features


W. Gabus, between Russia and Switzerland

April 2003



Already present at the Basel Fair last year, the new Swiss-Russian brand, Gabus is presenting a series of remarkable new models at this year's show.

With the gently humorous slogan, 'Swiss Made / Russian Soul', the brand Gabus is rebuilding an historic bridge between Switzerland and Russia, a bridge that was interrupted by the Revolution of 1917. During that time, a flourishing watchmaking enterprise disappeared in the torment. Founded by William Gabus, a Swiss expatriate from Le Locle, the company produced high quality watches that were distributed throughout the whole of Russia.

Renaissance
Rather recently, a small group of Russian entrepreneurs decided to re-launch the brand. It was a daring challenge, one that met a lot of scepticism from many observers of the tumultuous scene, without going into detail, of the Russian watchmaking landscape. But, it was a challenge that succeeded, at least as far as we can judge by the size, quality and inventiveness of the collection proposed this year.

A resolutely original style
The style of the pieces proposed by Gabus is both classic and very original. The collection, designed by a young and talented Russian named Felix Bakussov, is at the same time nostalgic and yet quite contemporary. Using the original Gabus watches as a base, Bakussov has revisited the older designs but given them a new vigour and strength as well as cleaner lines. A few examples are even totally new, like the models inspired by the original 'Helen' and 'William' versions or the really surprising 'Worb'.
Careful attention to detail and the high quality in finishing give these pieces, all 'Swiss Made', a worth that goes beyond simple curiosity. All models are crafted in 18 carat yellow, rose or white gold and come equipped with a sapphire crystal. The dials, in particular, give these watches a unique charm and character. The graphic details evoke the 1920s, with their classic yet lively design.
The movements are also made in Switzerland, with the ETA 2894-2 chronograph used in the 'Maurice' piece, a Soprod calibre 9075 used in the 'Le Locle' model, which also features a power reserve indicator (very graphic as well), days of the week, weeks of the year and a date at 3 o'clock. Quartz movements equip the feminine models 'Helen' and the unisex 'Worb'.
The names of the collections were not chosen at random. They represent the names of William Gabus' son, Maurice, and his wife, Helen. Le Locle is where Gabus was born and the Swiss chateau, Worb, is where he died.
With its quality, contemporary and innovative new offer, Gabus should be able to find distribution far beyond the borders of Russia.