Marc Hayek: “Show what we’re made of!”

Marc Hayek, member of Swatch Group’s Executive Management Board and the man at the head of Blancpain, Breguet and Jaquet Droz, talks about the drop in average spend on Swiss replica watches sale, and how strategic choices made in recent years are showing their significance in the current climate.

At Baselworld, Marc Hayek gave the lowdown on Blancpain, Breguet and Jaquet Droz, three of the six brands in Swatch Group’s Prestige and Luxury Range under his responsibility.

Has there been any change to the three brands’ segmentation: technical for Breguet, sport-chic for Blancpain, the métiers d’art for Jaquet Droz?

Marc Alexander Hayek: No, and nor will there be. Breguet is about history. When I was a younger man, Breguet invariably put me in mind of Napoleon, who was one of the watchmaker’s greatest admirers. I fully intend to respect these historical roots which are reflected, for example, in the finely executed guillochage on a Breguet watch. Of course, Abraham-Louis Breguet possessed a genius for mechanical watchmaking which greatly benefited from his inventions, and we are determined to carry on this spirit of innovation, as evidenced by the watches we presented at this year‘s Baselworld.

“Sport-chic” suits Blancpain well. The brand was, for some considerable time, sport-oriented, then entirely classic. A combination of the two, something one might call “mechanical elegance”, is an apt description. As for Jaquet Droz, the brand is indeed destined to distinguish itself in automata and the métiers d’art. The quail eggshell mosaic that we showed this year is an excellent example, as is the Charming Bird, which is the first ever singing bird automaton in a wristwatch. Since unveiling the initial prototype two years ago, we have worked hard to improve the sound of the bird’s chirping, as a result of which the Swiss replica watches online is now fully ready and will be made as two limited editions of 28 pieces.

Last year you talked about synergies between the brands. Have they grown at all?

Blancpain and Breguet retain their individual identities and therefore their own technical developments. To give one example, the magnetic regulator belongs to Breguet and no other brand within the group. Of course, any progress we make in an area such as materials, and I’m thinking specifically of silicon, will be shared. Similarly, while ceramic is characteristic of Blancpain, we wouldn’t rule out using it in Breguet’s Type XX collection, a model originally designed for France’s naval airforce. Blancpain supplies movements to Jaquet Droz and develops specific mechanisms for it, such as this year’s Grande Seconde Deadbeat. They are designed, you could say, exclusively for the brand. It’s a logical approach; setting up Jaquet Droz to manufacture its own movements would make no sense.

What lies ahead for the brands in today’s more strained markets?

Obviously we’re seeing the impact of earlier strategic decisions. For example, we pushed Breguet in Russia where it is feeling the consequences of the falling rouble. Blancpain, on the other hand, is more exposed to the slowdown in China, given its stronger presence in the region. Blancpain has never had the same success as Breguet in India, to name a third market, although sales there revolve almost entirely around the Reine de Naples. The point being that it’s impossible to make any kind of sweeping statement, given the often substantial differences between markets. What we are witnessing, from a more general perspective, is a drop in average price as customers are turning to less expensive products. Does this mean no more Breguet watches with gold dials for certain markets? Definitely not. It’s at times like this that we need to show what we’re made of!

So the group will continue to hire and invest at the same rate?

Yes, which doesn’t mean investing for the sake of investing. At Swatch Group we take a strictly pragmatic approach governed by stringent cost management. We wouldn’t have expanded the workforce or maintained investment at such a high level these past years if this hadn’t been exactly what was needed. In this respect, then, nothing’s changed. There are vacancies at the three brands I manage, for example. At Swatch Group, we expect sales for the year to grow in line with 2014, when for the first time gross sales exceeded CHF 9 billion, gaining almost 5%. So even if average prices fall, as I mentioned earlier, we aren’t expecting any drop in the quantity of watches sold. On the contrary. Group-wide figures for the first months of the current year show a rise in sales.

One final question on the smartwatch. Do you think it will take off?

It’s a difficult market at the present time. Apple is throwing millions at its product for the launch, which is fine by me. It has more marketing dollars than the entire cheap Swiss replica watches industry put together, and as long as it’s using them to talk about watches, who are we to complain. But as far as I’m concerned, the smartwatch belongs in the consumer electronics category and offers more drawbacks than advantages, particularly compared to the smartphone on which it depends. I think this explains the rather lukewarm reception it’s had so far.

