Archive for April, 2008

Lex Stolk new editor-in-chief 00/24 Magazine

April 29, 2008
Hereby the WFB Team congratulate Lex with his new job!Lex Stolk is the new editor-in-chief of 00/24 Magazine, the ultimate watch magazine that is published in Dutch and English editions. Lex is a highly experienced editor with intimate knowledge of the watch industry and great passion for watches. As editor-in-chief he has been responsible for Dutch watch magazine Horloges, GBF, WatchWorld (Scandinavia) and the watch supplements of the largest Dutch newspaper Telegraaf.

 The Author

Lex Stolk takes over from Karel Hubert who initiated 00/24 Magazine in 2003. Hubert takes up the position of supervising editor-in-chief. He will be responsible for the English edition of 00/24 Magazine and the special watch and lifestyle magazines Tijd Inc and Style Inc, produced on behalf of het Financieele Dagblad, the Dutch financial daily newspaper.

In respect for his former employer, WatchWorld, he decided to quit his ‘young’ carreer as a WFB author and he will stay a huge WFB fan. We all wish his good luck in his new position and we are all looking forward to the great article that will follow.

 

Breaking News: LVMH buys Hublot

April 25, 2008

Yesterday, it became official that LVMH bought the watch manufacturer Hublot!

“LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton agreed to acquire Geneva-based watchmaker, the Hublot group, for an undisclosed amount, from Hublot’s founder Carlo Crocco and a company controlled by Jean-Claude Biver. The Hublot brand joins other watch brands in the LVMH portfolio including TAG Heuer, Zenith, Dior Montres, Louis Vuitton watches and the watch collections of jewelers Chaumet and Fred.” as stated in the Rappaport Weekly News Letter.

This is an interesting development: It shows that the large groups (LVMH is the largest luxury group out there) are still ‘hungry’ to buy up any independent watch companies. It also shows that the luxury groups strongly believe in this industry.

I don’t know if we need to congratulate Mr. Crocco, who founded the company only 1980 and handed the reigns to the ‘whiz kid’ Biver (former CEO of Omega and Blancpain) in 2004. In 2004 Biver announced that he would blow up the Hublot brand… Indeed, he created the Big Bang watch, but apparently he succieded…

Hereby the official press release of LVMH:

LVMH acquires the Swiss watchmaker Hublot

Paris, 24 April 2008

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading luxury group, announces that it has signed an agreement to acquire the Hublot group, a top of the range watchmaker enjoying very strong growth.

LVMH will acquire Hublot from Mr Carlo Crocco, who founded the group in 1980, and a company controlled by Mr Jean-Claude Biver, who has managed Hublot since 2004.

Hublot is a brand that is highly complementary to LVMH’s existing watch portfolio comprising TAG Heuer, the world leader in prestigious sport watches and chronographs, the Swiss Watch Manufacturer Zenith, Dior Montres, Louis Vuitton watches sold exclusively in Louis Vuitton stores, and the watch collections of jewellers Chaumet, Fred and De Beers.

STRONG GROWTH POTENTIAL

Hublot, which has its headquarters and workshops near Geneva, has started building a factory at Nyon to accommodate its expansion plans. Having grown at a rapid pace since 2004, the brand achieved net revenue of more than CHF150 million in 2007 with an excellent profitability. A very significant increase in revenue is expected in 2008.

Today, Hublot has a very selective and efficient distribution network which is limited to 300 stores worldwide.

Hublot has a well-balanced geographic footprint spanning Switzerland, Spain, France, Germany, the US, Latin America, Middle East, Russia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore… The brand has recently been launched in China and India and has strong growth potential in Asia, Japan, North America and in certain European markets.

EXCEPTIONAL WATCHES AND CHRONOGRAPHS
Hublot offers ranges of exceptional quality watches that are innovative, very differentiated and combining fusions of materials, precious metals, (gold, platinum,…) technological metals (titanium, tantalum…), ceramics, diamonds and natural rubber.

The renowned Big Bang collection includes models equipped with automatic movements whose prices range from €8,000 (steel and ceramic) to over €300,000, integrating precious metals and technical complexity.
A new Big Bang collection for women was launched at the last Basel watch fair with great success.

Finally, the traditional classic line has been recently redesigned using natural rubber, zircon, gold and ceramics.

Carlo Crocco, founder of Hublot, said : “I am happy that Hublot, an innovative brand since is creation, is joining the LVMH group, the world leader in luxury goods, whose creative passion is without any doubt a value that I have always shared.”

