THE eleven men WHO will define watchmaking’s future who holds the future of the watch industry
in their hands?

The scenario seemed predestined for failure, with a non French-speaking American entering possibly the viciously clannish heart of Swiss watchmaking. But Wunderman never gave up

As part of our first Power Issue that charts where the power in the Swiss watch industry resides and, more importantly, who holds it, we’re presenting our first-ever list of the Vanguards. These are the young men who will define the future of the high watchmaking industry. Just as the previous generation, comprising men like Nicolas G. Hayek, Jean-Claude Biver, Rolf Schnyder and Johann Rupert, had rebuilt the industry, these are the men who will carry it into the future. Look at these faces because in ten years, they will be the establishment; they will be the heart of the industry.

If something is not right, I get angry. if you want to be strong, you must be continuously dissatisfied, as this will propel your evolution, your growth

This is the magic of A. lange & söhne. You will never find another manufacture where every single person working there is so committed – at the very core of their being – to creating the best and most beautiful expression of watchmaking
their minds can conceive, and which their hands can create

Think of Jaeger-LeCoultre as a 1,000-strong army unified by a growing pride and united by its desire to be the top dog in watchmaking, and you’ll get an idea of Lambert’s strength

The luxury watch has all the ingredients of a “dream come true”. It can be a reward, a status symbol, a piece of art, a collector’s item, an icon or even a family heirloom. Each one of them involves strong emotions

Every watch produced at Concord will need a high degree of complexity in its construction, creating different levels of features and added value. That’s where Concord belongs

Since the time I was born, it was made clear that I had a vast responsibility: to serve the brand Patek Philippe, to uphold its values and continue to evolve towards the future… The first goal is for us to retain our independence; the second to provide the best service; the third to create the best products; and the fourth is to improve our communication. We are a small, very human company that has a great deal of love for what we do

the expertise he has developed in enamel dial-making made Emch one of the few key guardians of this craft that was literally on the cusp of perishing from the face of the earth

His creative spirit called for him to go beyond his comfortable position as one of the industry’s most admired young CEOs, and before his 40th birthday, he would again reinvent himself – this time as a brand owner

switzerland needs 400 to 500 new watchmakers every year… at present, only 60 to 70 come out of our schools in any given year!

What Krone did was something remarkable because he developed a pitch-perfect understanding of the Lange & Söhne watches, that Lange watches must be devoid of gimmicks and preserve the tenets of functionality

We can develop and produce anything as we are fully integrated, which opens many doors to invention and creation, while still maintaining high quality

One thing that’s certain is that it will be Stern, and no one else, who holds the future of Patek Philippe in his hands. Will this approachable, genial man with an artist’s soul prove to be the brilliant general his father was? We are inclined to think so

Why did we pick van der Kallen as a Vanguard? Because while it’s tough to helm a successful brand, it’s even tougher to turn a failing one around, but that was precisely what he did

We have to continue to dream, to re-invent and to be fascinated by mechanical watch mechanisms. We have to keep sight of the fact that we are crafting important and sacred works

Like Bruce Wayne in the Bat Cave laboring over his crime fighting innovations, Scheufele is a brilliant, technically-savvy new industry leader who is always pushing to achieve goals in record time
while establishing industry-leading benchmarks

Concord had ironically — much like Ebel under LVMH management — lapsed into a brand that was devoid of identity. It was a follower; a brand that tried to be everything to everyone; and, in doing so, was nothing to no one

MICHAEL WUNDERMAN — THE COME-FROM-BEHIND WINNER
The first 15 minutes of a film is known as the set-up. This is when the movie’s hero is placed in a situation of such an extraordinary nature that it forever changes his life. Michael Wunderman, a former film editor and movie buff, knows this scenario well. So when he found his life following a similar course, he knew what to expect. After all, his personal set-up rang of a classic movie narrative… The son of an industry legend drops his job in sunny Los Angeles to run his father’s newly-acquired high luxury watch company, thus repairing the frayed emotional bond between father and son. He knew that he’d have to face hurdles and that by overcoming them, he would find his calling.
But life is unlike the film world in one major way: while the protagonist always overcomes these challenges in a movie, in real-life, men are usually beaten down by these same challenges. They are usually worn to the bone by successive inclemency, sucked dry of hope and desire; then despair rushes into this vacuum like sea water into the lungs of a drowning man. They become disheartened by the clans that form against them and the doubters who wait gleefully in the wings, hoping for them to fail. What made Michael Wunderman capable of facing culture shock and missteps, and making all the right moves to transform a unique, but fashion-oriented brand into a truly legitimate horological manufacture? Perseverance!
The world’s greatest racing horse, Secretariat, was a come-from-behind winner. Out the gate, Secretariat would be swallowed by the pack, engulfed in the churning kinetic mass of hooves and riders. But then something in the great animal – a deep irrevocable unwillingness to lose – would ignite his soul and consume every cell and red blood corpuscle in his body, and he would surge forward with unstoppable force.
Michael Wunderman had worked with his father, industry legend Severin Wunderman when the latter transformed Gucci watches into the must-have luxury accessory of the ’80s. But in his mid 20s, he left the watch business behind to pursue filmmaking in Los Angeles. In 2001, his father bought Corum and invited Michael to the Basel Fair.
Immediately, the younger Wunderman recognized the resolute change in the luxury watch business and was amped on its creativity. A part of him knew that he had to be a part of this. He explains, “I basically knew then that I wanted to come back to the watch business, because I could sense the huge energy behind the industry. But moving to Switzerland was the hardest decision I ever made because I had to uproot myself and really go into an industry where I had to learn and absorb information and the culture of watchmaking itself at an accelerated speed.” The scenario seemed predestined for failure with a non French-speaking American entering what could be the viciously clannish heart of Swiss watchmaking. But no matter how many doors closed on him, Wunderman never gave up. And more importantly, he kept learning, assimilating the culture and gauging where it had room for improvement.
Wunderman must have learnt his lessons well. Announced as the CEO of Corum at the 2004 Basel Fair, Wunderman quietly set about transforming his brand completely. Rather than the previous focus on wild fashion-oriented products, he set himself the goal of building the pillars in the model range that would be the foundation of his brand. As of 2007, we will see for the first time the full range of his goals actualized with strong iconic products possessing vibrant designs and unique technical value, with an eye towards the development of far greater in-house capabilities. While he has assimilated into the Swiss watch culture, he has also brought to it a new sense of communicative flair that was painfully lacking in the industry. Like Secretariat, Wunderman is a hard-charging, come-from-behind winner. We caught up with him to understand the challenges he faced, and how he overcame them.

