Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Industry News, March 2017

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Jewelry Store Robberies Lead to First Fatalities of 2017
Two separate robberies occurred in late January marking the first jewelry store robbery fatalities of 2017 reported by Jewelers Circular Keystone. The first occurred January 21 in Henderson, Nevada, at a location of Jared the Galleria of Jewelry. A man brandished a gun inside the store. When a store security guard intervened and attempted to shoot the robbery suspect, the security guard’s shot missed the robber and accidentally struck a female employee who later died from her injuries. The suspect escaped the scene without any cash or jewelry and was still on the loose at the time of the report. Authorities were checking surveillance footage from nearby businesses to try to track down the suspect. The second robbery took place at a Kay Jewelers in San Antonio, Texas, inside the Rolling Oaks Mall. Two armed men entered the store attempting a robbery when Jonathan Murphy, a former Marine, intervened. The Marine was a customer of the store who was there with his wife to get their rings cleaned. The Good Samaritan was shot and killed during the struggle. Another shopper, who is licensed to carry a concealed firearm, shot and wounded one of the robbers while the other fled the scene. The wounded robber was apprehended at the scene, while the second robber was apprehended a short time later after crashing a stolen car. Both men are being charged with capital murder and aggravated assault.

For tips to prevent jewelry store robberies or minimize damage:

More Management Changes at Richemont Brands
Amid the rocky landscape that is currently the Swiss watchmaking industry, Richemont is continuing to make management changes affecting many top brand CEOs. In separate reports from Reuters and Bloomberg News, the CEOs of Dunhill, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, and Vacheron Constantin will be changing in the next few months. Two CEOs will be retiring, Juan-Carlos Torres, of  Vacheron Constantin, and Philippe Leopold-Metzger of Piaget, while Fabrizio Cardinali of Dunhill, and Daniel Riedo of Jaeger-LeCoultre are leaving to “pursue other opportunities.” The weakening demand for Swiss luxury watches is being blamed for many of the changes. Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert was quoted speaking to a group of investors, talking about the board of directors, “I want to see less grey men, less grey Frenchmen, as a subcategory,” and “We have too few women. We don’t have enough diversity.”

SIHH 2017
Citing the event’s own website, “The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie is the year’s first gathering of professionals in the watchmaking segment. Held in January, it sets the tone for the twelve months to come as it rolls out the latest trends.” It’s a chance for some brands, typically Richemont brands with a handful of independent watchmakers, to debut new product before the larger and more accessible Baselworld show. The show is five days of wining and dining, along with mini boutiques for each brand amid luxurious hallways. Here are a few watch highlights for the 27th season of the event. The Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days, containing a movement with bridges made of ceramic-like material and escapement components made of silicon. The watch movement requires no lubrication and comes with a 50-year guarantee. Greubel Forsey debuted their first watch with a chiming complication, the Grande Sonnerie, which also manages to include the brand’s signature inclined 24-second tourbillon. Montblanc came out with the limited edition TimeWalker Chronograph 1000, a chronograph that can mechanically measure and display the time accurately to the 1000th of a second. Vacheron Constantin followed their recent trend in setting the bar for the rest of the watchmaking community by debuting the most complicated wristwatch they have ever made to supplement the most complicated timepiece ever made that they produced in 2015. Only one version of The Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 has been produced so far. It features 23 complications, and sold at the show for over $1,000,000.—luminor-1950-carbotech-3-days—49mm_pam00700.html

Rolex was a Main Sponsor at Academy Awards
Rolex significantly expanded their sponsorship role for the 89th Academy Awards. Last year Rolex was brought on as a sponsor of the Oscars Greenroom, a backstage hangout for the celebrities and their guests. This year they continued to sponsor the Greenroom but were brought on as a main sponsor for the entire event. Rolex has a dedicated amount of philanthropic funding set aside each year for support of the arts, some of which is spent on the filmmaking industry through the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. The 89th Academy Awards was broadcast on Sunday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET.


Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.

Industry News, February 2017

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

LVMH Opens Watchmaking School in La Chaux-de-Fonds
The luxury goods conglomerate, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE or LVMH, has opened a new innovative watchmaking school housed within the TAG Heuer Manufacture. The program is an apprenticeship-based curriculum in partnership with the Institut des Métiers d’ Excellence (IME), an institute founded by LVMH in 2014 to preserve and spread its traditional “savoir-faire” and promote the appeal of careers in traditional crafts. The school will accommodate 12 apprentices and be run primarily by both the Tag Heuer and Zenith brands. However, the students will also benefit from access to many of the other watchmaking facilities within the LVMH umbrella.

Australian Watch Company Bausele Uses Nanotechnology to Manufacture Watch Cases

The Australian watch company Bausele has invented a new ceramic-like material called “Bauselite” in collaboration with the Flinders University’s Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology in Adelaide, South Australia. The details of the new manufacturing process have largely been kept confidential, but nanotechnologist Professor David Lewis was quoted as saying, “Bauselite is strong, very light and, because of the way it is made, avoids many of the traps common with conventional ceramics.” The new material also propelled Bausele and its founder, Christophe Hoppe, to be the first Australian-based luxury watch brand to showcase at Baselworld. Bausele is an acronym for Beyond AUStralian ELEments. Another unique feature of the brand’s watches is that each crown has part of the Australian landscape embedded within, red earth from the Outback being just one of many examples.

Chelsea Clock Promotes Frank DiFrancesco to Director of Manufacturing
Formerly the Director of Manufacturing Services, Frank DiFrancesco was promoted to Director of Manufacturing in November. JK Nicholas, CEO of Chelsea Clock, said in a statement, “The Director of Manufacturing position plays a vital role in both preserving and enhancing the qualities that make a Chelsea so special. During his time here, Frank has demonstrated the expertise and passion necessary to lead this portion of our business, and we are confident he will continue to play an important part in the company’s success.” DiFrancesco started with Chelsea Clock in May of 2015 and has a background full of engineering, machining, and manufacturing experience. He also repaired helicopters for the Massachusetts Army National Guard for over six years starting back in the late 1980s.
Source: Patrick Capozzi, Director of Marketing, Chelsea Clock.

NAWCC Museum Tour Now Available on Google Street View

Thanks to a two-year collaboration between the Google Cultural Institute and the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, the National Watch and Clock Museum is now available to be viewed online in “Google Street View.” The museum can now be viewed online for free in its entirety with high-definition resolution. This is the second time in 2016 that the museum has gone “viral.” The earlier occurrence was in May when the museum’s YouTube channel posted a security-camera video of a museum patron tampering with a one-of-a-kind wall clock and accidentally knocking it of the wall. That video has been viewed more than a million times.
To view the museum street view visit:

Bulova and Citizen Watch Integrate US Operations
When Citizen purchased Bulova, and its stable of watch brands back in 2008, it created the world’s largest watch manufacture. The two companies continued to operate with mostly separate infrastructures. Beginning in 2017, Citizen will be restructuring Bulova’s US operations and integrating both companies’ sales and marketing forces into a new entity named Citizen Watch Company of America, also dubbed “Citizen Watch America.” The brands will continue to operate with distinctly different product lines and designs. Jeffrey Cohen, formerly holding the titles President of Bulova Corporation and President of Citizen Watch Company of America simultaneously, has been promoted to President of Citizen Watch America. There will be two regional managing directors overseeing each brand and reporting to Cohen—Michael Benavente for Bulova and Eric Horowitz for Citizen.

Jean-Claude Biver Named as Interim CEO of Zenith

Jean-Claude Biver has been President of the Watches Division of the LVMH group overseeing their three main luxury watch brands Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Zenith. Biver has also been working simultaneously as the CEO of TAG Heuer since December of 2014. Now, Biver has displaced the current CEO of Zenith, Aldo Magada, to work as the head of the brand. Biver has largely been credited with building up Hublot and TAG Heuer to the brands they are today, and they expect much of the same from him when dealing with Zenith. “I’ll be working with the teams to give this brand the luster it deserves,” Biver said in a statement to the media.

