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“The watchmaking of recent years is dead and...
Point of View

“The watchmaking of recent years is dead and buried”

Tuesday, 21 April 2009
By Florence Noël
Florence Noël

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2 min read

However flamboyant the stands at Baselworld, these are times of crisis and every segment of the watch industry, including the very high end, is feeling the sting. One such brand is HD3 Complication, brainchild of designer Jorg Hysek in partnership with Fabrice Gonet and Valérie Ursenbacher. After hosting a presentation in Geneva, to coincide with the SIHH 2009, the brand is exhibiting privately in Basel, a first since its creation five years ago. Interview.

Why are you exhibiting alongside Baselworld this year?

Jorg Hysek: To support our customers, by which I mean retailers and distributors. You could feel the uncertainty in Geneva last January. We need to reassure them.

So has the crisis slowed down since January?

No, but the situation is very different. We’ve known for some time now that the markets, in particular the United States, are weak. This means taking a step back and finding ways to develop new markets and new strategies.

Which are…?

We are working along two lines: customer relations and creativity. By listening to our customers, we can adapt to changing behaviour and give them products that really strike a chord. The watchmaking of recent years is dead and buried. Fine Watch aficionados are distancing themselves from any kind of “show off” mentality. As though luxury had become a sign of bad taste.

Which values are your priority now?

Authentic values! Ones that call on creativity and design. Each crisis cycle brings a return to design. Industrial values move into the background. Customers want quality, sobriety and inventiveness at the right price.

Yet your watches retail at a high price. Does this mean you'll be cutting your margins?

We produce in very small quantities and our prices reflect this. The major challenge in our segment isn’t about prices. It’s about the capacity to create.

Are the two new models you're showing in Basel a sign that you're unaffected by the crisis?

The entire watch industry is experiencing a fall in revenues, including niche brands such as HD3. However, our very small structure is an advantage, as we can react quickly to adapt our costs. This year we will only produce the models we’re showing when we have a firm order. With the economy as it is, this is an all-important safety net.

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