Tell us your goals for Corum… My goal is to give Corum an identity, to give it brand equity and to own our real estate. Corum has been through so many incarnations in the past six years since we bought the brand. Coming from the fashion world, my father applied those same dynamics to Corum where we tried to be very innovative and to refresh our range each year. But now, I’m stopping this. The focus now is on building core pillars in our range – iconic models such as the Golden Bridge, the Admiral’s Cup and the Romulus. We want to bring quality and coherence into each watch, such that even the links of the bracelet and deployant buckle of the Admiral’s Cup echo the facets of the bezel. We want to bring technical value to each of these models, with movements and complications that are exclusive and unique to us for each model. This is the direction for the future, to once again legitimize this great brand.
Who’s helping you achieve these goals? I have a gentleman named Antonio Calce — the former head of production for Panerai — working closely with me. We get along perfectly and have a shared energy and passion for product and technicity. We are also both perfectionists. Together, we work closely with a designer named Xavier Perrenoud, who is the third cog in this machine of creation. The vision we share is perfectly aligned and we’re riding the magic. It takes a while to find the right collaborators, but once you do, your possibilities are limitless.
What resistance have you faced? People didn’t believe in what I wanted to do initially. All they wanted was for the product to be placed on a blank background. It’s funny because from a perspective of the product, our industry is very innovative. But from a perspective of communication, we are so far behind the rest of the luxury world. We must take real substantial values of Swiss watchmaking and place them in the context of today, in a vibrant world that is alive with emotions. It sounds obvious, but not many people in the industry do it. We must use words and images to communicate and not to alienate the consumers. We must be storytellers.
Do you think people wanted to see you fail? Definitely… It’s never an easy position to be, coming from the family that owns the company. Because the recurring statement is “You got everything handed to you and I’ll be happy when you fail because that will prove you have no talent or ability of your own.” I’ve learned that you have to ignore it and immerse yourself totally in your work. Your work, the products you create, and their success or failure will be the yardstick by which you are judged.
Ever fallen down? Of course I’ve had failures, but I try to keep them quiet. Particularly in the area of product development, I’ve tried some really ambitious things and we’ve had to abandon them because we couldn’t bring them to the market at the price or quality we wanted. It is fundamental for a leader to be able to pick himself up even after he’s had a failure, and come back stronger.
What is the power of the mechanical watch? It is the power of self-expression merged with the power of the technicality embodied by a great car. It defines you.
What is the power of family? Camaraderie and pure love. My father is such a giving person that to be able to give him something back, to take this brand and make it his legacy, is the thing I’m proudest of in my life.

MAX BÜSSER — THE entrepreneur
Max Büsser’s entrepreneurial eyes are always searching the great horological horizon. While the majority of the industry is consumed by the here and now, Büsser’s ability has always been to see beyond and gauge where the industry is heading. Like a ship’s scout in an eagle’s nest, he can see things that you and I can’t, he can read emerging high luxury patterns like cloud formations and recognize future consumer obsessions like paths in the currents.
Like so many of the men on this list, Büsser began work under the great Günter Blümlein. In charge of product development at Jaeger-LeCoultre, Büsser recognized Blümlein as “a brilliant manager of companies, but perhaps a less brilliant manager of people”. He knew this because he was one of the few who deigned to butt heads with the industry legend. At age 32, Büsser was headhunted by Harry Winston to run their struggling watch division. While Harry Winston was one of the world’s top jewelers, its dalliances with watchmaking from 1989 to 2000, with the exception of a double retrograde perpetual calendar made by Roger Dubuis and Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, had largely fallen flat with consumers.
Tasked with bringing new energy and direction to the timepiece division, Büsser soon recognized one huge problem: collectors and even the larger male market didn’t take the brand seriously. With no watchmaking capacity, almost zero horological legitimacy and no clear plan, how could Harry Winston break into the closely guarded ranks of watchmaking’s high complication heavyweights?
Büsser’s solution was revolutionary. Up to this point, the relationship between brands and watchmakers was, in many ways, like that between surrogate mothers and the wealthy couples designated to adopt their children. The watchmaker was supposed to labor invisibly and silently for the brand, and once his ticking masterpiece was born, he was to immediately hand it over, relinquishing all emotional ties with his mechanical offspring. But over the years, as watchmakers saw one of their own – Franck Muller – ascend to the rank of brand owner and experience tremendous success, this relationship began to unravel. Watchmakers like Philippe Dufour and Muller even formed an alliance of independent watchmakers to reclaim the spiritual heart of their craft. Büsser recognized the widening fissures in the relationship between star watchmaker and brand. With a marketing sledgehammer named Opus, he smashed it wide open, and completely usurped and inverted this traditional relationship. The industry was so radically affected that, today, every major manufacture has, to some extent, adopted his methodology.
Where once the star watchmaker was kept in the shadows, Büsser placed him on the world stage and celebrated him. Büsser selected watchmakers who combined incredible technical refinement with media-savvy personalities who burned with deep ambition to make their name in the world. Watchmakers like François-Paul Journe, Vianney Halter, and Büsser’s ultimate pupil, Felix Baumgartner, reveled in the international spotlight. Granted a one-shot deal to make an unprecedented impact on the industry, the watchmakers dug deep inside themselves to render brilliant horological pyrotechnics that wowed the world.
Relying on a rare combination of good looks and technical understanding, Büsser transformed Harry Winston from an industry outsider to a formidable powerhouse, and at such a fast pace, by tapping the energy and abilities of men who had been a “Band of Outsiders”. Büsser didn’t have to invest in developing in-house infrastructure; indeed, he achieved some of the most revolutionary high complications on a shoestring budget, while quietly building up Harry Winston’s product range with solid core competence, particularly in the Z-series sports watches.
But as Büsser reached the fifth year of Opus’s intended run, his creative spirit called for him to go beyond his comfortable position as one of the industry’s most admired young CEOs; before his 40th birthday, he would again reinvent himself – this time as a brand owner. Taking the basic principles of the Opus Project one step further, Büsser created Max Büsser & Friends – a company where every person involved in the process of creating his timepieces is named and embraced as a partner in the collective spirit of the project. Through MB&F, Büsser has made a decent initial impact based on avant-garde design and his strong interpersonal skills. With access to what the future holds by being on his advisory committee, we assure you that while his first watch has polarized opinion (to be fair, it was not to everyone’s taste), what you’ve seen so far are just the first brush strokes of a far more commercially realized plan. As we’ve mentioned, entrepreneurially speaking, Büsser’s eyes are always looking ahead of ours.

What endows your brand with power? Power resides in being able to federate immensely talented individuals into creating together. A brand like ours is slightly disconcerting to some because we do not create to please the majority, so we do not abide by the industry’s usual rules. Being able to do what pleases us, instead of being dictated to, is immensely empowering. That said, a brand’s power is largely what clients or the industry project onto it. The public decides who is a trendsetter, opinion leader or powerbroker. At MB&F, we just create interesting timepieces and leave the politics of power alone.
What does power mean to you? It is only by relinquishing authority that one gains real power. In leaving the corporate world and independently setting up a creative lab, I gained amazingly more power: the power of having people work with me because they want to, rather than because they feel they have to.
What can be done to ensure the future of the high watchmaking industry? “Shareholder value” is probably our industry’s biggest enemy. Profits generated by the major league players need to be effectively reinvested into R&D. Even more importantly, they should help to sustain watchmaking schools and training courses. Switzerland needs 400 to 500 new watchmakers every year just to ensure the increase in production and the after-sales service of what has already been produced. At present, only 60 to 70 new watchmakers come out of our schools in any given year! We also need many more entrepreneurs. Up until very recently, the whole manufacturing network was made up of skilled independent entrepreneurs; however, in this unprecedented wave of buyouts, many of them have been integrated into the corporate world, thus thinning the ranks of the talented independents. It is a void that must be filled by creating new companies in all the crafts necessary to manufacture high-end timepieces.
What has enabled you overcome the challenges you’ve faced? The “Friends” that make up the whole structure of our creative label. Without this whole network, which ranges from production to retail, MB&F would have just remained an idea.
What has been the greatest leadership challenge you’ve had to overcome? Working alone for the first 18 months of the company, it was impossible for me to realize all of my ideas. Not that it gets easier with more people on board – with more partners, more time has to be dedicated to management and leadership. The upside is the immense gratification of being 100-percent involved in every aspect and at each level of the company. However, it requires phenomenal mental flexibility, rigorous organization and a single-minded drive to succeed.