“The Mastery of Time” comes twice to Italy

“The Mastery of Time”, an exhibition which traces the history of time measurement from its origins to the present day, will take up residence inside the historic Ambrosian Library in Milan, during the Universal Exposition Milano 2015 cheap replica watches and the Salone del Mobile. The event will coincide with the presentation of the Italian version of the eponymous book on which it is based.

There could be no more magnificent setting for “The Mastery of Time” exhibition than the Ambrosian Library in Milan. Named after the patron saint of the Lombardy capital, this extraordinary building, established in the early seventeenth century, houses the Codex Atlanticus of Leonardo Da Vinci, a collection of some 1,100 pages bearing scientific and technical drawings by the Italian master, and which are preserved in this bastion of culture. The exhibition curated by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie will thus be in perfect osmosis with its setting, as it is this most celebrated Renaissance genius who imagined the fusee-and-chain concept as a means to provide a constant flow of energy. Still today, prestigious watchmakers employ this technique, dating from the 1490s, to resolve the thorny issue of amplitude in a mechanical Montblanc replica watches store.

Some one hundred emblematic pieces

The purpose of “The Mastery of Time” is precisely to highlight the importance of the inventions and discoveries that have punctuated the history of time measurement, one of the most fabulous adventures known to Man. From the earliest gnomons to contemporary micromechanical marvels, it highlights some one hundred objects. Each bears witness to the ingenuity Man has deployed throughout the centuries in his quest to master his temporal environment. Presented chronologically as a series of tableaux, the exhibition leads visitors through the succession of technological and scientific breakthroughs that led to the very notion of precision. This science has advanced in the company of art, and more specifically the artistic crafts which have embellished horological history. They ensure that the timepieces on display in Milan are truly masterpieces which contain centuries of invention and expertise. For the past twenty years, this know-how has been the focus for the Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte. Also based in Milan, it too lends its support to the exhibition at the Ambrosian Library.

The measurement of time in six chapters

This exhibition takes root in the eponymous book by Dominique Fléchon, an historian at the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie. First published in French in 2011, it has since been translated into English and Chinese. This authoritative work will now be presented in the language of Leonardo da Vinci, in an augmented and updated version, at the same time as the exhibition it inspired at the Ambrosian Library. “The Mastery of Time” unfolds in six chapters that recount advances made since the first units of measure, imagined by the Babylonians, to contemporary technical and precious fine replica watches for sale. These same six chapters form the structure of the exhibition in Milan.

Never before has such a sum of knowledge been compiled into a single tome that follows the history of time measurement from its origins to the present day. In this respect, “The Mastery of Time”, which is published in Italian by Marsilio, is an essential part of any horological library. An art book as much as a reference work, like the exhibition that accompanies it, it engages us with time no longer through necessity but with new understanding and passion.

“La Conquista del Tempo”
Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Sala Federiciana
Piazza Pio XI, 2
20123 Milano

April 15th – June 14th 2015

“La Conquista del Tempo”
La storia dell’orologeria dalle origini ai nostri giorni :scoperte-invenzioni-progresso
Dominique Fléchon
Prefaced by Franco Cologni

Jointly published by Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie and Marsilio
300 colour illustrations, 456 pages
Price: €75

Escapement Watch Review: IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “JU-AIR”

From a recent piece on the online replica watches uk magazine Escapement, Angus Davies provides an in-depth review of the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Edition “JU-AIR.” This limited-edition watch celebrates the 20-year relationship between a Swiss airline and the famous Schaffhausen-based watch company.

The Junkers JU-52 was manufactured between 1932 and 1945. It provided service for military operations, as well as for civil use. It was used by German and Swiss commercial carriers alike. The JU-52 revolutionized flight at the time, with its unusual, corrugated Duralumin fuselage. Duralumin, an alloy of aluminum, copper and magnesium, is both strong and light. These properties, combined with three powerful radial engines, allowed the civil aircraft to travel greater distances than before.


Various engines were used in the JU-52 in its early life, but the primary power plant for this aircraft was the BMW 132. This engine had nine cylinders and a displacement of 27.7 liters and produced between 700 – 900 horsepower, depending on the engine variant used.

