The World of Watches. - One World Publications

oneworldpublications.com

The World of Watches. - One World Publications

80WATCH BRANDSThe World of Watches.Audemars PiguetTwo school friends founded the companyin 1881. J-L Audemars and E-A Piguet.Audemars was the technician, Piguet thesalesman and businessman. Specialisinginitially in watches for connoisseurs,Audemars Piguet launched a new era in thecompany’s fortunes by creating the Royal Oakline in 1972. These luxurious sports watcheswere created in stainless steel, a first, andfeature a distinctive octagonal design, saidto be based on the guns of HMS Royal Oak.They currently produce several attractive linesof every-day watches, and some intriguingnovelties.Baume & MercierNow part of the Richemont Group, Baumeet Mercier have their origins in the 1830 firmBaume Freres. 20 years later they openedin London. In 1920 Paul Mercier joined thefirm and the present name was founded.Particularly sympathetic to the feminine, theypioneered bracelet and bangle watches, andcontinue the tradition of delicate design withina robust frame.BlancpainBlancpain was founded in 1735 byenlightened watch master Jehan-JacquesBlancpain and for two centuries the businesswas run by the Blancpain family. Passingout of the Blancpain family, the brand wasextinguished 40 years later by a decisionto abandon mechanical watches and moveto quartz. In 1983, Jean-Claude Biver andJacques Piguet decided to revive the brandand defy the quartz revolution and havedeclared that there never was a quartzBlancpain, and never will be. Manufacture isresolutely traditional employing a high degreeof craftsmanship, and their designs playstrongly on these skills.BreguetDo you know what Marie Antoinette,Napoleon, Rothschild, Alexandre Dumas andWinston Churchill all had in common? Correct- they all wore Breguet watches. AbrahamLouis Breguet, watch making genius, foundedthis label in 1775 in Paris, and patentedseveral innovations: shock-resistance andgravity-compensation, to name but two.Frequently mentioned in literary works,including those of the sublime Patrick O’Brianand of Hugo and Dumas, the Breguet has twohistories, and the fact outfaces the fiction.Now produced in Switzerland the traditioncontinues.BreitlingBreitling make Instruments for Professionals.And you can wear them. Here are Form andFunction truly combined to make things ofwonder and beauty. Too often watchmakershave sacrificed accuracy for looks, or viceversa. In 1884, Leon Breitling decidedto specialise in making chronographs– timepieces with a stop-watch function. 85years later the firm invented the self-windingchronograph, a break-through for the industry.Particularly useful for pilots and navigators,Breitling watches are popular with airmen andsailors around the world.BulgariFounded in Rome by a Greek silversmithand son of silversmiths, Bulgari built fameand a reputation with excellent jewellery.Watchmakers within the jewellery traditionsince the 1920s, with their Art Decodesigns, they broke new ground with theirsnake bracelet watches in the 40s: heavygold and jewel-studded spiral bracelets.Bulgari continue to represent the best ofthe jewel-watch field. Made in Switzerlandsince the 1980s with design, manufactureand assembly all vertically-integrated, theycontinue the founder’s passion for finedesign.CartierIn 1847 Louis-Francois Cartier took over hismaster’s workshop and the legend began. Bythe end of the century the firm had moved toone of Paris’ most expensive addresses andthe head of the family dispatched two of hissons to New York and London to establishbranches there and the empire started togrow. It was the London shop that becamejeweller to royalty, but it was the creativeenergies of the Paris operation that made theinnovative jewellery that made the Maison’sname. It was the advent of flying that drewthe firm into making watches – a Brazilianpilot friend asked for a watch that he couldlook at without taking his hands off thecontrols. Cartier made it for him, and the firmstill makes a line of watches named after thepilot: the Santos collection.Dubey & SchaldenbrandThe firm was founded in 1946 by a teacherat a watch-making school, Georges Dubey,and watch maker Rene Schaldenbrand, toexploit the invention by Dubey of the IndexMobile. This performs the function of twoseparate chronographs and has been copiedwidely. Refusing to abandon mechanicalwatches, the firm declined and was eventuallytaken over after the two founders retired byCinette Robert, an enthusiast and collectorof old movements. Initially re-casing theseold movements, she has reinvented the firmwhich has now reverted to manufacturingbeautiful, innovative yet traditional mechanicalmovements for their line of watches© One World Publications 2008