FABIEN KRONE — THE NEW BOSS
Stepping into A. Lange & Söhne’s somber manufacture in Glashütte – the place where some of the most exquisite timepieces in horology are born – should be accompanied by Roger Daltrey’s refrain, “Meet the new boss – same as the old boss.” Because everywhere, from the walls, to the stairwells, and to the hearts and minds of every skilled watchmaker, the manufacture still resonates with the indelible imprint of Günter Blümlein, and for good reason. Because what Blümlein did from the onset of Lange’s rebirth – positioning it amongst the cream of high watchmaking such as Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin – is astonishing and unprecedented. After his passing, a new leader for Lange had to be found. And while Lange had achieved stellar success, its enduring path into the future was far from secure. This “precious little flower”, as journalist Peter Braun aptly named her, needed a guardian – a man who would preserve her values (after all, she was a brand constructed almost entirely on values), even as the world around changed at an accelerated rate. This guardian’s job would be to continue to communicate her worth; her inner richness in a world where flash and fusion are definitive hallmarks.
After Blümlein’s death, the first instances of Lange’s missteps occurred. Like mis-struck piano chords, they were made even more obvious amid the surrounding perfection. With the Grande Lange One and the Grande Lange One Luminous, the manufacture seemed to have lost its way; in the first instance, trying to channel some misplaced baroque ethic; and in the second, trying to turn their watch into a Panerai. Yet, with vast technical achievements such as the Double Split, Lange managed to retain her virtue. She may have fumbled, but not fallen. Still, it was obvious that the current administration was not capable of guarding her.
Enter one Fabien Krone, formerly from the Italian car brand Alfa Romeo. What Krone did was something remarkable because he developed a pitch-perfect understanding of the Lange & Söhne watches, outshining even Lange’s own development team in his comprehension that Lange watches must be devoid of gimmicks and preserve the tenets of functionality. With each year and each watch, Krone put doubts to rest and began to build confidence.
So quietly impressive has he been that both Peter Chong and Ng Tjeng Jaw, two of the world’s foremost watch experts and the Lange forum moderators for Timezone.com and Horomundi.com, respectively – two guys who do not necessarily see eye to eye – are united in their admiration for Krone. Says Ng, “He has profound inner strength which you may not realize at first because he’s so polite and approachable. But if you look at how he’s won over the team in Glashütte, including the old guard, it’s because they recognize that they need him now.” Says Chong, “He’s done a tremendous job, continuing to make the exact type of watches that embody the spirit of Lange perfectly.” With the Richard Lange – a watch of unquestionable purity; the Tourbograph – a demonstration of Lange’s high watchmaking skills combined with the signature chain and fusée; and now the Lange 31 – the world’s first truly functional long power reserve timepiece thanks to its constant force mechanism and immense one-month reserve of power, Krone has flawlessly demonstrated his impresario technique in playing Lange’s song for generations to come.
He states, “Your team is your family: you eat together, fight together, brainstorm together, and ultimately if you succeed, you succeed together. This is the magic of Lange & Söhne. You will never find another manufacture where every single person working there is so committed – at the very core of their being – to creating the best and most beautiful expression of watchmaking their minds can conceive, and which their hands can create. You have to learn to nurture this family and gain its trust, and then we can have fun together.”
Even the normally slow-to-praise independent watchmaking legend and Lange owner (he goes to the annual owners’ group dinner), Philippe Dufour, has only good things to say about Krone, “They got the right guy there. The perfect guy.” At the same time, Krone has also implemented vast changes. He has consolidated all the departments of Lange under its Glashütte-based roof; moved the marketing division into his manufacture, despite it having been situated in Schaffhausen for almost a decade; embarked on building all-new facilities for Lange to further sink roots down into Glashütte, while bringing the manufacture into the modern era. All these he did while conducting Lange’s song from his temporary office situated in an abandoned school, which he’ll occupy for the next couple of years.
So you see, we’ve changed our mind. Visit Lange now and it is clearly evident that the new boss is the boss in every sense, and the manufacture is all the better for it.

What endows your brand with power? There is one keyword which gives the answer to that question: “unsatisfaction”. It might sound strange, making some of the world’s best and most appreciated timepieces and nevertheless being unsatisfied. But this is one of the main driving forces of our movement’s designers and watchmakers: they are always striving for perfection and trying to improve every day what they have done the day before. This effectively describes the spirit at A. Lange & Söhne.
What does power mean to you? Power to me means to believe in the impossible. And to be able to face everyday business challenges with self-confidence.
What can be done to ensure the future of the high watchmaking industry? Two words: no compromises. This means that we have to keep our commitment to fine watchmaking and keep our respect for the brand values. Being a German myself, I might even say, “discipline”. And even though it sounds simple, it’s extremely difficult to achieve. There are many temptations, and to resist them means fighting every day.
What has enabled you to succeed in spite of the challenges you’ve faced? This goes back to the first question. But apart from “unsatisfaction”, there are a few more important elements like passion, faith, team spirit and competence, and of course, the fact that everything at Lange is linked to the brand’s tradition and heritage.
What has been the greatest leadership challenge you’ve had to overcome? The greatest leadership challenge has definitely been to keep the brand’s path and DNA despite the growth of the company, the development and challenges of the market, and the dynamics of the watch industry.

MANUEL EMCH — THE TOUGH GUY
Remember what a Jaquet Droz watch looked like before Manuel Emch took over the helm of the company in 2001 and after it was acquired by the Swatch Group? No? Well, neither do we. That’s because, like many brands bearing the names of famous watchmakers, it had lapsed into an identity crisis as a result of the muddled handling of its brand equity. As the CEO of Jaquet Droz, Emch’s moves to re-establish his brand’s identity were textbook maneuvers. First, he scoured the world to assemble a living library of Jaquet Droz’s timepieces and automatons, and from there, he was to define the brand’s DNA. But there was one small challenge. What must have dawned on him was that Jaquet Droz made watches in a vast array of styles. As a student of design, Emch recognized the iconic potential of one of Droz’s Grande Seconde pocket watches and used this as the foundation for all his ensuing designs.
Fascinated by the fine arts that existed in pocket watches during the horological golden age of the 18th and 19th century, Emch decided to make one of the core elements of his relaunch, an expertise in enamel, stone and paillonné dial-making. When he presented his first collection, his watches were immediately appealing, merging contemporary volumetric grandeur with refined crafts rooted in antiquity, and it was this merger of modern and new that came to define Jaquet Droz. Says Emch, “I like to think of our watches as embodying a kind of nouvelle baroque expressionism. I like to take the materials and arts of the ancient world, and use them to create vividly contemporary products.” His watches have been particularly successful in the USA and Asia. Importantly, the expertise he has developed in enamel dial-making made Emch one of the few key guardians of this craft that was literally on the cusp of perishing from the face of the earth. And while the movements in his watches were the somewhat ubiquitous Frederic Piguet movements, he continues to build brand equity by using his ability in design.
But even as Emch’s star rose, certain people in the Swiss watch industry were hoping for Emch to fail. Jealousy arose over Emch’s youth when he assumed the reins of Jaquet Droz and from the fact that his mother, Arlette Emch, is the CEO of both Calvin Klein watches and Léon Hatot, and sits on the Swatch Group’s board of directors. Having demonstrated his ability in design, Emch would now prove his mettle as a leader. He was put to the test in 2005, when he was accused of infringing the copyright of a another watch brand. But through it all, Emch remained perfectly calm, never reacting to the baiting he received. This maturity has impressed us profoundly. Because in the words of Rocky Balboa, winning ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. And throughout the experience, Emch took the body shots and even low blows while still resolutely moving forward. He proved that, despite his nice guy persona and welterweight physique, he possessed an innate toughness.
At the same time, Emch answered his critics with action rather than words, quietly evolving his brand away from the “screwed dial” configuration of the accusing party. He consistently improved his aesthetics, while simultaneously distancing his designs from anything else on the market. The result, as seen in the numerous novelties launched this year, is an even bolder, far more contemporary identity that still retains his core iconography and fascination with the fine arts. There is no doubt that because of Emch, Jaquet Droz is now one of the most exciting watch brands on the market, specializing in a rare fusion of refined craft and stunning new-world looks. Emch has also focused on developing a new manufacture to incorporate the various fine arts in a verticalized facility that will also enable him to educate a new generation of craftsmen in these trades.
As seen from his coolness under fire, maturity beyond his years and design acumen, Manuel Emch has proved himself to be one of the key figures of watchmaking’s future.
What endows your brand with power?
Jaquet Droz is an ideal mix between history, tradition, watchmaking art and modernity. The rich heritage of the brand gives us the opportunity to draw our strengths from centuries-old consummate know-how and techniques, while applying pure contemporary design to our watches. Our choice to propose mainly unique and limited edition pieces adds to the picture. It results in a perfect, exclusive and timeless beauty, which appeals to many trendsetters and iconoclasts. Another key point is that we have defined a clear and straight strategy for our product line, and we just stick to it.
What does power mean to you? Power is a tool for me, and a possibility to push the boundaries a step further each time.
What can be done to ensure the future of the high watchmaking industry? We need to increase the protection of the “Swiss made” label; stimulate and revive traditional know-how and craftsmanship; and give more way to creativity and design.
What has enabled you to succeed in spite of the challenges you’ve faced? Faith. I have always firmly believed in the goals set for the company and its products.
What has been the greatest leadership challenge you’ve had to overcome? When you build a company, you need valuable people around you. Creating a team that shows the right spirit and sense of innovation was a true challenge, which turned out to be quite successful in the end.

