Love eXcellence interviews Pascal Berclaz, President of Quinting


What was the first watch that you owned?
- I don’t even know if this watch belonged to a brand or had any name, actually it was just providing time and at the moment it was enough for me. It is exactly what luxury watches do not do: simply display time, it is so much more than this…
How did you start in the industry?
- By accident! I have a degree in Economics and Research Engineering. In the early 90’s three crazy watchmakers decided to realise the dream of every Swiss watchmaker: create a totally see-through wristwatch. However, as with others before them they didn’t find a way to do it. It is at this moment that we met. Combining our know-how with a fifth engineer, in automotive research, we developed the first 100% transparent chronograph. After 7 years and an investment of $15 million, Quinting was born and I never left the watchmaking industry.
Who have been the most interesting clients and why?
- All watch enthusiasts are interesting! They all love watches for different reasons, as crazy and personal as they are. Maybe customers asking for special pieces are the most interesting. They always have very specific ideas of their watches and it is a great challenges for us to design the perfect watch for them, combining their deepest dreams and the Quinting DNA.
What actions and qualities most contributed to your success?
- We are the first in the world who succeeded in creating a transparent watch and from the beginning we never gave up accepting new challenges. I think our success is essentially based on three points:
The exclusivity of our pieces: the Mystery of transparency, impossible to copy
World Premieres: First transparent wristwatch, first movement in sapphire, first movement with counter balancing forces, first true Moon phase
High technicality : a Swiss President said that he wears a Quinting because the brand represents all the Swiss traditional watchmaking and its future
What do you consider to be the three most important innovations in mechanical watch design?
- To limit watchmaking innovations to just three is as difficult as listing all the amazing things that have been done in the past centuries in this industry. Just to pick a few, I would say the automatic movement, the perpetual calendar and the Moon phase.
How would you compare the top watch brands with yours?
- Quinting is really a niche. As we do so specific timekeepers, we do not really have concurrence. However, some journalists in Sweden and in Switzerland once compared us with Rolex, as they would be the ‘old school’ and we are the ‘new school’. I don’t really know what to think about it but it is pleasant to be compared to the biggest brand ever in our industry.
What most excites you about producing a new range?
- Push the boundaries further and further, accept the craziest challenges, keep on differentiating ourselves as we have always tried to. Our last collection, Street Art, is the perfect example of this state of Mind. We took an artistic part 3 years ago with our Art Collection: only unique pieces, hand decorated with enamel. It is figurative art so we wanted in 2013 to explore new horizons and go on a way other brands don’t dare to take: Street Art, the most dynamic, young and urban kind of art. For each watch we pick a famous street around the world, never twice the same, and imagine special design for it. As a street is significantly different during the day, some elements are moving at the speed of hour or minute and glowing at night so you will never have twice the same watch a day. When you buy a watch from the Quinting Street Art collection you also get a hand decorated box and a canvas. It is not watchmaking anymore, it is Art. It is what we are.
Your favourite watch that you produce?
- It is like choosing among his own children… For the technicality, I would say the Moonlight as our team worked for months to create this special movement. It is the first one truly showing the moon phases (you can see the moon rotating around a hand decorated earth. As the five others, it is totally manufactured by Quinting and is patented.
For the symbol, however I would definitely choose the Dove of Geneva. Two doves are rotating inside, one at the speed of the minutes and the other one at the speed of the hours, perfectly superposing one minute per hour. The message behind is that you can fight 59 minutes if you obtain one minute of peace in return. It is a 192 pieces limited edition (in reference of the countries in the United Nations) that some of the biggest names around the world choose to wear, including Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan and the majority of the Swiss Government. We are very proud of trying to have a role into the fight for peace.
What is your favourite watch of all time and why?
- Except the Quinting ones you mean? I have to say ‘El Primero’ by Zenith. This watch is such a technical achievement that it is even not necessary to explain this choice.
What would you advise a first time watch buyer to look for?
- Most people only look for a well-known brand but I think two points are essential when you buy a watch; even more when it is your first one: reliability (you will want to see this watch at the wrist of your grandkid) and originality, because you deserve it!
What is your take on the state of the luxury watch business today?
- There are so many technical wonders and, at the same time, so many watches looking like each other… Too few dare to completely distinguish themselves, take some risks, and it is a pity. We have this chance at Quinting because of our total independence.
Where do you consider to be the best market for watches and the best emerging markets worldwide?
- For Quinting, the best markets definitely are Eastern Europe and Middle East, for now a decade and a half. To no one’s surprise, Asia is now the fastest growing market.
What do you regard as the most exciting technological developments in the last year or about to hit the industry?
- Hard to say but probably the additional plate thanks to what we can add high complications to standard movements.
What is your favourite thing to do when not working?
- Relaxing on a boat with a good cigar.
What are you working on now and what are your plans for the future?
- We are currently working on some brand new projects with other big names of the Luxury segment as Quinting is not only a watch seller but also a Manufacturer. We created the Chrystal movement for Dior a couple of years ago and you should discover other projects of this type, even craziest, during 2014.
List some brands or people who you judge to be excellent and why?
-All the people who are trying to make this industry better are excellent! I have the chance to meet many in my work !
More generally, Porsche is a brand that makes you dream. Quality / price ratio, the automotive industry has by far the largest concentration of new technologies. This is an industry that takes technical developments into the future.