Saturday, February 20, 2010

Swiss Stereotypes

The following, from the Federation of Swiss Horology (FHS)reinforces, in my opinion, the stereotype of the Caribbean (and Jamaica especially)as a haven for crooks and people trying to beat the system.

Each year the paradise islands of the Caribbean attract hordes of tourists, the not wholly unwitting targets of counterfeit goods traffickers relatively untroubled until now by the authorities. But times are changing. Luckily!

With its white sandy beaches stretching as far as the eye can see, the Caribbean, year in year out, acts as a magnet for hundreds of thousands of tourists who for their part are a sure-fire lure for the fake goods industry. For too long this has led to an easy, backwater life, sheltered from local authorities paying scant attention to the damage inflicted by the scourge of counterfeiting on rights holders, not to mention public finances and the population in general.

This era thankfully came to an end last year and henceforth it will be possible to take action in the Caribbean to thwart the plans of counterfeiters and their allies. Two initiatives in which the FH participated took place in 2009, the first in Willemstad (Curaçao), the second in Oranjestad (Aruba).

The first of its kind in the history of Curaçao, the Willemstad counterfeiting operation ran its course on 11 and 12 February. On this occasion local customs, assisted by armed Dutch border guards, blocked roads in the city centre so that the officers concerned could carry out searches of suspect shops without fear of disturbance. In total, 70,000 counterfeit products were seized, including 1,350 watches. These quantities largely exceeded the expectations of injured rights holders, a point confirmed by the fact that additional storage depots had to be rented by the authorities. Some shops were even closed temporarily, since fake goods constituted virtually their entire stock! Meanwhile no time was lost in disposing of the seized goods, as their destruction took place several days after the operation.

Encouraged by this success, a second action was set in motion several months later in Aruba. Part of the West Indies, this island is situated off the shores of Venezuela. The operation, which began on 25 June, targeted 17 stores and shopping centres in the centre of Oranjestad, the capital of Aruba. The owners of premises were officially informed that they were in violation of trademark legislation. Faced with the choice of abandoning the counterfeit goods or risking further legal sanctions, all chose the first option. The FH and rights holders involved will ensure however that in future, such a choice is no longer offered and that shop owners are taken to court for their actions. There are also plans to introduce inspections in the same shops so that repeat offenders can be identified.

The action in Aruba, in which 25 brands of the FH Anti-counterfeiting Group took part, led to the sequestration of 3,151 fake Swiss watches. In addition, a press conference organised by customs and legal authorities attracted the attention of journalists and broadcasters, making it possible to raise awareness among the local population of the evils of the counterfeit goods industry.

The actions in the Caribbean will of course be continued in 2010: two new raids are already planned. On this occasion the FH will intervene, as it is accustomed to, to ensure that the rights of members of its Anti-counterfeiting Group are upheld.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Your Own Pesonal FanWatch:Hublot Frames Depeche Mode

Each of the 12 piece unique watches will be auctioned off separately (February 8 - 24, 2010) , but that isn't to say that one super rich, super fan is going to buy them all up. There is one watch for each of the 12 Depeche Mode albums. You can see that in the center of the otherwise black toned Big Bang model watches is the album cover art, with a unique image on the sapphire crystal caseback as well for each album. In order to give room to the Depeche Mode album cover art on the dial, Hublot removed the subsidiary seconds dial. A good way to add space without removing too much functionality. If someone really want to measure seconds they can use the chronograph. Hublot designers have even matches the stitching of the watch strap to match one of the prominent colors on the album cover art. Overall the collection is pretty cool, and an interesting addition to the Depeche Mode universe of collectibles.

Interested? Well you can bid on the watches easily and quickly online between February 8 - 24, 2010 (sorry if you are reading this after the auction ended). No going to some far off auction house. These be modern times! Proceeds from the auction will go to benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust. To bid, just visit Depeche Mode's website during the auction period. There you can get a good view of each of the 12 sets and you can bid on them. The auction is being operated by in combo with the auction house Patrizzi & Company. No telling how high the price is going to get for each of them. I wonder what album's watch will go for the most.

