Time for a reboot at Perrelet

Under the tutelage of Miguel Rodriguez and the Festina group since 2004, the brand has weathered the past few years with a slightly vague strategy. But apparently things are set to change, or at least that’s the aim of new General Manager Tristan Boyer de Bouillane, who arrived at the helm of the company in December. This will be no easy task, as he intends a thorough clean up on all fronts: internal organization, products and markets.

Perhaps it was written in the stars. In any case, two of the founding fathers of modern new Breitling replica watchmaking share the name “Abraham-Louis”: Breguet and Perrelet. Two centuries after the deaths of these illustrious watchmakers, their names continue to grace watch dials. But let’s not dwell on the well-known fate of Breguet within the Swatch Group; today, we’re interested in Perrelet’s story, as the brand is rumored to be taking a new direction. In any case, Tristan Boyer de Bouillane, who has been at the helm of the brand since December, says that he has the necessary resources to deploy a clear strategy that he intends to implement over the long term. The general manager isn’t new to the industry; he has been working in watchmaking for around twenty years, during which he moved successively from Charriol to Roth and Genta, and then to Breitling before being entrusted with this task by Gérald Roden, General Manager of the Swiss Festina Group.

Before going into battle, you must first develop a plan of attack by analyzing not only the strengths and weaknesses of your adversaries, but also your own. What are they in Perrelet’s case? Among the Maison’s strengths, Tristan Boyer de Bouillane mentions its industrial equipment and, of course, the brand’s ability to produce its own movements. “In this respect, we are already independent. In 2015, all the best Breitling replica watches we sell on the market will be equipped with in-house calibers. To do this, we rely on Soprod for basic movements and on MHVJ (editor’s note: Manufacture Horlogère Vallée de Joux) for exceptional pieces. We have absolutely everything we need to work well,” he explains.

Reviving the double rotor

As Perrelet intends to develop its middle range situated between 2,500 to 8,000 Swiss francs, the brand will be working mainly with Soprod. With this in mind, is the brand considering introducing quartz movements into its collections? “Not for the time being. But why not in the future?” asks the CEO. “If need be, so-called ‘intelligent’ movements could really be of interest to us.” In other words, smart watches? “Yes, if you like. The Group is quite advanced in this area and, personally, I believe in the concept. In any case, I believe in original smart cheap Breitling replica watches that aren’t dependent on smartphones,” he explains.

For Perrelet’s new general manager, the brand’s other strength is its products. However, its ranges must be clarified, diversified and showcased differently, as it is currently difficult to navigate among its various models. For instance, it is not always easy to distinguish between Rolex replica watches sale equipped with a double rotor movement and its famous Turbines. Remember that while the latter’s turning helix is spectacular, it is not functional. “The developments I’m mentioning won’t be visible this year. And for good reason—I’ve only been managing Perrelet for three months,” continues Tristan Boyer de Bouillane. “Things will become a lot clearer in 2016, when the collections are better segmented. We are going to restore the double rotor to its former glory. In addition, we have a whole series of small yet extremely interesting complications up our sleeves, which have been put aside over the years for some unknown reason. We are going to revive them.”

A lot of work remains to be done and perhaps the most important task, which will require significant time and investment from the brand, is the reorganization and development of its distribution channels. “Truth be told, there’s a lot to do in that respect. Uncertainty has reigned for several years, and all the markets have basically been doing as they wished. In short, we haven’t supported our partners enough, coached our retailers sufficiently or trained our after-sales service managers adequately. I’m going to take advantage of Baselworld to reassure all the partners in question. We’re back with a clear doctrine,” assures Tristan Boyer de Bouillane.

Ultimately, the head of Perrelet—a brand that is currently selling some 10,000 watches per year—claims to be confident, despite the economic climate and the strengthened Swiss franc. “We are one of those brands that have a certain charm. We are capable of offering original, distinctive products that are perfectly suited to a more mainstream clientele made up of people who already own an Omega or a Rolex. There’s enough room for everyone in latest Breitling replica watchmaking,” he concludes.

