Time was when purchasing a significant watch meant picking between a select few, appropriately soigné Swiss brands. But times change and now a plethora of luxury houses formerly famous for their jewelry (Cartier, Chaumet, Tiffany & Co), leather products (Hermès, Berluti) or style (Chanel, Dior, Ralph Lauren) are supplying timepieces effective at competing with the best horological offerings out there.
The gain in the amount -- and quality -- of watches glancing from such brands is arguably as important as the advent of quartz technology has been on the watch sector as a whole 40 decades back.
Based on Guillaume de Seynes, president of production and also a member of Hermès plank, it was the dawn of quartz moves that first invited his uncle, Jean-Louis Dumas, to make the first authentic Hermès timepiece. "From the Sixties and Seventies the shop in Paris was a significant vendor of watches" he recalls,"however, the quartz revolution created matters simpler. We had collaborated on some versions, by Jaeger-LeCoultre largely, with adjustments to the dials and straps and so forth, [however ] quartz gave a higher liberty to change shapes and dimensions, because you'd fewer limitations. And that is how we began, together with the Arceau view, in 1978, which is the very first time Hermès was a founder of its own watch."
This is a broadly similar story from the atelier of Italy's most renowned jeweller, Bulgari, but with a significant distinction. Back in 1975, Gianni Bulgari provided an electronic watch in a golden instance -- onto a somewhat raffish woven canvas strap -- to 100 of his most significant clients: a conceit, obviously, awarded Bulgari's top role since the bedazzler of la dolce vita, but a really contemporary take on a luxury timepiece however, and a significant -step-change in what had formerly been purely decorative (ie, jewellery-based) strategy to see design in the home.
"Throughout the Seventies the largest fad was for the electronic module," explains Fabrizio Buonamassa, senior manager of watches during its design center in Neuchatel, Switzerland. "So Bulgari place a digital module to some solid gold case. But this has been the Italian strategy: use various components from seemingly different worlds which don't fit together, with the ideal ingredients and the ideal strategy, you make an iconic item." Historically pushed by rarity, layout and all-important"point of difference", luxury brands had worked with external designers to make one-of-a-kind items for their clients. But ideology -- linked to a sense of place -- could become the best point of difference between people charged with producing (and afterwards making) watches in luxury homes located in Rome, London, Paris or New York, and people who toil hundreds, or even thousands, of kilometers from Geneva along with also the Vallée de Joux.
In Bulgari, among these providers was the renowned watch designer Gerald Genta. Together, they created the world's first"emblem watch" -- the Bulgari Bulgari, using its bezel-mounted inscription -- as well as also the Octo, the most recent iteration of that symbolizes two horological firsts: the planet's thinnest minute repeater, as well as the advanced use of titanium inside this classical bruise. "When we create products that are common, our customers do not follow usthey do not care about a frequent merchandise from an iconic brand," explains Buonamassa. "When we create -products which respect the principles of the industry using another strategy, they completely love our goods.
"Bulgari watches isn't driven by functionality. On the contrary, it investigates the -sensuality of geometry: quite pure contours, very easy proportions which make sense once you put them together. And in Italian style, attractiveness follows function" "Along with the -interesting issue is that they did it at a French manner.