Each watch will come as part of a nice collectors set. Here is what the auction winner of each set will get (apparently the band itself chose these items):

1. The one-of-a-kind Hublot Bing Bang watch with the album art of one of Depeche Mode's albums.
2. A special high quality vinyl version of the album.
3. A digital version of the album and a documentary about the making of the album placed on a USB flash drive.
4. A gold framed CD of the album.
5. An original album artwork print.
6. Signed photograph that will be signed by all members of Depeche Mode that contributed to that specific album including Vince Clarke and Alan Wilder.
7. Fancy box and lots of bragging rights (in the right circles).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jaeger Does the "Cannes-Cannes" with new boutique

High-end Swiss watch manufacture Jaeger-le Coultre steps intothe fanfare of the 62nd annual Cannes Film Festival to create some of its own with the opening of its new boutique.
The new "jewel box" will shocase new brands as well as newly introduced models like the Master Compressor Diving Pro Geogrpahic - pictured above.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Sign of Future Times?

This is omething that I have been toying with for some time. Watch this space for more developments

Breaking Into and Succeeding as a Wrist Watch Designer
How to Start a Watch Line
How to Start a Fashion Designer Watch Line

It is predicted that we will continue to see a strong demand for fashion watches. Meanwhile, the demand for mechanical watches, while not likely to disappear entirely, is expected to decline. A huge factor in future watch design is the availability of nanotechnology, “the ability to build components molecule by molecule.”

This is the dream you probably had in mind when you first picked up this book: starting your own distinctive line of fashion watches and watching it soar through the roof. If you ever had fantasies of your name riding around on the wrists of hundreds of thousands of people, of your very name becoming synonymous with fashion, of it being the reason people want the watches it describes—then this is the scenario you want to get into.

It’s not so far-fetched a goal—at least, creating your own line of designer watches isn’t, anyway. A lot of the fame you might be hoping for, you’ll just have to let take care of itself. Meanwhile, you’ll take care of the watches. Depending on how you want to do that, it can be relatively inexpensive, especially if you’re mainly concerned with new designs for the exterior of the watch. Many companies in the United States and overseas sell ready-made, interchangeable components that simply need to be assembled inside the case that you design, costing you very little indeed.

Ready-made movements, which can be customized, can cost anywhere between $25 and $75, depending on make, model, and size. There is also the option of importing mass-produced components from places like China and Hong Kong, if you’re going to be working on a large enough scale. On the other hand, not everyone wants to do things that way.

Some would argue that overseas outsourcing is in fact contributing to the demise of the industry and putting honest craftsmen out of business. So you may prefer to manufacture and assemble everything within the confines of your own business. That will be a bit more expensive for you, but it will result in watches that you can proudly sell at a higher-end price. The choice is yours.

Briefly, one other outsourcing option you have is that of contract manufacturing and private labeling, wherein you contract another company to manufacture your goods for you. Private labeling tends to imply ready-made generic components ready to be packaged and branded under your label, though some customization is negotiable; while contract manufacturing connotes a deeper level of customization, up to and including building the entire product from scratch according to your specifications.

But the two terms are often used interchangeably in many industries. Many of the large watch companies perform this service for smaller designers; as some watchmakers did with existing designer lines, they might work with a designer to create a new line of fashion watches, and then will manufacturing and distribution the watch as part of your, the licensee’s, line.

Also, by having "Made in Swiss" stamp, you can increase your mark-up by 300%. With a bit of creativity, by having approximately 50% of the components bought elsewhere, such as from China or Hong Kong, you may be able to use "Made in Swiss" stamp legally and ethically. (How you can do it is included in this eGuide. This is a trade secret that we cover in this publication.)

Good news for a watchmaker and designer.

A bill was introduced to the U. S. House of Representatives on March 30, 2006, which, should it pass, will provide, for the first time, copyright protection for fashion design—which the fashion industry has been seeking since the 1920s.

We should thank the Council of Fashion Designers of America for this proposed amendment to Chapter 13 of the Copyright Act, which currently only protects the industrial design of vessel hulls, such as luxury racing sailboats and the like. Should H.R. 5055, a.k.a. “the Design Piracy Prohibition Act,” pass, the Copyright Act will be amended to protect "the appearance as a whole of an article of apparel, including its ornamentation" for three years from the date on which the design in question was published or made available to the public.

("Apparel" is defined to include "an article of men’s, women’s, or children’s clothing, including undergarments, outerwear, gloves, accessories --including wrist waches--, footwear, and headgear; handbags, purses and tote bags; belts; and eyeglass frames.")

