Tag Archives: Swiss watchmaker

Citizen Acquires Frédérique Constant

Citizen Watch Co., Ltd has acquired in whole the Frédérique Constant Group, including its namesake brand and its subsidiary watch brands, including the sporty Alpina and the high-end Ateliers DeMonaco.

This comes on the heels of the Japanese firm’s acquisition of Swiss movement maker La Joux-Perret and its subsidiary brand Arnold & Son, giving it a more solid footing in the traditional Swiss watchmaking world. With Frédérique Constant and Alpina, Citizen hopes to “augment its portfolio of brands and occupy the  space in the markets where some of our competitors operate and further expand the presence of the Citizen brand in the market.”

Frédérique Constant, founded by Peter and Aletta Stas in 1988, and has been heavily investing in the development and manufacturing of its own in-house movements, making the firm highly valuable to Citizen. Citizen’s large distribution network will arguably result in a mutually beneficial exchange of technologies and know-how, resulting in a much stronger international presence and more diversified product range.

The Swiss watchmaking company is one of the last wholly family-owned Swiss watch manufacturers, and it was reported that no one in the family was interested in taking over the management. Its present management personnel and staff will reportedly continue to hold their positions following this acquisition.

Interview: Nicola Andreatta for Tiffany & Co.

As the vice president and general manager of Swiss watches for Tiffany & Co., Nicola Andreatta is determined to give the brand’s watchmaking arm its second wind. Through approaching the brand’s deep history and understanding the demographic for the timepieces, Andreatta is keen on returning a Tiffany & Co. watch to its elegant and simple form.

You can check out the full interview over at Men’s Folio.

SIHH 2016

Nine Independent Watchmakers to Join SIHH 2016 in Geneva

SIHH 2016

Nine independent brands have joined the upcoming edition of the SIHH while one brand is leaving the fold of standing exhibitors.

The 2016 edition of the SIHH sees Christophe Claret, De Bethune, H. Moser & Cie, Hautlence, HYT, Kari Voutilainen, Laurent Ferrier, MB&F, and Urwerk exhibiting at the first big watch show of the year.

The booths of the nine new exhibitors will be in a “salon within the salon” boasting approximately 1,500 square meters of exhibition space. This space was previously used by Ralph Lauren, who is leaving the SIHH to concentrate its resources on the U.S. market.

These independent brands will join the roster of 15 Richemont and invited brands which already includes A.Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Greubel Forsey, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, Panerai, Parmigiani, Piaget, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis, Van Cleef & Arpels and Vacheron Constantin.

The 26th edition of Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) will be held from January 18th until 22nd 2016.

 

Longines Hangzhou StoreLongines Hangzhou Store

Swiss watchmakers clock record exports in 2014

Tag Heuer Luxury Watch

Swiss watch exports swelled to a record high in 2014, customs data showed Tuesday, but the data doesn’t augur well for the future as they slowed in December, in particular in the key Chinese market.

Swiss watch exports last year ticked in at a historic 22.2 billion Swiss francs ($23.9 billion), the Customs Administration said.

The 1.9 percent increase from 2013 matched the growth rate that year.

After a sharp slowdown in 2009, Swiss watch exports have hit new heights year after year, with the sector long seeming immune to the economic and financial crises rocking the globe thanks to Chinese consumers’ appetite for luxury goods.

But after three years of double-digit growth, exports to China took a hit amid efforts to crack down on corruption in that country by banning extravagant gifts like prestigious watches to public officials.

The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry noted that despite reaching a new record last year, 2014 closed on a negative note for watch exporters,

“In December their monthly value was 1.8 billion francs, down 2.5 percent on the previous year despite one extra working day,” the federation said.

Exports to Hong Kong, a key market for Swiss watchmakers, fell 10.3 percent as the city continued to feel the impact of widespread pro-democracy demonstrations in the preceding months. And exports to the vital Chinese market meanwhile fell 27.2 percent in December.

Longines Hangzhou Store

“Following over a year of destocking, there have been no major signs of improvement in Swiss watch exports, in particular into Greater China,” Citigroup analyst Thomas Chauvet said in a note.