81Franck MullerNew boy on the block Frank Muller grew upwith a passion for little machines, and has puthis adult life into creating his own firm andhis own line of watches. He began makinghis “complications” watches in 1992, and hisunique and colourful designs have challengedall the taboos in the industry. Bringingphenomenal success and a rash of imitators,his designs stand out and give the traditionalwatchmakers a new benchmark to achieve.ChopardLouis-Ulysse Chopard, born into watchmaking,opened a workshop in 1860. Steadyprogress was made over the years, and asingle-minded devotion to quality kept thefirm’s name good. The last grandson of thefounder found that there were no takers withinthe family to carry on the tradition. Chopardneeded a solid partner to carry on the name,and into the gap stepped the Scheufelefamily, old acquaintances of the Chopards,and jewellers looking to diversify into sellingwatches. Famous for selling a watch withloose diamonds behind the face, Chopardhave moved into a different order of watchmaking.ChronoswissGerman watchmaker Gerd-R. Lang, “the manwith a screw loose” opened a specialisedshop for mechanical watches in 1981. Apassionate follower of Harrison and Berthoud,inventors of the first true chronometerand the regulator, his watches have thesame authentic style – separate hour andminute and second dials in a classic case.His chronographs are masterpieces of theintricate.GlashütteFerdinand Lange in 1845 founded a watchmakingbusiness in the town of Glashütte inSaxony, and over the years this flourished,spawning several local offshoots andcompetitors. After the Second World War, allthe watch making businesses in Glashüttewere nationalized into one organization.After the fall of the communist party, andthe re-unification of Germany, the combinedentity was incorporated and recommencedmaking luxury mechanical watches for theconnoisseur market.IWCFounded by an American in 1868 in NESwitzerland, from the outset the firm tried toexploit American ideas of process engineeringand Swiss ideas of craftsmanship and skill.Within 6 years the firm employed 200 people.It became a family company for a hundredyears, going through several changes of namebefore reverting to the original InternationalWatch Company. Now part of Richemont.After a brief flirtation with electronics in the70s, IWC is firmly back in the mechanicalmovement camp and builds classic watcheswith variations for the horological enthusiast– watches that track the phases of the moon,and a perpetual calendar good until 2499.Jaeger LeCoultreJLC was founded in 1833, From the first itset about bringing together cottage industrycraftsmen into a modern factory. Innovatorsfrom the earliest days, they not only maketechnically perfect watches, they alsoproduce astonishingly beautiful table clocks– the Atmos range, powered by variationsin room temperature. The Art Deco Reversowatch, which has a swiveling case, allows thesolid back to take the knocks received by theactive sportsman. Invented for Polo players in1931, the watch has become a design icon.Owned by Richemont.OmegaLouis Brandt started hand-assemblingwatches from locally-sourced components in1848. His sons created the brand Omega in1894, and following a merger with Tissot in1930, the combined firm eventually becameone of the largest in the horological world.Now part of the Swatch Group. In 1932Omega were appointed official time keepersfor the Olympic Games and are proud oftheir continued association with the Olympicmovement. But it is their association with thespace race that is their claim to fame. NASAthrew everything they had at the wristwatchesavailable, and only the Omega Speedmastercame through. And so it was that Omegacame to be the only watch to have been tothe moon. Russia’s cosmonauts have usedthe same watch since the joint Apollo-Soyuzmission.PaneraiGiovanni Panerai opened for business inFlorence in 1860 selling Swiss watches. Hisgrandson expanded the business, and wonthe contract to supply the Italian Navy. Overthe early years of the 20th Century, Paneraiexpanded its business with Italy’s armedforces to include other precision instruments,and eventually developed the first trulysubmersible watches. Much research inluminescence was carried out. Now part ofthe Richemont Group, they continue theirassociation with hard-wearing watchesdesigned for tough conditions.© One World Publications 2008