Jean-Claude Biver, the architect of the success of the Big Bang collection and the recent strong growth of Hublot, commented: “I am delighted that Hublot will be able to benefit from LVMH’s support and strategic  leadership in the luxury goods industry and so maximise its growth potential in the years to come. I am happy to be pursuing this adventure and to be able to contribute to the development of LVMH’s watchmaking division alongside Philippe Pascal.”

Philippe Pascal, Chief Executive Officer of LVMH’s Watches & Jewelry business group, added: “Hublot is a strategic and very complementary acquisition. Its high-end positioning, selective distribution, financial performance and growth potential make Hublot a ‘rising star’. Hublot will strengthen our Watches & Jewelry business group which, over the last three years, has been growing strongly. We are very happy that Jean-Claude Biver will, along with the management team of Hublot, continue on this remarkable journey and contribute his considerable expertise to our development in this promising sector.”

Are you a WatchFreak too? WFB Team keeps on growing

April 24, 2008

I never imagined, when I started this blog, that on the one hand blogging can be so much fun, and on the other hand I never expected to have so much feedback.

The Blogger

I got my friend Cliff (a great WatchFreak) blogging not so long ago and recently I asked him to contribute to this site. At first he was hesitating and being (truly) modest that he wasn’t such a great WatchFreak as I claimed and not a great writer. About the writing, check for yourself on his blog.

The Author

On top of that the chief editor of Horloges Magazine, Lex Stolk, has left the art of writing about timepieces for magazines and turn his carreer on to another path. But luckily for us, he promised to stay on as an author for WatchFreaks Blog. Of course the new chief editor of WatchWorld Magazine and Horloges Magazine, will stay on board of the team of authors of WatchFreaks Blog.

The time you read from your…. Phone! TAG Heuer GSM

April 17, 2008

TAG Heuer is the first Swiss watch manufacturar that has produced a high-quality GSM telephone!

TAG Heuer Telephone

For full details and additional photo visit the blog of Ace Jewelers: www.AceBlog.info

This phone was nick-named ‘The Vertu Killer’ during the BaselWorld fair. Although there is not a lot of information available, It is know that TAG Heuer targets the same customer base as Vertu, since the prices will start around EUR 3.400,–
It is an interesting development that a Swiss watch manufacturar jumps in to a different sector, a sector that actually can be seen as a competitor of the watch industry… A large portion of the youth doesn’t buy a wrist watch because the need it to read the time (they have their phones & computers), but because it is a fashion statement! And, on the other side, phones now-a-days also became fashion statements… So, TAG Heuer might not be that ‘crazy’ to diversify into other ‘fashion’ industries like glasses and phones…

Design & Originality – The Game (Watches from BaselWorld & SIHH 2008)

April 15, 2008

Whenever I visit and/or am confronted with new designs (of any kind), I automatically (like probably many people) start to cross reference the new image I am confronted with and try to associate it with the ‘image bank’ in my mind…. Subconsciously most of us cross reference the new image we are confronted with at that moment, with the ‘things’ we already know… I wanted to set-up a (new) game on this blog, hereby the simple rule:

Please respond to this blog posting by filling in the numbers of the pictures with a brand/model of which the watch on the picture reminds you! I will not mention the name/model of the watch on the picture. Of course there will be some pictures of watches that are ‘original’ ;)

Let the games begin:

1. The watch on the top?
The Game Photo 1

2. Does this remind you of any other watch?
The Game Photo 2

3. Is this original or inspired by ………. ?
The Game Photo 3

4. New watch, but is it a new design?
The Game Photo 4

5. Let’s not forget the ladies watches…
The Game Photo 5

6. This reminds the 1960s, does it?!
The Game Photo 6

7. Military Watch or Urban Style?!
The Game Photo 7

8. Not many brands make rectangular watches… Right?!
The Game Photo 8

9. Is this original, Inspired by or plain copy?
The Game Photo 9

10. The name shouts out DESIGN, but is this watch design original?
The Game Photo 10

11. Pimp your watch (Click & Combine):
The Game Photo 11

12. New design… Is it original?
The Game Photo 12

13. Octant-like case…
The Game Photo 13

14. Are these diamonds or Swarovski?
The Game Photo 14

15. Haute Horlogerie or Fashion Watch?
The Game Photo 15

16. Tourbillon, Tourbillon Look-a-Like, Tourbillon Inspired, Tourbillon Wannabe or Original?
The Game Photo 16

17. What make is this?
The Game Photo 17

18. Don’t look at the pillow, but the concept of the watch…
The Game Photo 18

19. New player on the market… Are they original? And is this ‘design’?
The Game Photo 19

20. Last, but certainly not least: Original or not?
The Game Photo 20

Please share you opinion by playing this game. Because I do not want to influence opinions, I will go last….