THIERRY STERN — THE GUARDIAN
Although their marketing campaign, “You never own a watch, you just safeguard it for the next generation.” smacks of brilliant emotional manipulation, there is enormous truth in it. Because there are only two watch companies that we can guarantee will survive global trends, recessions or catastrophes – Rolex and Patek Philippe. In any culture, any social strata in inclement, or golden periods of human history, Patek Philippe has been instantly recognizable as the gold standard in watchmaking. Patek Philippe was founded by Polish-born Antoine Norbert de Patek and François Czapek in 1839; the company was originally called Patek, Czapek & Cie. In 1845, Jean Adrien Philippe, who has been credited with creating the crown winding and setting system, replaced Czapek to form Patek & Cie. In 1851, the company was renamed Patek Philippe & Cie. Then, in 1932, Patek Philippe was sold to the Stern family. Since then, Patek Philippe has remained a family-owned brand.
Philippe Stern began working at Patek Philippe in 1977. In 1990, he took over from his father Henri Stern as company president. It is impossible to overstate the enormous impact Philippe Stern has had on the immense success of Patek Philippe in the second half of the 20th century. Although he has never flaunted it, Philippe is a technical marketer whose only rival was the late Günter Blümlein; he is an innovator of extraordinary vision and one of the few individuals today to fully dominate both the men’s and women’s watch segments as the persistent and unequivocal guardian of Patek Philippe’s sterling brand equity.
Today, a new leader prepares to take over the reigns of Patek Philippe and as you can imagine, the pressure placed on Thierry Stern, the scion of the Stern clan, is enormous. Does Stern find the near-superhuman expectations daunting? Says Stern, “Since the time I was born, it was made clear that I had a vast responsibility and that was to serve the brand Patek Philippe, to uphold its values and continue to evolve towards the future.” When asked about his goals, Stern replies, “The first is for us to retain our independence; the second is to provide the best service; the third is to create the best products; and the fourth is to improve our communication to the world. We are a small, very human company that has a great deal of love for what we do, and we want to continually transmit this message.”
One thing for certain is that Stern has showed a certain flair with design, gently nudging Patek Philippe forward with the new Nautilus family and the spirited 5960 annual calendar chronograph featuring an aesthetically controversial monocounter for chronograph indications. Says Stern, “Since I was a child, I was raised amongst the images of beautiful watches. But maybe there is no absolute Patek Philippe. Evolution is certainly needed, but we have to be able to recognize that these watches are from us.”
But his flair with products doesn’t necessarily ensure Stern’s ability to lead Patek Philippe into the new era. So, what will prove his capacity to do so? He’s certainly been prepared for the duty. He explains, “My father and I take all meetings together. We make the decisions together. I would say the greatest advantage of Patek Philippe being a family-run business is in the fantastic teacher it’s provided me.” Ultimately, whether he can or cannot lead is a question that can only be answered once he truly takes over the throne occupied by his father. One thing that’s certain is that it will be Stern, and no one else, who holds the future of Patek Philippe in his hands. Will this approachable, genial man with an artist’s soul prove to be the brilliant general his father was? We are inclined to think so, but in a way that is completely different in temperament, persona and spirit of his father’s. Because just like his own ad campaign states, “You don’t own a watch company like Patek Philippe, you safeguard it for the next generation.” And Stern will prove a fine link in the unbroken chain of Patek Philippe’s dynasty.

What endows your brand with power? Primarily, humility that is driven by the respect of people: respect for Patek Philippe employees, our customers and our retailers. Also, there is respect for quality and workmanship. People know that Patek Philippe’s foremost priority lies in preserving the values of watchmaking ‘savoir-faire’ over and above the development of our own personal patrimony.
What does power mean to you? Power implies responsibility. In my opinion, one should be humble to manage power and handle the responsibilities it involves.
What can be done to ensure the future of the high watchmaking industry? Training and investment is key in ensuring the future development of the watchmaking industry. This means no concession should be made in the quality of products in order to increase profitability. It is our high quality standards that resulted in Patek Philippe obtaining the Geneva Seal.
What has been the greatest leadership challenge you’ve had or will have to overcome? In my private life, my children of course! Professionally, taking over the management of Patek Philippe is an important challenge: to take over my father’s flame without too much of an upheaval; to achieve a soft transition. The future challenge will be to ensure Patek Philippe’s independence in order to guarantee our high standards of quality and the values inherited from my father.

THOMAS VAN DER KALLEN — THE TURNAROUND ARTIST
Ebel was, at one point, among the most exciting Swiss watch brands. At its helm was owner Pierre-Alain Blum, the grandson of the company’s founders and a man who loved mechanical watchmaking like no other. He pushed for the return of the mechanical chronograph by first single-handedly reviving Zenith’s El Primero before commissioning his own in-house movement based on an old Omega caliber. With the 1911, he created the definitive sports watch of the ’80s and early ’90s. But Blum eventually had to sell the company not because of its lack of profit, but because his investment in the ski maker Rossignol had gone awry. What followed was a bleak period for Ebel. Sold initially to Investcorp, the consortium that also owned Breguet, products continued to be churned out, but zero funds were invested into developing Ebel’s line or preserving its equity. It was obvious that Investcorp wanted to spend minimally on Ebel so as to accrue maximum profit from its sale. It achieved just this when the brand was sold to the LVMH group in 1999.
But at LVMH, it seemed as if no one knew what to do with Ebel. After all, when it came to men’s watches, the group already had the successful TAG Heuer empire, and the wildly successful Zenith helmed by marketing whiz, Thierry Nataf. So it was somehow decided that Ebel would be transformed into a women’s watch line – a move that fell resoundingly flat. After several years of trying, LVMH gave up on Ebel and sold it to the Movado Group in 2004. Group owner, Efraim Grinberg, had a vision for Ebel, which was to return it the stature it once had – a throbbingly cool, contemporary brand that was a market leader rather than a follower.
In 2005, the man tapped by Grinberg to do this job was Thomas van der Kallen, formerly from the Richemont Group. Says van der Kallen, “What he wanted was not to hire an American; he felt it was very important for the community to have a European heading the brand rather than an American, because Ebel is not an American brand – it’s a Swiss brand.” Accordingly, van der Kallen’s first act was to bring Ebel’s headquarters and nerve center back to the Swiss watchmaking epicenter of La Chaux-de-Fonds. There, surrounded in the culture of watchmaking and back on its home turf, Ebel would be transformed. Van der Kallen wanted to re-inject core iconic pillars into Ebel and radically diminish the number of different timepieces it was making. He says, “When you are confident, you make a few icons. When you are not, you make everything for everyone. We had to bring back our confidence.”
The vessel for this renewed confidence would be a radically updated 1911 model. Says van der Kallen, “The launch of the 1911 BTR is the first step in a very serious long-term commitment towards Ebel’s comeback in the men’s mechanical watch business.”
Styled by the super-hot designer, Xavier Perrenoud, the 1911 BTR (which stands for ‘Beyond The Roots’) expresses the increased dimensions, aggressive styling and interest in new materials, which captivated the new market of watch buyers who were reared on a diet of Panerai, Audemars Piguet and Hublot. But van der Kallen’s coup was to do all this while retaining a far greater sense of his manufacture’s identity than, say, Hublot has in its modern incarnation. At the same time, van der Kallen stressed the one thing that Ebel had that its competitors didn’t. And that was real technical content in the form of the in-house automatic, integrated chronograph caliber 137. The 1911 was a massive commercial and critical success, garnering numerous prizes and sending buyers to shops with avarice in their eyes. Says Ebel’s marketing director, Marc Michel-Amadry, “Pierre-Alain Blum saw the 1911 BTR at the fair and immediately congratulated Thomas. He told him ‘This is the watch we should have created all along.’”
Why did we pick van der Kallen as a Vanguard? Because while it’s tough to helm a successful brand, it’s even tougher to turn a failing one around, but that was precisely what he did.