The 17-seat airliner eschewed the superfluous and stuck to flight essentials, making it both reliable and, notably for the period, capable of long distance travel. The Swiss Air Force operated the plane from 1939 to circa 1982, making it probably the last and longest serving JU-52 in any air force.

IWC, a brand synonymous with producing pilots’ watches since the 1930s, has been a longstanding supporter of a Swiss airline which continues to fly JU-52s. JU-AIR, an airline founded solely to preserve the JU-52, having procured the remaining planes from the Swiss Air Force, is privately owned and is assisted by a team of volunteers. The airline, based in Dübendorf, near Zurich, operates four JU-52 aircraft, one of which carries the IWC nomenclature on its wings and tail section, in recognition of the financial support provided by the Schaffhausen-based swiss replica watches brand. This year, to celebrate 20 years of working with JU-AIR, IWC has produced a special chronograph, limited to only 500 pieces.


I recently visited Harrods, the iconic and prestigious department store in London’s Knightsbridge, and spent a pleasant morning in its IWC Boutique, appraising this latest timepiece from Schaffhausen.

The dial:

In 2012, IWC revisited its Pilots’ watches, launching several new models, including a very handsome timepiece, the Spitfire Chronograph (Ref IW387802), which features a stunning ardoise dial. It is this model that has provided the basis for this special chronograph, the Edition “JU-AIR.”


The dial of the Edition “JU-AIR” is rhodium-plated, evoking a silvery hue, and features fine, brushed lines that radiate from the center.


The hours are marked with applied Arabic numerals, lined with white luminescent material in their centers. A triangular index, typical of pilots’ IWC replica watches online of the 1930s and 1940s, appears at 12 o’clock. This was a feature on the legendary Big Pilot’s Watch 52 T.S.C of 1940 and continues to grace the dial of today’s IWC Big Pilot.

IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 52 T.S.C Circa 1940

A chapter ring, sitting higher than the adjacent dial surface, incorporates a combination of Arabic numerals and simple black strokes. At 3, 6, and 9 o’clock luminescent batons reach toward the central dial area. The chapter ring collaborates with the central chronograph seconds hand to provide lucid communication with the wearer.

Legibility is a prerequisite for any pilots’ watch and this latest model from IWC does not disappoint. The hour and minute hands are bold, featuring white luminescent material, and confer ease of interpretation day or night.

The bi-compax layout is wonderful and accords a pleasing balance and proportion to the dial. Small seconds are displayed on the lower, snailed subdial adjacent 6 o’clock and include a useful hacking seconds function, faithful to those of historical pilots’ cheap replica watches of yesteryear. The seconds hand on this subdial is depicted in red.

Below noon, a 60-minute chronograph register resides. It shares the same design language as the small seconds display, save for the use of a white hand.

At 3 o’clock, the date is shown via an elongated aperture, resembling an altimeter. It reveals the prevailing date, indicated with a red triangle positioned adjacent, together with the yesterday’s and tomorrow’s dates. It is intuitive to use and interpretation is simple.

“Simple” is a word that could easily be used to describe the overall dial design. This is not a criticism, but rather a compliment, as the watch conveys purely the essential — typical of a cockpit instrument. However, the perception of seeming simplicity is overturned with prolonged examination. Scrutinizing the dial closely reveals this is actually a complex dial construction with numerous levels to its composition. The result is an abundance of charm which should confer lasting ownership enjoyment.


Moreover, the brushed appearance of the central dial area cleverly interacts with the light. Most of the time it appears to share the same hue as the snailed subdials, but in some light it can adopt a darker shade. At no stage is this distracting, but rather grants additional eye-appeal.

The case:

The case measures 43mm in diameter and has a height of 15.5 mm, dimensions that make the replica watches for men very wearable. Indeed, I found the watch conferred a particularly comfortable fit.

The stainless steel case is satin brushed on virtually all surfaces — save for the bezel, push-pieces, crown and ring adorning the caseback, which are all highly polished. This bestows an almost muted characteristic that doesn’t distract the wearer from focusing on the dial display.

Adorning the caseback, located within the aforementioned highly polished ring, is an engraved depiction of a Junkers JU-52, framed with the description “One out of 500.”

Complementing the finely chiseled features of this horological beau is a black alligator leather strap, partnered with a brushed steel folding clasp.