Geneva watchmaking on show in Beijing

Coinciding with the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and China, the Capital Museum in Beijing is hosting, from April, an exhibition from the Geneva Museum of Art and History in partnership with Manufacture Vacheron Constantin. Titled “Geneva at the Heart of Time”, it traces Swiss Breitling replica watchmaking culture back to its origins.

Since 2012, as part of its Métiers d’Art collection, Vacheron Constantin has presented The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac, a series of watches that will unfold over twelve years. The saga began with the sign of the Snake, followed by the Horse. At Watches&Wonders in Hong Kong late last year, the Manufacture presented two new timepieces inspired by the Goat, the symbol of a lively and independent spirit and, since February 19th, the animal that will watch over the new year. This new series showcasing the métiers d’art calls on two techniques. As the brand explains, “China initiated the art of paper-cutting or Jianzhi, a technique that appears on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list, and is echoed in Scherenschnitt, the popular art of paper-cutting born in the Pays d’Enhaut region of Switzerland. Sculpted in paper according to the principles of Jianzhi, the animals of the Chinese zodiac provide a remarkable demonstration of the art of using full and empty spaces. A challenge that Vacheron Constantin has taken up and translated into the field of fake Breitling watchmaking thanks to the skill of its experienced Artisans.”

This meeting of minds and of expertise is echoed not once but twice in 2015. Not only is Vacheron Constantin – the oldest Breitling replica watches sale manufacturer, having an uninterrupted history since 1755 – celebrating 170 years on Chinese soil, it is also partner to an exhibition that will run from April to August at the Capital Museum in Beijing. Curated by the Geneva Museum of Art and History, “Geneva at the Heart of Time” is billed as a journey to the origins of Swiss watchmaking culture. “Geneva is very much a part of the history of Vacheron Constantin,” commented Juan-Carlos Torres at a presentation of some of the pieces that will be travelling to China in the coming weeks. “This partnership is therefore a wonderful opportunity for us to present these timepieces which contribute to our heritage, and at the same time explain our roots in watchmaking.”

Métiers d’art and grandes complications

In all, 350 timepieces will be exhibited in Beijing, together with period tools and machines that will form a life-size reconstruction of a cabinotier‘s workshop, from a painting by Christophe François von Ziegler that is part of the Geneva museum’s holdings. “Each of these objects reflects the history of an activity which has earned the city of Geneva its status as the world capital of Fine Watchmaking for three centuries,” the exhibition catalogue notes. They include a pocket watch signed Jean-Marc Vacheron, and dated 1755. It is the first known Montblanc replica watches store by the founder of Vacheron Constantin. Also on display is a gem-set bracelet-watch with enamel dial from 1889, with crown-winding. This is one of the rare few wristwatches from the late nineteenth century, and the first to have been series-made by Vacheron Constantin.

The historical timepieces on show also include songbirds in cages, chiming watches, table clocks and grandes complications, such as a Vacheron Constantin pocket best Breitling replica watches from 1929 featuring a split-seconds chronograph, Perpetual Calendar, age and phases of the moon, minute repeater on three gongs, grande and petite sonnerie. Equally noteworthy are the stunning displays of engraving and enamelwork which transform certain of these instruments into authentic works of art. Of particular interest are the grand feu enamel miniatures, painted using the Geneva technique. This is, specialists concur, the most noble method as it requires repeated firings at high temperature (“grand feu” indeed means “high fire“), following which two or three layers of transparent enamel are applied to protect the work. Such beauty is unlikely to escape the attention of the Chinese public.

Infinitely high standards at De Bethune

In Geneva, the brand presented three new Breitling replica watches and revealed its production secrets: pursuing its verticalization strategy and fostering old friendships!