What endows your brand with power? The strength of a signature (The Architects of Time), which is a statement of the vision and characteristics of the brand. The Architects of Time is about immediately recognizable design; timeless, sophisticated and elegant luxury; and the perpetual quest for universal beauty. Moreover, having our own calibers designed, assembled and tested in-house is another great strength that contributes to the power of Ebel.
What does power mean to you? Power is to remain humble while thinking big and nurturing the most extraordinary dreams.
What can be done to ensure the future of the high watchmaking industry? We have to continue to dream, to re-invent and to be fascinated by mechanical watch mechanisms. We have to keep sight of the fact that we are crafting important and sacred works. With that in mind, it is crucial to invest in research, training and education, as well as in the institutions and people who enable us to guarantee the high quality standards of the watches. Training and education are particularly important because watchmakers are the keepers or guardians of the industry. Through them and the pleasure they take in exercising their creativity and fine craftsmanship, the watchmaking world will stay valuable and desirable.
What has been the greatest leadership challenge you’ve had or will have to face? Re-positioning Ebel as a real alternative to the most prestigious watch brands. It is a mission that requires strong leadership. I am totally confident that we will achieve it, because all the powers of our company are focused on this mission.

KARL-FRIEDRICH SCHEUFELE —
THE ENGINEER
We once described Karl-Friedrich Scheufele as a bit like the DC Comics character, Batman, in the duality that inhabits his character. One aspect of him is that of the philanthropic playboy, raising money for charities through resplendent galas, where his family’s jeweled creations are eclipsed only by the stars wearing them, or racing his vintage Bentley in the Mille Miglia. But as much as he is a permanent fixture of the global haute monde, there is a part of him that is removed from that world, an aspect of him that is only at home amid the micro-cosmic world of horological ingenuity. Like Bruce Wayne in the Bat Cave laboring over his crime fighting innovations, Scheufele is transformed in his role at Chopard’s L.U.C manufacture in Fleurier as a brilliant, technically-savvy new industry leader who is always pushing to achieve goals in record time while establishing industry-leading benchmarks.
The truth is, he didn’t need to undertake this second aspect at all. He could have remained an unambitious, preternaturally handsome and perfectly tailored bon vivant, and gone on to be the ideal leader for Chopard, a brand that is, after all, deeply rooted with the world of international glamour as evinced by any red carpet at Cannes or Los Angeles. The reason we find Scheufele so compelling and so distinctive as compared to the other leaders of his generation is that he willingly and purposefully sought the great personal struggle, the heartache, the euphoria and ultimate vindication that come with building a true manufacture of in-house calibers.
Why did he do this? There’s something about his personality that deeply eschews artifice or gimmicks. When asked whether he prefers the standard Bentley Six or the Tim Birkin supercharged iteration, he explains that he likes his cars pure. And it is this desire to evoke purity and re-establish the horological legitimacy of the brand his father purchased that drove him to form the L.U.C.
Again, the point is that he didn’t have to. The creation of Chopard L.U.C’s in-house movement manufacture is, at some level, largely unnecessary because Chopard could have easily outsourced movements for its watches in the same way the vast majority of the industry has done. Instead, Scheufele set up shop in the mid ’90s and embarked on the creation of his first caliber. Did things go well? In fact, at some point, they went horribly awry and Scheufele’s determination was tested. He was being judged by the entire industry, and his reputation would ultimately be determined by his success or failure. So, Scheufele did the only thing he could — he went back to his drawing board and tried again. Amazingly, when the first caliber 1.96 was launched – accompanied by a COSC certificate and the Geneva Seal – it distinguished itself as the first modern movement with vertically stacked barrels to accommodate the micro-rotor, and was universally recognized as a startlingly mature achievement. To put it in context, in 1996, where automatic movements were concerned, the entire industry existed primarily on ETA 2892 with a few smatterings of Jaeger-LeCoultre ultra flat and Piguet calibers.
From that point, Scheufele continued to unveil increasingly impressive movements, including the Quattro, a four-barreled eight days power reserve caliber; the caliber 1.02 tourbillon based on the Quattro; an hour striker; and, in 2006, a vertical clutch chronograph with zero reset small seconds. Throughout these years, the L.U.C has grown tremendously. Says Scheufele, “In 1993, we had three employees. In 1998, we had ten people. Now, we have 108 people with in-house facilities for rhodium plating and prototyping, and make 1,000-1,500 real horological timepieces each year.”
The movements of the L.U.C products are the best value in high watchmaking. So much so that Felix Baumgartner of URWERK has remarked, “I don’t understand how they can create such beautiful and technically proficient movements at such attractive prices.” That we mention these movements rather than the watches they inhabit also points to the one area for improvement for Chopard L.U.C, which has to do with its designs. Because as it stands, the brand is still just missing the mark when it comes to connecting its tremendous value with emotional products. What we would suggest would be to use the ravishing 2004 Steel Wings Tourbillon as the foundation piece for all future L.U.C designs. That is to use the actual design iconography – meaning the layout of the skeleton Roman numeral dial of the Steel Wings – for all watches. Because none of Chopard’s subsequent designs have been anywhere as strong.
Chopard L.U.C also needs more innovative and distinctive designs to create greater separation between core models, accompanied by a new marketing campaign. But can, and will, Karl-Friedrich Scheufele achieve this? We’re inclined to believe that he is capable of this and much, much more; making him one of the first people we thought of when we short-listed the industry’s future leaders.

What endows your brand with power? Passion, innovation, creativity, quality craftsmanship and a good team spirit are key factors powering our brand.
What does power mean to you? “Power” is a word with many facets, one of them being the power as an entrepreneur to create something, build a company, make changes and make a difference in the world. If used wisely, power can be very positive. On the other hand, power can also be corruptive or even destructive.
What can be done to ensure the future of the high watchmaking industry? One measure is certainly to ensure the perpetuation of the high watchmaking crafts in our industry, by stepping up the training of young people in design, R&D and watchmaking. This should include more and better coaching of sales staff in “watchmaking culture”. At present, the watch industry certainly cannot depend on public institutions alone.
What has enabled you to succeed in spite of the challenges you’ve faced? There are a few important factors, I believe. I always remained optimistic, yet realistic, kept both feet on the ground, and I never took “no” for an answer. Furthermore, I am always passionate about my job and managed to form a good team, which shares our values. It was also important to be able to listen and be patient, when necessary.
What has been the greatest leadership challenge you’ve had to overcome? There isn’t one single greatest leadership challenge; it is more like a multitude of challenges, such as creating and keeping a good team, spending time with all the key staff in different departments (ranging from R&D to distribution and communication) and being personally involved in customer events. In short, knowing how best to “invest” my time.
What is the emotional power of the luxury watch? The luxury watch has all the ingredients of a “dream come true”. It can be a reward, a status symbol, a piece of art, a collector’s item, an icon or even a family heirloom. Each one of them involves strong emotions.