The comparative weakness in December is at least partially linked to the Chinese calendar, since watch shops in the country were stocking up at the end of 2013 for the Chinese New Year, which fell on January 31 last year, he said.

This year, the holiday will be celebrated later, on February 19, so the demand was lower at the end of 2014.

The analyst meanwhile noted with concern that the FHS had not yet provided any outlook for exports in 2015.

This year got off to a tough start for the watch industry, after the Swiss central bank suddenly decided to allow the Swiss franc to float, sending it skyrocketing nearly 30 percent against the euro in a matter of minutes.

As exports account for most sales, this could hit Swiss watchmakers hard. They must now sell far more many watches or raise prices in euros and dollars to cover their costs at home.

employee of Swiss watchmaker Piaget

Swiss watchmakers to raise prices after franc increase

employee of Swiss watchmaker Piaget

Switzerland’s luxury watchmakers are considering raising prices on their timepieces in the eurozone by up to seven percent due to the ballooning franc, but they are in no rush, industry insiders hinted Tuesday.

Watchmakers gathered at a luxury watch show in Geneva this week were eager in public to put on a strong face after the Swiss central bank’s shock decision on Thursday to let the franc float.

“We will find a way to adapt,” said Swiss luxury group Richemont, which counts Cartier and Piaget among its 16 luxury watch brands.

The industry, which exports nearly 95 percent of its pricey products to areas where they are paid for in euros or dollars, is especially exposed to the impact of the swelling franc.

The Swiss central bank stunned the world Thursday by abandoning its bid to hold down the value of the Swiss franc, scrapping the minimum rate of 1.20 francs against the euro. On Tuesday the franc was trading around parity with the European common currency.

If watchmakers adjust their prices to the new reality, the price tag on their goods in countries using the euro would leap 15-20 percent overnight.

Executives from the big brands were reluctant to talk about the issue or to discuss what measures they might be forced to take.

Behind the cover of anonymity, some however acknowledged estimates that prices in the neighbouring eurozone should be raised 5.0-7.0 percent.

But all insisted it was too early to act, and that they would wait and see how the exchange rate evolved.

Raymond Weil

Swiss watchmaker Raymond Weil dies at 87

Raymond Weil, one of the great innovators of the Swiss watch industry and founder of the watch brand of the same name, has died at 87.

Raymond Weil

He made his name by putting the luxury watch within reach of the pockets of people with style without fortunes.

Weil, who retired from the company’s board only last September and who remained honorary president, died “peacefully” on Sunday, the company said in a statement, without providing further details.

The company remains a family business, with Weil’s son-in-law Olivier Bernheim and two of his grandsons, Elie and Pierre Bernheim, at the helm.

Born in Geneva in 1926, Weil first made his foray into the watch industry at Camy Watch, of which he soon took the reins.

Raymond Weil Ad Campaign 2013

In 1976, in the midst of an industry-wide crisis, he created his own company focused on putting into practice his vision that timepieces should be high-quality and with superior design, but at affordable prices.

Raymond Weil has become one of the jewels of the Swiss watchmaking industry, counting 200 employees and 4 branches outside of Switzerland.

The brand’s watches, which generally cost between 800 and 4,000 Swiss francs ($900-4,500), are sold in about 3,500 outlets across 95 countries.

swiss watches

Apple smartwatch will be waited by Swiss watchmakers

swiss watches

Swiss watchmakers are warily eyeing Apple’s reported progress towards creating a “smartwatch”, but say they are not too worried about the tech goliath’s likely incursion into their traditional turf.

The California-based company has so far been tight-lipped about its suspected plans to wrap some of its popular iPhone and iPad capabilities into a wearable device that can be viewed at the flip of a wrist.

Industry observers have warned that the entry by Apple and other technology giants into the traditionally narrow watch-making field could revolutionise the market.

“I think this will lead to a changing of the guard,” said Jerome Bloch, who heads the men’s fashion unit at Parisian style agency Nelly Rodi.

Smartwatches are expected to entice the so-called Generation Y, born into an increasingly tech-savvy world between 1980 and 2000.

