Athens Watch, Gorgeous Transformation

Can anyone be as charming as Rolf Schnyder, Ulysse Nardin, who died suddenly in April 2011? Who can have the same vision as him, in 1983, no one believed in the future of mechanical watches resolutely bought the family business, and successfully pushed it to the top of the Swiss watch brand?
Europa Star World interviewed Patrik Hoffmann, who was named CEO two weeks after his death.
World of Watches: It has been a year since Rolf Schnyder died, and we feel that Athens is still carrying on the tradition that its image is closely related to the personality charm of the brand owner. How is this forced transformation handled?
Patrik Hoffmann: Focusing on the successful management of the company’s Rolf, the Athens watch brand has clearly maintained a distinct personal image. But Rolf had already prepared in advance. After his death, everything was in order, and the company with more than 400 employees was successfully transformed. Rolf does not run the company alone. The strength of Athenaeum comes from Rolf’s close management team, including Pierre Gygax, now chief operating officer, known as ‘Mr. Silicon’, Susanne Hurni, media director, Lucas Humair, operations director at La Chaux-de-Fonds, and finance And logistics director Patrice Carrel, and me as CEO. As a result, there has been no disruption in any area, and we operate a bit like the Swiss Federal Parliament, in a wise manner and in a good environment.
Ulysse Nardin movement 118
ES: In this teamwork model, what role do you play as CEO?
PH: My role is to give a comprehensive picture of the company’s future development. Financially, our brand is very healthy: we belong to a family trust set up by Rolf Schnyder, so there are no bank arrears. All investments are done on their own. At the level of products and movements, the direction decided years ago is still very clear. One of the last things Rolf did before his death was the launch of the new self-produced 118 movement at the Baselworld 2011. This is an important step for Athenian Watches. We have spent 10 years, but the real decision to make was 4 years ago. Because we need our own basic ‘tractor’ and it comes at this appropriate time.
ES: Will the 118 movement be incorporated into all your watches?
PH: We produce about 25,000 watches every year. This year, 3,000 watches will be equipped with 118 movements, and about 8,000 to 10,000 will be assembled next year. Our goal is to obtain about 80% of our watches with self-produced movements within the next five years. However, we have also taken other important steps in the past 12 months.
Ulysse Nardin The Freak
ES: For example?
PH: Still in the field of movements, we bought the chronograph movement 137 from Ebel and named it Calibre 150. In 1996, we released a perpetual calendar. The movement was co-developed with La Nouvelle Lémania and Ebel. Later, we developed a chronograph with the same movement. By purchasing copyright, design and existing parts from Ebel and hiring 5 employees from their team, we combined these two movements developed on the same basis to produce our own perpetual calendar chronograph.
The second step is to purchase shares in ‘ochs und junior’. This kind of think tank company belongs to Ludwig Oechslin. It develops products based on our movements, and we use their ideas. However, as everyone knows, Ludwig Oechslin is still the head of the International Clock and Watch Museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds, so there must be some limitations. However, after his term in 2014, he will work exclusively for Ulysse Nardin.
Finally, the acquisition of high-end dials and enamel specialist Donzé Cadrans, which is very important to us, because enamel is one of our fundamental characteristics.
ES: In this respect, unlike other similar brands, Ulysse Nardin has no iconic style that can be recognized at a glance. Of course, you have Freak, but this is a very special watch, and of course the enamel craft …
Ulysse Nardin Athens watch HMS CAESAR CLASSICO CLOISONNÉ
PH: Yes, you are right. We have a lot of collections, which is both an advantage and a problem. The advantage is that many of our customers already have several Ulysse Nardin watches. For example, in the United States, more than 50% of customers already own our watches. But this is also a problem because it obviously causes difficulties in production and marketing. Recently, we are significantly reducing the number of watch models. Sometimes cutting back old models is just as important as developing new ones. In terms of design, we have also changed the existing style. Make the look newer, brighter, more modern, and more popular. From now on, customers not only buy our watches for function and mechanical performance, but also are attracted by the “appearance”.
ES: What is your strategy in terms of distribution? We know that today’s era is becoming more and more difficult for sole companies …
Ulysse Nardin Athens watch Genghis Khan
PH: We are fortunate to have a good balance in this regard, and the distribution area is well-balanced. In general, our markets are distributed in four regions with similar market shares (approximately 25% each): the Americas market managed by one subsidiary; Russia and its neighboring countries managed by another subsidiary of 30 employees; Asian markets managed by the Hong Kong and Shanghai offices; European markets managed by the German office and the Middle East markets we manage directly at Le Locle.
All in all, this represents about 500 retailers, and we maintain a strong and trusting relationship with them in the long term. Of course, we also have 16 Ulysse Nardin boutiques, but we give retailers network priority. Because the control policies of large groups have also brought many new opportunities for sole companies …
ES: What about the Swiss market?
PH: Indeed, we have ignored this market to a certain extent, but it will soon bring a surprise to this market. In Europe, we will also have new attempts, but now I am not convenient to reveal too much …
Ulysse Nardin CLASSICO LADY
Patrik Hoffmann, from finance to watchmaking
    After studying finance, marketing, and business management in the United States, Patrik Hoffmann worked for the Oris brand from 1982 to 1994. From 1995 to 1999, he worked for distributor Swiss Prestige while living in Malaysia. At this time, he met Rolf Schnyder, and in 1999 he was appointed to set up a subsidiary in Florida to take charge of the distribution of Ulysse Nardin watches in the US market. With this extensive experience, Patrik Hoffmann has developed the Hong Kong market. Since then, a branch office has been established in the Russian market in 2004, laying a solid foundation for the success of the Russian market. Since 2008, although Rolf Schnyder wants Patrik Hoffmann to return to Switzerland, he has been traveling between the United States and Le Locle, where the company’s headquarters are located, until he is nominated as CEO. Today he has a long career and resides in Le Locle.
Calibre 118 movement
    Ulysse Nardin is very proud of Calibre 118’s self-produced basic movement. From the original design to thousands of industrial productions, Calibre 118 integrates advanced accessories developed over the past few years by Ulysse Nardin, including the patented DIAMonSIL escapement (consisting of diamond-covered silicon) and the same Patented inertia balance wheel with silicon balance spring. This sturdy automatic movement has 60 hours of energy storage. The first released model is equipped with a large small seconds display, a six o’clock position calendar and a ‘quick setting’ system Marine Chronometer Manufacture that can adjust the watch in both directions. The limited edition of rose gold (350 pieces) with a pure enamel dial showcases exquisite classic designs.

