With the prevalence of pre-owned watches only growing, it is just natural for watch manufacturers to look at setting up divisions that will manage this part of the company for their customers also. After Audemars Piguet, F.P. Journe, MB&F, all announced they are considering actively covering the pre-owned area, a distance that’s worth $16 billion annually, we have learnt that Zenith watches is looking at incorporating preexisting watches into its own boutiques.
“Selling pre-owned watches today is a trend where we will need to get involved. Consequently we have a new concept which we are focusing on integrating into our very own boutiques, within which we’ll provide secondhand watches that are authenticated, assessed and maintained by the brand, so that we are certain our end-users are getting the quality we want,” states CEO Julien Tornare. He didn’t, but give us a deadline when this is going to roll out. Below are a few excerpts from our discussion.
In an interview before you took over as CEO, JCB Biver stated Zenith”revealed too little energy”.
The toughest aspect of any culture change is bringing people with you and getting the team on board with my eyesight was a significant challenge partly because I was an outsider and partially because Switzerland and mountain villages in particular are traditionally conservative in their approach to matters. So so as to encourage them to modify their way of thinking and to think creatively and having a focus on innovation. Today, the team is operating at a very different level and also the start-up soul I was searching is becoming firmly entrenched.
Tell us a little more about your cooperation with Phillips. It is not often that a watch company produces limited editions in association with an auction house.
Surely, although we are very selective about the kind of ventures to which we enter.
Zenith is frequently considered an exception in the industry since its El Primero movement is much more famous than most of its watch models. Do you think that perception is changing with the achievement of this new Defy range?
We are not just riding on the crest of a single movement, we are offering new and fascinating vistas in time measurement. We have clearly demonstrated our innovative attention and ability through the launching of not just one, but a set of groundbreaking inventions we’ve launched over the past couple of years including 1/100th of another timing with all the Defy El Primero 21; and a whole new dimension in technical performance and contemporary aesthetics in the 21st century Defy Lab, to the revolutionary Defy Inventor, outfitted with its patented regulating manhood.
What was the hardest part about getting a revolutionary concept such as the Inventor right into a regular production cycle?
Getting to a point that we can”mass” produce it! Today we can create a streak of several hundred components each equipped with its own patented regulating manhood. And the simple fact that Zenith is effective at creating and producing an entire mechanical movement complete by regulating organ represents the ultimate accomplishment for a different Manufacture — an achievement which has replaced the sprung balance employed in mechanical watchmaking for three and a half centuries. It remains a significant undertaking, however, because it’s quite delicate to generate the oscillator. If there is a mere micron of a gap in the manufacture, it will not work perfectly.
What are your primary focus areas in 2020?
Women’s watches — that have obtained something of a backseat – are currently firmly in the forefront of their brand’s creative jobs. We recently found an innovative collection of feminine watches in the very first edition of LVMH Watch Week at Dubai. This is actually the first time that Zenith has imagined women’s watches from the floor up and together with these new creations dedicated exclusively to girls, Zenith is equipping both ends of this spectrum of women’s watches with all the resolutely contemporary Defy Midnight on the 1 hand, and the timelessly elegant Elite collection on the other.
Zenith can do classical as well as cutting edge today. Can it be needed to maintain this equilibrium?
We’re very focused on the future while remaining extremely cognizant of our heritage. Our aim is to reach different market segments for this approach. It’s my belief the market today wants traditional complications that are reinterpreted in an entirely contemporary method.