And luxury goods lovers of all ages, who tend to be big tech consumers, will also likely be seduced, Rodi told AFP, insisting: “This will happen very fast.”

Apple has already proven its ability to steamroll new markets, having first redefined music buying before upending the mobile telephony market.

But in the confines of the Swiss Alps, Apple’s suspected ambitions have so far caused no panic.

“It would be pretentious to think that this kind of watch would fail to compete with Swiss watches,” said Jean-Claude Biver, the head of the luxury Swiss brand Hublot that belongs to French LVMH.

“But they will in any case clearly not be competing with the high-end Swiss watches, which account for most of the exports,” he told AFP.

According to Vontobel analyst Rene Weber, a full 87 percent of Swiss watch exports carry price tags of more than 1,000 Swiss francs ($1,050).

The real threat could be to the lower end of the scale, such as entry-level brands owned by the Swatch Group, the world leader in the field, analysts said.

According to Kepler analyst Jon Cox, brands in the US and Asia would suffer most once the wristbands hit the market.

“I suspect that the possible market impact on Swatch Group would be below 5.0 percent of its operational profit,” he told AFP.

In an interview with the Hebdo magazine earlier this year, Swiss Group chief Nick Hayek said he was “serene” in the face of Apple’s likely entry into the market.

He said he had even allowed Apple engineers to visit his company.

While Swatch’s low-end plastic watches are perhaps its most recognisable, the Swiss company operates in every price range, from the Flik Flak kid’s watches to prestigious timepieces under the Breguet or Omega brands which can cost more than one million Swiss francs a piece.

In the 1970s, Swiss watchmakers suffered a serious crisis when they missed the boat on the quartz revolution, but they have since bounced back with a vengeance thanks to Swatch and especially the high-end segment.

“Swiss watches are among the very rare luxury accessories for men and differentiate themselves clearly from low-end watches made in China,” Citigroup analyst Thomas Chauvet said.

While smartwatches could cause a bump or two, the industry is not expecting to stall again.

“This is not going to be an innovation breakthrough the same way the rise of quartz was in the 1970s,” Chauvet said of the pending smartwatch invasion.

And Swiss watchmakers have no intention of passively waiting for the Apple onslaught.

Tag Heuer, also owned by LVMH, has already made headway into the emerging smartwatch segment by partnering with US tech group Oracle.

The Swiss brand, which sponsors Oracle’s America’s Cup yachting contender, has developed a watch capable of providing each sailor with a wide range of data, including wind direction and the tilt of the boat.

Thomas Houlon, head of Tag Heuer diversification, said close cooperation with Oracle engineers had paid off.

“We worked on this for a year, which in terms of developing a watch is very fast,” he told AFP.

Longines Partners with Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot Longines

The royal meeting at Ascot Racecourse, one of the most prestigious and traditional events on the British racing calendar, has signed its first ever official sponsor in Swiss watchmaker Longines.

Royal Ascot, a five-day meeting which takes place each year in early- to mid-June, has never previously allowed such clear-sut sponsorship.

Longines has provided timing services at the course for six years, but the new deal, under the official designation of ‘official partner of Royal Ascot’, is likely to be worth a seven-figure sum annually.

There will be a branded chronometer close to the winning post and an elegant clock in the Parade Ring throughout the year, including at Royal Ascot and on QIPCO British Champions Day.

This year’s Royal Ascot will run from Tuesday 18th to Saturday 22nd June and is expected to attract some 300,000 spectators.

Source: sportspromedia

Longines at Royal Ascot

Harrods Celebrates 180 Years of Jaeger-LeCoultre

Harrods Jaeger LeCoultre

To celebrate the 180th anniversary of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Harrods is hosting a series of masterclasses with the watchmakers from the Swiss manufacture.

The celebration of the watchmaker will enable fans of the brand to step into the shoes of a watchmaker and understand the manufacturing and working of Jaeger-LeCoultre’s watches.

Jaeger LeCoultre Masterclasses

The manufacture will have experts on hand to demonstrate Jaeger-LeCoultre’s horological know-how, demonstrating the incredible work that goes into everything from the pinions and to the dial.