SIHH 2008 Trade Show Review

April 11, 2008

Yesterday, I traveled from Basel to Geneva early in the morning and spent there from noon to 8 pm at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) in Geneva, Switzerland. This was the 18th time the SIHH took place in Geneva and next year it will start on January 19th, 2009! This means it will take LESS than one year to receive news & new models from the following brands that present their novelties during this exclusive event.

This year the following brands were present at the SIHH:

+  Richemont brands:
– Cartier
– A. Lange & Sohne
– Jaeger –LeCoultre
– IWC
– Mont Blanc
– Panerai
– Vacheron Constantin
– Van Cleef & Arpels
– Dunhill
– Baume & Mercier
– Piaget

+ Independent brands
:
– Audermars Piguet
– Girard Perregaux
– Jean Richard
– Parmigiani
– Roger Dubuis

Hereby a review of the fair with some snap shops. In advance I want to apologize for the poor quality of the photographs, this had two reasons: some window cases & the lighting were very pour and we were in huge rush.

SIHH Impression
Impression of SIHH 2008

SIHH Impression
Another impression of SIHH 2008

SIHH Impression
One of the 16 brands present at the SIHH.

SIHH Impression
Any business is people’s business: Food is a catalyst in doing business ;)

Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels

Audermars Piguet
Audermars Piguet

Audermars Piguet
Audermars Piguet

Panerai
Panerai

Jaeger-LeCoultre
Jaeger-LeCoultre

JeanRichard
JeanRichard

JeanRichard
JeanRichard Window

Girard Perregaux
Girrard Perregaux

Cartier
Cartier
Cartier
Cartier

Vacheron Constatin
Vacheron Constantin Window

A. Lange & Sohne
A. Lange & Sohne

Roger Dubuis
Roger Dubuis

Dunhill
Dunhill Vintage

Dunhill
Dunhill Vintage

Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc
Baume & Mercier
Baume & Mercier

IWC Da Vinci
IWC

IWC Pilot St. Ex.
IWC

Today I had some additional meetings in Geneva and I am traveling back to Amsterdam at this very moment. I have some more picture of SIHH and will try to post tomorrow some trends presented at the Salon.

New Design WatchFreaks Blog

April 10, 2008

A short post: Special thanks to Menno Dijk (co-WatchFreak), the designer of the new header of this blog! He also redesigned the header of the blog of Ace Jewelers (www.aceblog.info). Yes, you saw it correctly, the watch in the header has been photoshoped ;) We try to be objective here on WFB…

Update BaselWorld 2008: Fashion

April 9, 2008

Today was my fourth day in Basel and my last day on the fair. The day was completely filled with meetings with jewelry manufacturars and we ended the day with the finalization of the packaging of the Ace Watch (for updates, keep track of http://www.aceblog.info). Before we started in Hall 2.0, we did a quick round in Hall 5.0 to see what is happening in the Fashion sector of the watch industry. In this post I will show some pictures of the booths (maybe fun to see if you never have visited BaselWorld) and in the second part some fashion watches (we wrote an article about what watches should or shouldn’t be labeled as fashion: “Couture Watches vs. Fashion Watches“. In this post I name the watches that are designed by fashion houses and produced for the price range that people should wear them as fashion accessories (buy a new one every year), fashion watches.

1. Fashion Booths in Hall 5.0:

In my opinion the most successful stand in Basel is the one of Patek Philippe, but if we look at the stands of fashion watches, the stand of D&G won by far (in my opinion):

D&G
D&G: One moment the stand is completely blue-ish…

D&G
The next moment the complete stand is red!

Guess
Guess believes sex sells…

Breil
And Breil doesn’t (anymore… Remember the commercials?!)

Dior
Dior thinks: J’adore Montres!

Hermes
Hermes is understated elegance.

Ferregamo
Ferregamo started making watches too…

Mosschino
… And, Moschino finds itself “Cheap & Chic”!

2. Fashion watches presented in Hall 5.0:

Storm
Storm

Yema
Yema

Sector
Sector: Is it a fashion brand?! (Sorry for the bad picture & reflection).