Watch Collection A New And Old Game

Even entry-level watch enthusiasts know that the old Patek Philippe Chronograph and World Time are definitely the most sought-after models at auctions around the world. A watch that cost 1,000 Euros in 1960, and now often triggers a frenzy when it debuts. From nostalgic enthusiasts to manufacturers, the fans are not uncommon.
Breaking auction records
    Strange to say, some Patek Philippe, Rolex and Panerai watches will break auction records every time they surface. With the exception of Patek Philippe, these antique watches often have only the most basic functions: reading time, or up to time. But has anyone said that functional complexity must be directly proportional to price? For an antique Panerai watch from around 1940, collectors often spend as much as 100,000 Euros each time they take over. These 47 mm diameter watches, which boldly highlight the background of the war, were originally equipped with Rolex-modified Cortebert movements or Angelus movements with eight-day power reserve. It doesn’t seem attractive today, but the reality today is that it can’t be included in it without paying a high price.
Simple but collectable: Get ready for the 1953 Rolex Submariner. © Rolex

Simple menu
    Comparing the ancient and modern watch styles, it can be found that the watches with collectible value are without exception function tables. As early as the 1950s and 1960s, the Swiss watchmaking industry standard was nothing more than water resistance, high accuracy and small size. Numbers to ensure legibility under water), to draw a clear line from pocket watches that had fallen to the bottom at the time. At that time, watches were a new thing for well-dressed people.

Fine tradition = storytelling = high value
    But why do senior collectors often have a soft spot for simple old-fashioned hand expressions, but are fascinated by a modern platinum perpetual calendar with three tourbillons? Rolex collector Philipp Stahl in the Netherlands expressed his opinion: ‘It is because of the super high stability of these ancient watches that their brands can continue to survive to this day. Some old brands often put classic models with new ones. Shown in the window, it’s as if Louis Vuitton was showing off antique suitcases that were once owned by the royal family, or Gucci showed pictures of celebrities of different ages who loved their clothes and leather goods.

Steve McQueen’s TAG Heuer Monaco 1971 in Le Mans sold for $ 87,600 in 2009 © TAG Heuer
    For watch collectors, provenance is just as important as quality. If it is a watch worn by a historical figure or celebrity, such as John F. Kennedy’s Omega, Ghandi’s Zenith or Steve McQueen’s TAG Heuer Monaco, there is no doubt that this watch that has been ‘blessed’ by the celebrity aura is more comparable There must be more auction value, and their prices often have tens of thousands or even millions of euros. A new watch, from the dealer to the end user, no matter how complex the function is, how precious the material is, the short history and ‘simple’ experience will never bring it more ‘added value’. Even if it was extremely expensive at the time of purchase, it does not mean that it will continue to be strong at the auction. After all, this market is not a trick of ‘stones for gold’, or flying tourbillons.

Imagine how wonderful it is to own an Einstein pocket watch, and in 2005 a collector paid CHF 74,000 for it. © Longines