82WATCH BRANDSPatek PhilippeFounded by an expatriate Pole, Count Patek,in Geneva in 1839; Philippe, an innovativeemployee became a partner in 1851. Initialsuccess came from attention to quality, andthe unique stem-winding system invented byPhilippe. Leading innovators to this day, PPwere at the forefront of the quartz revolutionand continue to supply industrial time-keepingequipment as well as their more famousmechanical wrist watches. They are relentlesspromoters of the qualities of classic designand craftsmanship and have done much topreserve these in the public eye.PiagetThe company was founded in 1874 byGeorges E. Piaget, and for 70 years the firmassembled watches for other companies. Acollection of new ultra-thin designs causeda sensation in the early 1950s and Piagettook off in its own right. Using the proceedsof their success to buy bracelet and casemanufacturers, the company moved towardsjewellery watches and remains strong in thisfield, with its own line of jewellery in additionto its fabulous watches. Now part of theRichemont Group, Piaget have a particularlystrong franchise in the Far East where theirsumptuous designs have a ready market.Raymond WeilWhen Weil founded his company in1976, he was already 50 years old. Withuncompromising standards of manufactureand using classically-inspired design, henevertheless managed to turn the watchmakingbusiness on its head, going fromtechnological achievement to design successyear after year. Both Weil and his son-in-law(who now runs the business), are lovers ofthe arts, and the firm has drawn inspirationfor design and marketing from the classics,and their marketing images are evocative ofthe grandeur and passion of the performanceworld.RolexFounded by a German in London as adistributor of watches, the brand Rolex wascreated 3 years later in 1908. In just 2 yearsmore, they were the first firm in the worldto produce a wristwatch chronometer, anastonishing achievement. Having made anaccurate watch, the next direction was tomake a reliable watch and the Oyster casewas born with its innovative sealed case.Marketing genius matched engineeringgenius, and the Oyster was sold in windowdisplays within tanks of water, giving hugebrand awareness. Further success followedwith the first automatic self-winding rotormovement, and Rolex’s position at theforefront of the watch making world wasassured. It was1931.Ulysse NardinFounded in 1846 by Ulysse Nardin, anaccomplished watchmaker, the firm waspurchased in 1983 by Rolf W. Schnyder,later joined Dr. Ludwig Oechslin, a scientist,inventor, historian and watch-makerextraordinaire. In a unique relationship ofprofessional cooperation and personalfriendship, Schnyder and Oechslin havecreated timepieces that had never beforeexisted. In its over 150 years of history,Ulysse Nardin was widely respected as aspecialist in marine chronometers. Today,Ulysse Nardin continues to develop andproduce specialized timepieces of the highesttechnical level in limited editions. Usingthe company’s patented inventions, theseinclude complications offered by no otherwatchmaker, such as the renowned Trilogyof Astrolabium, Planetarium and Tellurium;the Jaquemart Minute Repeater and the HourStriker San Marco.Vacheron ConstantinThe company was founded in 1755 byJean-Marc Vacheron. In 1819, his grandsonand a partner, Francois Constantine createdVacheron Constantin. VC watches were thefirst to fly – The Wright brothers wore themon their historic flights in 1903. Members ofthe Richemont Group, they continue to maketheir classic watches, yet keep at the forefrontof contemporary design with both quartz andmechanical movements.Van Cleef & ArpelsIn 1906, Alfred Van Cleef and his brother inlaw Charles Arpels went into the jewellerybusiness together, and opened in the famousPlace Vendôme in Paris. Alfred’s daughterbecame a noted designer and the 20s were aperiod of intense creative success for the firm.Going into the watch business in 1949, theyhave specialised from the first in jewellery thattells time, and this is where their emphasislies today.ZenithIn 1865, the then 22-year-old visionaryGeorges Favre-Bulle founded the firm. In1911 a movement, named Zenith inventedin 1900, became the brand for the companywhich from the outset aimed at accuracyabove all. Famed now for their eccentricdesigns and their continued worshipingof the mechanical ideal, their watches areuncompromising and elegant at once.© One World Publications 2008

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines