Don’t look for the Ventura stand in the hallways of BaselWorld. It is not there. But you may, however, run across Pierre Nobs in the corridors of the show or find him at the Watch Factory.
If you remember, Ventura is a unique kind of watch brand, which made a great impression thanks to its mix of avant-gardism and pure and hard design. But after some difficulties, Nobs was forced to close the company’s doors. This was barely three years ago, right in the middle of the crazy years of watchmaking bling-bling, a time that was not really characterized by its rigour or minimalism. In addition, Pierre Nobs did not give in to the provocative siren calls to move upmarket at all cost(s). The brand remained reasonable, even if it developed a number of innovations in-house as well as some of its own movements. As an example, remember Ventura’s last watches: the digital v-tec Zeta, created by designer, Paolo Fancelli, and the v-tec Kappa, credited to Hannes Wettstein. Both timepieces were equipped with the in-house calibre VENÐ04 that comprised an ingenious timekeeping innovation, the patented EasySkroll, a scrolling roller allowing direct and intuitive access to all the functions of the watch. But that was in 2007, less than three years ago.
Hannes Wettstein and the V-TEC® KAPPA
Since then the watchmaking bubble has burst and the offerings of Ventura, which during those years were ahead of their time, are now finding that they are relevant again. Along with this comes a certain commercial attraction. Investors therefore approached Pierre Nobs; a board was set up (which includes Paul Junod, ex-Milus, also a visionary) and Ventura is now being relaunched.
So, why isn’t the brand exhibiting at BaselWorld? According to Pierre Nobs, some problems have arisen, notably regarding the intermediaries—importers— “only a few are left who are willing to play the game; they just want to order merchandise that has already been sold.”
Thus, Ventura now plans to either deal directly with retailers or to sell online, which the brand has been doing to sell off its remaining and very sought-after stocks (at discounts of around 25 per cent) while waiting to strike out on its new adventures. These will certainly involve the ‘hybridization between mechanical and digital functions’.
Pierre Nobs, Paolo Fancelli and the V-TEC® ZETA
The return that we are seeing in the watch universe to ‘substance’ and ‘content’, tied to design classicism, should play in Ventura’s favour this time. Yet, let’s not expect any commemorative or nostalgic return to the past. It is towards the future with new propositions that Ventura plans to return to the marketplace. The brand will take its time, and hopefully it will be the right time, while advancing forward. A difficult task, but one that should be strongly encouraged.
Source: Europa Star April - May 2010 Magazine Issue