Louis Vuitton to make non-surgical face masks
Louis Vuitton has launched the production of hundreds of thousands of non-surgical protective masks, re-purposing its French workshops, where three hundred artisans are mobilised in response to the French government’s plea for the increased production of alternative non-surgical masks to aid in the battle against Covid-19. These non-surgical masks have been approved by the different governing bodies and are created in collaboration with Mode Grand Ouest, a regional network of the textile industry who are supplying one of the main materials.
The new GPHG International Academy
The Academy of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) has been established and already has 350 registered members for its first year of existence. With the creation of this new Academy, the GPHG is undertaking a major transformation of its selection and voting process, internationally implying stakeholders in the profession right from the stage of entering the models in the competition. The GPHG is thereby broadening its base and the scope of its promotional endeavours, globally developing its mission on behalf of watchmaking.
Bremont offers to switch to ventilator production
Bremont has offered to switch production at its Henley-on-Thames facility from watchmaking to the manufacture, assembly and testing of precision parts for ventilators. Co-founder Nick English says the company has already put a bid in to government to offer its services. The technology and engineering required to manufacture medical equipment is remarkably similar to that of watchmaking. In Switzerland, the EPHJ Geneva show has medical equipment manufacturing equipment promoted side-by-side with watchmaking technology. “A ventilator is made up of many different parts and no one company can make one overnight. However, there are parts which we certainly could manufacture if given the plans. We have got a whole factory which is full of machines which are capable of making these parts.” Nick English explains in the local newspaper Henley Standard.
Patek Philippe lets authorised dealers sell online
Patek Philippe’s greatest strength over many years has been the family values that it treasures and how it treats its loyal authorized dealers as part of its extended family, says Watch Pro. Never has that been more important than during the current Covid-19 pandemic, with Patek’s partners in virtually all its major markets having to close their stores. In response, Patek Philippe relaxed its rules that have prevented dealers selling its watches online. From earlier this week, the “add to bag” has been appearing alongside a selection of Patek Philippe models at family-owned retailers including Berry’s Jewellers and Laings. Watches of Switzerland is selling Patek Philippe models online in the UK, but does not appear to be following suit in the United States. There are limits to the new way of working, and customers should not expect to find any steel Nautilus or Aquanaut watches online. Patek Philippe is not selling online from its own website.
More than 3 million at Antiquorum
The selection of modern & vintage timepieces totaled more than 3 million CHF in sales at Antiquorum. Due to circumstances, the auction was held as an online live auction with bidders from 24 countries. The highly appealing Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC selections drove a lot of interest with an average hammered price above their high estimates. The always growing interest in Omega watches has been again demonstrated by lot 150, a Speedmaster. Rolex, which continues to be in great demand by collectors, represented 25% of the lots entrusted for the sale. It’s interesting to underline new trends and future collector pieces such as lot 280 & 281, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ref 15002.
Start of a marked downturn for Swiss watchmaking
The impact of the coronavirus epidemic began to be felt on Swiss watch exports in February. The value of exports contracted by 9.2%, to 1.6 billion francs. However, this does not yet fully reflect the actual situation in certain markets. Declines were seen in all sectors. The damage was limited for watches priced over 3,000 francs, which remained at almost the same level as last year. Several markets held firm, however most Asian markets fell, often posting very sharp declines. The United States (+17.8%) continued the upswing seen in January and benefited from a favourable base effect. In Asia, Hong Kong (-42.0%) recorded its worst monthly decline in the last 20 years, while China plunged by 51.5%. Japan (-2.1%) fell only slightly, while the United Arab Emirates (-26.3%) and South Korea (-11.2%) declined more sharply. In Europe, there was a decline in the United Kingdom (-18.9%), but surprisingly, continued growth in Germany (+7.3%), France (+12.6%) and Italy (+5.0%).
Rolex closes all Swiss factories for two weeks
Rolex has announced it will close its watchmaking facilities across Geneva, Bienne and Crissier for ten days, effective on the 17th of March. The closure is just one of many across the world, as many companies temporarily shut down and encourage employees to work from home to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. The spread has continued in many regions across the world, and Europe is now being described as the epicenter. Rolex is not the first watchmaker to be affected by the coronavirus, but looks to be the first to shut up shop for two weeks. Earlier this year, LVMH donated US$2.2 million to the Red Cross Society of China, to help combat the virus. Days later, Richemont donated US$1.4 million.
Stan Wawrinka joins the Montblanc family
Eager to pay tribute to the exceptional personalities who give a new meaning to what success means in the 21st century, Montblanc has welcomed Stan Wawrinka to its family of friends. Renowned for his unfailing determination, the tennis champion has already won 16 singles titles on the ATP circuit, including three Grand Slam tournaments. He is an exemplary embodiment of the new values of success, displaying unwavering enthusiasm for his career along with an exceptional mindset. “Montblanc became part of my professional and personal life years ago as their products are real life-companions and I am delighted to integrate the Mark-Maker family,” says Stan Wawrinka.
Cartier at Expo Dubai 2020 with the Women’s Pavillon
Expo 2020 Dubai and Cartier have announced a collaboration to present the Women’s Pavilion, celebrating women change-makers all over the world. The Women’s Pavilion takes a new look at the contribution of women and their impact on society, shining a light on the countless achievements, past and present, that have driven forward economies and enhanced their communities. The Pavilion will play an exciting role in The World’s Greatest Show of human brilliance and achievement, as it celebrates women, known and unknown, from every land, culture and religion, who are still making history and stimulating change. In the spirit of Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, the Women’s Pavilion will also spotlight the breadth and wealth of female expertise that is inspiring and empowering global citizens to create a better future.