Valentino
Valentino: Like Gucci made a complete black watch for ladies!

Tomorrow I am off to Geneva to visit the SIHH. Stay tuned for a report of all the Richemont brands plus AP, GP and Parmigiani.

Update BaselWorld 2008: Trends Confirmed

April 8, 2008

Today was my second day at the trade show and I wrote a post about the following brands on www.aceblog.info:

- Ebel
– George Jensen
– Oris
– Gucci
– Hamilton
– Omega
– Breitling
– Breitling for Bentley
– Maurice Lacroix
– TAG Heuer (phones)

Yesterday I wrote about what I believe the trends for 2008 are:

1. Diamonded watches for ladies AND men are STILL hot, hereby AGAIN confirmed:

Ebel Beluga
Ebel Beluga

Gucci Chiodo
Gucci Chiodo

2. Big is still the trends, we thought that 46mm is large, well it got confirmed AGAIN:

Breitling Chrono-matic 49
We keep on benchmarking against the IWC Big Pilot of my father, here the 49mm Breitling Chrono-matic 49.

Hamilton Code Breaker
The crazy rectangular Hamilton Code Breaker of 48,5mm.

3. Black cases are still very trendy, black PVD on steel or titanium or ceramic. Another trend confirmed:

Gucci Signoria Black
Gucci Signoria newest update: COMPLETE BLACK CASES & STRAPS FOR LADIES!

Hamilton
Hamilton has many black cases in the collection!

4. Pink Gold is here to stay (it was in the 1920s and the 1950s). This is again confirmed in the 21st century:

Omega Museum Watch
The Eighth Omega Museum Watch in Pink Gold (Limited Edition).

5. HiMech = HiTech Mechanical Watches and up and coming, this was confirmed today by many brands:

Ebel Trekton Skeleton
Ebel Trekton Skeleton

Oris BC4 Side
A side view of the Oris BC4 Chronograph Automatic.

Hamilton X-copter Side
A side view of the Hamilton X-copter.

The year 2008 seems to be another amazing watch year! Enjoy!

BaselWorld 2008: Trends

April 7, 2008

Today was my first day at the trade show and I wrote a post about the following brands on www.aceblog.info:

- Rado
– Longines
– TAG Heuer
– Ace Watches
– U-boat
– Welder

Usually when you have walked around for a couple of hours on the fair, you get a sense if it is a slow year, a year of line extensions or a revolutionary year. The year 2008 seems as a year of line extensions and as I call it, a period of consolidation. The brands are consolidating their successes. The successes of the last decade are prolonged and these are the trends for 2008 in my opinion:

1. Diamonded watches for ladies AND men are STILL hot:

Corum
Corum Diamond Watch (for men)

Corum
Corum Diamond-Ruby Watch (for Ladies)

Patek Nautilus
Patek Philippe Nautilus Full Diamonds (men or women)

Longines Conquest
Even Longines has jeweled watches and this is a special piece where the side of the lunette/bezel is set.

2. Big is still the trends, we thought that 46mm is large, well:

Longines HydroConquest
Longines made the HydroConquest in 47,5mm, see the differecen compared to my fathers 46mm IWC Big Pilot.

Welder K29
Welder made another watch 55mm with 3 time zones

3. Black cases are still very trendy, black PVD on steel or titanium or ceramic:

Tag Heuer Grande Carrera
TAG Heuer Grande Carrera RS2 Limited Edition

Rado
Master of Ceramic: Rado!

U-boat
U-boat makes black watches with black PVD on steel, titanium or complete ceramic cases.

4. Pink Gold is here to stay (it was in the 1920s and the 1950s):

Tag Heuer Grande Carrera
TAG Heuer Grande Carrera Limited Edition

Patek
Patek Philippe World Timer

Longines L990
Longines L990 Manufacture Limited Edition

5. HiMech = HiTech Mechanical Watches:

Chopard
Chopard Chrono

Blancpain
Blancpain is the only one with a real watchmaker on the fair

Patek
Patek Philippe Advanced Research Lab was the first to create a silicium escapement!

AND I WANTED TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU, THE CEO OF THE SWATCH GROUP (Nick Hayek Jr.) SCHLEPPING A CHAIR TO THE GLASHUTTE MEETING ROOM (IS THIS BRAND GETTING EXTRA ATTENTION?!):

Nick Hayek Jr.

Tomorrow more news…


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