VINCENT PERRIARD — THE WILD CARD
By the time you read this, Vincent Perriard will have either succeeded immensely or failed resoundingly for the daring and revolutionary act of horological rebranding and rebirth he has planned for Concord. We’re betting on his success, which is why he is the “Wild Card” in our line-up of Vanguards. While you probably don’t know his name, Perriard has worked behind the scenes in the Swiss watch industry for over a decade. Perriard was the head of marketing in Audemars Piguet during the key rebuilding era, following the launch of the Royal Oak Offshore, and comes from the same generation as new leaders, such as François-Henry Bennahmias, the ultra-dynamic AP North America CEO. From there, Perriard was poached by the Swatch Group where he worked briefly before setting up his own agency, Brand DNA, specializing in brand building. So impressed was he by Perriard that Pierre Angelo Bottinelli, of Audemars Piguet’s board of directors, was one of the new company’s key investors. With Brand DNA, Perriard continued to impress, transforming Guy Ellia from a watch line spun off as a hobby of a French jeweler into a genuinely viable brand.
In 2006, Perriard was summoned by Movado Group CEO, Efraim Grinberg, for a leadership position in Concord. But upon hearing the mention of the name “Concord”, Perriard shook his head. When Grinberg asked him what was wrong, Perriard replied, “With Concord, everything is wrong.” And he was right, because Concord had ironically – much like Ebel under LVMH management – lapsed into a brand that was devoid of identity. It was a follower; a brand that tried to be everything to everyone; and, in doing so, was nothing to no one. The range of watches was massive and all over the place, and the general reaction to the brand ranged from ignorance to suspicion. Amazingly, once Perriard expressed all this, Grinberg nodded and replied, “You are right. That’s why I need you to helm the brand.”
What ensued was a whirlwind blitz of activity that saw Concord’s headquarters moved back to Switzerland. Says Perriard, “Mr. Grinberg saw how instrumental this had been to Ebel’s success and encouraged this.” Perriard put forth the radical idea of cutting all existing models beyond the new core pillars he will build by 2008, which coincides with the 100th year anniversary of Concord. Having analyzed the marketplace, Perriard noticed that, in 2006, the market for watches between $5,000-$10,000 in the United States had grown by 19 percent and, in the price point above $10,000, the market had grown by 14 percent. He decided that he wanted his brand to occupy these two territories in the niche luxury category. Then, he began to pour all of his energy into the creation of what will be his two core models – the Saratoga based C-1 and the Delirium based C-2.
What will define Concord future? Something that Perriard calls “Ultimate Watch Construction”, where every aspect from the case, the dial and the movement will feature complex multi-part and multi-dimensional construction, and use of different materials. As opposed to Ebel, which Perriard describes as “defined by curving lines that emerge from nature”, Concord will be defined as a hard, linear aesthetic taken from man-made structures. “We will be daring, edgy and unexpected, and bring to life machines that you have only imagined.” At the same time, Perriard will constantly use Concord’s spirit of innovation, established in 1979 with the world’s slimmest watch, in new and unexpected ways. While he explains that 2007 is a transitional year, it and the C-1 will pave the way for the full explosive force of his vision in 2008. So, like we said, we’re putting our money on him to succeed.

What is the essence of power? For me, power can be beautiful when wisely used: the power of beauty, the power of design and the power of love. But it can also be destructive when used against people, to force and dominate. Power is a tricky word and a dangerous element in everybody’s life.
Please define the potential power of your brand. Concord is a powerful name, just by itself. The power of the new Concord re-launch lies in the vision of the company and its product. We have re-established the DNA of Concord, which is based on its know-how in engineering the best, most complex and sophisticated watch construction. Ultimately, engineering made possible the creation of the flattest watch in the world in 1979, the Delirium by Concord.
Concord today is re-establishing this rule. Every watch produced at Concord will need a high degree of complexity in its construction, creating different levels of features and added value. That’s where Concord belongs. This is where and how the brand will be perceived in the near future with the launch of our new product, the C-1.
Why is the mechanical watch powerful? I would not associate a mechanical watch with the notion of power. I would associate it with the notion of craftsmanship, beauty and tradition. I don’t believe that power has anything to do with it.
Describe the power of the Movado Group. I would not associate the Movado Group with power, but with strength. Strong brands, strong products in their categories and strong marketing are three elements associated with the group.
What can be done to ensure the future of the high watchmaking industry? Nobody has a true answer. Somehow, it’s really a fragile industry, especially today because you have many actors. You have the key players, established. And you have the new players, the new brands. I enjoy seeing the birth of new niche brands. They bring fresh and inspirational creativity. This is a healthy competition that leads everybody to do better and to improve things, especially for established brands. There is a great dynamic today, which doesn’t seem to slow down. I believe we (the brands, the watchmakers) need to remain true, humble and honest in any project or product we create. I think, today, the consumer (in the high-end industry) wants to know more and more about the product — its birth, its story, its “raison d’être”. Today, the consumer is ready and interested in marketing. But he wants true marketing. True stories. We create such intimate products that you cannot cheat. You need to be true. At Concord, we have embraced this philosophy, and you will discover, along the years, great achievements both in terms of watch engineering and watchmaking.
What is the power of change? At Concord, we are not changing. We are re-inventing ourselves. H

JÉRÔME LAMBERT — THE FIGHTER ACE
When Jérôme Lambert was first appointed CEO of Jaeger-LeCoultre, few people thought that he would last. They couldn’t have been more wrong. Lambert began life in the financial side of the manufacture. He recalls his first day of work six years ago, “I remember when I first arrived at the carpark on day one, I asked myself, ‘What am I doing here?’” His answer to himself was, “It is a good brand, it is a solid company and it is producing great products.” Lambert demonstrated such relentless energy and sharp business acumen that just a few years later at the age of 32, he was tapped by Richemont Group owner, Johann Rupert, to run the company. But doubts resounded through the vast halls of the Le Sentier manufacture: “What about his youth; his relative inexperience; and his background in finance, rather than the product?” Five years later, Lambert is now universally praised as one of the best CEOs in the business.
Lambert picked up where Blümlein left off, but he pushed Jaeger-LeCoultre harder to initiate an even more accelerated pace of growth. In the few years since he has taken over, Lambert has achieved what many would have considered impossible. To a large extent, Jaeger-LeCoultre in Le Sentier has traditionally been less historically visible as a high-end Swiss brand, and more visible as a movement manufacturer. One such belief was that Johann Rupert purchased Jaeger-LeCoultre to be his group’s equivalent of Lemania or Frédéric Piguet, that is to say, a movement factory to service the needs of the group’s other brands. But all plans to evolve La Grande Maison into a movement factory vanished once Lambert took the helm.
What Lambert managed to achieve, above all other CEOs before him, including Belmont, Blümlein and, to a large extent, even the company’s founder, is to build a vast recognizable identity and equity for Jaeger-LeCoultre as a brand, and transform it into one of the most vibrant, sexy and technically innovative brands. How did he do it? With a combative fury not unlike that of Roberto Duran in his prime, Lambert exploded onto the market with salvo after salvo of market-leading timepieces that brilliantly utilize his manufacture’s unmatchable depth of resources. Think of Jaeger-LeCoultre as a 1,000-strong army unified by a growing pride and desire to be the top dog in watchmaking, and you’ll get an idea of Lambert’s strength. Lambert has also been known to use internal competition to foster a spirit of heightened creativity… and his results speak for themselves.
Lambert is the watch industry’s top fighter ace. In another life, he could have been Chuck Yeager, consistently breaking records and ascending new heights. In the watch world, he has relentlessly targeted the luxury watch industry in every category and at every price level, causing many less-prepared brands to be left reeling in the onslaught. No other high-end watch brand can claim to have a watch in every category that establishes a new reference in watchmaking for performance (high) and price (low), from ultra haut de gamme to basic entry-level timepieces.
In the high complication arena, Lambert created one of only two successfully industrialized multi-axis tourbillons and the world’s loudest minute repeater. In the range of medium complications, he has arrived two years ahead of the rest of the market with his in-house chronograph caliber. And in 2006, he generated a huge controversy with the successful launch of the Master Tourbillon – a true horologically legitimate tourbillon priced at less than half that of its competitors. The message contained in this watch? Simply that: “We can offer this watch at this price because we have greater manufacturing depth than anyone else.” Lambert is known to exist on three hours of sleep and he’s capable of sheer superhuman endurance. He sometimes works his own staff to the brink of exhaustion, but always to generate winning results.
As of 2007, the word is that Lambert is progressively pulling back his supply of movements to other brands within the Richemont Group to assert greater exclusivity for his timepieces. And while this may well have raised eyebrows, the move cannot be called surprising.
When asked about his future plans, Lambert tells us pointedly that he loves his brand and sees himself at the helm of Jaeger-LeCoultre for at least another five years. But considering Lambert’s amazing performance so far, when looking at individuals who may one day hold the top post in the Richemont Group, the front-runners at the moment consist of Lambert and his IWC peer, Georges Kern.