De Bethune has unveiled three new products during the most important week of watchmaking in Geneva. The first, the DB25T Zodiac—technically demanding with its tourbillon, jumping seconds and five-day power reserve—appeals to the emotions with its twelve signs of the zodiac finely engraved in solid gold. The second, the DB28 GS, which stands for “Grand Sport”, features a titanium case and rubber strap. For this model, the DB28’s characteristic bridges have been given a guilloché finish and the small, spherical two-tone moon has been replaced by a power-reserve indicator at 2 o’Clock. Finally, the DB28 Maxichrono Titanium offers a new version of the single push-piece chronograph presented last year at Baselworld, adorned in titanium for 2015.

The De Bethune business plan can be summed up by one short maxim, which the brand cites readily: don’t do more, do better. “It is by concentrating on quality that we can achieve long-term development,” explains CEO Pierre Jacques. The future lies in innovation and the quality of the products and their components, rather than in the number of pieces leaving the Manufacture—around 400 in 2014. In consequence, everything depends on the brand’s control over the various stages of production and on its choice of partners.

Opposing the industrial way of thinking

From the very outset, the brand has produced most of its Omega replica watches sale  in-house, but it is now stepping up this shift. “Over the past two years, we have verticalized a great deal,” confirms Denis Flageollet, co-founder and technical director. “If I need a specific screw, I can now produce it as and when I want.” In its Manufacture based in La Chaux l’Auberson, nestled on the slopes of the Jura Mountains just a few miles above Sainte-Croix, De Bethune has already excelled in electroplating, polishing and decoration. Now it also produces 100% of the brand’s hands, most of its dials, and all the pieces needed for its limited editions.

Even components produced by external suppliers, such as sapphire crystals, are sometimes made on-site to meet the specific criteria of some commission pieces. To better illustrate his point, Denis Flageollet opens his inside jacket pocket and pulls out a watch featuring a Mayan head sculpted in jade emerging from the center of the top Breitling replica watches crystal. A sapphire crystal with a hole in the middle was needed to house it, and this was produced in-house. For this same piece, “we installed a small workshop in order to cut the stones.”

However, verticalizing production isn’t an end in itself: “As long as external solutions satisfy me, I won’t press the issue. But as soon as there is a problem with quality, we won’t hesitate to internalize the process. By paying attention to every detail and continuously raising our standards, we are opposing the industrial way of thinking that is dictated by brands focused primarily on production volumes.” While explaining the purchase of an automatic lathe, Denis Flageollet also stressed the difficulty of having certain pieces produced in small quantities. “Our expectations sometimes mean that an operator has to be constantly present, and that machines are not left operating alone.” This decision is difficult to accept for sub-contractors, whose profit margins are under constant pressure.

Yet, this doesn’t just concern the processes; the raw materials are also affected. For example, it is difficult to find very high-quality leather for an alligator-skin strap. De Bethune therefore sources its leathers itself, before entrusting a supplier with the strap’s production. “In this field, there are still excellent professionals out there who take the time to stitch neatly by hand, and who stand by high-quality work.” Denis Flageollet has gradually surrounded himself with a whole network of Artisans, personal acquaintances and friendships that considerably predate De Bethune, founded on passion, drive and a mutual fascination for the work of the other. “The quality of our partnerships could never be attained in the context of a purely commercial client-supplier relationship.”

Some crafts that require rare expertise and experience are in fact outsourced, such as hand guillochage, gem-setting and the treatment of certain dials. The same is true for engraving, an essential element of the DB25T Zodiac, which showcases the work of Michèle Rothen with whom Denis Flageollet has worked for a long time. To illustrate her working method, he looks through the photos on his cell phone and finds the first pencil sketches she sent him. From the index, he flicks back to the photo album and shows his reply: the same sketch with a few suggestions in blue pen, which the artist then interprets—without copying—to express the essence of his ideas in a cheap replica Breitling watches  new draft. And this continues, adjustment after adjustment, until the final version is reached.