Now if you're wondering whether you can start this business and make a decent living out of it, the answer is definitely yes. Now consider these possibilities in making and/or selling:

Ladies' watches
Men's watches
Teenagers' watches
Kids' watches
Sports watches
Dress watches
Casual watches
Diamond and gemstone watches
Quartz technology
Mechanical technology
Teslar technology

State of the Industry

The value of Swiss watch exports reached 10 billion dollars in 2005, which this report tells us is the best result in Switzerland’s history.

Those figures include 24.3 million finished watches, which represents a slight (3.3%) decrease over 2004. Finished watch exports grew in value, however, by 12%.

More than one watch in two of those were steel, though the strongest percentage increase was in 18-carat gold watches. Mechanical watches saw a value increase of 16.7% while electronic watches only grew in value by 5.1%. In terms of units, however, mechanical watches saw an 8.8% increase while electronics saw a dip of 5%.

Of the total Swiss exports, 42.9% went to Asia, 33% to Europe, and 22% to America. The report lists the United States as the Swiss watch industry’s leading market, and it enjoyed strong growth in both 2004 and 2005.

Just for comparison, Hong Kong exported or re-exported horological goods worth 6 billion dollars (an increase of just 1%), mostly to the United States, China, Japan, and Switzerland. China’s exports were 2 billion dollars (down by 4%). Japan saw the biggest decline in exports: a 9% decline to a 951 million dollar value.

Now, how much money can you make?

With all the above choices, your income potential is literally unlimited. Anywhere from $35,000 to millions of dollars annually is attainable, depending on various factors. More than ever before, a watch is more than a time keeping instrument, it is an important fashion statement that people change all the time.

Need we say more?
This eGuide provides insightful information, advices and tips for anyone who is contemplating to start a watch line or design firm. Numerous hard-to-find resources are included to help you locate pertinent information.

Do you know?

Watchmaking is a rare trade skill, which many large corporations are seeking desparately. (Being a watchmaker is probably one of the professions that are highly sought after without much competition.)

Rolex has contributed $1 million to a university with a watchmaking major (full scholarships are provided to students accepted in this program). (Which colleges offer such scholarship opportunities are included in this publication.)

It's easier than ever to get a job in watch making and designing.

Many watches "Made in Swiss" have approximately 50% inexpensive non-Swiss components, but this special label justifies the 300% mark-up.

Editor-in-Chief Jennie S. Bev, co-author Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little have talked to watch designers and line owners to provide you with the best and the most comprehensive self-study guidebook filled with insider information, tips and advice for breaking into and succeeding in this lucrative but lesser-known business.

About the Authors

Jennie S. Bev is THE fashion, image and fun careers expert, whose reputation has been acknowledged by prestigious media internationally. She has been profiled and mentioned in Entrepreneur, Teen People, Canadian Business, Home Business, Dong (France), San Francisco Chronicle, The Independent, Daily Southtown, The Arizona Republic, Femina (Asia) and Dewi (Asia).

Editor-in-Chief Jennie S. Bev was named 2003 EPPIE Award finalist in Non-Fiction How To category for excellence in electronic publishing. She has published over 40 books and 900 articles in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany and Southeast Asia. She is also a college professor based in San Francisco Bay Area.

Co-author Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little is an accomplished author, freelance writer, and web designer from the New Orleans area. She graduated from Metairie Park Country Day School and went from there to the University of Washington to pursue B.A. in English.

Her fiction and essays have been published in a diverse handful of literary and New Age magazines, including PanGaia. An aspiring novelist, she has been an annual participant in National Novel-Writing Month since 2002. She now resides in Colorado

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The [Lucky] Devil Wears Prada....on His Wrist

They've co-branded LG phones, and other utilitarian items, now Prada is teaming up with high-end Swiss watchmaker IWC, which markets its watches to men exclusively (sorry, ladies) on a new co-branded watch, and, as you can see from the photo, its looking quite good.
Why should Meryl Streep have all the fun?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

And now....."The Chairman"

Have to admit, my first reaction on seeing th image of this was...... "huh?" but venerable Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin, in partnership with SCI Innovations, clealry believe that this unique hybrid (high-end watch and smartphone) will fly. Its dubbed The Chairman (we're not sure why) but the following, from watch blog The Watchery ( explains some of the workings