Mondaine Watch Ltd. Owners Buy Out Luminox

The current owners of the Mondaine Watch company, brothers Ronnie Bernheim and André Bernheim, have purchased the remaining shares of Luminox, making them the sole owners of the tritium inset watch brand. The shares were held by Barry Cohen, a founding partner of the brand. The Bernheim brothers had purchased 50% of the shares back in 2006 but had not held a majority stake until now. With full control, they plan to unveil a new and exciting vision for the brand at Baselworld 2017. André Bernheim was quoted as saying, “We have great concepts and products under development which we strongly believe will take the brand to a much higher level, even with the difficult nature of the industry at the moment.”


Breitling Jet Team Completes American Tour


The Breitling Jet Team has ended its first flight tour of American territory. The two-year long “Breitling Jet Team American Tour” concluded in October of 2016 at the first Breitling Huntington Beach Airshow, after participating in 30 airshows, 70 public demonstrations, and touching down in 35 American states. Jim DiMatteo, a US Navy veteran and director of the tour said, “A French team flying on Czech jets and supported by a Swiss watch brand was a first for the American authorities. But having admired its performances in Europe, I knew we just had to have the Breitling Jet Team come to the United States.” The Breitling Jet Team consists of seven L-39C Albatros aircraft and makes up the largest civilian professional aerobatic display team.

Breitling Press Release

Rumors Circulate Amid Problems at Tourneau Flagship Store

Tourneau is currently the largest authorized retailer of luxury watches in the United States, with 33 locations, including the largest watch store in the world, the Time Dome in Las Vegas. Various news outlets, including the New York Post, have reported that the private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, which owns Tourneau, was shopping the company around with a “pre-packaged bankruptcy” plan, and have yet to find an interested party. Reports have indicated that a number of factors are to blame for the mega-retailer’s alleged troubles, the downturn in the luxury watch market being a major factor. However, another recent report has indicated that the location of their flagship store on 57th Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan is another factor. Tourneau has occupied the same city block and shared an adjoining atrium with Trump Tower for the last 20 years. This hasn’t caused many problems until the latter half of 2016 when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. President-Elect Trump’s primary residence is in the tower, necessitating the need for Secret Service and other security personnel to be ever present and occupying the entire nearby area. After AWCI reached out to Tourneau, an executive within the company stated to us that these reports of sale and bankruptcy were “completely false,” and the company is planning certain areas of growth in the near future. The executive also confirmed to us the problems of the recently congested area and that sales projections for 2016 were not achieved in the way the company had hoped.


Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.



A Message from Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, February 2017

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

 When I handed him the watch, the very first word out of his mouth was



Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI PresidentDo you live for those “wow moments” when a customer picks up a repair job?
    Charley dropped off his 982 Hamilton tank watch, which needed a dial refinish, a crystal, and a complete servicing. We agreed on a price for the repairs, and he left the watch for servicing. I sent the dial out for dial refinishing, and located a crystal for the watch in my collection of “fool’s gold”—that collection of parts that is worthless until the day you need it, and then you turn it into money. Next, I serviced the movement. Hamilton made a beautiful watch; their product is always a pleasure to work on. They have a nice finish on all parts, and they time out well. After all, the most important thing is that a watch keeps time. It had a 14K yellow-gold case, which finished very nicely. When the job was complete, the watch looked new.
    When Charley came in to retrieve his watch, he had his two children with him. When I handed him the watch, the very first word out of his mouth was “Wow!” Immediately, the two children, who were about 10 and 12, said “Let me see!” He proudly handed them the watch with the instruction: “Do not drop it.”
    The little girl asked, “How did you do that?” I explained that it was because of my training and years of experience that I could make the watch look new.
    It is that training and work experience that makes you good at what you do.  
    When he was ready to leave, he left another job with me—one of the major brands—for servicing. That is what we all hope for in our business: that repeat customer.
    So, I hope you have many of those “wow moments” in your shop.
    We are working on getting a new Chief Examiner and a Clock Director to enhance our educational programs. We offer some of the best training in the world, whether it is a class that is taught at AWCI headquarters or at a convention. As craftspeople, we should strive for perfection, knowing full well we will never achieve it. Doing the best job you can for your clients is utmost.
    Here’s hoping that you have many moments like this.