What gives your brand power? Working with a team of 1,000 individuals fully invested behind the brand; all with their specific skills and “power” to develop the brand; and all sharing the same pride to serve Jaeger-LeCoultre. We can develop and produce anything as we are fully integrated, which opens many doors to invention and creation, while still maintaining high quality.
What does power mean to you? Being different from others, being able to create exceptional timepieces and being able to imagine the future of watchmaking. To be more innovative and to create new surprises every year.
What can be done to ensure the future of the high watchmaking industry? Being a true manufacture with more than 900 people working under the same roof with all-integrated crafts, leads to invention and innovation where everything is possible. We will register new patents this year… as we have done so every year! The use of new materials makes it possible to conquer new fields of expression for the watch industry. In addition, the use of colors in materials and the acquisition of new functionalities are additional sources of creativity for the watch industry. However, the key to the future of watchmaking is its people and the training given to them in schools.
What has enabled you to succeed in spite of the challenges you’ve faced? Perseverance and having a good team around me, most probably. And of course, the passion that I have for Jaeger-LeCoultre.
What has been the greatest leadership challenge you’ve had to overcome? To accept the subtlety of creativity, and the differences that create richness.

Suddenly, IWC has become the “It” brand amongst celebrities in the USA, with appearances in Miami Vice and in films all around the world

The scenario seemed predestined for failure, with a non French-speaking American entering possibly the viciously clannish heart of Swiss watchmaking. But Wunderman never gave up

As part of our first Power Issue that charts where the power in the Swiss watch industry resides and, more importantly, who holds it, we’re presenting our first-ever list of the Vanguards. These are the young men who will define the future of the high watchmaking industry. Just as the previous generation, comprising men like Nicolas G. Hayek, Jean-Claude Biver, Rolf Schnyder and Johann Rupert, had rebuilt the industry, these are the men who will carry it into the future. Look at these faces because in ten years, they will be the establishment; they will be the heart of the industry.

If something is not right, I get angry. if you want to be strong, you must be continuously dissatisfied, as this will propel your evolution, your growth

This is the magic of A. lange & söhne. You will never find another manufacture where every single person working there is so committed – at the very core of their being – to creating the best and most beautiful expression of watchmaking
their minds can conceive, and which their hands can create

Think of Jaeger-LeCoultre as a 1,000-strong army unified by a growing pride and united by its desire to be the top dog in watchmaking, and you’ll get an idea of Lambert’s strength

The luxury watch has all the ingredients of a “dream come true”. It can be a reward, a status symbol, a piece of art, a collector’s item, an icon or even a family heirloom. Each one of them involves strong emotions

Every watch produced at Concord will need a high degree of complexity in its construction, creating different levels of features and added value. That’s where Concord belongs

Since the time I was born, it was made clear that I had a vast responsibility: to serve the brand Patek Philippe, to uphold its values and continue to evolve towards the future… The first goal is for us to retain our independence; the second to provide the best service; the third to create the best products; and the fourth is to improve our communication. We are a small, very human company that has a great deal of love for what we do

the expertise he has developed in enamel dial-making made Emch one of the few key guardians of this craft that was literally on the cusp of perishing from the face of the earth

His creative spirit called for him to go beyond his comfortable position as one of the industry’s most admired young CEOs, and before his 40th birthday, he would again reinvent himself – this time as a brand owner

switzerland needs 400 to 500 new watchmakers every year… at present, only 60 to 70 come out of our schools in any given year!

What Krone did was something remarkable because he developed a pitch-perfect understanding of the Lange & Söhne watches, that Lange watches must be devoid of gimmicks and preserve the tenets of functionality

We can develop and produce anything as we are fully integrated, which opens many doors to invention and creation, while still maintaining high quality

One thing that’s certain is that it will be Stern, and no one else, who holds the future of Patek Philippe in his hands. Will this approachable, genial man with an artist’s soul prove to be the brilliant general his father was? We are inclined to think so

Why did we pick van der Kallen as a Vanguard? Because while it’s tough to helm a successful brand, it’s even tougher to turn a failing one around, but that was precisely what he did

We have to continue to dream, to re-invent and to be fascinated by mechanical watch mechanisms. We have to keep sight of the fact that we are crafting important and sacred works

Like Bruce Wayne in the Bat Cave laboring over his crime fighting innovations, Scheufele is a brilliant, technically-savvy new industry leader who is always pushing to achieve goals in record time
while establishing industry-leading benchmarks

Concord had ironically — much like Ebel under LVMH management — lapsed into a brand that was devoid of identity. It was a follower; a brand that tried to be everything to everyone; and, in doing so, was nothing to no one