"The Chairman" utilizes environmentally- friendly kinetic technology inspired by the winding mechanism of an automatic mechanical watch. I am not sure how this will work as the phone is not strapped to ones wrist, but the mechanics I am sure are fascinating. The phone will be able to operate on any of the global communications networks. The aesthetics of the phone is as intriguing as the inner workings, the partial view in the above image only wets our appetite for more. The phone has an exhibition window in which the guilloche engraved energy-driven kinetic rotor is revealed.
The Ulysse Nardin Smart Phone is a limited edition of 1846 smart phones, the date

The Pull of Gravity: Discord over Concord

The following is a letter from Concord Presdient Vincent Perriard in response to our friend Areil from watch Blog and his disparaging of the Concord C1 line (partricualrly the Gravity and Quantum gravity models) I posted pic of C1 Gravity. You decide

Dear Ariel,

I have reviewed your comments. Not only the one from the C1 "birth" in 2007, but also the one on the C1 Gravity and then the latest one on the C1 QuantumGravity.

I have to say that I kind of appreciate your very straight forward point of view and the "fairness" of your comments when you have chat with some other watch collectors in disagreement with you.

I have - obviously - to disagree with your unfair comments about C1.

First of all, when MGI appointed me and my team, we all came from serious watch companies (JLC, Audemars Piguet, Swatch Group, to name just a few). We have decided to base the company back to Bienne/Switzerland, where the company was borne more than 100 years ago. MGI has let this new group of people to re-think the brand, inside/out. The motto was "let's make the best watch regardless of marketing positioning, regardless of price".

We have been really lucky to come with the first design of C1 because we have created a big watch yet a watch that fits the wrist so well. It's unique. We have removed the logs (that always attach the bracelet or the strap). With the C1, we could "afford" a big watch thanks to this unique attachment system. This is really what made C1 a hit when we launched it in the market in January 2008.

Our plan was to work with the best. Coming from (so called) "Manufacture", we did not want to lie to our clients by re-creating a fake Manufacture. So we took a simple angle: be honest and straight with everything we would do in the future. Let me give you some examples: the dials are manufactured by METALEM (who create the dials of JLC, AP, Patek, etc...); the case is coming from GUILLOD GUNTER (who creates the cases for the most reputable companies); etc.

As for the movement, we have - inside our group - 2 manufactured movements that we couldn't use at the beginning (i.e. Ebel movements). Why? Because of the really short time frame we had between the design and when we wanted to launch the C1 collection. So we have decided to go with the best "truck" (this is the name "insiders" give to this movement) of the industry, the ETA VALGRANGE A07. We are currently working on our own movements that will come soon (in preparation).

When you mention (in a very negative way) our partnership with BNB; let me be very straight with you: what's wrong? We have ALWAYS (from day 1) put BNB as a close partner of the C1 Gravity. We want ALWAYS to work with the best of the best. BNB is manufacturing for De Witt, Hublot, HD3, Hermes, Romain Jerome, etc... And when we met first, we knew we needed to work together. A question of personalities! And we have done this crazy work to show the industry our capacity to be creative, disruptive.... And guess what: we have won the best design of 2008 at the Grand Prix de Genève. I am sorry that you were not part of the Jury... but 35 specialists and watch lovers (the best of the best from around 10 different countries) have voted for this incredible timepiece.

Now, coming to your words about the QuantumGravity. You are doing 2 major mistakes: Concord has develop a REAL (I can send you the pictures and emails of my people) team of engineers and designers that are really behind the birth of this product. The movement is manufactured by our partner BNB. This team has a name: C LAB SERIES team. I would be deligthed to introduce them. The second mistake is your total lake of knowledge when it comes to watchmaking. They are less than 10 companies in the world able to do a Double Axe Tourbillon. There is not a single company in the world doing / providing a watch with a vertical, fluorescent, liquid Power Reserve. The objective with our C LAB SERIES team is push limits of watchmaking to new levels. As much as Jules Audemars or Edward Piguet have done more than 125 years ago. It seems that you forget that tradition has to start at some point. I am sure if you were living in 1875, you would have given the same bad comments to Jules Audemars et Edward Piguet! Don't you think?

I would be really glad, in a constructive spirit, to hear from you dear Ariel."

With my kindest regards,

Vincent Perriard
President of Concord
Fossil"s Frank Gehry Watch

typical of Gehry - didn't know he had ventured into watches. Can a fragranceb efar behind?