Three different techniques mastered by Jaeger-LeCoultre will be featured; engraving (May 13-19, enameling (May 20-25) and gem setting (May 26-31).

Jaeger LeCoultre Harrods masterclass

Alongside the live workshops, Jaeger-LeCoultre is also showcasing a recreation of founder Antoine LeCoultre’s original studio from 1833, plus several of its iconic watches and clocks for the May duration promotion.

Antoine LeCoultre workshop

Find a wall dedicated to the 1242 calibres in its Manufacture arm archive and an exhibition of nine Atmos clocks, a key piece from the brand’s heritage collection.

Harrods Jaeger LeCoultre Atmos Clocks

There’s a hidden ‘high complication room’ for inquisitive visitors who can discover the eight leading pieces of the Hybris Mechanica, creations of the Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre and the latest tribute to Antoine LeCoultre Jubilee watch styles.

Jaeger LeCoultre Hibris Mechanica collection

Watch connoisseurs are invited to contact Jaeger-LeCoultre at Harrods on +44(0) 207 730 1234 to reserve a place in the Master classes. Participation is complementary but a donation to the Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts  is requested.

Antoine LeCoultre original workshop

corum watch

Swiss watchmaker Corum sold to China Haidian

CORUM

The Swiss watchmaker Corum said Wednesday it had been acquired by China Haidian in the first purchase of a luxury Swiss watch company by a Chinese rival.

China Haidian said it had acquired 100 percent of Corum for 86 million Swiss francs ($90.9 million, 71.6 million euros).

The companies said the sale would anchor China Haidian’s position in the Swiss luxury watch sector while opening new prospects for development and positioning of the Corum brand worldwide.

“This strategic agreement fulfils the long term vision of both partners for the continued development and growth of the Corum brand,” they said in statement.

“I am very pleased with this acquisition and I firmly believe in the potential development of Corum,” China Haidian chief executive Hon Kwok Lung said in a statement.

Founded in 1955 and based in the town La Chaux-de-Fonds in the canton of Neuchatel, Corum is known for its gold and jewelled encrusted watches that start from 4,000 francs.

The Hong Kong-listed China Haidian Holdings Limited manufactures its own watches and also distributes selected Swiss luxury watch brands in China and throughout Asia.

China Haidian, which owns two of the top four domestic Chinese watch brands, EBOHR and ROSSINI, also owns the Swiss brand Eterna which has a license to manufacture and distribute globally “Porsche Design” watches. It also distributes Japanese brands Casio and Citizen in China.

cartier panther ad campaign

Luxury watch superstore to target Chinese in Paris

cartier panther ad campaign

Luxury Swiss retail giant Richemont, owner of such brands as Cartier, Piaget and Jaeger-LeCoultre, is to open the world’s largest shop for luxury watches in Paris.

Business Montres quoted an internal memo saying a three-storey 2,200 square metre (24,000 square foot) shop would open early 2013.

The shop would take over the premises of the landmark Old England shop near the Place Vendome, famous for its luxury watch shops and hugely popular with Middle Eastern and Asian tourists, in particular Chinese.
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jaquet droz petite heure dragon watch

Jaquet Droz Petite Heure Minute Dragon

jaquet droz petite heure dragon watch

The Swiss watch maker brand Jaquet Droz is celebrating the Chinese New Year with the Petite Heure Minute Dragon.

Clearly intended for the Chinese market, this is a limited edition of 88 pieces featuring a painted scene of two imperial dragons fighting over a pearl.

They are set against an ivory background of Grand Feu enamel. Subtle touches of red enhance the powerful imagery of the drawing.
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Hublot Big Bang Ferrari

Hublot X Ferrari

Hublot Big Bang Ferrari

Swiss luxury watchmaking brand Hublot announced at the Guangzhou International Auto Show that the brand has become the watchmaking partner of Ferrari.

Hublot took this occasion to unveil the Big Bang Chrono Tourbillon Ferrari; the first Hublot timepiece made with its partner.

