Month: March 2014

Maybe If You Visit A Swiss Watch Factory, You Will Understand Why You Like A Brand

Rabbits have traveled to Swiss watch factories for more than ten years. There are advantages and disadvantages, because from the initial freshness to the machine, there will inevitably be a little tiredness. In fact, since I first came into contact with Swiss watches, a word I often hear is ‘handmade’. Things with luxury imprints always make people fascinated and admired, but in fact, this is no longer the era of pure handmade, most of them are machines Finish the parts of the watch, so what exactly does the watch touch us? It is precisely the driving force behind the people. I came to Parmigiani’s factory this time, including the dial case and the most famous Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier movement factory. I put aside the impulse brought by marketing on the market and I saw the real watchmaking. From Geneva Airport to Neuchâtel by car, about an hour. With Neuchâtel as the coordinate center, we spent a day visiting 3 factories (Parmigiani has a total of 5 factories, because of the geographical and time relationship, we chose the more important 3). About the history of Parmigiani, the rabbit wrote before, Parmigiani is a master of restoration. In 1980, when he was young, he met the Sandoz family. Until 1996, he founded his own brand of the same name. The wealthy Sandoz family has always appreciated the ability of Parmigiani, and is therefore willing to continue to cultivate this relatively new brand for the watch industry. We know that some emerging brands, although making their own designs, will shift the processing steps outside. After all, investing in large factories requires sufficient financial resources. But with the Sandoz family as the backing, Parmigiani completed all the design, manufacturing, decoration, and assembly of all parts. Of course, not only the brands that complete the entire process of watchmaking independently are considered first-class, but just the strength of Parmigiani. Our first stop is the Quadrance et Habillage dial factory and the Les Artisans Boîtiers watch factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The dial factory was established at the end of 2005, and the watch case factory was acquired by the Santos family in 2000. In comparison, the dial factory is more intuitive, and you can see the ‘face’ of a watch. Interestingly, we also take orders here, so we see a lot of familiar faces in the factory. Regardless of whether the dial is made of gold, silver, or copper, it will go through a painting phase to prevent oxidation and add more color to the dial. The only area inaccessible to the entire factory is the printing of logos and digital patterns on the dial. Because of the high requirements for dust protection, we can only look through the glass. To be honest here, I have the urge to customize the dial. In fact, this business is open to the outside world, but the brand has never been publicly publicized. It is expensive, and if you are interested, you may consult yourself. According to the rabbit’s usual habit, I am not happy to repeat the production process of the machine. Once the case factory is involved in mechanical cutting, it will become boring. However, the watch case factory still retains a lot of manual operations. For example, the rings on pocket watches are completely polished by the watchmaker. Each time they are polished, they are placed on the machine, enlarged by 5 times and compared with the drawing, and adjusted again and again until completely. Standards compliant. I am more interested in the story behind the birth of the case than in machine production. The watch case is an idea first. The idea is given to the designer, and the shape is designed. After it is determined to be feasible, it is programmed by the staff, compiled into a language that the machine can recognize, and entered the production process. But the original idea was the most crucial. Mr. Parmigiani is not just a founder, he is deeply involved in the product. We saw a lot of models in the watch case factory. One of them was a Toric watch case, because he was unsatisfied with the original version and adjusted the lugs himself. Each shell has its own story, such as the classic Kalpa series. Just last month, Mr. Parmigiani came to Shanghai to tell the story of his design. ‘First, I will make a cardboard model, and ask the craftsman to wear it on the wrist, record the wearing size at the same time, and then try it for different people, and record each person’s data.’ Parmigiani’s research on watches is similar to scientific research. The data requirements are very accurate. ‘When designing Kalpa, I asked to put my palm on the wrist of the watch, so that I could hardly feel the watch, or even see the watch, so that all parts fit the wrist arc.’ Of course I have worn Kalpa many times, but after all it was short-lived. However, readers who have bought Kalpa and worn it for a long time tell me that Kalpa is extremely comfortable in similar square or barrel-shaped watches. Although the Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier movement factory in Fleurier is well-known and must go, a quality inspection agency can make people see it more intuitively. The Napoleon Hill in front of the movement factory was remembered by many table friends, and some people asked me to take a picture. The current annual output of VMF is around 20,000 movements and 130 employees. The Santos family is a major shareholder. In 2006, Hermes bought 25% of the shares and became a shareholder. But in addition, other well-known brands of movements come from here, just because of confidentiality agreements, rabbits are inconvenient to announce (of course I believe everyone knows). As for the quality of the product, the Fleurier Quality Foundation can give the answer. This year, Parmigiani produced a new watch, KALPA QUALITÉ FLEURIER, equipped with the new PF442 self-winding movement, date display at 12 o’clock, and equipped with two series barrels, 60 hours power reserve. This watch did not appear in the Geneva Haute Horlogerie in January, but was unveiled in Shanghai last month. The most special thing is that it has passed the ‘Florier Quality Certification (QF certification)’. This test is very rigorous, and the quality of the test is naturally proven. We know that the most famous in the watchmaking world are the observatory certification and the Geneva mark, but some high-end brands are not satisfied with this (hope to raise the threshold), so PP made a Patek Philippe mark in 2009. QF is a certification jointly launched by Parmigiani, Chopard and Powell in 2004. Mark of Geneva, Patek Philippe Observatory and QF certification (Qualité Fleurier) to obtain QF certification, as long as the Swiss Observatory official certification first, this is one of 5 standards. Observatory certification only measures the movement, but QF measures the entire watch. And the watch is required to be 100% Swiss-made. For example, the movement has 250 parts, and 250 different parts certificates must be provided to prove Swiss production. Watches that pass this certification are reviewed every year. In addition, in order to observe the beauty and processing conditions, the movement parts must be disassembled and displayed (if it is the entire movement, it is inevitable that there are omissions in the observation). Each part is inspected and photographed. The hardest part is doing a crash test. The cost is not small. Basically 5% of the tables are tested, and the samples are slightly different according to the number. For example, there are 101 ~ 200 tables in the same series. 10 tests are required (more than 200 need to submit 20). 21 days, imitating Wrist movements for 6 months, measured waterproof and shockproof. After that, imitate a watch and drop it from the height of 1 meter. After inspection, the watch must be in good condition before it can be regarded as a pass. Calculated, this table will go through 18,000 collisions. If it passes, QF certification is obtained, but these 10 watches are also scrapped and can no longer enter the market. The 5% loss is willful, so the cost is high and the price will be high. This is why in Shanghai, someone asked Mr. Parmigiani why he passed QF certification on only one watch. The old man replied that this was only to prove Parmigiani’s watchmaking ability. After all, there is really a full line of certification, and it is estimated that everyone understands that it will cost more. In fact, the rabbit on the scene was very impressed by seeing a machine that simulated 75 kinds of movements of a person wearing a watch for 24 hours. Surprisingly, we thought that the range of movement by cycling was large enough, but it was actually daily wear and tear. Clothes and watches are subject to stronger external forces. I’m afraid we don’t even think about it that much when we wear a watch. Compared to the fascination with craftsmanship when I first joined the industry, I now care more about the scientific spirit of an industry behind watches and how to use machines to turn our imagination into the best reality. Watches and clocks were born in the manual era, but they can also be inspired by mechanized production today. Parmigiani has been positioned as a mid- to high-end niche brand, and China is not its largest market. However, in recent years, more and more Chinese have appeared in Europe and bought Parmigiani’s watches. The brand is both surprised and happy. A real story, a friend was very interested in visiting Parmigiani in Europe, and the salesman asked sincerely: ‘Have you bought any of these Patek Philippe brands?’ The friend said no, the salesman said frankly, I suggest you buy first PP, I have experienced good quality, and if I look at Parmigiani, I may have a deeper understanding. Friends said that for the first time he saw that sales were not urgent to do business, but made him remember the brand deeply. Many times, from the pursuit of recognition and purchase of high-recognition watches to the pure pursuit of quality to satisfy the heart, is the stage that everyone will go through when buying a watch. It’s just that most of us may still be on the way. This stage cannot be crossed, but one day, I believe everyone will feel it. The gossip rabbit is only original, welcome to repost!