A Message from Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, January 2017

Friday, December 30th, 2016


Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI PresidentI hope you had a great holiday season and a Happy New Year. We begin a new year here at AWCI with all the hopes and expectations that this year will better than the last. However, last year was good. We accomplished some of our goals, but not all. It was a good year for volunteers to come forward and work on the many projects we have. So, let’s reflect on some of those projects.
    The Horological Times Committee has helped our editorial team produce a great magazine each month for our membership to enjoy. They aim to include technical articles in both watch and clock repair, as well as industry news and other interesting features. I wonder if you have any idea of the amount of man and woman hours that go into each magazine. The Horological Times Committee, made up of volunteers, reviews a large number of articles each month to make sure they meet our standards and practices and are worthy of publishing. With their help and the work of our editorial staff, we get a great product every month.
    The Education Committee is now working on hiring a Clock Director and a Chief Examiner. The Clock Director will oversee all work that needs to be done to get the certification of clockmakers on track again. The Chief Examiner will oversee all certifications that AWCI currently does (CW21 and CC21) and certifications we plan for the future (CMW21 and CMC21). We are also working with the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) on education for both of our organizations. We will offer technical classes, to them, and they will teach us about horological history and about collecting timepieces. Thanks to all the volunteers who are giving their time to make this committee work.
    Our Convention Committee always gives us an excellent convention to attend. This committee never fails to make each one great and lots of fun. Also, we get some first-class speakers to educate us on the most modern timepieces as well as on the basic fundamentals of horology. They spend hours researching the best hotels at the best price possible for our membership. It not just the hotel rooms but the meeting rooms and meals and a hundred other things that have to be considered. All this is done, for the most part, by a group of volunteers. We look forward to our 2017 convention in Tampa, Florida.
    It is the job of the Finance Committee to organize the budget and to come up with a balanced budget. They do a tremendous job of keeping our finances running smoothly, and I am happy to say we are on good, solid financial footing.
    We are fortunate to have a Perpetuation Trust Fund, which is handled by a committee of three trustees, and the president and treasurer of AWCI head up and control this fund. In our Governing Documents, there are guidelines that control how much of this fund can be drawn out at one time. It is set up to keep AWCI going for a long time, through the good and bad times, so there will be an AWCI for future generations.
    The Nominating Committee is in place to select new members for the Board of Directors. If you would like to run for the Board of Directors, which is a voluntary position, please get in touch with the chairman of this committee, Drew Zimmerman.
    The ELM Trust is for the purpose of helping to fund education and AWCI’s library and museum. This is a very is hard-working group, which gives of their time very freely for the betterment of AWCI.
   Our Ethics Committee handles complaints about various issues that arise between a member and a customer or persons misrepresenting themselves as members of AWCI when, in fact, they are not.
    There are two other committees, the Honor and Awards Committee and the Marketing Committee. They both serve vital roles in the work we do for our members.
    “Thank you”—just two small words that are not sufficient to express my appreciation for the tireless effort that these volunteers give to the horological community. Without these people giving their time, energy, and money, we would not have the strong organization that we have today. If you are not already a member of one of these committees, then step up and volunteer. It is very rewarding.








