’s very im­por­tant that a beau­ti­ful prod­uct has a clear root and re­la­tion with the brand and with the func­tion­al­ity of the watch in con­text to which it was de­signed for. In my un­der­stand­ing, there’s noth­ing worse than just a ran­dom beau­ti­ful de­sign. This is not what would in­ter­est me as a de­signer.”


R&D and watch­mak­ing di­rec­tor at Roger Dubuis, on cel­e­brat­ing the man­u­fac­ture’s 20th an­niver­sary and its con­tri­bu­tions to horol­ogy

“We are pi­o­neers for a lot of things in the watch­mak­ing in­dus­try. We were the first to launch big watches; a tourbillon in a sports watch; con­tem­po­rary skele­ton watches; and dou­ble tour­bil­lons. We were the first to launch the Qu­atuor (a watch reg­u­lated by four bal­ances). We were the first to re­launch the mi­cro-ro­tor. In a lot of these ar­eas, many other brands fol­lowed our lead. We have a say­ing in French: ‘When you put your foot in an ant’s nest, all the ants move.’ For me, Roger Dubuis is like that. We came with a dif­fer­ent ap­proach, a new vi­sion and we changed the rules a bit. It’s good for the watch­mak­ing in­dus­try.”


Artis­tic and de­sign di­rec­tor at Jaeger-LeCoul­tre, on the cor­re­la­tion be­tween as­tron­omy and watch­mak­ing

“As­tron­omy was the be­gin­ning of the per­cep­tion of time. In watch­mak­ing, it was the first pre­oc­cu­pa­tion of the watch­mak­ers. They took con­scious­ness of the fact that with­out time, you don’t ex­ist. When you walk, you have a heart­beat — those are pul­sa­tions — and with­out time, there’d be no pul­sa­tions and no life. They wanted to make small mech­a­nisms to re­pro­duce this phe­nom­e­non. They de­cided to re­pro­duce the 24 hours in a day. When you take con­scious­ness of some­thing, some­times you’re afraid and you want to take con­trol. To have a watch with a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the uni­verse, you get the im­pres­sion of con­trol.”

From top: Mar­tin Frei; Ni­cola An­dreatta; Ca­role Forestier-Kasapi

From top: Wil­helm Schmid; An­to­nio Calce; Aldo Magada

From top: Oliviero Bottinelli; Ni­co­las Beau; Jérôme Lam­bert

From top: Chris­tian Knoop; Gre­gory Bruttin; Janek Deleskiewicz

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