There will only be 20 of the Big Bang Chrono Tourbillon Ferrari timepieces available, which also marks the 20th anniversary of the automaker’s presence in China.
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billboard luxury diamond watches

Chinese demand fuels Swiss watch success

billboard luxury diamond watches

The Swiss watch industry is in rude health with exports leaping once again last month and watchmakers set to notch up a record year thanks to Chinese consumers

Despite the the effect of the global debt crisis, the demand for Swiss watches hit a peak in October, putting smiles on the faces of the country’s 600 watchmakers.

Data from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) showed exports rose to 1.9 billion Swiss francs ($2.0 billion), up 18.6 percent on the same month last year.
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Maxmilian Busser and Friends Legacy Machine 1 Watch

MB&F Legacy Machine No 1

Maxmilian Busser and Friends Legacy Machine 1 Watch

Maximilian Busser and Friends (MB&F), an independent watchmaker known for its extreme designs, has taken the wraps off its new Legacy Machine 1 watch.

Jean-Francois Mojon developed the design of the model’s movement, while Kari Voutilainen took care of its impeccable finishing.

The Legacy Machine No 1 is based on the idea of what if MB&F designed a watch not in 2011, but 1911. The end result is a watch that is traditional in shape.

Beating inside the new MB&F watch is a hand-wound three-dimensional movement. It supplies a 45-hour power reserve.
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PATEK PHILIPPE Ref 3939

Only Watch Auction Collects $6 million for Charity

PATEK PHILIPPE Ref 3939

The fourth edition with the biennial Only Watch charity auction, held Friday in the Hotel Hermitage in Monaco, raised more than €4.5 million ($6 million).

Exclusive timepieces by famous and less famous watch manufacturers are being auctioned off for the benefit of researching Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Complete sale results and a reminder of the models are available after the jump.
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Franck Muller Only Watch 2011

Franck Muller Totally Switzerland – Only Watch 2011

Franck Muller Only Watch 2011

Here’s a look at Franck Muller’s contribution for the 2011 ONLY Watch charity auction.

The unique watch designed for this occasion is dubbed “Totally Switzerland” and painted in a distinctive vibrant shade of red, characteristic for the Swiss flag.

This model is a variation of the Franck Muller Crazy Hours design, which offers an innovative approach to the concept of time.
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Audemars Piguet History Book

The new Audemars Piguet book

Audemars Piguet History Book

In 1875, Jules Louis Audemars, aged 22, and Edward Auguste Piguet, aged 24, founded Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus, a small village in the Swiss Jura.

This agreement entailed a workshop in the family home, a registered brand name, and a decade-long partnership contract. In 2011, the Manufacture Audemars Piguet employs almost 1,000 people in Switzerland and around the world.

The company conveys a unique culture nurtured by tradition, audacity and excellence. It also stems from an original alchemist’s blend passed on through the generations and combining respect for nature with know-how and a taste for perfection.
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Frederique Constant Runabout Moonphase wooden case

Frederique Constant Runabout Moonphase watch

Frederique Constant Runabout Moonphase wooden case

Since 2009, Swiss watch Manufacturer Frédérique Constant celebrates the legendary Runabout yachts of the roaring 20s by offering an attractive series of limited edition timepieces named “Runabout”.

To complete the best-selling range, the Geneva-based brand this year introduces a new version: the Runabout Moonphase.

Absolutely magnificent through its stunning design, this model is available in a limited quantity of just 1’888 pieces per material.
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Tissot window display

Tissot Augmented Reality Window at Harrods

Tissot Augmented Reality Window at Harrods

Swiss watchmaker Tissot has partnered with Holition to showcase its Ladies and T-Touch collection in one of Harrods iconic Brompton Road window displays as part of the store’s new promotion celebrating all things Swiss.

The augmented reality application will be live and fully interactive on weekends between 12pm and 6pm from 1st – 24th April.

The window display will enable consumers to virtually ‘try on’ watches from both the Ladies and T-Touch men’s collection, and a fully interactive touch screen will allow customers to engage with a wider range of Tissot watches than ever before.
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