Industry News, January 2017

Friday, December 30th, 2016

“Swiss Made” Requirement Changes for 2017

By Aaron Recksiek, CW21

In the United States, 2016 marked a big year for the transparency behind the origin of manufacture in the watch industry. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued letters to many watch brands requiring changes to their hallmarks and marketing materials, some of them having used a version of “Made in the USA” for several years. This sparked some brands to respond by publicly releasing component origin information to satisfy the modern consumer’s demand for transparency. The “Made in the USA” or “American Made” designations remain among the strongest marks of origin in the world. The FTC states that “all or virtually all” of the product, regardless of the industry, be made in the United States to receive the designation. The line that defines “virtually all” is far from clear and is apparently something that is decided on a case-by-case basis. I have spoken with many representatives of US-based watch brands, and they feel like that puts the watch industry in this country at a tremendous disadvantage in comparison to the rest of the industry worldwide.
    swissshieldOn January 1, 2017, the Swiss watch industry will be required to take a step towards strengthening the “Swiss Made” label. The Swiss parliament passed new regulations in 2013 to change the general requirements of products receiving the designation from the current standard of 50% production in Switzerland to minimum requirements of 60% by value. The new requirements will also apply to the entire watch, whereas previously a watch with a mostly Swiss movement and case made in Asia could qualify as “Swiss Made,” if the cost of the movement outweighed the cost of the case components. The Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, the federal entity in charge of guarding the integrity of the “Swiss Made” label, will spearhead the effort to educate the brands and police the requirements. Of course, there are individual stipulations on products within each industry segment, and the specific changes to the “Swiss Made” watch designations were made with recommendations from the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH.
    In addition to increasing the value of components produced within Switzerland and applying these requirements to the entire watch, the FH recommended tighter requirements not necessarily
associated with the production cost of components. The existing requirements state that the movement must be cased up, and the final inspection of the timepiece must take place in Switzerland. The new requirements add to the existing criteria, but include that all technical development of the watch and watch movement must be carried out in Switzerland. This is aimed squarely at the emerging smartwatch industry, where much of the technical development has taken place in Silicon Valley and other high-tech epicenters.
    Some of the ordinances are being rolled out progressively as to not disrupt too much or put undue financial pressure on some watch brands. For example, the case and certain case components can be excluded from the calculation of manufacturing costs until the end of 2018 if the components were already in stock in Switzerland at the time the new requirements come into effect on January 1, 2017.
    It is important to note that most of several hundred members of the watch federation support these new requirements, especially the most powerful member, The Swatch Group. Their hope is that this will lead to higher consumer confidence in Swiss products and thus strengthen the overall “Swiss Made” brand.



Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.

2016 Contributors To the ELM Trust

Friday, December 2nd, 2016


Congratulations to Our Members Who Passed the CW21 Exam in 2016

Friday, December 2nd, 2016



In Remembrance – Members Who Have Passed Away in 2016

Friday, December 2nd, 2016


Welcome to New Members in 2016

Friday, December 2nd, 2016


Industry News, December 2016

Friday, December 2nd, 2016

Supply and Demand Once Again Puts Swatch Group and Swiss Competition Commission at Odds

By Aaron Recksiek, CW21

In traditional economics, when a company no longer has the level of demand for a product they are producing, they simply produce less of the product. Not so for the Swatch Group. The situation they are currently in is contrary to the fundamental “supply and demand” laws of economics. On the one hand, they are required by law to produce 1.5 million mechanical movements each year, and on the other hand, they don’t have enough demand to sell these movements.
    How did they get into this predicament? In 2011, the Swatch Group approached the Swiss Competition Commission, also known as COMCO, with a request to reduce, and eventually eliminate completely, the number of movements it was supplying to third-party brands. At the time the Swatch Group was producing about 60% of mechanical watch movements to the Swiss watch industry. The Swatch Group felt it was producing too many movements for its competitors and it was bad for the industry to be leveraged too heavily on one manufacturer.
    In 2013, COMCO agreed to allow the Swatch Group to progressively taper off their supply year by year until 2019 when they would no longer be required to supply movements to any other company. This created plenty of concern around the industry as to where the supply of movements would come from to meet the ever-growing demand for mechanical timepieces. Also, many feared it would put some brands out of business due to the inability for smaller companies to develop and produce movements in-house.
    In response to the projected unavailability of ETA movements, several movement manufacturers and many watch brands, spent a lot of time and money producing their own in-house components. Fortunately for the industry, but unfortunately for the Swatch Group, this came quicker than most experts had expected. Dependence on ETA mechanical movements has dropped significantly, partly due to brands making other arrangements, but it’s also due to the declining demand in Swiss watches over the last year.
    This prompted the company to request a change to the agreement it originally struck with COMCO. They formally asked the agency to allow them to reduce the number of movements they are required to manufacture. In a statement on October 27, COMCO declined the Swatch Group’s request and stated, “Changing the supply agreement at this stage would threaten the projects of competitors.” In a statement later released by the Swatch Group, the company said, “In order to cover the additional costs arising from this enforced readiness to deliver, ETA will have to consider massive price hikes.” It seems imminent, unless the company can find new buyers for the hundreds of thousands of unclaimed watch movements.


Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.