Corum Golden Bridge & Miss Golden Bridge Ceramic

In 2015, Corum celebrates the 35 years of its mythical movement Golden Bridge. An anniversary conjugated to the feminine and to the masculine and expressed by two new models which found the values of the brand: legitimacy and pioneering spirit.

When the brand Corum created the Golden Bridge in 1980, did its founder René Bannwart suspect that he had just launched a model which was not only going to become one of the pillars of his company but also an icon of the Swiss replica watchmaking?

The remarkable design of this timepiece all in transparency was certainly in line with the philosophy of a brand which wished from its creation to take place in the avant-garde of the watchmaking industry. The model completed an already very creative collection alongside with the very sporty Admiral’s cup watch. It also reached a branch of the watchmaking industry where no other watchmaking manufacturers had chosen to venture: the one of the “baguette en ligne” movement.

Thirty years later, this movement, which meanwhile became mythical, remains an exceptional achievement and a unique replica watchmaking expression. Composed of 140 components arranged in a parallelepiped rectangle of 33 mm in length, 3 mm in width and less than 5 mm in thickness, it is a masterpiece of micromechanics offering a balance wheel with variable inertia, a barrel with slipping spring, a power reserve of 40 hours, a 4 hertz frequency ensuring reliability and precision, and hand-engraved bridges and plate made of fine gold… At this level of miniaturization, there are few other pretenders.

The Miss Golden Bridge proposes a feminine expression of a design which has made his mark on the watchmaking history. It’s in a whole new ceramic case that the coveted movement is staged. The technical challenge that confronts this material is high because the fineness of the ceramic case is against a large proportion of sapphire crystal. The slim black case just supervises the movement of gold, marking a break between colors and shapes. The faceted hands overlap with lightness the CO113 caliber. The middle, opened above, below but also on its sides, still plays many effects of transparency and allows the movement to be admired from all parts, through its sapphire glasses. However, it comes rethought in a very feminine spirit, in a thin, slender and curved tonneau shape. Its horns were removed so that the hand-stitched crocodile bracelet perfectly integrates the case, setting itself in its continuity, in the style of a cuff watch. The crown located at 6 o’Clock emphasizes the refined character of this contemporary and elegant case.

At the time of the thirty-fifth anniversary of the famous Golden Bridge model, all credit is also to men, as a new model is entirely dedicated to them.  Always true to its avant-garde reputation, Corum chose the compromise between a traditional dial and a simple sapphire crystal. The new Golden Bridge model introduced in 2015 is indeed equipped with a metallic glass background. This treatment applied directly on the sapphire crystal allows a clever play of transparency – sometimes opaque on the wrist, sometimes translucent to light. The lines enshrined by the metallization movement make echo to the gold baguette. Devoid of any index, only faceted hands break this verticality. Following the example of all the details which make of this timepiece a masterpiece, the calibre CO113 is also visible from the back of the Cartier replica watches sale, through the sapphire crystal caseback.

Slim d’Hermès Pocket So H

Certain designs encapsulate the entire graphic culture of a House and the So H motif, created in 1971 for a Hermès tie, is definitely one of these. It now appears for the first time on the cover of a pocket replica watches uk: Slim d’Hermès Pocket So H. This exceptional model is issued in six-piece limited series for each of the four creations, respectively featuring a hawk’s eye dial with pink gold case; an ox-eye dial with gem-set rose gold case; an onyx dial with white gold case; and an aventurine dial with gem-set white gold case.

Giving life to this skilfully orchestrated interlacing pattern of “Hs” is a task that demands a particular blend of infinite patience and technical mastery. The finishing of the cover alone takes around 45 hours. The artisan begins with a previously openworked gold plate. A small graver is used to eliminate any rough patches on the surface of the Swiss replica watches cover and render it completely smooth, while devoting particular care to the interwoven “Hs”. Then comes the polishing. In a subtle rhythmic dance performed with pegs made from various types of wood ranging from the hardest to the softest, the artisan applies different pastes that will gradually rub down the gold and reveal its full brilliance.

The light, airy composition of the So H cover protects a hard stone dial of which tantalizing glimpses appear through its openings. Whether adorned with white diamonds or in a replica watches simply polished version, it distils a time that is infinitely Hermès, beating to the steady pace of the ultra-thin Manufacture Hermès H1950 calibre.