When Cyrille Vigneron became the president of the flagship brand of the Richemont group, its atypical of a former engineer of the general electricity Company (CGE) and Pechiney, and his personality considered, sometimes considered enigmatic, have caused much ink to flow in the watchmaking industry. The one who has spent most of his career at Cartier, before heading LVMH Japan, from 2013 to 2016, has, upon his return to the fold, drawn and spelled out clearly the way in which he had the intention to cause the company. In essence, return to a coherent offer through iconic watches of Cartier’s style, parts of the form, to the aesthetic marked by and at a price that would not be in the stratosphere.

It would seem that the recipe has worked. According to bank Vontobel, the jeweller would have achieved last year a turnover of 5.3 billion euros, of which 1.4 billion in watchmaking. Of what to gladden the heart of the CEO… A maintenance-franc necklace.

LE FIGARO. – At the SIHH 2016, Cartier presented a score of watches, high jewellery, the Drive, “the” new male of the year, and a half-dozen pieces with complications. Now, your collection focuses on iconic models such as the Panther, the Santos and the Bathtub…

Santos Dumont watch in gold and steel. Cartier

Cyrille VIGNERON. – Our ambition is not to change the strategy every five minutes! Our line of direction is simple: revisit or resume templates in the heritage of Cartier, which remains very rich in terms of design, strength and beauty of the collections. The idea being to evolve of those who had gone or were asleep. The Panther and Santos are delivered, by touch, to the standards of the time in order to make them sustainable in time. The watch world is obsessed with what’s new! However, this race generates several perverse effects.

first, a product chasing the other, one transforms the meaning and the primary function of a guard time that is, precisely, to walk for centuries, to be timeless. Then, the speed of renewal of the lines is such that eventually everyone will eventually copy. What emerges from this overabundance of offers, it is the monotony. Did we really need a new case every year? No, I don’t think so, the retailers and the customers lose out. It is necessary to rediscover the sense of beauty. Watch brands with the most success in the world are the ones that offer consistency and cultivate their identity. This has nothing to do with boredom…

Precisely, how do you respond to those who deem your proposal creative?

this is false! It takes some humility to recognize that the forms, for example, of the Tub, round and luscious, created in 1958, remain righteous in 2019. We rééditons today with very little change, but, at the same time, we have worked with Bath elongated with a double crown of spikes of gold that are really out of nails… the More we immerse ourselves in the heart of the design of one of our icons, the more we can allow great creativity. But we must respect the codes of the room. For the Santos Dumont presented today, we have developed a more compact body and higher-end, equipped with a new quartz movement which lasts for six years, is the double standards of the market. Our price is more competitive, is 3500 euros in steel.

The shows Crash and his two panthers. Vincent Wulveryck@Cartier

What about the disappearance of the complications male?

We continue to offer, but few. This year, we are unveiling a Tonneau skeleton in pink gold fitted with a single mechanical movement curved which governs the two dials of this watch with dual time zone and follows the shape of its casing. Technology comes to serve the design and not the reverse.

Are you satisfied with the results?

Yes, our business is thriving rather well! In 2016, all models, Cartier produced 300.000 watches per year, compared to more than 400,000 today. The Panther and Santos have done, they two, a turnover of 330 million euros last year. The Blue Ball, which we have reduced the range by half, continues to show a growth rate we should reach by 2019, with this only shows, of 800 million euros. Even the sales of the models that we don’t push, as the Drive, are stable. The most piquant is that the millennials have become our first clients, they arrogate to themselves 55 % in volume and 45 % in value of our collections. Cartier is a brand that is much younger than it looks! Rework our classics is a source of rejuvenation.

At the SIHH, watchmakers and discover a practical sense

After the complications too complex to be used or understood, this is the time of the calibers in mind the comfort of the user and sometimes for his wallet…

How to put in the time, a perpetual calendar when the watch evil, which indicates the date, the months, the leap year cycle, the faces of the moon, stopped? It is in particular questioning on this topic, Vacheron Constantin (Richemont), has designed the Traditional Twin Beat. The ambition of this perpetual calendar mechanical 210.000 euros is to display an original dual-mode active/sleep, knowing that sleep guard time consumes much less energy. Concretely, in the active frequency of 5 hz (when fully wound), the Twin Beat has a battery life of 4 days. And 65 days in low frequency at 1.2 hz (when is pressed, the standby mode). Unique and innovative, this system of duality of the same spectrum in the same show was the subject of two patents. “We want to offer parts that make sense for our customers, at the right price and with the right level of service,” says Louis Ferla, president of Vacheron Constantin (whose annual turnover is estimated by Vontobel to 410 million euros for 20,000 watches). In the clear, you ask your perpetual calendar in the standby mode and the resume two months later, in the front simply adjust the minutes. A child’s play.

Vacheron Constantin w Vacheron Constantin Baume & Mercier A. Lange & Söhne, Ulysse Nardin, Girard Perregaux

“do you Know a lot of models that remain in a collection after 25 years, and which continue to be bestsellers?” By asking the question, Wilhelm Schmid, president of A. Lange & Söhne, has an idea of the answer. They are not numerous, and among them stands the Lange 1 from A. Lange & Söhne. This model symbolizes the revival of the German brand of Richemont, since it has contributed to its revival in October 1994. At the time, the idea was to bringr, in addition to a extreme quality, a better readability of the dial and a comfort of use thanks to a mechanism of large date on two discs new. And, since, widely copied in the industry. Two characters outside the norm and re-live the German brand: the visionary Günter Blümlein, which has a footprint (also at IWC and at Jaeger-LeCoultre) has been significant, and Walter Lange, a descendant of the founders. A quarter of a century later, A. Lange & Söhne makes a turnover of approximately 155 million euro, of which 15,000 watches being recognised by all connoisseurs. Proposed in limited edition of 250 copies in white gold (43.700 euro), the anniversary piece, according to Wilhelm Schmid, “a tribute to the two actors in the revival of A. Lange & Söhne, and celebrates the 25 years of this iconic model. It opens a new chapter for the next 25 years”.

“so that it takes all its breadth, it should be more known, more views and more widely disseminated. The Freak has the potential to meet a much wider audience”

Patrick Pruniaux, ceo of Ulysse Nardin

Patrick Pruniaux, ceo of Ulysse Nardin (and Girard-Perregaux, two houses of the group Kering), meanwhile, has worked also on his flagship piece: the Freak. “For her to take all its breadth, it should be more known, more views and more widely disseminated. The Freak has the potential to meet a much wider audience.” It shows a shows a somewhat modified: the replacement of the complex system of winding and time-setting by a crown ordinary modification of the mechanism and the enclosure more flowing lines. With the key, a price of 21.000 euros, a far cry from the Freak Vision up here labeled at 95,000 euros. To those who déduiraient that the line Freak will be unmarked, Pruniaux suggests that subjects very top of the range could in the future come to enrich the collection.

At Baume & Mercier – 115 million of estimated revenue for the 75,000 watches, the movement Baumatic is at the heart of the proposal with six additional references. “Our clients are waiting for us with products between 1000 and 4000 euros,” says Geoffroy Lefebvre, who heads the brand since June. And we respond in this way.” Introduced last year, this exclusive movement demonstrates that contemporary mechanical watchmaking can be efficient and affordable (from 2 400€). This caliber is a modern five-day power reserve, a resistance to magnetic fields well above the vast majority of the current movements, and a revision every seven years (compared to three to five years, usually). Baume & Mercier continues, however, to use the quartz and automatic calibres ETA or Sellita, in its lines, Classima and Clifton Club.


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