GEORGES KERN — THE general
There is a quality about Georges Kern, which makes you feel that, had he been born under any circumstance and in any period of human history, he would have, in each instance, risen unassailably to the top of his profession. A keen tactician, a born commander and a man of indomitable will, Kern was brought into this world with one instinct – to succeed.
Kern was one of the men instrumental in the sale of the three VDO brands – IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and A. Lange & Söhne – to the Richemont Group. When the hammer struck, the closing price for the trio was a staggering US$1.8 billion. This massive influx of cash had profound ripples throughout the watch industry. With the sale of Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet found itself suddenly cash-rich and snatched up what has become one of the greatest technical hothouses, Renaud & Papi, immediately repositioning itself as one of the most technically innovative brands in high watchmaking.
Though it has become something of watch industry folklore, the rumor was that Kern was given a choice as to which of these three brands he would run: Jaeger-LeCoultre had vast production capacities, but was initially intended as a movement manufacture for the Richemont Group; A. Lange & Söhne created amazing watches but could be considered niche and, more than any of the VDO brands, was still dominated by the shadow of the late Günter Blümlein. What we do know is that Kern clearly articulated to Blümlein his desire to helm IWC, and Blümlein clearly recognized Kern’s immense leadership abilities. So, it was IWC that Kern went to, where he wasted no time in initiating changes. One of his first and most shocking acts was to cut a vast number of the worldwide agents for IWC watches. His vision – one that the entire watch industry has come to adopt – was for brands to take back their distributorship so that they could strictly control the discounting, which was damaging their brand equity, and concentrate on the fundamentals of long-term brand building.
Kern was also quick to implement another of his visions for the brand, which was to have core iconic models that were so distinct that buyers could be convinced to buy multiple IWC models. He is known for his aggressiveness in building on the strength of icons like the Portuguese and pilot’s watches, while mercilessly dispatching models no longer relevant or successful. Mindful that the death of the old Da Vinci would raise the ire of certain European traditionalists, he cagily forged a link between the new Da Vinci and the model it replaces through a Kurt Klaus edition named after the watchmaker who created the iconic 1985 perpetual calendar.
Kern is now focused on winning over the market share that currently belongs to more fashion-oriented brands by offering vividly contemporary looks combined with IWC’s signature technical virtuosity in his new Da Vinci line. The first watch CEO to broadly apply the concept of line refreshments and perennial face lifts — common in the auto industry — to his model range, Kern explains, “This is the only way a watch can become a classic.”
Since 2002, Kern has also been focused on building brand equity along two fronts. He has long recognized the need to underscore IWC’s manufacture status with in-house movements. He says, “IWC has gone from using only 5 percent of in-house movements five years ago (when he took over in 2002) to over 50 percent as of this year.” But far more apparent is the penetration of IWC into popular media.
Suddenly, IWC has become the “It” brand amongst celebrities in the USA, with appearances in films all around the world. IWC is undeniably hot, but how much hotter does Kern want it to be? He explains, “In Europe, we are huge – in countries like Germany, we are the number one brand of the Richemont Group, even ahead of Cartier. Our goal is to replicate this success in all other countries. It will take cumulative investment to have cumulative visibility, but if we achieve this, we will be huge.”
As for the future of Georges Kern – while he has clearly articulated that he loves his brand and sees himself there for at least another five years – it seems that after his role at IWC, he is destined to ascend to the Richemont Group’s upper management.
What endows your brand with power? By positioning ourselves as “The Engineers of Fine Watchmaking”, we at IWC have a commitment to precision and technical excellence. Solutions that combine elegance with a creative technical approach, sophisticated mechanics and a passion for almost unimaginable ideas: these are the forces that drive the engineers at IWC.
What does power mean to you? It is synonymous with influence and having it means taking economic, social and ecological responsibility Since 2005, IWC has been a staunch partner of Laureus. Solidarity with disadvantaged children and adolescents, who, thanks to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, have found a new outlook on life, reflects the principle of sustainability, which can also be found in our watches.
What can be done to ensure the future of the high watchmaking industry? The day-to-day work of our R&D department is all about making good things even better, and finding innovative ways of optimizing the functionality and user-friendliness of our products. We will never cease striving to create products that combine lasting value with the very highest quality. Moreover, we need to ensure a steady stream of qualified specialists who have mastered a traditional craft. IWC has been training apprentices since 1868. And in 1968, we established our own in-house apprentice training facilities, focusing on the skills essential to IWC. These guarantee an outstanding level of training and the future of our company.
What has enabled you to succeed in spite of the challenges you’ve faced? I’m an optimist and have never shied from reaching for the stars to realize a vision. I learn fast, I’m ambitious, and I expect a great deal from myself and the people around me. My management principles are based on speed, fast decision-making and tenacity, and I have a good nose for products and aesthetics. Also, I love my job: it takes me all over the world and brings me into contact with lots of inspiring individuals. Last but not least, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with big personalities who’ve put me in positions of responsibility at an early age.
What has been the greatest leadership challenge you’ve had to overcome? When I joined IWC as CEO in 2002, the company had only recently passed into the hands of Richemont. It was a situation that called for action across the board. First, we had to analyze the market potential. At the same time, I tried to introduce Richemont’s new corporate culture. Setting up a new distribution strategy and integrating it into Richemont’s structure was an enormous challenge, as was aligning the company for an international presence, which entailed expanding and reorganizing our marketing.
The business of restructuring the company called
for an immense amount of flexibility on the part of our workforce and I had little management experience at that point. It was the most difficult part of my life but at the same time, the most rewarding.

MICHEL NIETO – THE BRIDGE
It’s one thing to helm an already successful company. But it’s a far more impressive feat to take a brand that was faltering, that had no clear sense of identity because it was trying to be all things to all people, and transform it into one of the most provocatively cool and commercially successfully names in the watch world. That is precisely what Michel Nieto has done. When Nieto first took the helm of Baume & Mercier, he met resistance. He explains, “There were people who tried to put me down and say I didn’t know what I was doing.” But in the last three years, Nieto has proven them to be resoundingly wrong by turning around a brand that was fraught with challenges.
What Nieto immediately recognized was a gaping niche in the market for accessibly priced, but attractively styled watches that translated the traditional values of Swiss watchmaking into vibrantly styled and unabashedly contemporary products. Together with his creative director Alexandre Peraldi, Nieto took a hard look at where the industry was headed. He immediately recognized that the market demanded oversized sports watches with visible industrial elements and rubber straps. He saw an emerging new luxury class eager to define luxury with their own language, materials and geometric shapes. Instead of trying to force consumers to come to him, he went to them and presented them with precisely the products they were looking for. In 2005, using the Riviera from his historic collection of watches as the platform for an all-new look, Nieto launched the Riviera XXL – a product that became a resounding hit. Nieto also recognized that while the majority of watch brands were attempting to push prices upwards to claim greater legitimacy as high watchmaking houses, they also left behind a huge gap for accessibly priced sports watches. Nieto went into this gap, claimed it as his own and, as he has done for the last three years, dominated the mass luxury market with aplomb. What makes Nieto even smarter is that now that he has become one of the leaders at this price point, he has no intention of attempting to force his brand to ascend to unnatural heights. He explains, “We are not interested in dreaming of being in the clouds. We know where we should be and we are simply going to widen the road for ourselves to become an even more dominating force at our price point.”
Nieto’s method for expanding his ownership of the accessibly priced mass market is to launch new watches such as the Hampton XL – a watch that represents a major face lift of his traditional case shape – making it highly appealing for the modern luxury world. Says Nieto, “You know, it’s funny. Every time I do my presentation to the CEO of our Group, I always apologize and say, ‘I’m sorry, but my strategy this year is the same as it was last year. I hope it’s not too boring.’” And thankfully so, because Nieto’s strategy has proven to be unfailingly correct!
But in many ways, the watches Nieto creates are fundamental to the enduring and future success of the Swiss watch industry. Because Nieto makes watches that aspiring collectors can own today. His watches represent a key product – the first mechanical watch for many a young consumer. His watches are collectively a bridge between the consumer’s appreciation of his or her first serious watch and the enduring love for horology. They are equivalent to a Volkswagen GTI – a product that can logically lead to the ownership of Porsche as consumers’ budgets increase over their lifetime.

What is the unique power of Baume & Mercier? When you look at the Riviera XXL Magnum or the Hampton XL, you can see the vision of where we wanted to be when we started. You can see a real unified theme to our watches based on the heritage of Baume & Mercier, but with very strong contemporary designs. We’ve built this each year. Continuity is key to building a brand identity. Today, you can see that we are a really strong and unified young team, making products for the people of our generation. We are the perfect people to make watches for a younger market, because we identify with them. We are young executives, just as they are. We don’t want to touch the stars; we want to offer great products of remarkably strong value to young consumers.
What is the emotional power of the mechanical watch? The emotional power of the mechanical watch is immense as a self-expressive item. But you must make this power accessible. There are many young executives today who want to touch luxury. Our desire is to make their dream accessible today. In some way, we also hope to be their teachers – to impart upon them the values of high watchmaking, so that in ten years, they may buy a Vacheron Constantin. It’s the same way with a car. You don’t start with a supercar, you start with something that is great-looking, fun and accessible. This will give you the foundation to appreciate the supercar more when you get it.

Nieto makes watches that aspiring collectors can own today