INDEPENDENTS - AUGUSTE REYMOND, the discreet brand with a beneficent edge

March 2014

The small family-owned and independent brand Auguste Reymond, based in the village of Tramelan in the Swiss Jura, has been in operation for over 100 years. The story started in 1898 when the first watches, low volume production runs produced by a handful of watchmakers, were commercialised under the name ARSA. By 1910 the company had grown into a small manufacture with a hundred employees working in the company’s own factory.
One of the company’s most significant contributions to the Swiss watch industry was the development of the Unitas family of movements, which is recognised worldwide for its reliability and is still found in some of the brand’s modern watches (Aerowatch, Christopher Ward and Gustafsson & Sjögren, among others, have also recently produced watches equipped with the Unitas 6498 regulator calibre).
Auguste Reymond has since returned to its roots as an assembly workshop working to artisanal principles, with a dozen employees assembling the brand’s watches by hand, in what the brand refers to “the opposite of mass production”. The company’s main objective is to remain independent.

Elégance Automatic by Auguste Reymond
Elégance Automatic by Auguste Reymond
40.5mm diameter rose-gold PVD coated stainless-steel case, ETA calibre 2824-2 self-winding mechanical movement, sapphire crystal front and back, sun-brushed silver-toned dial with applied rose gold-plated hour markers, brown leather strap with alligator pattern and rose-gold PVD coated steel pin buckle.

For BaselWorld, Auguste Reymond presents a model whose name says it all: the Elégance. At 40.5mm in diameter, the case size is perfect for targeting universal appeal and its design is the epitome of a classic watch. Its simple round lines in pink-gold PVD-plated stainless steel frame an equally classic sun-brushed silver-toned dial with pink gold-plated hour markers, hour, minute and central seconds hand and a date window at 6 o’clock. Apart from the company signature at 12 o’clock, nothing else is allowed to obscure the dial. A brown leather strap completes the piece, which is powered by the ETA 2824-2 calibre self-winding movement.

Jumbo by ARSA
Jumbo by ARSA
Part of the ARSA range for visually impaired people, the Jumbo works on the simple principle of ensuring a good contrast between the dial and the hands.

Hi-Touch by ARSA
Hi-Touch by ARSA
This Braille watch is read by lifting a hinged cover on the watch case, which allows the wearer to “feel” the time using the relief hour markers. An especially robust system for fixing the hands means that the wearer can touch them to determine their position without affecting the watch’s operation. Unlike the speaking watches, which are mainly made in China, the Hi-Touch allows a blind person to tell the time in a more discreet way.

But there is an even more discreet side to Auguste Reymond that receives even less media attention. Under the original brand of ARSA, the company produces a range of timepieces for the blind and partially sighted. It was the first Swiss watch brand to do so and to this day has no Swiss competitors in the field. Using classic designs that cover all the main case shapes, Braille dials allow blind people to read the time by touch, while the models for the partially sighted offer dials with Arabic numerals in a large typeface to assist with the reading. Since the target customer for such timepieces has little cause to visit a conventional watch retailer, the company works together with charitable associations all over the world to market these specialised watches. Look out for prototypes of a whole new collection at BaselWorld.

Source: Europa Star April - May 2014 Magazine Issue